POTUS on screen
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2. Anthony Hopkins, "Nixon" (1995)
Nobody with fully functioning eyes and ears will watch Anthony Hopkins's galvanizing performance in Oliver Stone's brash but undervalued biopic and think: "OMG, he IS Richard Nixon!" Even with the best efforts of the makeup and costume departments, the two men look nothing alike; the voice, meanwhile, is a highly mannered riff on Tricky Dick's familiar inflections. The performance is, ultimately, very much its own creation, but that's what's so brilliant about it. Modern-day US presidents are so indelibly emblazoned on the collective consciousness that impersonating them is redundant. Hopkins instead interprets Nixon's presence, his stylized tics rendering him the larger-than-life villain he exists as in many people's memories -- not for nothing, one suspects, did Stone cast Hannibal Lecter himself in the part. It's a daring approach that earned the Welshman a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
- Guy Lodge