Picking a favorite role by William H. Macy is like picking your favorite child. It's an impossible 'Sophie's Choice,' especially when you have more than 100 offspring.
Macy has dozens of "children" to his credit, characters whom he has birthed and nurtured on screen. In more than 100 roles stretching over more than three decades, Macy's characters have always fit perfectly into the film or TV show in which they appear. He can step forward boldly or recede into the background, whatever is called for, in order to embody his character with truth and emotional honesty. The latest example is 'The Lincoln Lawyer,' which opened last Friday, in which he plays a private investigator working for the titular attorney, played by Matthew McConaughey. Once again Macy blends into a supporting role, never calling undue attention to himself.
After doing yeoman service for years, he broke out in 'Fargo' (1996) as quietly scheming car salesman Jerry Lundegaard, who gets in way over his head and drowns in his own sincerely knuckle-headed ambitions. He was nominated for an Academy Award, which really opened up the field for him; we can simply list a few of his credits since then ('Boogie Nights,' 'Magnolia,' 'The Cooler,' 'Thank You for Smoking,' his recent run on TV's 'Shameless') and each one calls to mind specific memories of deeply-effective, moving, graceful, and/or amusing performances.