Tonight Lyn and I went to our second "Oscar Viewing." We and the other EIGHT people in the theatre were treated to a very well-produced, well-directed, and well-acted drama-mentary. Frank Langella was a brilliant Richard Nixon, and managed to bring a real humanness to our ill-fated (i.e. "scumbag") president. Michael Sheen's portrayal of entertainer-turned-journalist David Frost was very good, although I found myself focusing on his hairstyle and SERIOUSLY toothy smile that he flashed continuously.
Somehow or other, I missed the actual interview back in 1977, but seeing the film really took me back. Specifically, it took me back to the living room of 84-year-old Lucile Jenkins, the dear neighbor who became a surrogate grandmother to Lyn and me in our first year of marriage. I remember spending about an hour (sometimes two) with her every afternoon during the Watergate Hearings in 1974. (The Watergate break-ins occurred in the wee hours of our wedding night, June 16/17, 1972!) Combining the scandal of the break-in coverup and the escalation of the Vietnam War, it was a really weird time to be an American. While today's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are full of their own tragedies and horrors, they are practically a romp in the park compared to the atrocities of Vietnam and Cambodia. All war is hellish; Vietnam was spawned in the darkest pits of Hell!
But I digress. The film was a great looking glass into the follow-up of those incendiary days. It also gave fascinating insight to the limited (but effective) media technologies of the late 70s.
Was it Oscar worthy? Not so much, in my opinion. Langella was mesmerizing in his acting, so he certainly deserved his nomination for Best Actor. Since Nixon himself was so stiff and one-dimensional, playing him well made Langella come across that way a bit. The character didn't offer him much opportunity for developing the nuances one likes to see onscreen. The final interview scene, however, was the real bread and butter of Langella's performance--and maybe the whole film.
On a scale of 10, I'd give FROST/NIXON a strong 8.