The Abridged Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor

I got the idea for this shortly after all the articles went up. (You can find the articles here.) I was thinking — “What would it be like if circumstances didn’t matter? If I just voted based solely on the category and what was nominated?” Naturally that led to, “Well that can become a nice series of articles.” So that’s what they’re becoming.

I’m calling it my Abridged Oscar Quest. I’m going to go through every year of every category, and simply pick winners based solely on the category. I will not take into account what won before, what is the “classy choice,” what never had a shot. Just — here are the nominees, here’s what I would vote for if I had a ballot. I’m taking into account nothing but the films.

I’m going to star (*) the film I’d vote for.

We do Best Supporting Actor today:

2011 – Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close *

2010 – Christian Bale, The Fighter *

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

Jeremy Renner, The Town

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids are All Right

Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

2009 – Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds *

2008 – Josh Brolin, Milk

Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight *

Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

2007 – Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men *

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson’s War

Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

2006 – Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine

Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children

Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond

Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed *

2005 – George Clooney, Syriana

Matt Dillon, Crash

Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man

Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain

William Hurt, A History of Violence *

2004 – Alan Alda, The Aviator

Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

Jamie Foxx, Collateral

Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby

Clive Owen, Closer *

2003 – Alec Baldwin, The Cooler *

Benicio del Toro, 21 Grams

Djimon Hounsou, In America

Tim Robbins, Mystic River

Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

2002 – Chris Cooper, Adaptation. *

Ed Harris, The Hours

Paul Newman, Road to Perdition

John C. Reilly, Chicago

Christopher Walken, Catch Me if You Can

2001 – Jim Broadbent, Iris

Ethan Hawke, Training Day

Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast *

Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Jon Voight, Ali

2000 – Jeff Bridges, The Contender

Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire *

Benicio del Toro, Traffic

Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich

Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator

1999 – Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules

Tom Cruise, Magnolia *

Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile

Jude Law, The Talented Mr. Ripley

Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense

1998 – James Coburn, Affliction

Robert Duvall, A Civil Action

Ed Harris, The Truman Show

Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love

Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan *

1997 – Robert Forster, Jackie Brown *

Anthony Hopkins, Amistad

Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets

Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights

Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

1996 – Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jerry Maguire

William H. Macy, Fargo *

Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine

Edward Norton, Primal Fear

James Woods, Ghosts of Mississippi

1995 – James Cromwell, Babe

Ed Harris, Apollo 13

Brad Pitt, Twelve Monkeys

Tim Roth, Rob Roy

Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects *

1994 – Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction *

Martin Landau, Ed Wood

Chazz Palminteri, Bullets Over Broadway

Paul Scofield, Quiz Show

Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump

1993 – Leonardo DiCaprio, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List *

Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive

John Malkovich, In the Line of Fire

Pete Postlethwaite, In the Name of the Father

1992 – Jaye Davidson, The Crying Game

 Gene Hackman, Unforgiven *

Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross

David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night

1991 – Tommy Lee Jones, JFK

Harvey Keitel, Bugsy

Ben Kingsley, Bugsy

Michael Lerner, Barton Fink *

Jack Palance, City Slickers

1990 – Bruce Davidson, Longtime Companion

Andy Garcia, The Godfather Part III

Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves

Al Pacino, Dick Tracy

Joe Pesci, Goodfellas *

1989 – Danny Aiello, Do the Right Thing *

Dan Aykroyd, Driving Miss Daisy

Marlon Brando, A Dry White Season

Martin Landau, Crimes and Misdemeanors

Denzel Washington, Glory

1988 – Alec Guinness, Little Dorrit

Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda *

Martin Landau, Tucker: The Man and His Dream

River Phoenix, Running on Empty

Dean Stockwell, Married to the Mob

1987 – Albert Brooks, Broadcast News

Sean Connery, The Untouchables *

Morgan Freeman, Street Smart

Vincent Gardenia, Moonstruck

Denzel Washington, Cry Freedom

1986 – Tom Berenger, Platoon *

Michael Caine, Hannah and Her Sisters

Willem Dafoe, Platoon

Denholm Elliott, A Room with a View

Dennis Hopper, Hoosiers

1985 – Don Ameche, Cocoon *

Klaus Maria Brandauer, Out of Africa

William Hickey, Prizzi’s Honor

Robert Loggia, Jagged Edge

Eric Roberts, Runaway Train

1984 – Adolph Caesar, A Soldier’s Story *

John Malkovich, Places in the Heart

Pat Morita, The Karate Kid

Haing S. Ngor, The Killing Fields

Ralph Richardson, Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

1983 – 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

1982 – Charles Durning, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Louis Gossett, Jr. An Officer and a Gentleman *

John Lithgow, The World According to Garp

James Mason, The Verdict

Robert Preston, Victor Victoria

1981 – James Coco, Only When I Laugh

John Gielgud, Arthur *

Ian Holm, Chariots of Fire

Jack Nicholson, Reds

Howard Rollincs, Ragtime

1980 – Judd Hirsch, Ordinary People

Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People *

Michael O’Keefe, The Great Santini

Joe Pesci, Raging Bull

Jason Robards, Melvin and Howard

1979 – Melvyn Douglas, Being There

Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now *

Justin Henry, Kramer vs. Kramer

Frederic Forrest, The Rose

Mickey Rooney, The Black Stallion

1978 – Bruce Dern, Coming Home

Richard Farnsworth, Comes a Horseman

John Hurt, Midnight Express

Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter *

Jack Warden, Heaven Can Wait

1977 – Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Turning Point

Peter Firth, Equus

Alec Guinness, Star Wars *

Jason Robards, Julia

Maximilian Schell, Julia

1976 – Ned Beatty, Network

Burgess Meredith, Rocky

Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man

Jason Robards, All the President’s Men *

Burt Young, Rocky

1975 – George Burns, The Sunshine Boys *

Brad Dourif, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Burgess Meredith, The Day of the Locust

Chris Sarandon, Dog Day Afternoon

Jack Warden, Shampoo

1974 – Fred Astaire, The Towering Inferno

Jeff Bridges, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Robert De Niro, The Godfather Part II *

Michael V. Gazzo, The Godfather Part II

Lee Strasberg, The Godfather Part II

1973 – Vincent Gardenia, Bang the Drum Slowly

Jack Gilford, Save the Tiger

John Houseman, The Paper Chase

Jason Miller, The Exorcist *

Randy Quaid, The Last Detail

1972 – Eddie Albert, The Heartbreak Kid

James Caan, The Godfather *

Robert Duvall, The Godfather

Joel Grey, Cabaret

Al Pacino, The Godfather

1971 – Jeff Bridges, The Last Picture Show

Leonard Frey, Fiddler on the Roof

Richard Jaeckel, Sometimes a Great Notion

Ben Johnson, The Last Picture Show

Roy Scheider, The French Connection *

1970 – Richard S. Castellano, Lovers and Other Strangers *

Chief Dan George, Little Big Man *

Gene Hackman, I Never Sang for My Father

John Marley, Love Story

John Mills, Ryan’s Daughter

1969 – Rupert Crosse, The Reivers

Elliott Gould, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider

Anthony Quayle, Anne of the Thousand Days

Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? *

1968 – Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses

Seymour Cassel, Faces

Daniel Massey, Star!

Jack Wild, Oliver!

Gene Wilder, The Producers *

1967 – John Cassavetes, The Dirty Dozen

Gene Hackman, Bonnie and Clyde

Cecil Kellaway, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke *

Michael J. Pollard, Bonnie and Clyde

1966 – Mako, The Sand Pebbles

James Mason, Georgy Girl

Walther Matthau, The Fortune Cookie *

George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Robert Shaw, A Man for All Seasons

1965 – Martin Balsam, A Thousand Clowns *

Ian Bannen, Flight of the Phoenix

Tom Courtenay, Doctor Zhivago

Michael Dunn, Ship of Fools

Frank Finlay, Othello

1964 – John Gielgud, Becket

Stanley Holloway, My Fair Lady

Edmond O’Brien, Seven Days in May

Lee Tracy, The Best Man *

Peter Ustinov, Topkapi

1963 – Nick Adams, Twilight of Horror

Bobby Darin, Captain Newman, M.D.

Melvyn Douglas, Hud *

Hugh Griffith, Tom Jones

John Huston, The Cardinal

1962 – Ed Begely, Sweet Bird of Youth

Victor Buono, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Telly Savalas, Birdman of Alcatraz

Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia *

Terence Stamp, Billy Budd

1961 – George Chakiris, West Side Story

Montgomery Clift, Judgment at Nuremberg

Peter Falk, Pocketful of Miracles

Jackie Gleason, The Hustler *

George C. Scott, The Hustler

1960 – Peter Falk, Murder, Inc.

Jack Kruschen, The Apartment

Sal Mineo, Exodus

Peter Ustinov, Spartacus *

Chill Wills, The Alamo

1959 – Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur

Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder *

George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder

Robert Vaughn, The Young Philadelphians

Ed Wynn, The Diary of Anne Frank

1958 – Theodore Bikel, The Defiant Ones

Lee J. Cobb, The Brothers Karamozov

Burl Ives, The Big Country *

Arthur Kennedy, Some Came Running

Gig Young, Teacher’s Pet

1957 – Red Buttons, Sayonara

Vittorio de Sica, A Farewell to Arms

Sessue Hayakawa, The Bridge on the River Kwai *

Arthur Kennedy, Peyton Place

Russ Tamblyn, Peyton Place

1956 – Don Murray, Bus Stop

Anthony Perkins, Friendly Persuasion

Anthony Quinn, Lust for Life

Mickey Rooney, The Bold and the Brave

Robert Stack, Written on the Wind *

1955 – Arthur Kennedy, Trial

Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts *

Joe Mantell, Marty

Sal Mineo, Rebel Without a Cause

Arthur O’Connell, Picnic

1954 – Lee J. Cobb, On the Waterfront

Karl Malden, On the Waterfront

Edmond O’Brien, The Barefoot Contessa

Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront *

Tom Tully, The Caine Mutiny

1953 – Eddie Albert, Roman Holiday

Brandon de Wilde, Shane

Jack Palance, Shane

Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity *

Robert Strauss, Stalag 17

1952 – Richard Burton, My Cousin Rachel

Arthur Hunnicutt, The Big Sky

Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man *

Jack Palance, Sudden Fear

Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!

1951 – Leo Genn, Quo Vadis

Karl Malden, A Streetcar Named Desire *

Kevin McCarthy, Death of a Salesman

Peter Ustinov, Quo Vadis

Gig Young, Come Fill the Gap

1950 – Jeff Chandler, Broken Arrow

Edmund Gwenn, Mister 880

Sam Jaffe, The Asphalt Jungle

George Sanders, All About Eve *

Erich von Stroheim, Sunset Boulevard

1949 – John Ireland, All the King’s Men

Dean Jagger, Twelve O’Clock High

Arthur Kennedy, Champion

Ralph Richardson, The Heiress *

James Whitmore, Battleground

1948 – Charles Bickford, Johnny Belinda

José Ferrer, Joan of Arc

Walter Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre *

Oskar Homolka, I Remember Mama

Cecil Kellaway, The Luck of the Irish

1947 – Charles Bickford, The Farmer’s Daughter

Thomas Gomez, Ride the Pink Horse

Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street

Robert Ryan, Crossfire

Richard Widmark, Kiss of Death *

1946 – Charles Coburn, The Green Years *

William Demarest, The Jolson Story

Claude Rains, Notorious

Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives

Clifton Webb, The Razor’s Edge

1945 – Michael Chekhov, Spellbound

John Dall, The Corn is Green

James Dunn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn *

Robert Mitchum, The Story of G.I. Joe

J. Carrol Naish, A Medal for Benny

1944 – Hume Cronyn, The Seventh Cross

Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way *

Claude Rains, Mr. Skeffington

Clifton Webb, Laura

Monty Woolley, Since You Went Away

1943 – Charles Bickford, The Song of Bernadette

Charles Coburn, The More the Merrier

J. Carrol Naish, Sahara

Claude Rains, Casablanca *

Akim Tamiroff, For Whom the Bell Tolls

1942 – William Bendix, Wake Island

Van Heflin, Johnny Eager

Walter Huston, Yankee Doodle Dandy

Frank Morgan, Tortilla Flat *

Henry Travers, Mrs. Miniver

1941 – Walter Brennan, Sergeant York

Charles Coburn, The Devil and Miss Jones

Donald Crisp, How Green Was My Valley

James Gleason, Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Sydney Greenstreet, The Maltese Falcon *

1940 – Albert Basserman, Foreign Correspondent

Walter Brennan, The Westerner *

William Gargan, They Knew What They Wanted

Jack Oakie, The Great Dictator

James Stephenson, The Letter

1939 – Brian Aherne, Juarez

Harry Carey, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Brian Donlevy, Beau Geste

Thomas Mitchell, Stagecoach *

Claude Rains, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1938 – Walter Brennan, Kentucky

John Garfield, Four Daughters

Gene Lockhart, Algiers

Robert Morely, Marie Antoinette

Basil Rathbone, If I Were King *

1937 – Ralph Bellamy, The Awful Truth *

Thomas Mitchell, The Hurricane

Joseph Schildkraut, The Life of Emile Zola

H.B. Warner, Lost Horizon

Roland Young, Topper

1936 – Mischa Auer, My Man Godfrey

Walter Brennan, Come and Get It *

Stuart Erwin, Pigskin Parade

Basil Rathbone, Romeo and Juliet

Akim Tamiroff, The General Died at Dawn


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