The Ultimate Walt Disney Company Performances Bracket -- Round One, Day Four
Are YOU a professional pirate?
Friends, I hope you are sliding into the first full weekend of 2023 with as much joy and brio as Long John Silver displayed when presented with a massive amount of gold, as is evidenced in the photo above. I’m heading into the weekend with an eye on relaxing (shifting from vacation to work mode is never fun). I want to remind you all — it’s important to not just vote, but to share this newsletter to get even more folks to vote just like you! We had an extremely, extremely close vote yesterday, in which just one vote — one vote! — separated Whoopi Goldberg and Gilbert Gottfried. (Congratulations to Gilbert Gottfried — you won by a feather!)
But for now, it’s time for more matchups in the lengthy first round of this ultimate performances bracket. You ready? Let’s go!
(5) Tim Curry, Muppet Treasure Island vs. (60) Buddy Hackett, The Love Bug: Tim Curry in Muppet Treasure Island is one of the truly brilliant and madcap comic performances in Disney history. (Am I going to suggest that Curry deserves the same level of plaudits that Michael Caine receives for his work in The Muppet Christmas Carol? I…yes, I am. He deserves the same amount of love, if not more.) Buddy Hackett’s fine in The Love Bug, but come on. You know what to do here.
(28) Christopher Plummer, The Insider vs. (37) Don Rickles, Toy Story 2: This is a tough one, but I already hinted as much a couple days ago — I am giving this one to Christopher Plummer for his tenacious performance as Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s excellent 1999 drama The Insider. (I don’t know that it’s Mann’s most underrated film, but compared to his more action-heavy films, I think some folks have forgotten how great it is.) Don Rickles is extremely funny as Mr. Potato Head in all four Toy Story films, but Plummer gets to work with more complexity, more menace, and more unnerving charm in Mann’s film. But among the two elder statesmen who both appeared in Pixar films…well, it’s up to you. Who do you vote for?
(12) Mark Hamill, Star Wars vs. (53) Paige O’Hara, Beauty and the Beast: It is here that I will point out what should already be obvious: the seeding for some of these performances can be ignored. Do I really think that Paige O’Hara’s performance as Belle is less impressive than that of, say, Kelly Macdonald in Brave? I don’t, but I gotta fit people in where I can. This is, for me, a fairly tough matchup because while I do like Mark Hamill in Star Wars — and please note, you are meant to be considering just his performance in the 1977 film — O’Hara’s tender voice work as Belle is hugely important to the success of the 1991 classic.
Two great films, with two leads who are arguably somewhat overshadowed by the side performances. It’s a coin flip for me, and I’m kind of leaning towards O’Hara. How about you?
(21) Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl vs. (44) Kelly Macdonald, Brave: I do like Kelly Macdonald’s voice work as Merida in Brave, even if I think the film as a whole is a little too messy to be fully enjoyable. But this is a case where the higher seeding for her opponent is pretty much dead-on. I don’t love the whole Pirates of the Caribbean series (time having not been super-kind to its lead performer considering his…uh…whole thing), but the first film is the best, and Knightley’s gradual shift from seemingly innocent damsel in distress to a shrewd fighter in her own right is well done. Knightley gets my vote.