Outrageous Moments of Good Actors Over-acting

In that vein, how about Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend?

And Eragorn. It seems he just loves to ham it up in bad Fantasy movies.

What’s!!! The rat scene was the best part of this overacted role because then, at least, he was making a cartoon of something else, instead as overacting “HIMSELF”!!!

But I was going to nominate him anyway.

You can pretty much pencil in any Steiger performance after he won an Academy Award for In the Heat of the Night. Before that, he was actually quite good (e.g., see his performances in Dr. Zhivago and as a Holocaust survivor in The Pawnbroker). Unfortunately, winning an Oscar seemed to do something to him. His performances became increasingly hammy and heavy-handed until he virtually became a joke. (However, to be fair, Steiger later admitted he suffered from chronic depression and that he thought it adversely affected the quality of acting.)

Burton clearly had talent but I think at a certain point in his career he decided he really didn’t give a damn anymore and stopped trying to give an good performance. He figured that even if he just growled and over-ennunciated his lines, they were still going to give him a big fat paycheck. Also, don’t underestimate the role Burton’s alcoholism played in diminishing his effectiveness as an actor.

In terms of overacting, Pacino’s quite a bit different than Steiger and Burton because he’s clearly camping it up and enjoying himself (especially in The Devil’s Advocate). He knows when to turn it on and turn it off.

I can’t remember if the little seen The Loved Ones, based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, was made before of after In the Heat of the Night. However, remembering Steiger singing “Mama’s little baby loves shortnin’ bread” as a mama’s boy just makes me cringe.

So far we’ve only had male overacting. Faye Dunaway in **Mommie Dearest **proved actresses can also chew the scenery and swallow it whole.