Editor’s Note: The following contains references to suicide.Al Pacino is arguably one of the greatest actors who ever lived and yet he was only celebrated with an Oscar for a single performance by The scent of a woman. It’s a crazy truth because for nearly 50 years Al Pacino has been a mainstay of acting in movies and on stage in a way that can only be considered a combination of hard work, smarts innate emotional and destiny.
Al Pacino has won numerous awards from a BAFTA, several Golden Globes, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tonys, and countless others. Still, if there’s one thing that’s truly baffling, it’s that despite being nominated for nine Oscars, he only won one for Martin Brestthe film The scent of a womanreleased 30 years ago today. The scent of a woman remembers a phenomenal monologue by Pacino, an impressive dance scene and a launching pad for the careers of the two Chris O’Donnell and the late, sorely missed Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Al Pacino’s Oscar History Is So Bizarre, In Fact, It Even Got Its Own Meta Citation In Adam Sandlerit is Jack and Jill. While the film as a whole has been criticized, one of its shining moments is an inexplicably resolute performance by Al Pacino, playing the role of himself. At one point in the film, in a deeper joke than one might think, Pacino’s only Oscar is destroyed in a stickball incident, to which Sandler, as Jill, exclaims, “Oh my God, oh my God, I’m so sorry. I’m sure you have more” Pacino’s response in a moment of comedic realization is, “You would think so, but oddly enough, you don’t.”
What is “Women’s Perfume” about?
The scent of a woman is a masterful look at coming to terms with the unforeseen tragedies that strike us throughout life and the damage to our mental health that can accompany them. With an attitude far ahead of its time, The scent of a woman explains how we deal with heartbreaks that don’t involve romance but manage to break your heart more than anyone ever could, especially through the eyes of men. Al Pacino gives a stellar performance as a strongman who grappled with a life changing change he must receive and what happens when you resist the changes life throws at you that you don’t have no control.
The scent of a woman follows Charlie Simms (O’Donnell), a young man who attends a prestigious preparatory school on a scholarship. In order to buy a flight home for the holidays, he takes a job caring for Lt. Col. Frank Slade (Pacino). Slade is retired from the military and is a highly decorated veteran who lost his sight while showing off in front of young soldiers while juggling grenades. Unable to cope with his new way of life, Slade becomes depressed and resorts to alcoholism. When Charlie meets Slade, Slade is at a point where he intends to have one last hurrah in New York and then kill himself. As the film progresses, Charlie tries to convince Slade that he still has a lot to live for. Meanwhile, Charlie handles an incident at school that may leave his scholarship status in the hands of a wealthy classmate with far less to lose.
Throughout the film, we see a bitter Slade who is angry with himself for his role in losing his sight, and a young Charlie Simms who wonders what to do about the situation at his school. Audiences are left with a story about how two men at different stages of life teach each other valuable lessons about manhood and, to some extent, survival.
Al Pacino developed his character through the method
Al Pacino has long been known as a method actor. Having started out on stage, Pacino was no stranger to putting his whole body into a role. He was advised by a school for the blind, which helped him prepare for his The scent of a woman role where he plays a man who has lost his sight. While training with the school, Pacino also got to practice how a blind person can perform everyday tasks, like pouring themselves a drink. Through what must have been a combination of intense preparation, which included hours of learning how to disassemble a .45 like Slade does, and how to properly say “Hoo-ah,” while being able to really listen those around him, Pacino developed Slade’s character arc: from his initial bitterness and anger to a happier place of acceptance in his new life.
What’s interesting is that Pacino’s process of actually acting blind had certain levels. Although he was initially fitted with lenses that would give the appearance of blindness, Pacino ultimately decided against using them. Instead, he chose not to focus his eyes when playing Slade, creating temporary blindness. In a move that feels like a less extreme form of Jared LetoWhile preparing for his role as Joker, Pacino chose to stay in character on set, walking with a cane, never looking at anyone. The decision not to use the lenses was based on the possibility that they might actually hurt her eyes after prolonged use. There’s an irony to that because in an old episode of Larry King, Pacino talked about the method and how it led to him falling into a bush because he couldn’t “see” it. The bush scratched his cornea in the fall, still hurting his eyes. Pacino later said in the interview that he was “blind” while making the film. Maybe it’s madness, maybe it’s just great acting.
Years later, O’Donnell would talk about his time filming with Pacino on Women’s perfume at the Pacino ceremony for the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. He said he was excited to work with Pacino to watch his legendary work, but was also thrilled to get “constructive feedback” from him. When filming ended, O’Donnell never received the feedback he hoped to receive. However, he later received a letter from Pacino saying, “I couldn’t tell what you were doing because I never saw you. Even though I felt like you were always with me, and from what I heard, your performance is outstanding.”
After watching Pacino’s performance, one can only infer that this statement makes perfect sense. In a commitment to his character, Al Pacino never really looked at his co-star, but he literally could only hear the impact of his performance. Regardless of what may be “too methodical” or risky, one has to admire Pacino’s dedication to his work. Injuries aside, Pacino worked for this Oscar and earned it for his dedication to his research and his desire to literally cast every part of his body in a role.
Bring as many roles as you can, Mr. Pacino. We will carefully monitor them until the end and we will relaunch them. Oscars or not.
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Al Pacino went to great lengths to win an Oscar – CNET – ApparelGeek