Piece: The first Academy Award for Best Actor, which Emil Jannings won for his performances in The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. 1928.
Where: Filmmuseum Berlin.
Love the story that the first ever Best Actor Oscar was voted to be Rin Tin Tin (a dog). The Academy, concerned that their new awards would not be taken very seriously, decided to give the award instead to the runner up – Emil Jannings
I only became aware of that story recently—when I heard someone who had written a book about Rin Tin Tin giving an interview on NPR.
I saw The Last Command for the first time a few years ago when it was released as part of a silent Sternberg box set and my. God. Jannings performance was incredible it. And oddly it was the second of 2 uniform-fetishizing roles that I’ve seen Jannings in.
He seemed to do a specialised run of roles where his character was subject to extreme humiliation and debasement. The Blue Angel being perhaps the most famous. You’re right, he is wonderful in The Last Command. Also Murnau’s Der Letzte Mann is superb.from 1924.
And also Faust—but I’d like to see more movies with him in it.
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