Ranking the Best Actors

So far, we’ve covered Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Actress. Now we’re up to Best Actor.

As always, here are clarifications to ward off the douchebags:

  • The rankings are irrelevant. They’re just personal preference. The goal here is to help you discover more movies.
  • Don’t get hung up on the numbers, focus on the fact that it’s about getting people to see more movies. (And if you want to criticize, I require that you’ve seen at least 50 of the performances, otherwise you’ll be completely ignored.)

Best Actor seems to be pretty forward, like Best Actress. There are a few performances where the iconic (or the actor) outweigh the actual performance, but overall, it wasn’t so bad.

Note: There are 84 performances here, out of 83 categories, because of the one tie.

So here’s how I rank all the Best Actor winning performances:

TIER 1: The Best of the Best:

1. Marlon Brando, The Godfather

2. Robert De Niro, Raging Bull

3. Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront

4. Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird

5. Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot

6.  Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

7. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

8. Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer

9. Paul Scofield, A Man for All Seasons

10. Sean Penn, Milk

TIER 2: Really Solid Performances:

11. Victor McLaglen, The Informer

12. Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man

13. George C. Scott, Patton

14. Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

15. Jack Nicholson, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

16. Jamie Foxx, Ray

17. Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai

18. Jack Lemmon, Save the Tiger

19. F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus

20. Burt Lancaster, Elmer Gantry

21. Gary Cooper, High Noon

22. Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

23. Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend

24. Ernest Borgnine, Marty

25. Peter Finch, Network

26. Broderick Crawford, All the King’s Men

27. Emil Jannings, The Last Command/The Way of All Flesh

28. Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

29. Ben Kingsley, Gandhi

30. Frederic March, The Best Years of Our Lives

TIER 3: Awesome Performances/Sentimental Favorites:

31. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

32. Jean Dujardin, The Artist

33. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote

34. Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

35. Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady

36. Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

37. Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

38. Denzel Washington, Training Day

39. Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond

40. James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy

TIER 4: Solid Performances All Around (But Not My Favorites):

41. Michael Douglas, Wall Street

42. John Wayne, True Grit

43. Gene Hackman, The French Connection

44. Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

45. Paul Newman, The Color of Money

46. Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

47. Robert Donat, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

48. Clark Gable, It Happened One Night

49. Richard Dreyfuss, The Goodbye Girl

50. William Holden, Stalag 17

51. Jon Voight, Coming Home

52. George Arliss, Disraeli

53. Cliff Robertson, Charly

54. William Hurt, The Kiss of the Spider Woman

55. Rod Steiger, In the Heat of the Night

56. Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen

57. Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

58. Yul Brynner, The King and I

59. Gary Cooper, Sergeant York

60. Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur

TIER 5: Performances That are Good/Enjoyable, But….Mehh:

61. Adrien Brody, The Pianist

62. Tom Hanks, Philadelphia

63. Russell Crowe, Gladiator

64. Robert Duvall, Tender Mercies

65. Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

66. Paul Muni, The Story of Louis Pasteur

67. Maximilian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg

68. Frederic March, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

69. José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac

70. Bing Crosby, Going My Way

71. Jimmy Stewart, The Philadelphia Story

72. Wallace Beery, The Champ

73. David Niven, Separate Tables

74. Spencer Tracy, Captains Courageous

75. Lee Marvin, Cat Ballou

76. Ronald Colman, A Double Life

77. Lionel Barrymore, A Free Soul

TIER 6: The Worst of the Worst:

78. Geoffrey Rush, Shine

79. Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

80. Sean Penn, Mystic River

81. Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune

82. Sidney Poitier, Lilies of the Field

83. Charles Laughton, The Private Life of Henry VIII

84. Warner Baxter, In Old Arizona

85. Art Carney, Harry and Tonto

86. Paul Lukas, Watch on the Rhine

87. Spencer Tracy, Boys Town

Also check out:

Ranking the Best Pictures

Ranking the Best Actresses

Ranking the Best Supporting Actors

Ranking the Best Supporting Actresses

Ranking the Best Directors

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6 responses

  1. j

    Huh, I’ve seen all of your top 7 but only 1 that you rate meh or bad – Philadelphia Story which I thought was for a performance not just bad but was totally upstaged by his fellow lead actor Cary Grant, and that’s not even taking into account Grant’s even better, iconic work for His Girl Friday.

    Of those top 7, I found Brando, Brando, and Peck great. Even though I think Brando’s greatest achievement was for his work in A Streetcar Named Desire.

    January 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

  2. Mike Morrison

    I think day-lewis’s performances should be back to back at on and two and should soon be back to back to back with lincoln being one of the best performances of all time.

    Also Russell Crowe at meh, come on no one can do gladiator as well as he did defintely should be in to 20 in my opinion, and colin firth should be in top 20 as well

    February 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

  3. samuelwilliscroft

    update this with eddie redmayne please

    February 25, 2015 at 10:08 am

  4. samuelwilliscroft

    Here I will give an in-depth look into the rich Best Actor category. I will provide some personal rankings of every category from 2014 to the very first category in 1927. I have been extremely careful to include other popular critical and universal opinions even though I actually agree with most opinions stated. Even though this category is rich, it is still a category plagued with racism and favouritism, and so after this I will also state who I thought should have won in each year as sometimes the best performances of the year may not have been nominated. I will provide a commentary for categories I feel had a lot of choice in the long run and categories I might have something interesting to say about, with personal categories I feel I can make particularly strong also listed. I will also rank the winners and list them.
    Ranking The Best Actor Nominees
    2014
    1. Eddie Redmayne in The Theory Of Everything
    2. Michael Keaton in Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance
    3. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
    4. Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
    5. Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
    This was a very tough call. The academy had a lot of choice and before the nominations were out, fans both critically and commercially (more often than they do usually) were trying to guess who could be possibly nominated, with choices outside the category like Raphe Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year, Ben Affleck in Gone Girl, Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner, Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher and even Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood and Miles Teller in Whiplash being chosen in a wildly unpredictable and intense fashion. Even so, the two nominees that stood out and kept on being favourites (and were considered whopping snubs when the nominations were officially announced) were David Oyelowo in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. For most tastes, they should have definitely been nominated (the former might have made up slightly for the lack of black nominees in the Big Four Acting Categories) but otherwise the category turned out just fine.
    2013
    1. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
    2. Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave
    3. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street
    4. Bruce Dern in Nebraska
    5. Christian Bale in American Hustle
    Joaquin Phoenix was spellbinding in Her but didn’t really need to be here, even if we all would have loved him as a nominee. This category and its 2012 predecessor are just perfect, and definitely do not need tampering with.
    2012
    1. Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
    2. Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
    3. Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook
    4. Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables
    5. Denzel Washington in Flight
    2011
    1. Jean Dujardin in The Artist
    2. Gary Oldman in Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy
    3. George Clooney in The Descendants
    4. Brad Pitt in Moneyball
    5. Demián Bichir in A Better Life
    Michael Fassbender gave an important, gripping but painstakingly and brutally honest performance in Shame whilst even if it got less notice than him, Michael Shannon was also brilliant in Take Shelter. Fassbender would have been more of a better choice but otherwise this category should not be messed with.
    2010
    1. Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
    2. Jeff Bridges in True Grit
    3. Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
    4. James Franco in 127 Hours
    5. Javier Bardem in Biutiful
    This year (Oscar wise and regular movie wise) was without a doubt one of the greatest of the 21st century. However, I would leave this category, and whilst Paul Giamatti and Ryan Gosling were considered to be snubs (for Barney’s Version and Blue Valentine) it was just too good of a category to fiddle with. If necessary, Mark Wahlberg might get a shot for The Fighter but otherwise this was how it should have been.
    2009
    1. George Clooney in Up In The Air
    2. Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker
    3. Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
    4. Colin Firth in A Single Man
    5. Morgan Freeman in Invictus
    While it might not seem like a performance worthy of an Oscar (or even nomination, especially for a tight category like this), many film fans and critics have since deemed Nicolas Cage’s wacky performance in Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans as one of his best. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans Movie Review (2009) | Roger Ebert
    2008
    1. Sean Penn in Milk
    2. Mikey Rourke in The Wrestler
    3. Brad Pitt in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
    4. Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
    5. Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
    2007
    1. Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
    2. George Clooney in Michael Clayton
    3. Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
    4. Viggo Mortenson in Eastern Promises
    5. Tommy Lee Jones in In The Valley Of The Elah
    2006
    1. Forest Whitaker in The Last King Of Scotland
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
    3. Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson
    4. Will Smith in The Pursuit Of Happiness
    5. Peter O’Toole in Venus
    The Departed is a brilliant, interesting, darkly comedic and just phenomenal film but over the years, it has developed a relationship with audiences where you either love it or hate it. The critical response has barely dropped but one question is certainly baffling: Why did they nominate Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond instead of The Departed? Both films earned him Drama Golden Globe Nominations (which don’t always mean instant Oscar Glory/Snubs) but here was a time that an actor, famous for trying his hardest not to get typecast, finally gets international attention, this time by dropping the suave, softly-spoken voice that gets him sex appeal and that he is usually known for, but by going all out with a gritty, hard-hitting, graphically violent and extremely complex performance where he exceeds everyone’s expectations. To a lesser extent, Matt Damon was also good (and by now people consider Jack Nicholson to be snubbed for Best Supporting Actor), but DiCaprio’s snub is just shocking. Slightly understandable, but just shocking. He was nonetheless good in Blood Diamond, but The Departed hit the bullet in the head. Literally.
    2005
    1. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
    2. Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
    3. Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line
    4. David Strathairn in Good Night And Good Luck
    5. Terrence Howard in Hustle And Flow

    2004
    1. Jamie Foxx in Ray
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator
    3. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby
    4. Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda
    5. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland
    Ah! Yes! Now here is a category that I will definitely talk about and change at the end. I love my choices here so much! 2004 was a great year for leading male acting performances, of all races but it is astonishing how there can be at least 8 people to choose from. Favorites include Jamie Foxx in Ray, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and/or Liam Neeson in Kinsey. Take your pick. There will be some more mentioned later on because I was just spoilt for choice here. Shame that I can’t make an 8 nominee category like they did with the Best Picture Nominees this year.
    2003
    1. Bill Murray in Lost In Translation
    2. Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
    3. Ben Kingsley in House Of Sand And Fog
    4. Sean Penn in Mystic River
    5. Jude Law in Cold Mountain
    2002
    1. Nicolas Cage in Adaptation
    2. Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt
    3. Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs Of New York
    4. Adrien Brody in The Pianist
    5. Michael Caine in The Quiet American
    This category is one of my favorite Oscar categories of all time (and it is by far one of the best). You could argue that Michael Caine has a veteran nomination here, but then you would be arguing against the raw passion that drives his character to cheat on a much younger Vietnamese girl, partly propelled by the madness of his harrowing opium addiction. It’s hardly the role you would expect Alfred Pennyworth to play (true, he did do Alfie, but for his old age, it is very extraordinary) and even though his American accent isn’t the best, it’s hardly a problem in this magnificent category. For a 29 year old actor beat Brando’s youngest Best Actor record (30, for On The Waterfront) is very surprising but Brody did it, conveying a wide range of emotions (mostly sadness (seeing and reacting)) stemmed by the horrors of WWII. As the title character pianist, he captivated audiences world-wide, whilst we also have Day-Lewis brandishing his knife and power once again for a new generation, in a performance so littered with foul imagery and blood, but goes so unpredictable and over the top in every scene (like Charles Laughton except way more violent), but is almost impossible to dislike, hailed as one of the most brilliant and best loved performances in any Martin Scorsese movie ever (that certainly is an achievement). Whilst the cultural significance of this performance is immense, the performances of Nicholson and Nicolas outshine everybody who is in the category. On the one hand, Nicholson is brilliant, loveable and heart-breaking at almost his very best, completely restrained (kind of like Murray in Lost In Translation the year after this) and against type, playing a man who reminisces on his life constantly through a tragic death and tearful reunion, and moves us every step of the way. On the other hand, Cage gives possibly his second best and famous performance ever (a widely acknowledged feat) playing a neurotic suffering from writer’s block and who’s private life is suffering as a consequence. Now, you would think that Cage is not that good in two performances in one movie, that he might ham it up at any given time, which is, to be fair, a understandable opinion, but here, he also plays care-free twin brother Donald Kauffman (the exact opposite to neurotic Charlie) who is happily producing a script about serial killer. Cage plays two wildly different personalities (both hilarious in their own right), and in a beloved meta movie with other key performances from both Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper, Cage steals the show. This is one of those categories that you can’t argue against people’s opinions (even if they do choose Michael Caine). If I was looking for performances that could possibly make this category better, I would probably choose Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can or Richard Gere in Chicago. Otherwise, there is no reason to mess with such a masterful category.
    2001
    1. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
    2. Denzel Washington in Training Day
    3. Will Smith in Ali
    4. Tom Wilkinson in In The Bedroom
    5. Sean Penn in I Am Sam
    2000
    1. Russell Crowe in Gladiator
    2. Tom Hanks in Cast Away
    3. Ed Harris in Pollock
    4. Geoffrey Rush in Quills
    5. Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls
    Both Hanks and Crowe are mesmerising in their own right (one holds the power alone by himself for almost the entire movie, and the other is just a favourite for the general public (rightly so)). I choose Crowe but to argue Hanks would be an equally good choice.

    1999
    1. Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
    2. Russell Crowe in The Insider
    3. Sean Penn in Sweet And Lowdown
    4. Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story
    5. Denzel Washington in The Hurricane
    I was tempted to put Crowe No.1 to give him a Best Actor Oscar hat trick, but Spacey is obviously the best choice in here.
    1998
    1. Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
    2. Edward Norton in American History X
    3. Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan
    4. Roberto Bengini in Life Is Beautiful
    5. Nick Nolte in Affliction
    Here, it was either between McKellen or Norton. This is one of the most infamous wins in Oscar history (a surprising one too). Whilst Bengini is good in Life Is Beautiful, he doesn’t have anything above the ferocity of a man struggling to redeem his radical past (that soon catches up with him), a man in old age with a similar situation, who is haunted by his memories of World War I, and who was also the legendary director of Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein, but who attempts to overcome his old age with a lustful sexual lifestyle. Why not talk about your third finalist, who does more than a firm job tackling the role of Captain John H. Miller on D-Day, in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. The many nominations of Life Is Beautiful surprises many even today (more than Shakespeare In Love), but we could easily replace the bottom two nominees with two extremely different performances to make things perfect. Having won the Drama Golden Globe (for him that is an incredible job), Jim Carrey’s wacky, confused and cheated performance as Truman Burbank in The Truman Show would be a #4 to me, whilst Jeff Bridges’ laid-back performance in The Big Lebowski would be a #5. It may not seem Oscar-worthy, but the cultural milestone of Lebowski (having had its reputation go way up over the years) is quite enough to satisfy the many.
    1997
    1. Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets
    2. Peter Fonda in Ulee’s Gold
    3. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
    4. Robert Duvall in The Apostle
    5. Dustin Hoffman in Wag The Dog
    A very strong category, filled with about 4 performances from veteran actors and 1 performance from an actor just starting out. Just because they are veteran actors doesn’t make the performance veteran. They are all good here.
    1996
    1. Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire
    2. Woody Harrelson in The People vs. Larry Flynt
    3. Geoffrey Rush in Shine
    4. Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade
    5. Ralphe Fiennes in The English Patient
    A category you just have to love just by looking at the nominees. Wow. I definitely won’t change this one. Geoffrey Rush won this category for a very good performance but not one that a big impact overall, as he wasn’t really the lead of Shine, and was more in a supporting role than in a lead role. Oddly enough, he became the first actor to win the five major annual movie awards for a single performance (Oscar, Golden Globe, Bafta, SAG and Critics Choice awards). The main lead is generally considered today to be Noah Taylor. Fiennes, although at #5, gave a brilliant performance in The English Patient, as one of the film’s highlights. Billy Bob Thornton’s chillingly psychotic turn as Karl Childers matched up perfectly with his believable direction and Oscar nominated screenplay. Harrelson was amazing in Forman’s The People Vs. Larry Flynt. And we all have heard about Tom Cruise’s performance in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. This category is amazing.
    1995
    1. Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas
    2. Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland’s Opus
    3. Anthony Hopkins in Nixon
    4. Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking
    5. Massimo Troisi in Il Postino: The Postman
    Leaving Las Vegas is best known today as the performance that one Cage the Best Actor Oscar, but in all its poignant glory, it is much more than that. Out of the actual winners ever in the Best Actor category, Cage is certainly one of the best.
    1994
    1. Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    2. John Travolta in Pulp Fiction
    3. Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption
    4. Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness Of King George
    5. Paul Newman in Nobody’s Fool
    This category is almost as brilliant as the 2002 category. The Best Picture category for 1994 is one of the most famous and possibly the best Best Picture category of all time, but this category is one of the best Best Actor categories of all time (I say one of because the best is still yet to come). Paul Newman is terrific in Nobody’s Fool as the old man trying to put his life back together when his son comes in tears to him about his failed marriage. As the crazy (and becoming crazier) King George III, who the doctors of the time to cure through less than understanding and successful methods, Hawthorne gave the best performance of his career and certainly entertained the masses. Morgan Freeman gave one of the best black performances nominated for an Oscar in Frank Darabont’s jail-break masterpiece The Shawshank Redemption (certainly giving the best performance in the movie, which had no shortage of great performances). John Travolta’s philosophical musings and dim approach to his violent life was the perfect match to Samuel L. Jackson’s bad-ass, pumped-up and “righteous” Jules Winnfield. Vincent Vega resurrected Travolta’s career perfectly, and we almost gave him a pass for Battlefield Earth. And Hanks in Forrest Gump defined a generation as one of the most culturally significant performances in history. This category is brilliant, even if it is mostly the characterisation that helps it along. I will change this category though. Johnny Depp in Ed Wood? Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption? You’ll see.
    1993
    1. Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List
    2. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia
    3. Anthony Hopkins in The Remains Of The Day
    4. Daniel Day-Lewis in In The Name Of The Father
    5. Laurence Fishburne in What’s Love Got To Do With It?
    1992
    1. Denzel Washington in Malcolm X
    2. Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin
    3. Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven
    4. Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman
    5. Stephen Rea in The Crying Game
    Now this one, I love. Still not the best, but one of the most famous nonetheless. Just not for the right reasons. The reason is how did they give Al Pacino the Oscar for Scent Of A Woman? To a point, it is understandable, as he was long overdue for his performance in The Godfather and a few others. Yet, the Academy picked him over some of the most powerful performances in recent memory. Clint Eastwood was brilliant in Unforgiven, and earned worldwide recognition for his portrayal of a character trying to become redemptive through vengeance, in a film that also included excellent supporting performances from Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. Robert Downey’s performance in Chaplin embodies the spirit of the iconic man (he doesn’t just play Chaplin as The Tramp, he plays Chaplin as Charlie Chaplin aswell, in both dramatic and comedic roles, giving us the more tragic and serious side of the figure that was almost completely different from the ones he gave onscreen. And who could forget Denzel Washington’s powerful, intense and entirely engrossing transformation into Malcolm X? Even Washington acknowledged afterwards that he should have won the Oscar. However, this is not to downplay Pacino’s performance that is excellent. As the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade who teaches Chris O’Donnell a few life lessons, tangoing and hoo-ahing his way through the film, the Academy finally honoured Al with a statue. It is understandable, especially shown through the dramatic and brilliant courtroom speech and he was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor that same year for Glengarry Glen Ross. People are, however, split on Al Pacino’s performance. Some people think that is one the greatest performances of all time, greatest Best Actor winning performances of all time and greatest Al Pacino performances of all time. Some people think entirely opposite to that, thinking it is definitely not one of the greatest Best Actor performances of all time or Al Pacino performances. There are some who are split in the middle, taking note that the performance is good but not as good as the other nominees. Opinions vary. Whoo-ah!
    1991
    1. Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs
    2. Robert De Niro in Cape Fear
    3. Robin Williams in The Fisher King
    4. Warren Beatty in Bugsy
    5. Nick Nolte in The Prince Of Tides
    1990
    1. Jeremy Irons in Reversal Of Fortune
    2. Richard Harris in The Field
    3. Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves
    4. Robert De Niro in Awakenings
    5. Gérard Depardieu in Cyrano de Bergerac
    1989
    1. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown
    2. Tom Cruise in Born On The Fourth Of July
    3. Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society
    4. Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy
    5. Kenneth Branagh in Henry V
    This category is so good (practically the only good thing there is about 80s movies in Oscar terms (and in general). The 80s were basically the industry’s rejection of the 70s, what was the decade that broke every kind of ground with controversial and new material, changing cinema as we know it. However the 80s arguably went back to the old ways of Old Hollywood, trying to make a plotless classic in every genre that turned into a farcical mess. The greatest Best Picture choices were arguably Amadeus, Platoon and Rain Man, whereas the greatest Best Actor choices were arguably Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. And some of the Best Picture choices are some of the most infamous ever. Ordinary People beat Raging Bull, Chariots Of Fire beat Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Gandhi beat E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Out Of Africa was just a terrible decision and Driving Miss Daisy beat My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown and Field Of Dreams. Best Actor was a decade of weak categories in general (apart from 1982, which was really solid). Veterans like Paul Newman, Robert Duvall and Henry Fonda were all given blatant make-up Oscars. This category is possibly the second- best 80s Best Actor category (apart from 1982). Daniel Day-Lewis and Tom Cruise were exhilarating and entirely engrossing in remarkably similar roles. Branagh is only at 5th place because of his competition, not because of the type of film.

    1988
    1. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
    2. Tom Hanks in Big
    3. Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning
    4. Max von Sydow in Pelle The Conqueror
    5. Edward James Olmos in Stand And Deliver
    1987
    1. Michael Douglas in Wall Street
    2. William Hurt in Broadcast News
    3. Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam
    4. Jack Nicholson in Ironweed
    5. Marcello Mastroianni in Dark Eyes
    Michael Douglas is more supporting than lead. He still wins this category by a mile.
    1986
    1. Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa
    2. Paul Newman in The Colour Of Money
    3. William Hurt in Children Of A Lesser God
    4. Dexter Gordon in Round Midnight
    5. James Woods in Salvador
    1985
    1. William Hurt in Kiss Of The Spider Woman
    2. Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honour
    3. Harrison Ford in Witness
    4. Jon Voight in Runaway Train
    5. James Garner in Murphy’s Romance

    1984
    1. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
    2. Tom Hulce in Amadeus
    3. Albert Finney in Under The Volcano
    4. Jeff Bridges in Starman
    5. Sam Waterson in The Killing Fields
    This category is quite special. Everybody loves Jeff Bridges in Starman (to get an Oscar Nomination in a science-fiction movie is also a rare and impressive feat). F. Murray Abraham’s embattled, bitter and stunning portrayal of a jealous soul, in his peak and in his dotage contrasted with Tom Hulce’s loveable, fun portrayal of a mischievous, womanizing but ambitious Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Albert Finney was at his peak with his performance as hateful alcoholic diplomat Geoffrey Firmin in Under The Volcano.

    1983
    1. Michael Caine in Educating Rita
    2. Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies
    3. Tom Courtenay in The Dresser
    4. Albert Finney in The Dresser
    5. Tom Conti in Reuben, Reuben
    Two changes to this list will be made, neither of which the Academy will have easily voted for, but are considered to be one of the greatest snubs of modern culture.
    1982
    1. Paul Newman in The Verdict
    2. Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie
    3. Ben Kingsley in Gandhi
    4. Peter O’Toole in My Favourite Year
    5. Jack Lemmon in Missing
    Now this category is a gem. Usually, when Peter O’Toole appears low, you know the category must be good. Jack Lemmon was completely underrated but still brilliant and heart-breaking in Missing, as he tries to search for the truth but doesn’t want to swallow it, devastated by what he is learning ass he continues his sad journey. Peter O’Toole was hypnotic as the Errol Flynn based Alan Swann, conveying every emotion from A to Z, from energetic and hyper swashbuckler to conflicted alcoholic. Ben Kingsley was brilliant in Gandhi (possibly better than the film itself) and was the perfect choice to play the peace leader. (He definitely looks the part as well, to an almost terrifying extent.) The only problem is that the film could have been cut and enlivened slightly. Dustin Hoffman took what Jack Lemmon did to an unbeatable extent 23 years before, but mixed a serious, arrogant performance with a hilarious performance, making us believe that he was playing two entirely different performance. This worked brilliantly and was still funnier than ever. Paul Newman’s performance as an alcoholic ambulance chaser trying to win one last case and restore his reputation was the best possible ying to Sidney Lumet’s yang. Talk about competitive!

    1981
    1. Dudley Moore in Arthur
    2. Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond
    3. Warren Beatty in Reds
    4. Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City
    5. Paul Newman in Absence Of Malice
    1980
    1. Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    2. John Hurt in The Elephant Man
    3. Peter O’Toole in The Stunt Man
    4. Robert Duvall in The Great Santini
    5. Jack Lemmon in Tribute
    There will be two changes to this one, one that the Academy would never, ever have gone for back then but definitely would have now, and one that just completely made us scratch our heads and took us by surprise. De Niro wins that category whatever you do.
    1979
    1. Peter Sellers in Being There
    2. Roy Scheider in All That Jazz
    3. Dustin Hoffman in Kramer Vs. Kramer
    4. Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome
    5. Al Pacino in …And Justice For All
    I love this category so much! This is one of those times where nobody would have cared who would have won and lost because nearly everybody had a shot and was a winner. I say nearly because Al Pacino, whilst good in …And Justice For All, wasn’t exactly Oscar material. However, it doesn’t diminish this categories’ strength (if ever it increases it) as he was badly overdue for an Oscar by this point. Peter Sellers was wonderful as the quirky, simple-minded and loveable Chance The Gardener, in a relatable performance that tugged on pretty much every heartstring that saw it. Hoffman was fantastic as workaholic husband Ted Kramer, who suddenly has to care for his son’s needs and bond with him when his wife abruptly leaves him. Roy Scheider was magnificent, coming to almost universal attention in Bob Fosse’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece. Jack Lemmon was the best decision to play a whistle-blower and everyman who suffers because of his honesty. Even Pacino’s small courtroom speech alone was very fine acting. The most you could change here is putting on Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now but let’s not go down that path.
    1978
    1. Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter
    2. Jon Voight in Coming Home
    3. Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait
    4. Laurence Olivier in The Boys From Brazil
    5. Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story
    1977
    1. Woody Allen in Annie Hall
    2. John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever
    3. Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl
    4. Richard Burton in Equus
    5. Marcello Mastroianni for A Special Day
    The three categories where Mastroianni was nominated were all okay. They weren’t that special. (Although it is hard to decide where the Top 3 lie in this category.)
    1976
    1. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
    2. William Holden in Network
    3. Peter Finch in Network
    4. Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
    5. Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties
    Like 1967, this is one of those years where you can label nearly every category as one of the strongest (and this is probably my favourite Best Actor category ever). This one especially. Robert De Niro explosively evoked every issue in American history that the country had been hesitant to face with his unforgettable and harrowing performance as Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable Vietnam veteran, loner and New York taxi driver suffering from insomnia, who is determined to clean up the stained streets of New York whilst also obliviously taking his date to a pornographic theatre, plotting to assassinate a presidential candidate and attempting to save an underage prostitute from the city’s dangers. William Holden’s vulgar and crabby old television executive Max Schumacher, thrown into a scandalous world through the hit ravings and rantings of his long-time friend and losing his wife and job through his misfortune and subsequent temptation by an ambitious young fanatic contrasted brilliantly with Peter Finch’s deranged but truthful veteran who suddenly becomes a worldwide phenomenon through his prophetic rants about and against television. (Finch also won the Oscar posthumously, making him the first actor to do so, a feat that was not accomplished until Heath Ledger won for The Dark Knight.) We all know about the huge hit and underdog story that made Sylvester Stallone (who also wrote the story and script) go from a homeless man to a worldwide action and cult phenomenon, writing and starring in one of the most famous movies of all time (although it did produced about five sequels, and we all know how most of them turned out). This category is flawless.
    1975
    1. Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    2. Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon
    3. Walter Matthau in The Sunshine Boys
    4. James Whitmore in Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!
    5. Maximillian Schell in The Man In The Glass Booth
    Here it was either between Nicholson or Pacino. I vote Nicholson (most people do), but voting Pacino absolutely fine, as both were snubbed awfully the previous year.
    1974
    1. Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II
    2. Jack Nicholson in Chinatown
    3. Dustin Hoffman in Lenny
    4. Albert Finney in Murder On The Orient Express
    5. Art Carney in Harry And Tonto
    Yeah this year. Just why? This is one of the worst and most infamous Oscar decisions ever. There is no doubt that The Honeymooners was a great, legendary TV series, and that Carney’s performance in Harry And Tonto tugged a few heartstrings, but above PACINO AND NICHOLSON FOR CHINATOWN AND THE GODFATHER PART II?! Pacino especially. This would set in motion a chain of make-up and terrible decisions for about thirty years in advance, and on top of this, Finney has never got an Oscar, with five nominations. Granted, the Academy couldn’t have possibly known this back then (as of 1974 he only had two, including this), but still, any of the nominees were better choices. Hoffman was great as expressionist stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce, but Pacino and Nicholson’s performances ensure this as almost unforgivable.
    1973
    1. Marlon Brando in Last Tango In Paris
    2. Jack Lemmon in Save The Tiger
    3. Al Pacino in Serpico
    4. Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail
    5. Robert Redford in The Sting
    Alright, now we are talking. While this is not the most famous Oscar category of all time, it is undoubtedly the best. Without exaggeration, it is safe to say that every single nominee would be a tremendous winner. The other amazing thing is how this one of the rarest categories where every single nominee would have or already had an Oscar. Robert Redford delivered a great performance all around as small-time con-man and grafter Johnny Hooker in George Roy Hill’s witty, fantastic ensemble The Sting. The Last Detail showcased Nicholson’s eccentric larger-than-life personality for the first time, kicking off his career. Al Pacino was spectacular as whistle-blower policeman Frank Serpico in Sidney Lumet’s Serpico, who attempts to below the lid of corruption in the New York police force but finds himself in some very deep water. Marlon Brando was ground-breaking in Last Tango In Paris, which served as an amazing follow-up to his brilliant Godfather work, giving a performance as a man struggling to balance his sagging personal life as he becomes a lonesome widower in an enthralling mid-life crisis, who tries to regain his happy times by beginning a scandalous affair with a young Parisian teenager Maria Schneider. And although it is not as famous as some of the other efforts on the list (mainly because the film isn’t as great as the performance itself), Jack Lemmon was terrific in Save The Tiger, portraying a man isolated from the new hip culture around him and who cannot come to terms with the fact that his old, post 50s world, is pretty much gone, and who takes extreme measures to get it all back. After the acceptance speech for his Godfather win, it was pretty much certain that the Academy wasn’t going to give this to Brando but Lemmon was an equally brilliant choice, in a brilliant category. I could swap Redford out for somebody like Steve McQueen (Papillon), Ryan O’Neal (Paper Moon) or Paul Newman (also The Sting but I’m not going to. This category is too good to mess around with. I could talk forever! Oh, my haemorrhoid!
    1972
    1. Marlon Brando in The Godfather
    2. Laurence Olivier in Sleuth
    3. Michael Caine in Sleuth
    4. Peter O’Toole in The Ruling Class
    5. Paul Winnfield in Sounder
    This category almost becomes one of the strongest of all time because of Brando’s performance alone. An easy choice in any category, lead or supporting. Sleuth is a movie that hasn’t been seen by many mainly because of the epic that knocked everything out of the park but the chemistry between Olivier and Caine in Sleuth is brilliant.
    1971
    1. Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    2. George C. Scott in The Hospital
    3. Peter Finch in Sunday, Bloody Sunday
    4. Chaim Topol in Fiddler On The Roof
    5. Walter Matthau in Kotch
    I just love so much how many choices I have here. 1971 was also a great year for anti-heroes, so I could put a couple of them on here, including Clint Eastwood’s tough but defining performance as Dirty Harry in Dirty Harry. As a personal choice, Bud Cort’s was excellent in Harold And Maude, providing some touching and quiet scenes alongside Ruth Gordon’s fun and lively performance, to contrast with his character’s hilarious fake suicides. Although the movie was a box-office and critical failure, Cort earned both BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for his work. Gene Wilder was terrific as the eccentric, crazy but loveable Willy Wonka in Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, setting the standard for a generation of slightly dark and creepy but all around fantastic performances for both children and adults. Who could forget Malcolm McDowell’s disturbing, nasty but indisputably absorbing and unforgettable Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange?
    1970
    1. George C. Scott in Patton
    2. Ryan O’Neal in Love Story
    3. Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces
    4. James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope
    5. Melvyn Douglas in I Never Sang For My Father

    1969
    1. Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy
    2. Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy
    3. Richard Burton in Anne Of The Thousand Days
    4. John Wayne in True Grit
    5. Peter O’Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    This one is very infamous. They gave it John Wayne, and this is often listed among the worst Best Actor choices. The performance isn’t that bad (it’s actually good) but it still feels like an Honorary Oscar, like they were giving an Oscar to Jon Wayne instead of the performance. It’s not a performance that should win by any standards, especially in a category like this, coupled with the fact that when it wasn’t The Searchers, Wayne had the acting range of Arnold Schwarzenegger (a good, hunky, blockbuster actor with impressive masculinity but an actor that can only convey emotions from about A-B, generally because of typecasting).
    1968
    1. Peter O’Toole in The Lion In Winter
    2. Ron Moody in Oliver
    3. Alan Arkin in The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
    4. Cliff Robertson in Charly
    5. Alan Bates in The Fixer
    Again, a choice that is not bad or the least best in the category but is often listed among the worst Best Actor choices. Only this time, it’s a bit less forgivable, considering that O’Toole was always facing strong competition whenever he was nominated and that was well overdue, adding to the fact that if he was ever going to win, it is was for this.
    1967
    1. Warren Beatty in Bonnie And Clyde
    2. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke
    3. Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate
    4. Rod Steiger in In The Heat Of The Night
    5. Spencer Tracy in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?
    If 1973 weren’t so great, I’d probably list this as the greatest category. Look at that set. Spencer Tracy summarised his career with one final, great, wonderful (albeit posthumous) performance as the father in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Paul Newman’s Luke Jackson was and still is one of the coolest and trendiest things put on camera in Cool Hand Luke. Rod Steiger was completely gripping as the racist white Mississippian police chief who learns to bond with Sidney Poitier’s African-American Philadelphian police chief Virgil Tibbs, although grudgingly. Warren Beatty was amazing in Bonnie And Clyde. And for a first performance, Hoffman was astounding as the confused Benjamin Braddock, and still managed to captivate us with his few lines of dialogue. It’s not easy choosing a winner here, that’s for sure.
    1966
    1. Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons
    2. Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
    3. Michael Caine in Alfie
    4. Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles
    5. Alan Arkin in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
    Here, it’s either between Scofield and Burton. I vote Scofield but most people would vote Burton as more people have seen that than have seen A Man For All Seasons. A Man For All Seasons is one of those movies that unexpectedly leaves spellbound by its brilliance, a movie that turns an interesting plot into a more than interesting and deeply satisfying picture, and Scofield is definitely phenomenal. Those who have seen Scofield’s performance cannot deny that it is a tough contest.
    1965
    1. Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
    2. Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker
    3. Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou
    4. Oskar Werner in Ship Of Fools
    5. Laurence Olivier in Othello

    1964
    1. Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
    2. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady
    3. Anthony Quinn in Zorba The Greek
    4. Peter O’Toole in Becket
    5. Richard Burton in Becket
    1963
    1. Richard Harris in This Sporting Life
    2. Paul Newman in Hud
    3. Sidney Poitier in Lilies Of The Field
    4. Rex Harrison in Cleopatra
    5. Albert Finney in Tom Jones
    1962
    1. Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird
    2. Peter O’Toole in Lawrence Of Arabia
    3. Jack Lemmon in Days Of Wine And Roses
    4. Burt Lancaster in Birdman Of Alcatraz
    5. Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce, Italian Style
    A similar situation to 1966 but one that is by far the most famous. Peter O’Toole’s complex, dynamic performance as T.H. Lawrence is a marvellous achievement (especially considering that this was his breakthrough and only third starring role) and how he managed, at such an early stage, to carry the almost four-hour extravaganza on his back is a wonder of epic proportions. In most years, he would win. He unfortunately came up against a mighty competitor. Peck’s performance as Atticus Finch was so natural and moving that is was going to win no matter what, and is my vote here.
    1961
    1. Paul Newman in The Hustler
    2. Maximillian Schell in Judgement At Nuremberg
    3. Spencer Tracy in Judgement At Nuremberg
    4. Stuart Whitman in The Mark
    5. Charles Boyer in Fanny
    I like the top three nominees. Tough call.
    1960
    1. Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry
    2. Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
    3. Spencer Tracy in Inherit The Wind
    4. Trevor Howard in Sons And Lovers
    5. Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer
    Two nominees to swap out here. And this time, I’m going to do this differently.
    1959
    1. Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot
    2. James Stewart in Anatomy Of A Murder
    3. Paul Muni in The Last Angry Men
    4. Laurence Harvey in Room At The Top
    5. Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur
    Quite a strong category. Jack Lemmon’s crazy, legendary performance in Some Like It Hot was pretty much self-explanatory. If this was the 30s, Muni would have definitely been a strong contender. Stewart had a big comeback to give as Vertigo was not that well-received upon release. This was that comeback. Heston’s performance is in modern days described as overacting and overbearing, and it is almost universally acknowledged how his acting range wasn’t great. What is often overlooked though is how it takes a truly great actor to carry an over 3½ hour film, so in a way his Oscar is not so bad. It’s hard to change this though. You can’t put Cary Grant on for North By Northwest. You might be able to put on Tony Curtis’s equally hilarious crossdressing shenanigans in Some Like It Hot, as his portraying of the straight guy who’s life is spun into a web of complications contrasted flawlessly with Lemmon’s magnetic and wacky Jerry/Daphne.
    1958
    1. Paul Newman in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
    2. Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones
    3. Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones
    4. David Niven in Separate Tables
    5. Spencer Tracy in The Old Man And The Sea
    I’m making one change here all whilst being careful not to screw up.
    1957
    1. Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    2. Charles Laughton in Witness For The Prosecution
    3. Anthony Franciosa in A Hatful Of Rain
    4. Anthony Quinn in Wild Is The Wind
    5. Marlon Brando in Sayonara
    The temptation is too much to handle, so I’m going to change out pretty much everybody on this list. Guinness has to stay though.
    1956
    1. Rock Hudson in Giant
    2. James Dean in Giant
    3. Kirk Douglas in Lust For Life
    4. Yul Brynner in The King And I
    5. Laurence Olivier in Richard III
    1955
    1. Ernest Borgnine in Marty
    2. James Dean in East Of Eden
    3. Spencer Tracy in Bad Day At Black Rock
    4. Frank Sinatra in The Man With The Golden Arm
    5. James Cagney in Love Me Or Leave Me
    A good category, particularly the top 4. Although Sinatra was very good, I unfortunately have to take him off, as two even better performances are coming on. One that has become iconic in its own right (but was never going to get on) and one that was never going to get on but really, really should have, a performance only suffering problems because the film was not successful upon release and the fact that there is a blatant disregard for the person in the Academy’s history.
    1954
    1. Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront
    2. James Mason in A Star Is Born
    3. Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny
    4. Bing Crosby in The Country Girl
    5. Dan O’Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe
    This is Brando’s category. No matter how many I put on (three contenders in mind include George Sander’s portrayal alongside Ingrid Bergman as an embittered husband on the verge of divorce in Journey To Italy, Charles Laughton’s very underrated performance as the dominating drunkard who faces a difficult situation when his daughter wants to marry in David Lean’s Hobson’s Choice, and James Stewart’s memorable performance as L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies in Rear Window) nobody can take away Brando’s power.
    1953
    1. Montgomery Clift in From Here To Eternity
    2. Burt Lancaster in From Here To Eternity
    3. William Holden in Stalag 17
    4. Richard Burton in The Robe
    5. Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar
    I chose Clift, but Holden will get his Oscar if you read on.
    1952
    1. Gary Cooper in High Noon
    2. Alec Guinness in The Lavender Hill Mob
    3. Kirk Douglas in The Bad And The Beautiful
    4. José Ferrer in Moulin Rouge
    5. Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata
    1951
    1. Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire
    2. Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen
    3. Montgomery Clift in A Place In The Sun
    4. Fredric March in Death Of A Salesman
    5. Arthur Kennedy in Bright Victory
    Yet again, this is Brando’s category. Bogart’s win is not too bad, considering he was terribly overdue and Brando would win two more awards after this. The fact that he was the only major cast member of Streetcar not to win an Oscar (Vivien Leigh won the Best Actress Oscar, Karl Malden won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Kim Hunter won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar) is still today, though, considered to be a travesty.
    1950
    1. William Holden in Sunset Boulevard
    2. James Stewart in Harvey
    3. Spencer Tracy in Father Of The Bride
    4. José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac
    5. Louis Calhern in The Magnificent Yankee

    1949
    1. Broderick Crawford in All The King’s Men
    2. Richard Todd in The Hast Heart
    3. John Wayne in Sands Of Iwo Jima
    4. Gregory Peck in Twelve O’ Clock High
    5. Kirk Douglas in Champion
    The 1940s are basically the equivalent to the 80s but with an excuse. Following up from where 1939 left off, the 40s could have (and did have) some great, great years with some of the best movies of all time. Unfortunately, the possible of greatness was quickly diminished by the giant elephant in the room that was WWII. Even after the war had ended, the aftereffects could still be felt and it wasn’t until around 1951 that the industry started to get its act back together. So from 1944 till around this year, I’m not going to talk about much because there’s nothing much to talk about. For this year I will say two things: The Third Man was a great movie but Joseph Cotten is going nowhere near this list as in my opinion he did a great job but something lacked from his performance. In Kind Hearts And Coronets however, Alec Guinness turned a good Ealing comedy into a masterpiece, not with one, not with two, but with eight entirely different and legendary performances. That achievement alone is hard to ignore. He definitely should have won this year.
    1948
    1. Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
    2. Montgomery Clift in The Search
    3. Lew Ayres in Johnny Belinda
    4. Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty
    5. Dan Dailey in When My Baby Smiles At Me
    I was quite shocked when I found out that Humphrey Bogart wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre- in fact he wasn’t nominated for anything at all. The Academy’s overlooking of greedy, cynical prospector Fred C. Dobbs is still considered to be one of the biggest snubs of all time.
    1947
    1. Ronald Colman in A Double Life
    2. Gregory Peck in Gentleman’s Agreement
    3. Michael Redgrave in Mourning Becomes Electra
    4. John Garfield in Body And Soul
    5. William Powell in Life With Father
    1946
    1. James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life
    2. Fredric March in The Best Years Of Our Lives
    3. Gregory Peck in The Yearling
    4. Laurence Olivier in Henry V
    5. Larry Parks in The Jolson Story
    Most people say that Stewart should have won for his performance as George Bailey in Frank Capra’s classic and I agree- but most people only think that because more people have seen It’s A Wonderful Life than have seen The Best Years Of Our Lives. What most people do not acknowledge is how It’s A Wonderful Life was actually a box-office flop and that since WWII had just ended, there was never a better movie to sweep all the awards than The Best Years Of Our Lives, so March’s win is okay. Like 1966 and 1962 though, it was between Stewart and March. Either two of those would have done.
    1945
    1. Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend
    2. Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh
    3. Bing Crosby in The Bells Of St. Mary’s
    4. Gregory Peck in The Keys To The Kingdom
    5. Cornell Wilde in A Song To Remember

    1944
    1. Bing Crosby in Going My Way
    2. Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way
    3. Cary Grant in None But The Lonely Heart
    4. Charles Boyer in Gaslight
    5. Alexander Knox in Wilson
    At first I was going to say Fred MacMurray should have won for Double Indemnity. I love that performance, but for some reason I’m more content with Bing Crosby being an Oscar winner than Fred MacMurray being an Oscar winner. I don’t know why. Grant will get his if you keep on reading. (I still find it weird that they nominated Barry Fitzgerald for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor this year.)
    1943
    1. Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca
    2. Mickey Rooney in The Human Comedy
    3. Gary Cooper in For Whom The Bell Tolls
    4. Walter Pidgeon in Madame Curie
    5. Paul Lukas in Watch On The Rhine
    (I don’t care how bad this is. Bogart should win this fair and square. Way to go, Academy.)
    1942
    1. James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
    2. Gary Cooper in The Pride Of The Yankees
    3. Walter Pidgeon in Mrs. Miniver
    4. Ronald Colman in Random Harvest
    5. Monty Woolley in The Pied Piper
    1941
    1. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane
    2. Gary Cooper in Sergeant York
    3. Cary Grant in Perry Serenade
    4. Walter Huston in The Devil And Daniel Webster
    5. Robert Montgomery in Here Comes Mr. Jordan
    This category is quite good, as is Gary Cooper in Sergeant York. Hey you know what I could do? I could put on Humphrey Bogart for The Maltese Falcon. But I’m not going to. That’s like putting on Joseph Cotten for The Third Man. I think we all pretty much acknowledge that Orson Welles should have won this by one of the largest landslides in history. Whether they liked it when it was released or not, he should have won this.
    1940
    1. Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath
    2. Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
    3. Laurence Olivier in Rebecca
    4. James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
    5. Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln in Illinois
    James Stewart. It feels weird to say that he won an Oscar The Philadelphia Story, considering the long list of great performances he gave over his career- this, Vertigo, It’s A Wonderful Life, Harvey, Rear Window- but at the same time, I can understand why he won this. It was one of the most obvious make-up Oscars of all time. They hadn’t given it to him for Mr. Smith Goes To Washington the year before, so they gave it to him this year. The worst offence of all is how he wasn’t even lead here and was clearly a supporting performer to Cary Grant. So, whilst Massey is good, I’m swapping him out for Grant. Stewart was good. He just shouldn’t won for this. We all know Fonda should have won. Case closed.
    1939
    1. James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
    2. Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind
    3. Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights
    4. Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    5. Mickey Rooney in Babes In Arms
    Now this is what should have won for! Remember I kept on ranting about the 1966/1962/1946 thing? Well, this is where it stemmed from. It’s called the 1939 theorem, as here it was either between Gable or Stewart. Whilst Gable delivered one of the best performances of the 30s, you cannot argue against Jefferson Smith. Stewart’s performance is one of the best performances of all time. I am not saying that Donat wasn’t good, however. This was a very poignant performance and one that is very easy to underrate.
    1938
    1. Leslie Howard in Pygmalion
    2. James Cagney in Angels With Dirty Faces
    3. Spencer Tracy in Boys Town
    4. Robert Donat in The Citadel
    5. Charles Boyer in Algiers
    I don’t care if the Academy doesn’t like him but I have 5 words- Cary Grant- Bringing Up Baby. I rest my case.
    1937
    1. Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous
    2. Fredric March in A Star Is Born
    3. Paul Muni in The Life Of Emile Zola
    4. Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall
    5. Charles Boyer in Conquest
    1936
    1. Walter Huston in Dodsworth
    2. William Powell in My Man Godfrey
    3. Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes To Town
    4. Paul Muni in The Story Of Louis Pasteur
    5. Spencer Tracy in San Francisco
    Even if you want him to win or be nominated, you can’t put Charlie Chaplin on for Modern Times. You might be able to get away with it in 1931 but by this period-no.
    1935
    1. Victor McLaglen in The Informer
    2. Charles Laughton in Mutiny On The Bounty
    3. Clark Gable in Mutiny On The Bounty
    4. Franchot Tone in Mutiny On The Bounty
    5. Paul Muni in Black Fury
    The only time where three actors for nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for the same movie.
    1934
    1. Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
    2. William Powell in The Thin Man
    3. Frank Morgan in The Affairs Of Cellini
    1932-1933
    1. Charles Laughton in The Private Life Of Henry VIII
    2. Paul Muni in I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang
    3. Leslie Howard in Berkley Square
    This is a really tough one but considering there are only 3 nominees the 1939 theorem can’t really apply to this category. It was either between Charles Laughton’s over-the-top but undeniably entertaining portrayal of Henry VIII or Paul Muni’s intense portrayal of a man wrongfully accused in a immoral prison, whose rehabilitation of his way of living after his escape doesn’t matter to the people who imprisoned him was truly brilliant. I really want to go with Laughton here, so I am. That was a very tough decision though.
    1931-1932
    1. Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
    2. Wallace Beery in The Champ
    3. Alfred Lunt in The Guardsman
    The only tie in Best Actor history (Beery tied with March). I’m voting March all the way, although Beery was show-stopping. Now, I have one more person to add to make this very strong, that person being Paul Muni, for Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation. The Stone/Pacino/De Palma remake is by far the more famous but this is the best. This was way ahead of its time and they had to add the ‘The Shame Of A Nation’ part because the movie was otherwise condoning violence, according to officials, (it does not) which is a shame, considering this now made the movie sound preachy. Even so, the movie’s explicit sexual and violent themes and content ensured as controversial but big, and Muni nailed it.
    1930-1931
    1. Jackie Cooper in Skippy
    2. Richard Dix in Cimarron
    3. Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul
    4. Adolphe Menjou in The Front Page
    5. Fredric March in The Royal Family Of Broadway
    I thought about putting on Boris Karloff on for Frankenstein but that idea eventually faded, as brilliant and iconic as he was. I am putting on two of the best performances and most iconic performance in the entire history of cinema: Peter Lorre in M, and Charlie Chaplin in City Lights. Film would not be film without Chaplin, he deserves at least a little bit more than one nomination. Jackie Cooper was brilliant in Skippy (the youngest actor to be nominated for Best Actor, he was nominated at the age of 9) and was (even as a kid) the best out of the nominees.
    1929-1930
    1. George Alriss in Disraeli and The Green Goddess
    2. Maurice Chevalier in The Big Pond and The Love Parade
    3. Wallace Beery in The Big House
    4. Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond & Condemned
    5. Laurence Tibbett in The Rouge Song
    Some people would nominated Lew Ayres for All Quiet On The Western Front. I wouldn’t but some people would. I would nominate someone else.
    1928-1929
    1. Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona
    2. George Bancroft in Thunderbolt
    3. Paul Muni in The Valiant
    4. Chester Morris in Alibi
    5. Lewis Stone in The Patriot (Lost Film)
    1927-1928
    1. Emil Jannings in The Last Command and The Way Of All Flesh (Lost Film)
    2. Richard Barthelmess in The Patent Leather Kid and The Noose
    I’m going to only nominate one performance for each person to make things easier. This is not too much of a difficult task as The Way Of All Flesh is a lost film.
    Now here are what should have won for each year, regardless of whether they were nominated or not.

    July 15, 2015 at 12:07 pm

  5. samuelwilliscroft

    Eddie Redmayne in The Theory Of Everything
    Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
    Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
    Jean Dujardin in The Artist
    Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network
    George Clooney in Up In The Air
    Sean Penn in Milk
    Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
    Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
    Jamie Foxx in Ray
    Bill Murray in Lost In Translation
    Nicolas Cage in Adaptation
    Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
    Russell Crowe in Gladiator
    Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
    Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
    Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
    Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire
    Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas
    Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List
    Denzel Washington in Malcolm X
    Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs
    Jeremy Irons in Reversal Of Fortune
    Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown
    Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
    Michael Douglas in Wall Street
    Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa
    William Hurt in Kiss Of The Spider Woman
    F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
    Al Pacino in Scarface
    Paul Newman in The Verdict
    Dudley Moore in Arthur
    Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    Peter Sellers in Being There
    Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter
    Woody Allen in Annie Hall
    Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
    Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II
    Marlon Brando in Last Tango In Paris
    Marlon Brando in The Godfather
    Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    George C. Scott in Patton
    Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy
    Peter O’Toole in The Lion In Winter
    Warren Beatty in Bonnie And Clyde
    Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons
    Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
    Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb
    Richard Harris in This Sporting Life
    Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird
    Paul Newman in The Hustler
    Anthony Perkins in Psycho
    Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot
    James Stewart in Vertigo
    Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    John Wayne in The Searchers
    James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause
    Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront
    Montgomery Clift in From Here To Eternity
    Gary Cooper in High Noon
    Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire
    William Holden in Sunset Boulevard
    Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts And Coronets
    Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
    Ronald Colman in A Double Life
    James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life
    Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend
    Bing Crosby in Going My Way
    Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca
    James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
    Orson Welles in Citizen Kane
    Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath
    James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
    Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby
    Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous
    Walter Huston in Dodsworth
    Victor McLaglen in The Informer
    Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
    Charles Laughton in The Private Life Of Henry VIII
    Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
    Peter Lorre in M
    Emil Jannings in The Blue Angel
    George Arliss in Disraeli
    Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona
    Emil Jannings in The Last Command

    Now here are the actual Best Actor winners by year.

    Eddie Redmayne in The Theory Of Everything
    Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
    Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
    Jean Dujardin in The Artist
    Colin Firth in The King’s Speech
    Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
    Sean Penn in Milk
    Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
    Forest Whitaker in The Last King Of Scotland
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote
    Jamie Foxx in Ray
    Sean Penn in Mystic River
    Adrien Brody in The Pianist
    Denzel Washington in Training Day
    Russell Crowe in Gladiator
    Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
    Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful
    Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets
    Geoffrey Rush in Shine
    Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas
    Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    Tom Hanks in Philadelphia
    Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman
    Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs
    Jeremy Irons in Reversal Of Fortune
    Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown
    Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
    Michael Douglas in Wall Street
    Paul Newman in The Colour Of Money
    F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
    Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies
    Ben Kingsley in Gandhi
    Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond
    Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    Dustin Hoffman in Kramer Vs. Kramer
    Jon Voight in Coming Home
    Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl
    Peter Finch in Network
    Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
    Art Carney in Harry And Tonto
    Jack Lemmon in Save The Tiger
    Marlon Brando in The Godfather
    Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    George C. Scott in Patton
    John Wayne in True Grit
    Cliff Robertson in Charly
    Rod Steiger in In The Heat Of The Night
    Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons
    Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou
    Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady
    Sidney Poitier in Lilies Of The Field
    Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird
    Maximillian Schell in Judgement At Nuremberg
    Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry
    Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur
    David Niven in Separate Tables
    Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    Yul Brynner in The King And I
    Ernest Borgnine in Marty
    Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront
    William Holden in Stalag 17
    Gary Cooper in High Noon
    Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen
    José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac
    Broderick Crawford in All The King’s Men
    Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
    Ronald Colman in A Double Life
    Fredric March in The Best Years Of Our Lives
    Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend
    Bing Crosby in Going My Way
    Paul Lukas in Watch On The Rhine
    James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
    Gary Cooper in Sergeant York
    James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
    Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    Spencer Tracy in Boys Town
    Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous
    Paul Muni in The Story Of Luis Pasteur
    Victor McLaglen in The Informer
    Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
    Charles Laughton in The Private Life Of Henry VIII
    Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Hyde/Wallace Beery in The Champ
    Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul
    George Arliss in Disraeli
    Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona
    Emil Jannings in The Last Command/The Way Of All Flesh

    Now here, I will rank all of the Best Actor Oscar Winners
    1. Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone- The Godfather (1972)
    2. Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta- Raging Bull (1980)
    3. Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy- On The Waterfront (1954)
    4. Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter- The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
    5. Jack Nicholson as Randle Patrick McMurphy- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
    6. Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown- My Left Foot: The Story Of Christy Brown (1989)
    7. George C. Scott as George S. Patton- Patton (1970)
    8. Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More- A Man For All Seasons (1966)
    9. Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump- Forrest Gump (1994)
    10. Nicolas Cage as Ben Sanderson- Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
    11. Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview- There Will Be Blood (2007)
    12. Peter Finch as Howard Beale- Network (1976)
    13. F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri- Amadeus (1984)
    14. Dustin Hoffman as Raymond Babbitt- Rain Man (1988)
    15. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch- To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
    16. Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles- Ray (2004)
    17. Alec Guinness as Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson- The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
    18. Gary Cooper as Sheriff Will Kane- High Noon (1952)
    19. Russell Crowe as General Maximus Decimus Meridius- Gladiator (2000)
    20. Ray Milland as Don Birnam- The Lost Weekend (1945)
    21. Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote- Capote (2005)
    22. Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln- Lincoln (2012)
    23. Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry- Elmer Gantry (1960)
    24. James Cagney as George M. Cohan- Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
    25. Ernest Borgnine as Marty Piletti- Marty (1955)
    26. Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham- American Beauty (1999)
    27. Gene Hackman as Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle- The French Connection (1971)
    28. Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko- Wall Street (1987)
    29. Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark- All The King’s Men (1949)
    30. Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi- Gandhi (1982)
    31. William Holden as Sergeant JJ. Sefton- Stalag 17 (1953)
    32. Jack Lemmon as Harry Stoner- Save The Tiger (1973)
    33. Victor McLaglen as Gypo Nolan- The Informer (1935)
    34. Maximillian Schell as Hans Rolfe- Judgement At Nuremberg (1961)
    35. Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer- Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
    36. Henry Fonda as Norman Thayer- On Golden Pond (1981)
    37. Colin Firth as King George VI- The King’s Speech (2010)
    38. Fredric March as Al Stephenson- The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946)
    39. Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris- Training Day (2001)
    40. Emil Jannings as General Dolgorucki- The Last Command (1927)
    41. Jeremy Irons as Claus von Bülow- Reversal Of Fortune (1990)
    42. Rod Steiger as Police Chief Bill Gillespie- In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
    43. Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof- Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
    44. Jon Voight as Luke Martin- Coming Home (1978)
    45. Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall- As Good As It Gets (1997)
    46. Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin- The Last King Of Scotland (2006)
    47. Sean Penn as Harvey Milk- Milk (2008)
    48. Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Allnut- The African Queen (1951)
    49. Jean Dujardin as George Valentin- The Artist (2011)
    50. Gary Cooper as Alvin Cullum York- Sergeant York (1941)
    51. Clark Gable as Peter Warne- It Happened One Night (1934)
    52. William Hurt as Luis Molina- Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1985)
    53. Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman- The Pianist (2002)
    54. Robert Duvall as Mac Sledge- Tender Mercies (1983)
    55. Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson- The Colour Of Money (1986)
    56. Eddie Redmayne as Professor Stephen Hawking- The Theory Of Everything (2014)
    57. Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett- Philadelphia (1993)
    58. Richard Dreyfuss as Elliot Garfield- The Goodbye Girl (1977)
    59. Al Pacino as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade- Scent Of A Woman (1992)
    60. Robert Donat as Mr. Chips- Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
    61. Jeff Bridges as Otis “Bad” Blake- Crazy Heart (2009)
    62. Laurence Olivier as Hamlet, Prince Of Denmark- Hamlet (1948)
    63. Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott- Shine (1996)
    64. Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins- My Fair Lady (1964)
    65. Ronald Colman as Anthony John- A Double Life (1947)
    66. Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O’Malley- Going My Way (1944)
    67. Spencer Tracy as Manuel- Captains Courageous (1937)
    68. Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur (1959)
    69. Yul Brynner as King Mongkut Of Siam- The King And I (1956)
    70. Lee Marvin as Kid Shelleen/Tim Strawn- Cat Ballou (1965)
    71. Fredric March as Dr. Henry L. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (1932)
    72. John Wayne as Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn- True Grit (1969)
    73. Charles Laughton as King Henry VIII- The Private Life Of King Henry VIII (1933)
    74. Roberto Bengini as Guido Orefice- Life Is Beautiful (1998)
    75. Wallace Beery as Billy- The Champ (1932)
    76. Paul Muni as Luis Pasteur- The Story Of Luis Pasteur (1936)
    77. James Stewart as Macaulay Connor- The Philadelphia Story (1940)
    78. Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith- Lilies Of The Field (1963)
    79. José Ferrer as Cyrano de Bergerac- Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)
    80. George Arliss as Benjamin Disraeli- Disraeli (1929)
    81. David Niven as Major Angus Pollock- Separate Tables (1958)
    82. Art Carney as Harry Coombes- Harry And Tonto (1974)
    83. Lionel Barrymore as Stephen Ashe- A Free Soul (1931)
    84. Warner Baxter as The Cisco Kid- In Old Arizona (1928)
    85. Cliff Robertson as Charly Gordon- Charly (1968)
    86. Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan- Boys Town (1938)
    87. Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum- Mystic River (2003)
    88. Paul Lukas as Kurt Muller- Watch On The Rhine (1943)

    I might rank my winners later but now I am going to list the categories I feel I can make particularly strong:

    1927/1928
    Nominees:
    • Emil Jannings in The Last Command/The Way Of All Flesh
    • Richard Barthelmess in The Noose/The Patent Leather Kid
    I could have nominated Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer but that was never going to happen. The Jazz Singer only got a screenplay nomination and an honorary award, and the Academy wasn’t used to sound yet and didn’t want to take a risk, so they only gave it these two nominations. (This played out into the next ceremony, the year where there were no official nominees, so they gave Oscars to loads of awful sound films that hadn’t developed yet and some of the most awful decisions were born.) I will nominate George O’Brien for Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans because he was exceptional in that!
    My Nominees:
    1. Emil Jannings in The Last Command
    2. George O’Brien in Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans
    Who Won: Emil Jannings in The Last Command
    Should Have Won: Emil Jannings in The Last Command

    1930-1931
    Nominees:
    • Jackie Cooper in Skippy
    • Richard Dix in Cimarron
    • Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul
    • Adoplhe Menjou in The Front Page
    • Fredric March for The Royal Family Of Broadway
    I’m actually going to do something I would never, ever do and nominate Charlie Chaplin for City Lights. I know it is a silent film in the sound era but the last scene alone is enough for me to nominate him. He was outstanding. Jackie Cooper stays here. Peter Lorre was unforgettable, harrowing and brilliant in M. That might be my favourite performance of all time. You will never think of The Hall Of The Mountain King the same way once you hear that whistle. Also, remember what I said about Karloff? Forget that, he’s on. This category is terrible anyway.
    My Nominees
    1. Peter Lorre in M
    2. Jackie Cooper in Skippy
    3. Charlie Chaplin in City Lights
    4. Boris Karloff in Frankenstein
    5. Richard Dix in Cimarron
    Who Won: Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul
    Who Should Have Won: Peter Lorre in M

    1931-1932
    Nominees:
    • Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
    • Wallace Beery in The Champ
    • Alfred Lunt in The Guardsman
    This one is much easier because there are three nominees. I already explained earlier that whilst I’m voting for March whatever I do, I have to put on Paul Muni for Scarface. That’s not even questionable.
    My Nominees:
    1. Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
    2. Paul Muni in Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation
    3. Wallace Beery in The Champ
    Who Won: Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde/Wallace Beery in The Champ
    Who Should Have Won: Fredric March in Dr Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

    1940
    Nominees:
    • Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath
    • Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
    • Laurence Olivier in Rebecca
    • James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
    • Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln In Illinois
    As I said earlier, Stewart should never have won this. Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath, Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator and even Laurence Olivier in Rebecca were better than him. Henry Fonda is mesmerising as Tom Joad and Charlie Chaplin finally opened his mouth to give us the heart-warming slapstick he’d been delivering for over 20 years but also one giant, passionate plea for peace that was unwaveringly and undisputedly set to tackle the uprising Nazi regime. That final monologue was the perfect ending to an almost perfect movie and whilst Olivier was slightly melodramatic in Hitchcock’s classic, he was unquestionably the right choice to play Maxim De Winter. My change is an obvious one as Cary Grant gave two of his best performances this year, in His Girl Friday and in ensemble The Philadelphia Story. In the latter, he obviously gave a better performance than Stewart and was obviously the lead. So I’m putting him on.
    My Nominees:
    1. Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath
    2. Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
    3. Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story
    4. Laurence Olivier in Rebecca
    5. James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
    Who Won: James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
    Who Should Have Won: Henry Fonda in The Grapes Of Wrath

    1955
    Nominees:
    • Ernest Borgnine in Marty
    • James Dean in East Of Eden
    • Spencer Tracy in Bad Day At Black Rock
    • Frank Sinatra in The Man With The Golden Arm
    • James Cagney in Love Me Or Leave Me
    When I talked about this I said that I had to take Sinatra (and also Cagney) off as two even better performances were coming on, one that has become iconic in its own right (but was never going to get on) and one that was never going to get on but really, really should have, a performance only suffering problems because the film was not successful upon release and the fact that there is a blatant disregard for the person in the Academy’s history. Well let me start with the first one. For someone to get on any one of the four categories for two different performances is a phenomenal feat and in my opinion this should only happen if absolutely necessary. Well, in my opinion (and quite a popular one), James Dean was phenomenal in Rebel Without A Cause this year as well and definitely deserved something. I love that performance. And the other one was Robert Mitchum for The Night Of The Hunter. He was outstanding in that. Just like Cary Grant though, there is an unapologetic disrespect for him from the Academy and even when he isn’t typecast, they really give him a nomination. Very few people liked The Night Of The Hunter when it was released (and Charles Laughton never directed another movie again) and its critical and commercial re-evaluation only began to take place when Mitchum was reaching his last years. So because of what has happened in the years since its release, I’m putting Mitchum on. Borgnine obviously stays. I loved him in that.
    My Nominees:
    1. James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause
    2. Robert Mitchum in The Night Of The Hunter
    3. Ernest Borgnine in Marty
    4. James Dean in East Of Eden
    5. Spencer Tracy in Bad Day At Black Rock
    Who Won: Ernest Borgnine in Marty
    Who Should Have Won: James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause

    1957
    Nominees:
    • Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    • Charles Laughton in Witness For The Prosecution
    • Anthony Franciosa in A Hatful Of Rain
    • Anthony Quinn in Wild Is The Wind
    • Marlon Brando in Sayonara
    Some big changes to make here. This list is terrible.
    My Nominees:
    1. Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    2. Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men
    3. Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell Of Success
    4. Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell Of Success
    5. Charles Laughton in Witness for The Prosecution
    See how much better this list is compared to the actual list? I think that if this were the actual list it would be one of the strongest of all time. Alec Guinness gave one of the best performances of all time in The Bridge On The River Kwai. Henry Fonda gave one of the most famous performances of all time in 12 Angry Men (Seriously, how did he not get on here?). Laughton’s merry aging barrister was a perfect role to end his career in one of Billy Wilder’s finest movies (and one of his last classics). And the casting of the duo of Curtis and Lancaster was pure genius.
    Who Won: Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    Who Should Have Won: Alec Guinness in The Bridge On The River Kwai
    1960
    Nominees:
    • Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry
    • Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
    • Spencer Tracy in Inherit The Wind
    • Trevor Howard in Sons And Lovers
    • Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer
    Out of these nominees, Burt Lancaster should have won. He was spellbinding. I said I was going to swap out two of these nominees and I’m a man of my word. I also said I would do things differently. Again, I’m a man of my word. If I swap out two nominees like this, it’s usually the bottom two (which are generally the weakest) however I feel like this time, I can do without Spencer Tracy for once, as good as he was. So Howard, Lemmon and Lancaster stay. Fredric March was brilliant in Inherit The Wind and Kirk Douglas was brilliant in Spartacus but as good as Lancaster was, I feel the winner is deserved elsewhere, that winner being Anthony Perkins in Psycho. That is one of the best movie performances in history. I don’t think I have to explain further after I say that he was Norman Bates.
    My Nominees:
    1. Anthony Perkins in Psycho
    2. Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry
    3. Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
    4. Kirk Douglas in Spartacus
    5. Trevor Howard in Sons And Lovers
    Who Won: Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry
    Who Should Have Won: Anthony Perkins in Psycho
    1971
    Nominees:
    • Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    • George C. Scott in The Hospital
    • Peter Finch in Sunday, Bloody Sunday
    • Chaim Topol in Fiddler On The Roof
    • Walter Matthau in Kotch
    I said I was going to change a lot of stuff over but the top 3 are good. Boy this is tricky. A lot of my stuff won’t work.
    My Nominees:
    • Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    • Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange
    • Bud Cort in Harold And Maude
    • Gene Wilder for Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
    • Clint Eastwood for Dirty Harry
    Alright, this was never going to happen.
    My Nominees:
    1. Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    2. Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange
    3. George C. Scott in The Hospital
    4. Peter Finch in Sunday, Bloody Sunday
    5. Chaim Topol in Fiddler On The Roof
    Come to think of it I didn’t really do much here at all.
    Who Won: Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    Who Should Have Won: Gene Hackman in The French Connection
    1980
    Nominees:
    • Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    • John Hurt in The Elephant Man
    • Peter O’Toole in The Stunt Man
    • Robert Duvall in The Great Santini
    • Jack Lemmon in Tribute
    Well this one is pretty obvious. They nominated Ordinary People for six Oscars, none of which were for Donald Sutherland. They must really not like Donald Sutherland. (He’s never been nominated and often comes under the list of the best actors who have never been nominated for Oscars.) I get from a historical context why they didn’t nominate Nicholson for The Shining but it still pains them from a modern context.
    My Nominees:
    1. Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    2. John Hurt in The Elephant Man
    3. Jack Nicholson in The Shining
    4. Donald Sutherland in Ordinary People
    5. Peter O’Toole in The Stunt Man
    Who Won: Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    Who Should Have Won: Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
    1983
    Nominees:
    • Michael Caine in Educating Rita
    • Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies
    • Tom Courtenay in The Dresser
    • Albert Finney in The Dresser
    • Tom Conti in Reuben, Reuben
    Oh yeah, now we’re talking!
    My Nominees:
    1. Al Pacino in Scarface
    2. Robert De Niro in The King Of Comedy
    3. Michael Caine in Educating Rita
    4. Tom Courtenay in The Dresser
    5. Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies
    I don’t care if this was unlikely to happen, it’s happening!
    Who Won: Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies
    Who Should Have Won: Al Pacino in Scarface
    1994
    Nominees:
    • Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    • John Travolta in Pulp Fiction
    • Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption
    • Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness Of King George
    • Paul Neman in Nobody’s Fool
    We all know what I’m about to do here. See how much stronger this list becomes.
    My Nominees:
    1. Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    2. John Travolta in Pulp Fiction
    3. Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption
    4. Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption
    5. Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness Of King George
    Who Won: Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    Who Should Have Won: Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
    1998
    Nominees:
    • Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
    • Edward Norton in American History X
    • Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan
    • Roberto Bengini in Life Is Beautiful
    • Nick Nolte in Affliction
    My Nominees:
    1. Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
    2. Edward Norton in American History X
    3. Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan
    4. Jim Carrey in The Truman Show
    5. Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski
    Who Won: Where’d he go? Oh yeah, I took him off. Roberto Bengini in Life Is Beautiful
    Who Should Have Won: Ian McKellen in Gods And Monsters
    2004
    Let’s just get straight in there.
    My Nominees:
    1. Jamie Foxx in Ray
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator
    3. Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
    4. Liam Neeson in Kinsey
    5. Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda
    I feel like doing things differently:
    6. Paul Giamatti in Sideways
    7. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby
    8. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland…
    And one more for luck:
    9. Bruno Ganz in Downfall
    Probably my favourite change. No, I didn’t put Ganz in there just because of the parodies.

    July 15, 2015 at 12:09 pm

  6. samuelwilliscroft

    Now I need your help. Please, for me, could you rank my winners?

    July 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

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