I got a request for this one. I was so excited to get a request for this category that I bumped it up from its original December date to now. (Also, yeah, I totally have all the categories scheduled. I do it in the interest of not having to do any work later. Now I can just look at the list and see when things go up and don’t have to think about it and can just start typing.)
1983 is a weak year in Academy history, mostly because Terms of Endearment is a weak Best Picture winner. It’s a great film, but a weak Best Picture choice. And the other options weren’t really all that good this year. I, personally, would have gone with The Right Stuff. I also love the Big Chill, but that’s not a Best Picture winner. Also, James L. Brooks winning Best Director for Terms of Endearment was fine because Phillip Kaufman wasn’t nominated for The Right Stuff. So at least there you can be like, “Well, they couldn’t make the right decision because they didn’t nominate the best effort.” So, the Picture/Director link-up works in this case. And Shirley MacLaine winning Best Actress for Terms is a perfect choice because she was 23 years overdue by this point. Robert Duvall winning Best Actor for Tender Mercies is a great macro decision, since the dude deserved an Oscar. I didn’t love the performance, but given the overall category, it works as a decision. And then Linda Hunt winning Best Supporting Actress for The Year of Living Dangerously, for playing a man (!). I talked about it here. Seriously, she plays a man. And nobody notices. That’s so awesome.
So that’s 1983. Weak (overall) Best Picture choice, and also one I wouldn’t really choose (just because it’s so — not a Best Picture choice), great decisions for the majority of the acting categories, mostly based on the actors themselves more so than the performances. And Best Director was fine because the person who should have won wasn’t nominated (and The Dresser was. What the fuck?). And then there’s this category — which makes no sense whatsoever.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1983
And the nominees were…
Charles Durning, To Be or Not to Be
John Lithgow, Terms of Endearment
Jack Nicholson, Terms of Endearment
Sam Shepard, The Right Stuff
Rip Torn, Cross Creek (more…)