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Christoph Waltz was a crucial link in 'Django's' chain

The supporting actor winner made us laugh, cry and see the past in a different light.

February 25, 2013|By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
  • Christoph Waltz accepts his supporting actor Oscar.
Christoph Waltz accepts his supporting actor Oscar. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

He wasn't the favorite. His name was barely mentioned in all the Oscar buzz. But Christoph Waltz was indeed the best.

As the antebellum bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, Waltz leavened the good, the bad and the ugly in "Django Unchained." He was the intelligent antidote to slavery's violence and outrage. But there was steel in his eyes and an unwavering sense of what was truly immoral in every irony-laced word he spoke.

Thanks to a filmmaker who understands the actor's strength — his first collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, 2009's "Inglourious Basterds," would win the Austrian actor his first Oscar — "Django" became a giant stage for everything the exceptional Waltz can do.

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And he did it all — made us laugh, cry and see a dark page of the past in a completely new way.

His Schultz was an unlikely hero, wandering the West in search of the worst of mankind. He tried to make accommodations, but when it was necessary he wasn't afraid to destroy his enemies. A shrug was likely to follow — because they deserved it.

There was always a sense in "Django" that Waltz would be wonderful in any given scene, but never at the expense of the other actors. He is the most generous of actors — he never fails to share that precious space.

A class act, a classier actor — in my book Waltz couldn't be beat.

Now if he can just work on that acceptance speech.


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