The Art of Drunk Acting
There are few things more cringe worthy than bad drunk acting.
Look at any episode from classic television where someone is playing drunk and you will typically find an actor painting with such broad strokes as to be ham handed. To act "drunk" is actually an incredibly nuanced thing to achieve. How many drinks has the person had? Is this person a professional drinker who knows how to cover well? What are they drinking? How big are they? How small are they? All of these questions will influence what kind of "drunk" that we're talking about.
Evan Peters' layered and nuanced drunk performance in episode three of "Mare of Easttown" has been the talk of the Twitter and the interweb, but I was reminded of another example of a phenomenal "drunk" performance.
Sandy Dennis was a Broadway actress and an Actor's Studio alum who had two films to her credit before landing the role of Honey in Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff?"
Imagine going toe to toe with powerhouse performers such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and holding your own in one of the most challenging texts of the 20th century. Dennis' performance has to unfold over hours of heavy drinking and we as the audience see her falling further and further down the "brandy" rabbit hole. Her performance is nothing short of astounding.
And the Academy agreed, bestowing a Best Supporting Actress trophy for her performance. Go back and watch the film and watch as she slowly and by degrees becomes more and more hammered and unhinged.