It's been kind of a dreary, rainy New Year's Eve here in Dallas, and I have been looking out my window, thinking about the past.
My only sibling — my younger brother — will celebrate his birthday on Saturday. And I have been thinking about when we were children, and I took a certain amount of pleasure from making sure the adults knew I was the older of the two.
At some point, I guess, older siblings discover that being older is not an advantage after all. And, I wonder, when exactly does that happen?
Well, I don't know if Sir Anthony Hopkins has any siblings. But, if he does — and if any of those siblings are younger than he is — I doubt if Sir Anthony ever reached the point where he felt he didn't enjoy the advantage. And he's 72 today.
I guess, if you took a poll asking people to name Hopkins' most memorable role, it would be Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs." You might get some support for James Stevens in "The Remains of the Day" or Adolf Hitler in "The Bunker" or John Quincy Adams in "Amistad."
But, personally, I have always been fond of his performance as Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone's "Nixon."
I grew up during the Nixon years. I remember him very well. And I can tell you — beyond even the hint of a doubt — that Anthony Hopkins did not look like Nixon. And he didn't sound like him, either.
But he captured the essence of Nixon's introverted, paranoid personality. He was Richard Nixon, even though he neither looked nor sounded like him. For that, he was nominated for an Oscar. He lost, but that is beside the point.
That is the true test of Hopkins' skill. And it is the best reason I can think of why many people think he is the greatest living actor.