Oscar Impact: Typecasting–Sidney Greenstreet–Supporting Actor

The second kind of typecasting has been most severely–and painfully–felt by the category of supporting actors, who are often doomed for the rest of their careers to play second bananas.

In some respects, the Academy itself is responsible for such typecasting, making the distinction between leading and character players official in the Academy Players Directory, the industry’s chief casting tool. Until the late 1970s, players who won or were nominated for supporting awards tended to remain in this category.

Sidney Greenstreet

A strong screen image, created in a first film and certified by an Oscar nomination, is that of Sidney Greenstreet, who made an auspicious debut as Kasper Guttman, the ruthless villain in The Maltese Falcon, directed by John Huston 1941 and starring Humphrey Bogart.

This image suited Greenstreet’s size, being a bulky man of three hundred pounds.

Greenstreet went on to play so many master villains that he became Hollywood’s classic screen heavy.

Offended by Warner’s relegating him to such narrow range, Greenstreet became doubly sensitive to the critics’ view that he was only capable of playing baddies.

Warner never trusted his ability to carry a movie on his own and thus never cast him in a lead role.