THE PERFORMER | Tom Hollander
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THE SHOW | FEUD: Capote Vs. the Swans
THE EPISODE | “Pilot” (Jan. 31, 2024)
THE PERFORMANCE | With his nasal voice, affected mannerisms and wicked wit, the real Truman Capote was such a singular character that any portrayal of him runs the risk of veering into caricature. But from the moment that Season 2 of FX’s anthology series introduced Hollander’s version of the In Cold Blood author, it was obvious that we were in for a performance that wasn’t going to be superficial but superlative. Subtle gestures and outrageous remarks that only Capote could own, the actor pulled off seemingly with the same ease as he drew breath.
Hollander was no mere mimic, either. As the premiere skittered back and forth through time, he dug deep to shine a spotlight on both the cunning and charisma that made Capote so alluring and the contempt that made him so dangerous — and all while rarely speaking loudly enough to get shushed in a library. No wonder the writer’s high-society swans were eager to orbit him and, if they were smart, terrified to cross him.
Finally, in segments depicting Capote’s drug- and alcohol-fueled struggle to finish Answered Prayers, Hollander painted a portrait of the artist as a hot mess, a disaster on the way to the scene with a que-será-será approach to his predicament speeding the journey. Yet even then, when he was “broken and empty” and hoping to be “molested into oblivion,” Hollander managed to make Capote as captivating as he was frustrating, as magnetic as he was pathetic. In the end, we could only say of the actor what an awestruck admirer did of Capote: “My God, he’s dazzling.”
Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…
HONORABLE MENTION: Phaedra Parks
The Traitors‘ Phaedra Parks proved she wasn’t one to be toyed with when fellow traitor Dan Gheesling tried — and failed! — to throw her under the bus. The former housewife stayed cool, calm and collected as Dan presented his case, only to slap down each and every bit of “evidence” with intelligence and poise. Her sheer entertainment value was on full display as she expertly used Peter’s false leak to her advantage in order to turn that bus around and drive it squarely over her newfound enemy. “Baby, you deflected on the wrong one because you’re gonna learn tonight!” she correctly predicted. Forever classy and sassy, Phaedra’s ascension in this game has been a delight to watch, further cementing this queen as reality casting gold. –Nick Caruso
HONORABLE MENTION: Lance Reddick
Lance Reddick certainly brought the thunder during his first and only appearance as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ season finale. The late actor, who tragically passed away last March, was magnetic and every bit the dominant and temperamental Greek god that we imagined from Rick Riordan’s beloved books. It was thrilling yet terrifying to see him tower over the titular demigod, who’d returned his stolen thunderbolt — the symbol of Zeus’ stalwart power — on Mount Olympus. The bass in the sky lord’s voice as he reprimanded his nephew for defying him sent chills down our spine. And his softened expression at the mention of his daughter Thalia brought a beautiful nuance to the oft imposing ruler. We lament that we won’t get to see more of Reddick’s compelling performance in this role, but what he left us with was utterly perfect. —Keisha Hatchett
HONORABLE MENTION: John Turturro
Amazon’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith has assembled an elite task force of fun guest stars, but our favorite has to be John Turturro, who reminded us how goofy he can be as real estate mogul Eric Shane in Episode 2. The veteran actor had a refined air at first as Jane chatted up Eric at a high-end art auction, but then he went gloriously over the top as John and Jane hit Eric with a double dose of truth serum, turning him into a blathering maniac spitting out uncomfortable secrets left and right. (“I’m a little horny, I think. Also very, very frightened.”) Eric took the mic and loudly confessed his financial crimes to the auction crowd, with Turturro bringing a frantic energy to Eric’s plight. Like many of Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s guest stars, Eric didn’t live very long, but Turturro made sure his final moments on this earth were very memorable… and hilarious. —Dave Nemetz
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!
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