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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actor (1990-2011)

These performance articles are going to be tougher than the Best Picture ones. But before we get into that, let me explain:

I’m doing a series of articles where I sort of mediate my opinions about what should have been nominated in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress), all time (1927-1928 to present), next to what the actual nominees were. I’ve never actually gone on record about what I think should have been nominated, mostly because I treat the Oscars as something that’s just a thing. I have opinions each year about what should or shouldn’t be nominated, but once a category is in place I (unlike many other people), have respect for the category as an entity. I don’t fuck with them, and treat everything as, “Okay, it’s there. Now how do I vote?”

But I figured I could accomplish two things by actually telling people what I’d nominate. First, I figured I could use my opinions to create what I’m calling a Compromise List, which is basically a mixture of what actually happened and what I think should have happened, which, to most rational people who like movies (and respect the Oscars), actually ends up being something that perfectly mediates the two. I feel like these Compromise Lists give everyone the best of both worlds — we get to nominate shit that was ignored, and the films that the Academy clearly liked get to stay. And (hopefully) everyone’s happy.

The way I do this is, I list the actual nominees in a category, then tell you what I’d have put on my nominations ballot, if I had one (since you can nominate anything you want, as long as it’s eligible). So I nominate my choices (taking care to not get too subjective, since most people who attempt this will only put on the same fifty films everyone loves and take off stuff they haven’t seen just because they don’t know anything about it and it seems boring. And I hate that), and then go about creating a Compromise List that is pretty fair all around. I don’t put on shit that we’d love to see if there’s no way it would ever be there.

However, now we’re onto the performances, which is a whole other beast to handle. Since — I haven’t seen everything. The recent years are easy, since I have seen mostly everything that would have been nominated, but once we get back to the older decades — there’s only so many films that I’ve seen. So, like always, I can only nominate WHAT I’VE SEEN. Which poses a problem, naturally. But what can I do? So hopefully I’ll return to these and change them as I see more stuff.

The other thing I want to mention, for people reading this — asking me, “What about (whatever) performance in (whatever) movie,” will probably be ignored, since you’d literally be talking about one nomination in one year in one category. I had to do this all. Come back to me when you have 85 categories done and then I’ll listen to your opinion. And also — don’t even bother bringing up foreign performances to me. Just don’t.

Oh, and people doing this — on your Compromise List, you CANNOT LEAVE OFF THE WINNER OF THE CATEGORY. Can’t do it. I hate some of the winners, too. We have to leave them.

Otherwise — fuck it. We’ll figure it out as we go along.

2011

Actual Nominees:

  • Demián Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

My Vote: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

For my list — apologies to Demián Bichir, but Michael Fassbender had an all-star year. Gosling did too, but Fassbender actually turned out an incredible performance that couldn’t be ignored. Gosling was just good in Drive and Ides of March. Not great. (Also apologies to Michael Shannon for Take Shelter. Film was too small, category was too good.)

My Nominees:

  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Michael Fassbender, Shame
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

My Vote: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

For the Compromise List — fuck it. Just leave it. It’s an amazing category.

Compromise List:

  • Demián Bichir, A Better Life
  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball

My Vote: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

2010

Actual Nominees:

  • Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours

My Vote: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

Mostly I’m swapping in one performance I thought was horribly snubbed and another that I just went for because of who the person was. (Apologies to Michael Douglas in Solitary Man.)

My Nominees:

  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Robert Duvall, Get Low
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

My Vote: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

I won’t argue with whoever you want to take off — you have to give me Gosling. Fuck you if you don’t think he was good enough. I’ll give you either Bardem or Franco, but not both. I’ll be nice and leave Franco, but I think he’s the one we should have taken off.

Compromise List:

  • Jeff Bridges, True Grit
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

My Vote: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech

2009

Actual Nominees:

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

My Vote: George Clooney, Up in the Air

My list is gonna be completely different. But we’ll mediate later.

I’ll tell you off the top — I didn’t like Sam Rockwell enough in Moon to nominate him, all you people who are going to jump to do so. I also haven’t seen Tom Hardy in Bronson, so I can’t say one way or the other about that one. Those were the two that I thought were mostly likely to permeate other versions of this list.

My Nominees:

  • Nicolas Cage, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Matt Damon, The Informant!
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

My Vote: Honestly… Cage, in Bad Lieutenant. Just because if that’s the list, I couldn’t not vote for him.

Now — mediating stuff. I think Firth should be nowhere near that list. I know all you indie people will cry foul there, but I call bullshit. I think he took a spot away from a much more deserving Michael Stuhlbarg. Bridges has to stay, so I can’t do anything about that. Clooney and Renner don’t go anywhere. So the only two we can change are Freeman and Firth. And while I know Freeman is only there because he’s Morgan Freeman — can we do anything about that? I really think we need to take off Firth for Suthlbarg since that fits more with the Academy than switching Freeman for him, which is what most people would want, taking only into account what they think of the performances.

Compromise List:

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

My Vote: Gonna surprise you… Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

2008

  • Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
  • Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Milk
  • Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

My Vote: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

For my list — it’s tough. I liked Pitt’s performance, though I get that a lot of it is primarily CG. And he’s shown me better stuff since. But I’d probably still nominate him, given the horrible snubs he got for a lot of great performances during this time (like Assassination of Jesse James or Burn After Reading). Langella was good, but I’d leave him off. Nixon’s too easy. And Jenkins — liked the performance, love the actor — I’d probably swap him out for something more fun. (Sorry Leo in Revolutionary Road, sorry Josh Brolin in W. Didn’t like your films enough.)

My Nominees:

  • Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
  • Colin Farrell, In Bruges
  • Sean Penn, Milk
  • Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

My Vote: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Honestly — we can’t touch this. You can’t touch anyone but Pitt, and I don’t think they don’t nominate him there. It’s not like Eastwood was that good. And Brolin’s was too polarizing a film for them to do anything but use it to build up good will for the next time he does something great so they can nominate him. And Leo just keeps getting squeezed out of tight categories (probably because all his performances seem to be essentially the same).

Compromise List:

  • Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
  • Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Milk
  • Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

My Vote: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

2007

Actual Nominees:

  • George Clooney, Michael Clayton
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
  • Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
  • Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

My Vote: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

I don’t know if I’d change this. The only performance that seems like it should be off is Tommy Lee Jones. But, when I measure who he is up against the other three potential actors (Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl, Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild and James McAvoy in Atonement), he wins. I liked those other three, but Gosling wasn’t gonna happen, Hirsch had a shot, but even so, I felt the performance wasn’t that good, and McAvoy — meh. I’ll take Tommy. I say just leave it alone.

My nominees are the existing ones.

Compromise List:

  • George Clooney, Michael Clayton
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
  • Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
  • Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

My Vote: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

2006

Actual Nominees:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
  • Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
  • Peter O’Toole, Venus
  • Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
  • Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

My Vote: I think I voted for Leo because of a different performance, because the category was so bad.

I hate this category. Hate it. Amazing how nominating someone for the wrong film can fuck up a category so badly. My nominees are gonna be pretty straightforward, so I won’t need to explain them. And this year was terrible for performances (and Oscar films), so there really aren’t too many alternatives. Mostly it’s about switching things around to make a weakness look like a strength.

Also, I’d like to point out, even though I wouldn’t nominate him — Hugh Jackman had a hell of a year, with The Prestige and The Fountain. Just sayin’.

My Nominees:

  • Matt Damon, The Departed
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
  • Ken Watanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

I only really have four. Give me O’Toole for number five, I guess.

My Vote: Leo or Damon. I don’t care. I guess Leo.

Compromise List — gotta leave Forest, gotta leave Leo, only I’m changing the performance. I say Damon got (and constantly gets) fucking hosed out of nominations, and I think Will Smith’s nomination here is a joke. I’m changing it. I don’t care. We leave O’Toole, ’cause he’s a legend, and — honestly — all right. Know what? I don’t want to fuck over Gosling, cause he was good. I’ll take Watanabe over Damon. Then we can all be happy.

Compromise List:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
  • Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
  • Peter O’Toole, Venus
  • Ken Watanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

My Vote: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed

So how easily we can make a weak ass category look pretty good?

2005

Actual Nominees:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
  • Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
  • Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
  • David Stathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

My Vote: David Stathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

Look, I’ll tell you right now, the only other alternate is Viggo Mortensen for A History of Violence. But to me, Hustle & Flow is too fun a nominee to take off. Take off whoever you want for your list, but I’m sticking with this and even going straight through and leaving this as the Compromise List. (Viggo got the Eastern Promises nomination. It’s not all bad. It’s fine. Let the rap film have its day in the sun.)

Compromise List:

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
  • Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
  • Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
  • David Stathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

My Vote: David Stathairn, Good Night and Good Luck

2004

Actual Nominees:

  • Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
  • Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
  • Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
  • Jamie Foxx, Ray

My Vote: Jamie Foxx, Ray

Everyone here puts on Paul Giamatti. I’ll tell you right now, I loathe Sideways and refuse to put it on either list. That said, we have better alternatives anyway. So let me nominate my shit and then we’ll get into it.

Oh, and let me mention — I’ve never seen The Sea Inside, so I have no idea about Bardem’s performance.

My Nominees:

  • Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
  • Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
  • Jamie Foxx, Ray
  • Liam Neeson, Kinsey

My Vote: Jamie Foxx, Ray

I’ll tell you right now — the Depp nomination is a joke, and the Cheadle one is the only thing that keeps people from getting pissed about the lack of Picture nomination for Hotel Rwanda. So Depp is really the only person we can take off. I refuse to put on Giamatti, so take your pick between Carrey and Neeson. It seems the Academy doesn’t respect Carrey, so what’s wrong with Liam, who got so badly fucked over in 1993 when he should have won?

Compromise List:

  • Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
  • Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
  • Jamie Foxx, Ray
  • Liam Neeson, Kinsey

My Vote: Jamie Foxx, Ray

2003

Actual Nominees:

  • Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
  • Jude Law, Cold Mountain
  • Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
  • Sean Penn, Mystic River

My Vote: Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

I think the Jude Law nomination is a joke, and I don’t like Mystic River at all. So those are off for me.

(P.S. Never saw The Station Agent.)

And in their place… oh, this will be fun…

I know what one of them is, but the other — Crowe was in another action movie… so was Cruise. Fuck it, let’s have some fun with it:

My Nominees:

  • Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
  • William H. Macy, The Cooler
  • Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa

My Vote: Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Obviously my list won’t work. We have to keep Penn, and really it comes down to Jude Law vs. either William H. Macy or the other people like Russell Crowe or Tom Cruise. I say let’s give Bill a nomination. Why not, right? Or leve Jude, either way’s fine with me. We got Johnny on there.

Compromise List:

  • Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
  • William H. Macy, The Cooler
  • Bill Murray, Lost in Translation
  • Sean Penn, Mystic River

My Vote: Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

2002

Actual Nominees:

  • Adrien Brody, The Pianist
  • Nicolas Cage, Adaptation
  • Michael Caine, The Quiet American
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York
  • Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt

My Vote: Who did I vote for? I think it was Cage.

Tough call here. Gere was good in Chicago, but I wouldn’t nominate him, and Leo was great in Gangs and Catch Me If You Can, but neither really adds up to a performance worth nominating. Someone like Michael Caine will take that every time. So let’s not even waste time and just leave the category as it is.

  • Adrien Brody, The Pianist
  • Nicolas Cage, Adaptation
  • Michael Caine, The Quiet American
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York
  • Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt

My Vote: Pure performance wise… Nicholson, About Schmidt.

2001

Actual Nominees:

  • Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind
  • Sean Penn, I Am Sam
  • Will Smith, Ali
  • Denzel Washington, Training Day
  • Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom

My Vote: Denzel Washington, Training Day

I don’t like the Will nomination so much, and I’d probably swap out Wilkinson for a more fun performance. Otherwise, I’m cool with the category.

My Nominees:

  • Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind
  • Jack Nicholson, The Pledge
  • Sean Penn, I Am Sam
  • Billy Bob Thornton, The Man Who Wasn’t There
  • Denzel Washington, Training Day

My Vote: Denzel Washington, Training Day

(P.S. Don’t forget Billy Bob was also good in Monster’s Ball.)

Obviously my list doesn’t work. Wilkinson stays, and I guess Will stays. So we’ll leave it. But if anyone should have been on instead of Will, it’s Nicholson. Holy shit did he deliver a fucking great performance there. So underrated.

Compromise List:

  • Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind
  • Sean Penn, I Am Sam
  • Will Smith, Ali
  • Denzel Washington, Training Day
  • Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom

My Vote: Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind

2000

  • Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls
  • Russell Crowe, Gladiator
  • Tom Hanks, Cast Away
  • Ed Harris, Pollock
  • Geoffrey Rush, Quills

My Vote: Tom Hanks, Cast Away

Before we start — I’d love to nominate Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? but can’t. And also, absolutely not to Guy Pearce in Memento. That’s an example of people confusing a good film for a great performance. (And I know if I didn’t mention it everyone would have done it.)

I’m not gonna tell you my picks, since I’m just gonna go ahead and swap a performance out. I don’t care what anyone says — I don’t like that Bardem performance at all. I don’t. I’m gonna swap in a performance that I feel was really overlooked this year.

Compromise List:

  • Russell Crowe, Gladiator
  • Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys
  • Tom Hanks, Cast Away
  • Ed Harris, Pollock
  • Geoffrey Rush, Quills

My Vote: Tom Hanks, Cast Away

1999

Actual Nominees:

  • Russell Crowe, The Insider
  • Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story
  • Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown
  • Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
  • Denzel Washington, The Hurricane

My Vote: Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

The category’s good. I just don’t like the Farnsworth nomination.

(P.S. I worked real hard to not nominate Nicolas Cage for Bringing Out the Dead. Let’s just leave that one as — very underrated performance. And I’m beyond 100% serious there. Watch it. You’ll see.)

My Nominees:

  • Russell Crowe, The Insider
  • Jim Carrey, Man on the Moon
  • Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown
  • Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
  • Denzel Washington, The Hurricane

My Vote: Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

The Academy will probably never like Jim Carrey. So we’re just gonna have to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Russell Crowe, The Insider
  • Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story
  • Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown
  • Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
  • Denzel Washington, The Hurricane

My Vote: Kevin Spacey, American Beauty

(P.S. Don’t anyone dare mention Fight Club to me in this category. Or Malkovich, or Election. Not against those other ones up there.)

1998

Actual Nominees:

  • Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful
  • Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan
  • Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters
  • Nick Nolte, Affliction
  • Edward Norton, American History X

My Vote: Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters

Look, I don’t know what to do here. No other performance except maybe Jim Carrey rates consideration. So I’m leaving the category as-is. I got nothing.

Compromise List:

  • Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful
  • Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan
  • Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters
  • Nick Nolte, Affliction
  • Edward Norton, American History X

My Vote: Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters

1997

Actual Nominees:

  • Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting
  • Robert Duvall, The Apostle
  • Peter Fonda, Ulee’s Gold
  • Dustin Hoffman, Wag the Dog
  • Jack Nicholson, As Good as It Gets

My Vote: Jack Nicholson, As Good as It Gets

I got nothing here either. I know a lot of people go Ian Holm for Sweet Hereafter. I didn’t think he warranted a lead nomination. Supporting made more sense for that performance. Otherwise — I’m leaving this. I can’t do anything to improve this, and don’t have any other performances that make sense.

Compromise List:

  • Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting
  • Robert Duvall, The Apostle
  • Peter Fonda, Ulee’s Gold
  • Dustin Hoffman, Wag the Dog
  • Jack Nicholson, As Good as It Gets

My Vote: Jack Nicholson, As Good as It Gets

1996

Actual Nominees:

  • Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire
  • Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
  • Woody Harrelson, The People vs. Larry Flynt
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shine
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Sing Blade

My Vote: Billy Bob Thornton, Sing Blade

I can’t improve upon this. Plus, since I have to keep Geoffrey Rush despite him actually being a supporting performance, I’m not even going to bother. The one performance I don’t like I have to keep. So we’re leaving it.

Actual Nominees:

  • Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire
  • Ralph Fiennes, The English Patient
  • Woody Harrelson, The People vs. Larry Flynt
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shine
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Sing Blade

My Vote: Billy Bob Thornton, Sing Blade

1995

Actual Nominees:

  • Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas
  • Richard Dreyfuss, Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Anthony Hopkins, Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking
  • Massimo Troisi, Il Postino

My Vote: Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

Just one change for me.

My Nominees:

  • Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas
  • Richard Dreyfuss, Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Anthony Hopkins, Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking
  • Kevin Bacon, Murder in the First

My Vote: Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

I really liked Bacon’s performance, plus I think he’s a horribly underrated actor. Other than that, I’m cool with the list. I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas
  • Richard Dreyfuss, Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Anthony Hopkins, Nixon
  • Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking
  • Massimo Troisi, Il Postino

My Vote: Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas

1994

Actual Nominees:

  • Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption
  • Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
  • Nigel Hawthorne, The Madness of King George
  • Paul Newman, Nobody’s Fool
  • John Travolta, Pulp Fiction

My Vote: Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

The only person I put on here is Tim Robbins for Shawshank. I didn’t see anyone in Quiz Show that stood out as a lead, so I wouldn’t push that. Otherwise, the category works.

My Nominees:

  • Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption
  • Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
  • Paul Newman, Nobody’s Fool
  • Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption
  • John Travolta, Pulp Fiction

My Vote: Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

For a Compromise — performance-wise, you take off Paul Newman. Aesthetic pleasure-wise, you take off Hawthorne. I don’t care. Either way, I think we can all understand that Robbins is kind of the backbone of that movie. To nominate one but not the other is a travesty.

Compromise List:

  • Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption
  • Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump
  • Paul Newman, Nobody’s Fool
  • Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption
  • John Travolta, Pulp Fiction

My Vote: Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump

1993

Actual Nominees:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, In the Name of the Father
  • Laurence Fishburne, What’s Love Got to Do With It?
  • Tom Hanks, Philadelphia
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Remains of the Day
  • Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

My Vote: Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

I’ll tell you flat out — if I nominate anyone from Philadelphia, it’s Denzel. Sorry. And since there’s a vote split, I take them both off and put on someone I really want to nominate that would never happen. (Plus, it’s the kind of thing where, if I’m in 1993, I know Hanks gets on anyway, so I have fun with this for the fuck of it.)

My Nominees:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, In the Name of the Father
  • Michael Douglas, Falling Down
  • Laurence Fishburne, What’s Love Got to Do With It?
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Remains of the Day
  • Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

My Vote: Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

Honestly, let’s just leve it. I’d put on Denzel, but I like Fishburne getting a nomination. He got ignored for Boyz N the Hood and was also great in Searching for Bobby Fischer this year. So I say leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, In the Name of the Father
  • Laurence Fishburne, What’s Love Got to Do With It?
  • Tom Hanks, Philadelphia
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Remains of the Day
  • Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

My Vote: Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List

1992

Actual Nominees:

  • Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin
  • Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman
  • Stephen Rea, The Crying Game
  • Denzel Washington, Malcolm X

My Vote: Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin

We’re gonna leave the category as-is, but honestly, I have to nominate someone else instead of Stephen Rea on my list. Most people consider it a supporting/ensemble performance, but, all things considered, I think we can make an exception here.

My Nominees:

  • Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin
  • Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman
  • Denzel Washington, Malcolm X

My Vote: Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin

Otherwise, we’re leaving it.

(P.S. you think I can get away with Lemmon as Supporting? Instead of Pacino… actually…)

Compromise List:

  • Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin
  • Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman
  • Stephen Rea, The Crying Game
  • Denzel Washington, Malcolm X

My Vote: Robert Downey, Jr., Chaplin

1991

Actual Nominees:

  • Warren Beatty, Bugsy
  • Robert De Niro, Cape Fear
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs
  • Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides
  • Robin Williams, The Fisher King

My Vote: Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

Tough choices here. The only weak link is Nolte. Good performance, shitty movie. I put on someone in a much better movie with a much better (to me) performance (who was actually eligible this year for a movie from the year before, based on another nomination). Also, Jeff Bridges might have been a better nomination than Williams (second year in a row that’s happened with him), I’m leaving Williams. (Also, sorry Kevin Costner in JFK but I didn’t see much out of that performance. You’re good at carrying movies, but the performances are rarely standout.)

My Nominees:

  • Warren Beatty, Bugsy
  • Robert De Niro, Cape Fear
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs
  • John Turturro, Barton Fink
  • Robin Williams, The Fisher King

My Vote: Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

Can we agree that Turturro was a better choice? Can I make that change legitimately? Well, I’m doing it anyway, so…

Compromise List:

  • Warren Beatty, Bugsy
  • Robert De Niro, Cape Fear
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs
  • John Turturro, Barton Fink
  • Robin Williams, The Fisher King

My Vote: Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs

1990

Actual Nominees:

  • Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
  • Robert De Niro, Awakenings
  • Gerard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Richard Harris, The Field
  • Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune

My Vote: Richard Harris, The Field

I hate this category. First, to me, Robin Williams was much more effective in Awakenings, the way Bridges was the backbone of The Fisher King. I vote for him over De Niro. Then — no to Costner, no to Depardieu. Instead, I put on Ray Liotta, because I love the movie, and I put on Pacino, since I wanted to give him a Godfather hat trick.

My Nominees:

  • Richard Harris, The Field
  • Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune
  • Ray Liotta, Goodfellas
  • Al Pacino, The Godfather Part III
  • Robin Williams, Awakenings

My Vote: Richard Harris, The Field

Neither one of my nominations were going to happen, so really we have to leave it. (Unless we wanna give Williams the nomination over Depardieu. I’m not particularly enchanted by that performance. I never understood the appeal of Cyrano, and I hate when performances like that are nominated post-1940. So give me the okay and I’ll gladly change that one.)

Compromise List:

  • Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
  • Gerard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Richard Harris, The Field
  • Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune
  • Robert De Niro, Awakenings

My Vote: Richard Harris, The Field

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2 responses

  1. Randy Harris

    Here’s some more bum fuck choices you made.
    1. 2011 Gosling in Drive was an amazing performance with few words, but all the meaning needed through the smallest of gestures.
    2. 2011 Why do you like Clooney so much in The Descendants? He was horrible.
    3. 2010 Oh what do we know! Choi Min-Sik for I Saw the Devil isn’t here, What a surprise.
    4. 2009 No Rockwell in Moon or Mortensen in The Road? Wow.
    5. 2006 Here’s how to make a weak ass category look good, Add Ulrich Mühe in The Lives of Others.
    6. 2005 Everything is wrong here. No Damian Lewis in Keane, No Byung-hun Lee in A Bittersweet Life, No Ray Winstone in The Proposition. How the fuck did you choose Straithairn? He has no challenge.
    7. 2004 You pick one of the most overrated performances ever, Foxx in Ray. It’s like an SNL skit. He was a horrid Ray Charles.
    8. 2003 This one made me angry. No Stephen Lang in Gods and Generals. You really have no clue. Oh! and another Min-Sik snub.
    9. 2001 You nominate the crappy Will Smith but forget Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums? UGHH! Another horrid choice.
    10. 1999 How do you not like the Farnsworth nomination? Farnsworth gives a completely natural, and authentic performance, The best of 1999.
    11. 1997 I chuckled when i did not see Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight.
    12. 1996 1 word. Fargo.
    13. 1994 How the fuck do you like Hanks in Forrest Gump? It was an annoying and hammy performance. Give Oldman the win that year.
    14. 1992 Keitel in Bad Lieutenant maybe, But your win is great.

    You nailed 1993 and some other years that i didn’t mention. But nonetheless some bad choices here and there.

    January 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    • Nathan

      I like the movie, but Gosling’s performance in Drive was hardly oscar worthy. He was just generic stoic serious man.

      July 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

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