Tim Burton is one of the most influential and talented directors in modern cinema, and many actors have given career-best performances in his films.
Tim Burton returns to television after nearly 20 years, directing four episodes of Netflix's dark fantasy black comedy series. Based on characters from Charles Adams' The Addams Family, the series follows Adams' eponymous daughter in a supernatural coming-of-age story.
Known for his eccentricity and gothic sensibilities, Burton is one of the most influential directors of modern cinema. Many talented actors have worked with him, giving career-best performances in his films, and some of them have even won awards for their efforts. While Burton has plenty of usual suspects he loves working with, many of his best performances in films come from past collaborators.
Catherine O'Hara - Beetlejuice (1988)
Supporting performances don't always get the recognition they deserve, especially when their films have brighter leads. However, a good supporting cast will make the most of their screen time, sometimes stealing the show. Such was the case with the brilliant Catherine O'Hara in Burton's 1988 dark fantasy novel Beetlejuice.
As Delia Dietz, O'Hara was a win in the camp. Loud, bombastic, and dramatic, Delia is one of the film's most memorable characters, which says a lot given the competition she faces. Her moment of glory comes when the friendly ghosts of her family take over A seance that forces her and her guests to dance to Harry Belafonte's "Day-O."
Danny DeVito - Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Returns, Burton's 1992 gothic take on the superhero genre, was more about identity and sexual liberation than the classic hero story. As such, the main villains are all confused and misplaced "freaks," with Danny DeVito's Penguin as their leader.
Combining grotesque intensity with subtle vulnerability, DeVito's Penguin is an engrossingly successful reinvention of the criminal gentleman. Penguin wasn't always a popular character, but DeVito was fascinating as a broken and brutal outsider hell-bent on revenge. Penguin is the perfect complement to Catwoman, and DeVito pretty much runs off the entire movie.
Albert Finney - Big Fish (2003)
Five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney joined Burton's unique universe in 2003's Big Fish. Finney plays an older version of the film's protagonist, tender and inspiring in one of Burton's sweetest, sentimental efforts.
Father and son are the central themes of the film, with Finney almost single-handedly carrying the burden. His performance is subtle and effective, touching the heartstrings without ever delivering wild melodrama. Big Fish features solid production values and one of Danny Elfman's most iconic film scores. However, this is Finney's performance This is the most memorable part of the movie, its beating heart.
Winona Ryder - Beetlejuice (1988)
In the late 1980s, Winona Ryder became the star that would eventually define a generation. Her roles in Beetlejuice and Heathers cemented her status as Hollywood's most promising talent, but the former made her an outsider. In Lydia Eternal's words, she herself is strange and unusual.
Ryder's performance is the glue that holds Beetlejuice together. Keaton and O'Hara may have flashier roles, but Ryder is the center of the film. She dominates the screen, her strange energy fueling this bizarre mixture that isn't supposed to work but does. Ryder's dry delivery stands in stark contrast to the film's wild antics, helping to balance the film and keep it from derailing.
Helena Bonham Carter - Corpse Bride (2005)
In many ways, Burton's animated work is his best film. There is a sense of freedom, a willingness to be more experimental and thought-provoking, absent from his live-action projects. 2005's Corpse Bride is a perfect example, a sweet and sad exploration of grief, regret and love.
Voiced by Burton's frequent collaborator Helena Bonham Carter, the eponymous character is one of the director's most unique creations. A deceased bride hopes to be connected After her tragic death on her wedding day, Emily emerges as a believable and heartbreaking human being, thanks in large part to Burnham Carter's stellar work. Dubbing is still somewhat overlooked by the industry, but Burnham Carter's tender delivery conveys Emily's feelings in a way many live-action actors will never.
Martin Landau - Ed Wood (1994)
Depending on the individual, Martin Landau's 1995 Oscar win for Burton's Ed Wood was either a wise choice or a grave mistake. Pulp Fiction fans will say that Samuel L. Jackson was robbed, while mainstream observers will declare Landau's victory puzzling but far from catastrophic.
However, Landau is undeniably attractive in Ed Wood. Playing iconic actor Bela Lugosi is no easy feat, but Landau rises to the challenge. Landau wisely evokes rather than imitates, capturing the spirit of Lugosi while still fitting Burton's vision of Wood's world. It's a tricky balance, one that speaks to Landau's skill as a performer and one that proved his triumph at the 67th Academy Awards.
Michael Keaton - Beetlejuice (1988)
Disrespect is one of the toughest challenges for any actor, and a role like Beetlejuice can swallow an inferior actor. However, Michael Keaton was one of the most gifted performers of his generation, and his The portrayal of supernatural villains is a perfect example.
Beetlejuice is an easily hated character, and he is. Keaton's victory, however, is what makes him a necessary nuisance. Beetlejuice gets surprisingly little screen time in the film, but his energy and spirit permeates every frame. He's a force of nature (or unnatural), almost overwhelming but never quite, providing enough chaos to make the movie work. Keaton has starred in many esteemed and iconic films, but "Beetlejuice" will always be his most unique and over-the-top film.
Jack Nicholson - Batman (1989)
There are other great portrayals of the Joker, but no one embodies the Joker's Prince of Crime clown persona better than Jack Nicholson. The three-time Oscar winner played the villain in Burton's 1989 noir "The Caped Crusader," portraying the Joker with prolific flair.
Nicholson's success came from understanding the role he played. His Joker looks and acts straight from the comic book pages. He's a character that could never exist in real life, a psychotic clown with a disturbing love of violence. There's nothing wrong with grounded supervillains, but there's something vivid and even refreshing about the show This encompasses the absurd aspects of what is at the heart of comic book content.
Amy Adams - Big Eyes (2014)
Amy Adams has been great since the late 90's. In the 2010s, her career reached its peak, and she starred in a number of critically acclaimed films one after another, establishing her status as a versatile actress with outstanding acting skills and a radiant heroine.
In Burton's 2014 biopic Big Eyes, Adams played Margaret Keane, the controversial artist whose work was initially credited to her husband. Despite being formulaic at times and with some truly atrocious wigs, Big Eyes succeeds largely because of Adams' stellar performance. She makes Margaret compassionate and vulnerable without ever turning her into an out-and-out victim. Adams strives for measured portrayals that allow emotions to flow without shouting at the audience.
Michelle Pfeiffer - Batman Returns (1992)
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Michelle Pfeiffer's performance in Burton's Batman Returns comic book movie is the best ever. Pfeiffer portrays the definitive version of Selina Kyle, delivering a fiery, multi-layered portrait of a repressed woman desperate to break free.
Pfeiffer and Burton never shy away from exploring their characters' mental health, a surprising choice of angle A comic book property of the early 90s. And yet it worked, with Pfeiffer digging her claws into Selina's shattered psyche and crafting an incredibly complex image. Catwoman became a symbol of female sexuality and liberation thanks to Pfeiffer's confident and groundbreaking work, which remains the best example of truly uninhibited comic performance.