No slight to Marlon Brando‘s emoting in Sayonara, but Red Buttons — who died today at age 87 — was less actorish and affected in that film than Brando was (i.e., the Alabama accent and all). Button’s performance as Joe Kelly, the pissed-off Air Force grunt who defied military pressure to marry a Japanese woman (Miyoshi Umeki) only to join her in a suicide pact down the road, was the best work he ever did — frank, blunt, b.s-free. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for it. He also delivered a strong performance in Sydney Pollack ‘s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969). But almost everything else Buttons did besides these two felt either forced or cornball or over-sold.