The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1979
1979 is a year I can say a lot about. I’ll try not to here. At least, not at once. The main thing here is that Kramer vs. Kramer wins Best Picture, beating out Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz. It also beat Norma Rae and Breaking Away, but the first two are the real important ones. It’s not a question of whether or not it’s a good film, it’s just — is it really better to have won over those two? Did history really hold up on that one? I consider this one of those — the Academy being the Academy. And the Academy being wrong — decisions.
Also this year, Robert Benton wins Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer (talked about here), because, I guess, Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Fosse didn’t produce the two best individual efforts of their careers. Dustin Hoffman won Best Actor for the film as well (talked about here), and this I agree with. He was amazing here, and due. Meryl Streep also won Best Supporting Actress for the film (talked about here). She was also amazing, and totally deserved it. And Best Actress this year was Sally Field for Norma Rae (talked about here), which is also a good decision. So, this year, on the whole, had some great decisions in it. Three, in fact. The problem here is the other three. Especially this one.
This category is the worst Best Supporting Actor decision of all time. If there ever was a year where “veteran Oscar” was what happened, this is it. I’m not even going to hide my opinion here or mask who I’m voting for. Robert Duvall delivered one of the most iconic performances of all time. Even if you haven’t seen Apocalypse Now, I bet you can quote that napalm speech. This is a character so strong, it’s possible you remember him even more than Marlon Brando in this movie. Or Dennis Hopper. That’s how fucking strong he is. Literally, the first half of this movie is his. That’s how good he is. And Melvyn Douglas wins because he’s old and dying. That’s just terrible. (more…)