The Ultimate Walt Disney Company Performances Bracket -- The Big Finish
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends. I hope you enjoy a hearty pint of Guinness (or some shepherd’s pie, or something) this evening. And I hope you’re ready to dive right into the Top Two of the Ultimate Walt Disney Company Performances bracket. Two big names enter the thunderdome, but just one will be victorious.
Thanks for reading That Still, Small Voice! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
(1) Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins vs. (2) Robin Williams, Aladdin: So in the end, we have come down to two of the greatest performances that the Walt Disney Company has ever served up. Who’da thunk! We have two Oscar winners today, though of course, only one of these people won their Oscar for the performance in question.
Now, for the very last time in this bracket, I will note that my vote means absolutely nothing. But I do have a preference here. Would it surprise you if I revealed that my preference is Julie Andrews? Because it is. There is no question that Robin Williams’ work in Aladdin is God-level. It’s a brilliant performance as much for what he does as for what his absence meant in the execrable first direct-to-video sequel. (Aladdin and the King of Thieves, for which Williams returned, is not great, but is markedly better for the fact that it’s Williams as the Genie.) The Genie is a Poochie-level character: when he is not onscreen, everyone should be asking (and I know I sure am), “Where’s Genie?” Aladdin is a good movie when the Genie is not onscreen. It is amazing when he is.
But. Mary Poppins is a strange and distinctive film. Think about its vast and sundry elements, and how the movie arguably should not work. It is a film about a magical nanny who reminds a grumpy banker to be a good dad, through the use of inexplicable supernatural forces, animation, and also a vagrant. It’s a weird movie! And it’s also the most quintessentially Disney movie there is. Part of it is that the Sherman Brothers were working at their very best, part of it is that Dick Van Dyke threw himself into every aspect of playing said vagrant, and so on.
But a lot of it comes down to how effectively Julie Andrews brings the enigmatic but practically perfect Mary to life. So much of what makes the film works is how deftly she portrays the character without being overly twee. It’s so rare for the industry to recognize a star-making performance in this way, yet Andrews winning the Oscar is one of those rare moments. The Academy got it right.
I vote for Julie Andrews.
How about you?