(Let's stagger on home to the end of the least read series in Mythical Monkey history.)
Best Appearance in Movie Where the Dog Dies
I'm sure she means best appearance by an actor in a movie where the dog dies—like, say, the kid in Old Yeller or something—but I'm more interested in the dog itself, which means I get to write about my favorite movie dog of all time, "Dog" in John Wayne's Big Jake.
In case you've never seen Big Jake—and unless you're a John Wayne fan of a certain age, there's no real reason to think you would have—the Duke's Jacob McCandles has the best trained dog in history. He says "Dog!" and that means maul the bad guy with the machete, and then he says "Dog!" and that means knock the hostage off the horse before the sniper can shoot him, and sometimes he says "Dog!" and that means "heel" or "sit" or pretty much whatever else Big Jake might be thinking at the moment. Very impressive. John Wayne makes Cesar Millan look like a crazy cat lady.
Best Making Way Too Big a Deal About Playing a Gay Character
Generally speaking, gays have not fared well on the big screen. For the first fifty years of movie history, they were comic relief; in the fifty that followed, tragic figures. Perhaps in the next fifty, the movies will depict them as they are—everyday people who just happen to be attracted to the same rather than opposite sex.
Well, maybe when society itself views the matter that way.
In the meantime, to answer the question, I'm going with Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. The performance won him an Oscar but, to my mind anyway, it has not aged well. If the film had been made in, say, 1983, at a time when seemingly respectable people were still saying out loud that AIDS was a "gay problem" and thus of no concern to the "rest of us," perhaps righteous anger alone might still carry the otherwise hackneyed storyline. But by 1993, the year of Philadelphia's release, we had all pretty much agreed—at least as a matter of public policy—both that AIDS was a national problem and that gays were people, too (well, you know, as long as they didn't want to marry or serve in the military or take part in any of the many other workaday activities that heterosexuals take for granted and gays couldn't and in many places still can't). Instead what seemed at the time brave and heart-rending has been revealed as what it always was: timid and cliched.
There's more emotional power in one AIDS quilt than in this entire movie.
Best Acting on a Boat
If you've never seen Buster Keaton in The Navigator, you're in for a real treat. Released the same year as the better-known Sherlock, Jr., I think The Navigator is the funnier movie, one of Keaton's best.
Best Acting in Sandals
I assume this doesn't mean Katharine Hepburn in a pair of high heel sandals, but instead "sword and sandals" or "Shakespeare" or "Spartacus" or anything with men in togas. Now, I'm not 100% sure what he had on his feet during the "Toga Party" sequence, but I am sure that I'd rather watch John Belushi in Animal House than Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar, Laurence Olivier in Spartacus or Russell Crowe in Gladiator.
Best Performance in a Movie Parents Liked
I can't speak for parents in general, but the people who conceived, birthed and raised me were big fans of the movies and believed that there were certain films you had to see in order to be considered literate. Thus, they introduced me not just to Disney and the usual child-friendly suspects but to the Marx Brothers, Cary Grant, Gone with the Wind and a lot of other stuff, too. The best performance in a movie my parents liked enough to make me see? Jeepers. Let's go with the aforementioned Cary Grant in His Girl Friday, one of the funniest movies he ever did and one of the few movies of its era to suggest that a woman's place is not in the kitchen but in the office, if it turns out that's the work she was born for.
That's it. We're done. Be sure to come back Sunday morning to start voting in the Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tournament.