I only have a few problems with this list. First and foremost, I am not that big a fan of Pacino’s Oscar-winning role in Scent of a Woman. I think he won that award because (1) the Academy felt he was long overdue for an Oscar (it marked the 20th anniversary of his first nomination), (2) it was considered a major departure from his usual roles and (3) to be honest, the competition was not all that strong that year. But what I always admired about Pacino on screen is that he seemed to actually be the characters he was portraying, which, to me, is the hallmark of great acting. In Scent of a Woman, he was clearly acting the role. I would have substituted Pacino’s performance as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Too many filmgoers ignore the realization that Pacino is one of the finest interpreters of Shakespeare currently working today.
I would also put his Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon as No. 1 on my list and then thrown the collective Godfather series together for No. 2. Pacino’s scene with Diane Keaton at the wedding that opens the original The Godfather is as fine a piece of acting as anything in the second installment. I mean, c’mon, how can you really separate them?
At any rate, today is Al Pacino’s 76th birthday.