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

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories.

2011

Actual Nominees:

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

My Vote: Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I love these recent years. I know exactly what I’d have voted for.

My Nominees:

  • Albert Brooks, Drive
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Ben Kingsley, Hugo
  • Mark Strong, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

My Vote: Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Now — a Compromise List is impossible, this being so recent. So I’m going to leave it alone. Plus — in terms of actors — I like Nolte, I like Plummer, I like von Sydow, I like Branagh. Hill didn’t need to be there, but I love Moneyball, so it’s fine. But it’s too soon for objectivity.

Compromise List:

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

My Vote: Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

2010

Actual Nominees:

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

My Vote: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Here’s what I’d have voted for.

My Nominees:

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Matt Damon, True Grit
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Animal Kingdom
  • Bill Murray, Get Low
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

My Vote: Christian Bale, The Fighter

Almost considered Brolin instead of Damon, but Brolin doesn’t have enough screen time.

Also — I didn’t think Garfield deserved a nomination at all.

Too soon for a Compromise List, but honestly, if anyone over time is gonna be considered an undeserving nominee (that’s not Ruffalo, since I’m apparently the only one that thinks that), it’s Renner. I don’t see what he did to truly deserve that nomination other than having been giving good performances for a while. It seems like they just wanted to give the film something, and that’s why he got on. It’s not like he was particularly terrifying or anything. I feel like he just caught a wave and people just put him on the list without thinking about it.

Compromise List:

  • Christian Bale, The Fighter
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • Jeremy Renner, The Town
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone

My Vote: Christian Bale, The Fighter

2009

Actual Nominees:

  • Matt Damon, Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

My Vote: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

And here’s my list:

My Nominees:

  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
  • Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles
  • Fred Melamed, A Serious Man
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

My Vote: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

I don’t think enough people saw McKay’s film for him to have gotten on. Mackie kind of got fucked over, but the category was really strong. Damon holds more weight. Still, I feel we need to make that change. Damon didn’t really do anything. And Plummer — he was a lead. But you can see them trending toward giving him an Oscar, so you can’t really change it. I’m gonna make the Mackie change and leave off Melamed, who was absolutely astounding in A Serious Man (as was Michael Stuhlbarg. If he didn’t get nominated, this was never happening). I know that one would have held up better.

Compromise List:

  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

My Vote: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

2008

Actual Nominees:

  • Josh Brolin, Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
  • Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

My Vote: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

My list is mostly the same, since the category is strong.

My Nominees:

  • Josh Brolin, Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
  • Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

My Vote: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Pitt fucking steals that movie. I didn’t see Shannon doing anything that terrific. And Brolin got a nomination for 2007, so — shit happens.

Also, tough call on Dev Patel — but nah.

Honestly, let’s just leave it. I don’t need Pitt on there. He got nominated in lead anyway.

Compromise List:

  • Josh Brolin, Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
  • Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
  • Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

My Vote: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

2007

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Tough call as to what I’d nominate. I guess they consider Pitt lead for Assassination of Jesse James, so I guess I can’t also nominate him here. That wouldn’t make any sense.

Paul Dano was good in There Will Be Blood, but honestly — I don’t see any range from him, so that whole performance felt like Paul Dano playing Eli and not “Eli.” I needed to buy “Eli” to nominate him.

Tommy Lee Jones was terrific in No Country, but they nominated him lead instead. So I can understand that. Plus that movie is all about Bardem anyway.

I also loved Vincent Cassel in Eastern Promises. I think that’s one of the most underrated performances of the decade. Honestly, that’s probably the only change I’d make on my list. But you can never beat a veteran nomination, so Holbrook takes that and we have to leave the category.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

2006

Actual Nominees:

  • Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
  • Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
  • Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
  • Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
  • Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

My Vote: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed (I hope I voted for him and not for Arkin)

Obviously Nicholson carries weight here, and honestly, I would nominate him over Hounsou. But he didn’t need it, and he’d take away attention from Wahlberg. I mostly want him on there to make the category more interesting to me. So he’d be on my list.

I wasn’t too blown away (oh…wait… that’s a pun here) by Ben Affleck in Hollywoodland. He was good, but — no need to nominate him. (He’d never make a Compromise List anyway.)

Also — no to Michael Caine in The Prestige or Children of Men. That would be a “Michael Caine” nomination. There’s no performance in either of those worth nominating.

The real nominee that I felt got fucked over was Brad Pitt in Babel. At this point, in 2006, this was probably the best dramatic work Pitt had ever done. In 2006, it was a travesty that he didn’t get nominated. Now — meh, it’s not so bad. I don’t need to nominate him, since the Academy realized how good he is and started to nominate him some more. Plus, if I nominated him, I’d have to take off Djimon, and I do hate depriving black actors of Oscar nominations.

Also — I wouldn’t know what to do with the other two Sunshine actor — Kinnear and Carrell (or even Dano). So I just left them alone.

Compromise List:

  • Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
  • Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
  • Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
  • Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
  • Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

My Vote:  Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

2005

Actual Nominees:

  • George Clooney, Syriana
  • Matt Dillon, Crash
  • Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt, A History of Violence

My Vote: William Hurt, A History of Violence

Oh, Hurt was so fucking good in that movie, though Clooney totally — wait, what am I doing? This isn’t about that.

There aren’t any changes to make here. Munich is an ensemble, and the person I’d put on my list — Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (you know you loved that performance) — would never get on in a million years. Mostly I’d have wanted him to get a Globe nomination in recognition of his constant awesomeness and complete lack of respect for it. But the list stays. It works.

Compromise List:

  • George Clooney, Syriana
  • Matt Dillon, Crash
  • Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt, A History of Violence

My Vote: William Hurt, A History of Violence

2004

Actual Nominees:

  • Alan Alda, The Aviator
  • Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
  • Jamie Foxx, Collateral
  • Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
  • Clive Owen, Closer

My Vote: Clive Owen, Closer

I remember this year. The final spot (Alan Alda’s spot) was between him, Freddy Highmore for Finding Neverland (how terrible would that nomination look now if it actually happened?) and David Carradine for Kill Bill, Vol: 2. Which — I totally get why Carradine didn’t get on, even though I’d obviously have voted for it. Really the only change I’d make — since I like the Alan Alda recognition — is changing Jamie Foxx for Tom Cruise. Foxx was the lead, he was getting it for Ray this year, and Cruise was so much better. Maybe if they’d have acknowledged Cruise playing against type, he’d have taken a chance or two after this with his choices, and maybe Valkyrie doesn’t happen. Think about it, people.

Compromise List:

  • Alan Alda, The Aviator
  • Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
  • Tom Cruise, Collateral
  • Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
  • Clive Owen, Closer

My Vote: Clive Owen, Closer

2003

Actual Nominees:

  • Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
  • Benicio del Toro, 21 Grams
  • Djimon Hounsou, In America
  • Tim Robbins, Mystic River
  • Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

My Vote: Alec Baldwin, The Cooler

I don’t think I’m putting on a list of my nominees here, because — let me explain:

First off — obviously I’d put Ian McKellen in Return of the King. He’s fucking Gandalf. Some people say Sean Astin, but I say fuck that. And obviously Andy Serkis wasn’t ever happening. Problem is — the Academy, everyone — they were over those films. They weren’t nominating him again for it, as much as we’d have liked to see it. So I’m not even gonna bother beating that drum.

Second — I loved Bill Nighy in Love Actually. Never gonna happen. So why bother writing a list for that?

Third — Chris Cooper got nominated for a SAG Award (I believe) for Seabiscuit. I don’t remember him in that movie, but I love Chris Cooper. So I’d want to nominate him just because I love him and the film, but I don’t remember the performance, so I don’t want to go down that road without actually knowing what I’m nominating.

And that’s pretty much everything. Oh, and I don’t like Albert Finney in Big Fish here at all. Sentimental bullshit. Not for me.

So as much as I don’t love this list (and have to keep the winner), I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
  • Benicio del Toro, 21 Grams
  • Djimon Hounsou, In America
  • Tim Robbins, Mystic River
  • Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

My Vote: Alec Baldwin, The Cooler

2002

Actual Nominees:

  • Chris Cooper, Adaptation.
  • Ed Harris, The Hours
  • John C. Reilly, Chicago
  • Paul Newman, Road to Perdition
  • Christopher Walken, Catch Me If You Can

My Vote: Chris Cooper, Adaptation.

Not gonna touch it. I feel very strongly that Dennis Quaid should have been on (for Far From Heaven) instead of Ed Harris, but this category works so well, I don’t want to fuck with it.

Alfred Molina got some notice for Frida, but fuck that. Quaid is the only person that gets on here, and it’s at Harris’ expense, since Walken and Newman were veteran nominations, Cooper won, and John C. Reilly was in three of the Best Picture nominees in prominent roles. There was no way he wasn’t getting on for something.

So I’m leaving it — but again, let me say — next time I update this list — Dennis Quaid is going on. Because I know he was better.

(Also, let me say — Barry Pepper was great in 25th Hour and got no love for it. Hoffman too, but he gets recognition. Barry Pepper never gets any recognition.)

Compromise List:

  • Chris Cooper, Adaptation.
  • Ed Harris, The Hours
  • John C. Reilly, Chicago
  • Paul Newman, Road to Perdition
  • Christopher Walken, Catch Me If You Can

My Vote: Chris Cooper, Adaptation.

2001

Actual Nominees:

  • Jim Broadbent, Iris
  • Ethan Hawke, Training Day
  • Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast
  • Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Job Voight, Ali

My Vote: Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast

Don’t even bother me about Ghost World. I haven’t seen it. Let me see it before we start that discussion. Also, apparently Hayden Christensen (yes, that Hayden Christensen) got nominated for something for Life as a House. I guess I should see that, because it’s humorous to me that emo Annie was in Oscar circles for a performance. (Obviously Shattered Glass, yes. But the point was the Star Wars joke. Focus on the joke.)

Oh, and yeah — I got nothing. Leaving it. (P.S. The only person that comes off this list is Voight, if it’s changed.)

Compromise List:

  • Jim Broadbent, Iris
  • Ethan Hawke, Training Day
  • Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast
  • Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Job Voight, Ali

My Vote: Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast

2000

Actual Nominees:

  • Jeff Bridges, The Contender
  • Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
  • Benicio del Toro, Traffic
  • Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator

My Vote: Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire

Can I nominate Wilson from Cast Away?

My Nominees:

  • Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
  • Robert Downey, Jr., Wonder Boys
  • Gary Oldman, The Contender
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator
  • Brad Pitt, Snatch

My Vote: Brad Pitt, Snatch (because you have to)

The Downey performance — I remember seeing that movie in like, 2003 or something, and being blown away by it. (Maybe I saw it in 2001, I forget.) But this was before Downey was on his comeback (which did not begin with Iron Man. It began with Kiss Kiss Bang BangThe Singing Detective was a good step, but 2005 was when it really started. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Game 6 really got him back on the good side, and then he had Good Night and Good Luck too), so I wasn’t really that cognizant of who he was. The most I’d have recognized him from at that point was Natural Born Killers. And Back to School. And I remember being like, “Holy shit, this guy is great.” But — I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen that movie since then, so I can’t actually say he should have been on a Compromise List without having done that.

And Pitt never happens. That’s just me having fun.

Honestly, I still don’t know how Jeff Bridges gets on and not Oldman. Watch that movie. You tell me which one of those two is giving a great performance and which is actually just having fun.

And you know what? I’m actually gonna make the change. I’d say put them both on, but no one else comes off there. Phoenix probably should, but it wasn’t happening. You’re lucky Oliver Reed didn’t get on there. (And if Richard Harris had a little bit more screen time, he might have as well.)

Compromise List:

  • Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire
  • Benicio del Toro, Traffic
  • Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich
  • Gary Oldman, The Contender
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator

My Vote: Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire

1999

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Tom Cruise, Magnolia

This is a tough category.

My Nominees:

  • Chris Cooper, American Beauty
  • Tom Cruise, Magnolia
  • Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile
  • John Malkovich, Being John Malkovich
  • Ving Rhames, Bringing Out the Dead

My Vote:

So many options, so little spots. I thought about Jason Robards, but there was really only one spot for Magnolia. And honestly, I just wanted to show some support to how fucking batshit Ving Rhames was in that movie. Tom Sizemore too. That movie was full of great performances and it’s so under the radar. That one’s gonna need a cultural reevaluation in a few years.

I also really liked Christopher Plummer in The Insider. He was such a douchebag in that, it was awesome. But I ran out of spots (and wasn’t not putting on Ving Rhames).

As for a Compromise — honestly the one person that should be on is Chris Cooper. I know Jude Law was excellent, but it seems everyone was hell bent on nominating Haley Joel Osment, so I have to leave that. (Sorry, Malkovich. They let a fucking kid beat you out.) Law seems to have gotten on because of the support of the Brits (like Oldman in 2011). Cooper got a SAG nomination, so as far as I’m concerned, he should be there. Which performance holds up better? If we can’t take off Osment, since he’s obviously the weak link here (and we have to keep Caine), it’s Law. So who holds up?

Cooper actually has a shot at winning this if he’s nominated.

(Also, give me another five or ten years and I think we’ll have reached the point of, “What the fuck were they doing nominating the kid?” like we are now with Shane.)

Compromise List:

  • Michael Caine, The Cider House Rules
  • Chris Cooper, American Beauty
  • Tom Cruise, Magnolia
  • Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile
  • Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense

My Vote: Chris Cooper, American Beauty

1998

Actual Nominees:

  • James Coburn, Affliction
  • Robert Duvall, A Civil Action
  • Ed Harris, The Truman Show
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love
  • Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan

My Vote: Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan

Didn’t Wilkinson have more of a character arc in Shakespeare in Love? (Though I guess Rush was pulling double duty in Elizabeth as well. And he’d just won. So it makes sense they went with him. Either way, someone from that movie was getting on here.)

Bill Murray was great in Rushmore — but let’s be serious. A Globe nomination is not enough to tell me he gets on. They’re not an accurate representation. If SAG nominated him, or BAFTA, then I could go along with it (as much as I’d like to). But not that. We’ll leave it at, “It was a good performance.”

My list includes  John Goodman in The Big Lebowski — but again — never gonna happen. So let’s not pretend it might have.

Also — David Kelly was nominated for stuff for Waking Ned Devine, and somebody nominated Donald Sutherland for Without Limits. Those were two where I went, “I haven’t seen those,” so I’m listing them, since I have no idea.

Otherwise — that list stays by default. There’s no one we can take off. Where do you start? You have to leave Coburn. I take off Ed Harris first. But that was not happening. And Duvall was a veteran nomination, and was fresh off a (possible) snub for The Apostle. He wasn’t going anywhere. Thornton was the best performance in the category, and someone, like I said, was getting on for Shakespeare. There’s no way to touch this category. So we have to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • James Coburn, Affliction
  • Robert Duvall, A Civil Action
  • Ed Harris, The Truman Show
  • Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love
  • Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan

My Vote: Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan

1997

Actual Nominees:

  • Robert Foster, Jackie Brown
  • Anthony Hopkins, Amistad
  • Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets
  • Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights
  • Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

My Vote: I think I voted for Robert Forster when I wrote this up.

The gift and the curse to this category is that all the people who would be nominated from L.A. Confidential are all kind of leads. So it’s nice that we don’t have to deal with it and it sucks that we can’t even think about putting them here, since what the fuck do you do? You can’t really consider any one of those three more of a lead than the other two. And if you can, the only person who would fit this category from those three is Spacey. Like I said. Gift and a curse.

Also, Billy Connolly was great in Mrs. Brown, but the category is too strong.

Also, I know a lot of people here would say Ian Holm for The Sweet Hereafter. Fine. But it’s pretty much impossible to take anyone off this list. Not to mention, he had no awards traction whatsoever, so it would have never happened. The list stays.

Compromise List:

  • Robert Foster, Jackie Brown
  • Anthony Hopkins, Amistad
  • Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets
  • Burt Reynolds, Boogie Nights
  • Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

My Vote: Robin Williams, Good Will Hunting

1996

Actual Nominees:

  • Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire
  • William H. Macy, Fargo
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine
  • Edward Norton, Primal Fear
  • James Woods, Ghosts of Mississippi

My Vote: William H. Macy, Fargo

Apologies to anyone in The Birdcage — it wasn’t happening this year. Various reasons, not all performance-related. We’ll just get that out of the way first.

I’d also love to have seen Samuel L. Jackson get nominated here for A Time to Kill, but it wasn’t happening.

That said — Noah Taylor was the lead of Shine, and Geoffrey Rush should have been here. But, even so, Taylor could have gotten a Supporting nomination. He was good enough to have gotten one. Only problem? That causes so much chaos. Then you’d actually be nominated the supporting actor as lead and the lead as supporting simply because the lead is more of a star.

So I’m leaving Taylor off. Plus Mueller-Stahl got nominated.

Either way — we have to leave the list. James Woods probably doesn’t belong, but they fucked up so many things with this year, let’s just not add to the confusion.

Compromise List:

  • Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Maguire
  • William H. Macy, Fargo
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine
  • Edward Norton, Primal Fear
  • James Woods, Ghosts of Mississippi

My Vote: William H. Macy, Fargo

1995

Actual Nominees:

  • Ed Harris, Apollo 13
  • James Cromwell, Babe
  • Brad Pitt, Twelve Monkeys
  • Tim Roth, Rob Roy
  • Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

My Vote: Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

Tough category. Hard to change anything.

I’m not making a My Nominees list, but I’ll tell you right now — it’s a fucking travesty that Kevin Bacon didn’t get nominated for Murder in the First. Gary Oldman was great there too, but Bacon — how the fuck do you ignore that performance? (Also, I’m glad Branagh didn’t get nominated for Othello. You know how I am with those kinds of performances, post-1950.)

I can’t really make the Bacon argument, given the category and more so the fact that I haven’t seen that film in years. Mostly I saw that he was nominated for either a SAG or a Globe and went, “Oh yeah! That performance was great! And someone thought it too!” And that made me start beating that drum. But I’ll need to see it again. If anyone comes off here for me — it’s Roth. I love Tim Roth, but let’s be serious. That’s not that great a performance. That’s like John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire. At best.

Compromise List:

  • Ed Harris, Apollo 13
  • James Cromwell, Babe
  • Brad Pitt, Twelve Monkeys
  • Tim Roth, Rob Roy
  • Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

My Vote: Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

1994

Actual Nominees:

  • Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
  • Martin Landau, Ed Wood
  • Chazz Palminteri, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump
  • Paul Scofield, Quiz Show

My Vote: Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction

Having some fun with this one.

My Nominees:

  • Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
  • Martin Landau, Ed Wood
  • Gary Oldman, The Professional
  • Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump
  • John Turturro, Quiz Show

My Vote: Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction

Surprisingly less fun than I expected it to be. I forgot how goot this category is. I know Oldman would never get on. That was just for fun purposes. But the Turturro snub is a fucking disgrace. I’m changing that right now, no questions asked.

Also, if there was one open nominee this year, I guarantee you James Whitmore gets it for Shawshank. Seriously. One open spot, and he gets on. How do you ignore Brooks like that unless you have to?

They had to.

Compromise List:

  • Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction
  • Martin Landau, Ed Wood
  • Chazz Palminteri, Bullets Over Broadway
  • Gary Sinise, Forrest Gump
  • John Turturro, Quiz Show

My Vote: Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction

1993

Actual Nominees:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
  • Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List
  • Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive
  • Pete Postlethwaite, In the Name of the Father
  • John Malkovich, In the Line of Fire

My Vote: Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List

This category is amazing outside of Malkovich. (Remember, you have to keep Jones.)

There are performances some people would like to nominate, like Sean Penn in Carlito’s Way, or Chazz Palminteri in A Bronx Tale, or any one of like three people from True Romance (specifically Dennis Hopper, Saul Rubinek (for me. He’s so much fun in that) and Gary Oldman). But there’s only one person who should be on this list in that final spot, and it’s totally non-negotiable.

Compromise List:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
  • Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List
  • Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive
  • Ben Kingsley, Schindler’s List
  • Pete Postlethwaite, In the Name of the Father

My Vote: Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List

Kingsley was also in Searching for Bobby Fischer. It’s a joke that Malkovich got on instead of him, as much as I love Malkovich.

1992

Actual Nominees:

  • Jaye Davidson, The Crying Game
  • Gene Hackman, Unforgiven
  • Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men
  • Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night

My Vote: Gene Hackman, Unforgiven

This category can barely be touched. Davidson, Hackman and Nicholson don’t go anywhere. Pacino can go, and I’m gonna just switch on that one. I’m not even gonna bother with a My Nominees list. Let’s just get straight to work.

First — for Glengarry — I nominate Alec Baldwin. His single scene is one of the best ever. If Beatrice Straight can win an Oscar for that little screen time, Alec Baldwin can get nominated for it.

Also — can we consider Jack Lemmon Supporting? If so, it’s no contest that he gets on instead of Pacino.

NBR gave him Best Actor for it, but that doesn’t affect Oscar voting. I don’t know.

If it were up to me, I’d take off both Pacino and Paymer and put on Lemmon and Baldwin.

But… since I did vote for Lemmon as lead, and Paymer is awesome and I don’t want to fuck him over, I’ll just make the one change.

(P.S. I’d love to vote for Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, but that would really only be for my personal list.)

Actually, fuck it, let’s just make one:

(Oh, but before I do — no to Chris O’Donnell in Scent of a Woman. In case anyone was actually thinking that.)

My Nominees:

  • Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Gene Hackman, Unforgiven
  • Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own
  • Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

My Vote: Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross

Okay, now let’s Compromise:

Compromise List:

  • Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Jaye Davidson, The Crying Game
  • Gene Hackman, Unforgiven
  • Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men
  • David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night

My Vote: Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross

1991

Actual Nominees:

  • Tommy Lee Jones, JFK
  • Harvey Keitel, Bugsy
  • Ben Kingsley, Bugsy
  • Michael Lerner, Barton Fink
  • Jack Palance, City Slickers

My Vote: Michael Lerner, Barton Fink

Oh, this category is total bullshit.

My Nominees:

  • Laurence Fishburne, Boyz N the Hood
  • John Goodman, Barton Fink
  • Michael Lerner, Barton Fink
  • Ted Levine, The Silence of the Lambs
  • Gary Oldman, JFK

My Vote: John Goodman, Barton Fink

See that? 4 out of 5 changes. All legitimate.

(P.S. Haven’t seen Hear My Song, which Ned Beatty got nominated for something for, nor have I actually seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which Alan Rickman got nominated for something for. But I know there’s no way he would actually have gotten nominated for that. I just figured I’d point out that I need to see it.)

Okay — I’m calling bullshit on the Tommy Lee Jones nomination. If anyone’s nominated from that film — anyone at all, it’s Gary Oldman. And I’m taking that John Goodman nomination. It’s a sick joke that he got left off. So Goodman is on. Either we take off Jones for a clean swap, or we switch that to Oldman and take off one of the Bugsy nominations.

And since I have no SAG awards to go by — I have to take off the JFK nomination and leave the two Bugsy ones. Since I can live with Oldman getting fucked over again. I can live with Laurence Fishburne being fucked over (since we all know how much the Academy likes black people). And I can even live with Ted Levine not being nominated. That makes sense. I can’t, however, live with Goodman being fucked over.

Compromise List:

  • John Goodman, Barton Fink
  • Harvey Keitel, Bugsy
  • Ben Kingsley, Bugsy
  • Michael Lerner, Barton Fink
  • Jack Palance, City Slickers

My Vote: John Goodman, Barton Fink

1990

Actual Nominees:

  • Bruce Davison, Longtime Companion
  • Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves
  • Andy Garcia, The Godfather Part III
  • Al Pacino, Dick Tracy
  • Joe Pesci, Goodfellas

My Vote: Joe Pesci, Goodfellas

I need to see a few performances again before I make a ruling on this one (or put a My Nominees list up).

I can only go by BAFTA and the Globes here. As well as my own gut.

Now — I don’t remember Miller’s Crossing, but seeing as how it got so little traction anywhere, I know it won’t really make a Compromise List, so I won’t have to worry about that. So that’s good. One less thing.

Now — Armand Assante got nominated somewhere for Q&A. I haven’t seen it. So I can’t comment.

Hector Elizondo also got nominated (I’m guessing from the Globes) for Pretty Woman. Now — I love Hector Elizondo, but I can’t for the life of me remember him doing anything in that movie that warranted an Oscar nomination. I’m guessing I left him here as a note for myself as wishful thinking.

The two nominees I strongly consider for inclusion are, first — Gary Oldman in State of Grace. It’s a recurring theme how badly the Academy has fucked Oldman over the years, so why should this be any different? I don’t see how he really gets on. I’ll just mention it, because it probably would go on a My Nominees list, whenever that shows up.

The other performance I wanted to mention — Ron Silver in Reversal of Fortune. He got greatly outshined by Jeremy Irons in that movie, when in reality he gave a really solid performance there. But unfortunately — no awards traction. So he probably wouldn’t make it past my list.

That said — I can’t change this category. Pacino probably shouldn’t be there, but he gives life to an otherwise boring category. And Davison — topic film. You can’t touch something like that in 1990. Now — sure. But why bother? It’s not like anything screams out “must nominate.” So why fuck with it? Pesci won. That’s all that matters.

Compromise List:

  • Bruce Davison, Longtime Companion
  • Graham Greene, Dances with Wolves
  • Andy Garcia, The Godfather Part III
  • Al Pacino, Dick Tracy
  • Joe Pesci, Goodfellas

My Vote: Joe Pesci, Goodfellas

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