In praise of... John Lithgow | Editorial

An actor of subtle excellence has won every gong going except for an Oscar; it’s time for the Academy to make good this omission

Late August and the first Oscar contenders’ heads pop over the parapet. The most cheering is John Lithgow, now 68, and winning raves for his role as a retired gay painter in Love Is Strange. The film has just opened in the US with a restrictive R-certificate despite no steamier content than a snuggle. But whatever the prejudices of the ratings board, the real story is the reliably intelligent choices of this delightful actor. Over 40 years Lithgow’s towering presence and puppyish vulnerability has won every stage and TV gong going. He also writes children’s books and provides an outreach service on Twitter, introducing Americans to the Premier League and his beloved Liverpool FC. Though twice nominated years ago – for Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp – he’s never won an Oscar. Here’s hoping the Academy might reward consistent subtle excellence rather than be wowed once more by the splashy showboat.

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