Last night Frank Langella lost the Best Actor competition in the Academy Awards to Sean Penn. But the veteran’s sterling performance in Frost/Nixon is still gaining accolades, not least from those who knew and worked with the 37th President. This weekend the Fort Myers News-Press interviewed two Nixon White House staffers living on Sanibel Island, Florida, who recently saw the film:
“I think [Langella] had [Nixon] nailed,” [Richard] Cook said. “Absolutely, the fact that he didn’t look like him but immediately, five minutes into the film you’re looking at Nixon[…] The mannerisms, the movements and voice were just uncanny.”
And his colleague Max Friedersdorf calls Langella’s performance “spot-on” and the second-best portrayal of RN he’s ever seen. That, of course, raises the question: Whose Nixon could be better?
According to Mr. Friedersdorf, Langella’s RN is topped by that of Ron Walker, the backbone of the Nixon White House’s advance team:
“If [Walker] had a couple of beers in him, he could impersonate him better,” [Friedersdorf] said. “But he had to have a couple of beers.”