Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Robert Downey Jr.
There are sooo many connections between the Oscars and Christmas TV programming, I have barely scratched the surface. But I choose to highlight Robert Downey Jr. because of his extraordinary performance in the holiday episode of Ally McBeal. Of course, Downey was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in 1992's Chaplin. In the episode "Tis the Season" in the fourth season of the legal dramedy, Downey plays Ally's melancholy boyfriend, Larry. Here, he sings two holiday songs: the Joni Mitchell classic 'River' and the perennial favorite, 'White Christmas' while seated at the piano. Though the storyline establishes Larry as struggling emotionally at Christmas time, his musical performances communicate this melancholia even more so. As an actor not known for his singing, he conveys real emotion and real feeling with his performance. Though this series features musical performances in most of the annual holiday episodes--who could forget the third season episode with Ally singing 'Santa Baby?'--Larry's sadness as felt through his songs stands out above the others.