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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actor (1950-1969)

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.

1969

Actual Nominees:

  • Rupert Crosse, The Reivers
  • Elliot Gould, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  • Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider
  • Anthony Quayle, Anne of the Thousand Days
  • Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

My Vote: Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Red Buttons got nominated for a Globe for They Shoot Horses, but I’m still bitter about his ’57 win, so I’m not putting him on.

Also, Robert Ryan was really good in The Wild Bunch, but I feel like that film was too violent for them, and just doesn’t feel like an Oscar film in general. And also — I don’t like taking away black actor nominations unless I have to, so I’m leaving this one. I’m not thrilled with it, but it’s serviceable.

Compromise List:

  • Rupert Crosse, The Reivers
  • Elliot Gould, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  • Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider
  • Anthony Quayle, Anne of the Thousand Days
  • Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

My Vote: Gig Young, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

1968

Actual Nominees:

  • Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses
  • Seymour Cassel, Faces
  • Daniel Massey, Star!
  • Jack Wild, Oliver!
  • Gene Wilder, The Producers

My Vote: Gene Wilder, The Producers

You put Tony Curtis here for The Boston Stranger, and I think he wins. Either way, I’m putting him on. That performance is incredible, and it’s supporting. I’m taking off Seymour Cassel, I don’t care what anyone says.

Ossie Davis got nominated for a Globe for The Scalphunters, but I didn’t see too much there. And they also nominated Robert Vaughn for Bullitt, which — I like it, but — I can’t. Not this category.

(Also — damn shame about Anthony Hopkins in The Lion in Winter. Too bad.)

Compromise List:

  • Jack Albertson, The Subject Was Roses
  • Seymour Cassel, Faces
  • Daniel Massey, Star!
  • Jack Wild, Oliver!
  • Gene Wilder, The Producers

My Vote: Gene Wilder, The Producers

1967

Actual Nominees:

  • John Cassavetes, The Dirty Dozen
  • Gene Hackman, Bonnie and Clyde
  • Cecil Kellaway, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke
  • Michael Pollard, Bonnie and Clyde

My Vote: George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke

I’d love to see Alan Arkin on here for Wait Until Dark, but you can’t touch this category. It’s too good. Cassavetes — ehh… but I’ll leave it.

Compromise List:

  • John Cassavetes, The Dirty Dozen
  • Gene Hackman, Bonnie and Clyde
  • Cecil Kellaway, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke
  • Michael Pollard, Bonnie and Clyde

My Vote: George Kennedy, Cool Hand Luke

1966

Actual Nominees:

  • Mako, The Sand Pebbles
  • James Mason, Georgy Girl
  • Walter Matthau, The Fortune Cookie
  • George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Robert Shaw, A Man for All Seasons

My Vote: Walter Matthau, The Fortune Cookie

I don’t see how Richard Attenborough isn’t nominated instead of Mako for Sand Pebbles. But whatever. I’ll leave it. I don’t need to quibble.

John Saxon stole The Appaloosa from Brando, but there’s no room here. Same for Eli Wallach in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (That one’s more a wishful thinking nominee.)

I’m leaving it. It’s a good category.

Compromise List:

  • Mako, The Sand Pebbles
  • James Mason, Georgy Girl
  • Walter Matthau, The Fortune Cookie
  • George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Robert Shaw, A Man for All Seasons

My Vote: Walter Matthau, The Fortune Cookie

1965

Actual Nominees:

  • Martin Balsam, A Thousand Clowns
  • Ian Bannen, Flight of the Phoenix
  • Tom Courtenay, Doctor Zhivago
  • Michael Dunn, Ship of Fools
  • Frank Finlay, Othello

My Vote: Martin Balsam, A Thousand Clowns

Terrible, terrible category.

First move — I’m taking off Michael Dunn and putting on Oskar Werner for The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I took him off lead specifically for this. Trust me, he was better here.

Now, another person I’m taking off is Ian Bannen. He’s actually barely in that movie, and I was shocked when I found out which person he was while I was watching. Nominate someone else from that movie. Not him. But I can’t figure out which person I’d nominate, so instead, I’m putting on (and you have to just put on here, since the category is so bad) Ian Hendry, from The Hill. I was watching that movie and saw Ian Bannen was in it and went, “Oh, he’s probably playing the sadistic guard. So I’ll just switch the film.” Then I found out it was Ian Hendry. Watch that movie. Trust me, it’s not that far of a stretch.

Rod Steiger got a lead nomination, so I don’t need to put him on for Zhivago. I think, you make those two changes, and this category works.

Compromise List:

  • Martin Balsam, A Thousand Clowns
  • Tom Courtenay, Doctor Zhivago
  • Frank Finlay, Othello
  • Ian Hendry, The Hill
  • Oskar Werner, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

My Vote: Oskar Werner, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

1964

Actual Nominees:

  • John Gielgud, Becket
  • Stanley Holloway, My Fair Lady
  • Edmond O’Brien, Seven Days in May
  • Lee Tracy, The Best Man
  • Peter Ustinov, Topkapi

My Vote: Peter Ustinov, Topkapi

Tough list. You can’t really change anything. Or rather, I wouldn’t really want to. Gielgud is Gielgud, and I like him, even though he’s not really in that movie. Holloway is good, and that film was probably gonna get everyone nominated. Ustinov stays regardless. I love Edmond O’Brien, though he didn’t really have much to do in that movie, and yet — the type of role — you can see it. And Lee Tracy, I thought was spectacular. Plus he got blacklisted for years, so I think he deserved it.

That said — George C. Scott (or Sterling Hayden, but more so George C. Scott) in Dr. Strangelove. He’s astounding. I think he has to go on. Time has dictated he goes on. And I think you can take off almost whoever you want there. I, personally, as much as I love him, take off Edmond O’Brien. But really, most of this category is fair game. I just felt he was the nominee with the least amount of film traction, and the most random choice (outside of “veteran nomination”). So that’s my switch.

Compromise List:

  • John Gielgud, Becket
  • Stanley Holloway, My Fair Lady
  • George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • Lee Tracy, The Best Man
  • Peter Ustinov, Topkapi

My Vote: George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

1963

Actual Nominees:

  • Nick Adams, Twilight of Honor
  • Bobby Darin, Captain Newman, M.D.
  • Melvyn Douglas, Hud
  • Hugh Griffith, Tom Jones
  • John Huston, The Cardinal

My Vote: Melvyn Douglas, Hud

I don’t remember the two roles in Captain Newman well enough to say, but I feel like Eddie Albert did a lot better than Bobby Darin. But I’m not one to quibble. Also, I don’t want to take off Huston, but in his brief role, Burgess Meredith was terrific in The Cardinal.

Otherwise — Richard Burton was great in The V.I.P.sbut I wouldn’t nominate him. So I’ll leave this as-is.

Compromise List:

  • Nick Adams, Twilight of Honor
  • Bobby Darin, Captain Newman, M.D.
  • Melvyn Douglas, Hud
  • Hugh Griffith, Tom Jones
  • John Huston, The Cardinal

My Vote: Melvyn Douglas, Hud

1962

Actual Nominees:

  • Ed Begley, 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

My Vote: Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia

I don’t want to fuck with this category, but I have to make one change. Which is, I’m taking off Victor Buono and putting on Brock Peters for To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m sorry, that has to happen. (Phillip Alford was great as Jem, and James K. Anderson was great as Bob Ewell, but there aren’t enough spots. And Duvall didn’t have enough screen time, even though we’d all love to nominate him on his character presence alone.)

Also — I’m not putting a personal list, because I can’t change anything. But I’d totally vote for Edmond O’Brien in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He was awesome there. (Also, not enough spots for me for Peter Sellers in Lolita. Maybe in another year he has a shot.)

Compromise List:

  • Ed Begley, Sweet Bird of Youth
  • Brock Peters, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Telly Savalas, Birdman of Alcatraz
  • Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia
  • Terence Stamp, Billy Budd

My Vote: Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia

1961

Actual Nominees:

  • George Chakiris, West Side Story
  • Montgomery Clift, Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Peter Falk, Pocketful of Miracles
  • Jackie Gleason, The Hustler
  • George C. Scott, The Hustler

My Vote: Jackie Gleason, The Hustler

Not crazy about Falk’s performance, but I’m not touching this category. It’s amazing.

Compromise List:

  • George Chakiris, West Side Story
  • Montgomery Clift, Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Peter Falk, Pocketful of Miracles
  • Jackie Gleason, The Hustler
  • George C. Scott, The Hustler

My Vote: Jackie Gleason, The Hustler

1960

Actual Nominees:

  • Peter Falk, Murder, Inc.
  • Jack Kruschen, The Apartment
  • Sal Mineo, Exodus
  • Peter Ustinov, Spartacus
  • Chill Wills, The Alamo

My Vote: Peter Ustinov, Spartacus

This is a tough one for me, since I need to see some of the potential swaps again. I feel like there has to be someone else from Spartacus that I could think about, but I haven’t watched that film in years.

Arthur Kennedy was really good in Elmer Gantry. I’d probably put him on over Chill Wills (or anybody for  that matter) from The Alamo. But —

When I watched Inherit the Wind the first time, I really liked Gene Kelly’s performance. But I really haven’t seen that movie in years, so I need to rewatch it. So, once I do that (and rewatch Spartacus), then I’ll make some decisions. Until then, I’m gonna leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Peter Falk, Murder, Inc.
  • Jack Kruschen, The Apartment
  • Sal Mineo, Exodus
  • Peter Ustinov, Spartacus
  • Chill Wills, The Alamo

My Vote: Peter Ustinov, Spartacus

1959

Actual Nominees:

  • Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder
  • Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur
  • George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder
  • Robert Vaughn, The Young Philadelphians
  • Ed Wynn, The Diary of Anne Frank 

My Vote: Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder

I don’t think Joe E. Brown should be here for Some Like It Hot. Executive decision.

Robert Vaughn — I love him, so I’d want to leave him here.

The only change I’d make, because I don’t get why they did what they did — why nominate Ed Wynn? I love Ed Wynn, but Joseph Schildkraut really kinda deserved that nomination as Anne’s father. So I’m making the change. I don’t get that one. Otherwise — it works really well.

Compromise List:

  • Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder
  • Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur
  • Joseph Schildkraut, The Diary of Anne Frank
  • George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder
  • Robert Vaughn, The Young Philadelphians

My Vote: Arthur O’Connell, Anatomy of a Murder

1958

Actual Nominees:

  • Burl Ives, The Big Country
  • Theodore Bikel, The Defiant Ones
  • Lee J. Cobb, The Brothers Karamazov
  • Arthur Kennedy, Some Came Running
  • Gig Young, Teacher’s Pet

My Vote: Burl Ives, The Big Country

I’d nominate Burl Ives for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but he won anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

I also feel like the most likely person everyone would say here is Orson Welles in Touch of Evil. And while I haven’t seen that film in a while, I feel like 80% of that is people’s opinions about the film more than the performance. so I’m calling it a no-go until I see it again.

Also, David Niven should be here, but I can’t do anything about that.

Otherwise — I got nothing. What? Maurice Chevalier in Gigi?

I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Burl Ives, The Big Country
  • Theodore Bikel, The Defiant Ones
  • Lee J. Cobb, The Brothers Karamazov
  • Arthur Kennedy, Some Came Running
  • Gig Young, Teacher’s Pet

My Vote: Burl Ives, The Big Country

1957

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Sessue Hayakawa, The Bridge on the River Kwai

Somebody from 12 Angry Men probably should be here. Lee J. Cobb is the obvious one. Probably two people should be here, but I’m confusing people. So I’m only adding Cobb for now.

Paths of Glory — wasn’t gonna happen. So let’s just be happy with the 12 Angry Men add. (Seriously, though. Once I see it again and differentiate between jurors, I think I’ll add a second one from that movie, because time really has dictated they should.

Compromise List:

  • Red Buttons, Sayonara
  • Lee J. Cobb, 12 Angry Men
  • Sessue Hayakawa, The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • Arthur Kennedy, Peyton Place
  • Russ Tamblyn, Peyton Place

My Vote: Lee J. Cobb, 12 Angry Men

1956

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Robert Stack, Written on the Wind

This one is fucking tough. I don’t know what I can change. But — first thing’s first.

My Nominees:

  • Earl Holliman, The Rainmaker
  • Dennis Hopper, Giant
  • Anthony Perkins, Friendly Persuasion
  • Edmond O’Brien, The Girl Can’t Help It
  • Robert Stack, Written on the Wind

My Vote: Robert Stack, Written on the Wind

Edmond O’Brien fucking steals that movie, but it would never happen. I just wanted to get people to watch that movie, because he’s fucking hysterical in it.

That said — no Dennis Hopper? All right, fine.

But — and I know I’m being a little hypocritical here, but this is basically rationalization for what I’m about to say — Earl Holliman won a Golden Globe for The Rainmaker. Beat Anthony Quinn, too. And I know, the Globes mean nothing, but — I love that film, and I’m seriously just making the change because I want to get more people to see that movie.

And because Don Murray was the lead of that movie and it’s a fucking joke they put him as Supporting.

(Also, I liked Hopper enough to put him on there instead of Rooney, but Mickey Rooney is Mickey Rooney, so I’m leaving it.)

Compromise List:

  • Earl Holliman, The Rainmaker
  • Anthony Perkins, Friendly Persuasion
  • Anthony Quinn, Lust for Life
  • Mickey Rooney, The Bold and the Brave
  • Robert Stack, Written on the Wind

My Vote: Robert Stack, Written on the Wind

1955

Actual Nominees:

  • Arthur Kennedy, Trial
  • Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts
  • Joe Mantell, Marty
  • Sal Mineo, Rebel Without a Cause
  • Arthur O’Connell, Picnic

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts

I still haven’t been able to find Trial, so I can’t in good conscience take off Kennedy. Mineo probably stays based on the role and all that, even though I don’t remember him being that great in the film. Lemmon won. He stays. Mantell — why not? And O’Connell — possible replacement, but I don’t know.

I feel the obvious choice is Raymond Massey in East of Eden. I don’t remember the performance too well, so I’m not making any changes until I’m sure.

Also — Cagney was good in Mister Roberts, but if anyone was getting a second nomination out of that film, it would be William Powell. But then again, no one knew that was gonna be his final role, so that’s not really something that makes too much sense except in hindsight. So I’m just leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Arthur Kennedy, Trial
  • Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts
  • Joe Mantell, Marty
  • Sal Mineo, Rebel Without a Cause
  • Arthur O’Connell, Picnic

My Vote: Jack Lemmon, Mister Roberts

1954

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront

Four of the five are perfect. And The Caine Mutiny is great. Why change it?

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront

1953

Actual Nominees:

  • Eddie Albert, Roman Holiday
  • Brandon de Wilde, Shane
  • Jack Palance, Shane
  • Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity
  • Robert Strauss, Stalag 17

 

 

My Vote: Robert Strauss, Stalag 17

Uhh… Otto Preminger in Stalag 17? Maybe?

Compromise List:

  • Eddie Albert, Roman Holiday
  • Brandon de Wilde, Shane
  • Jack Palance, Shane
  • Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity
  • Robert Strauss, Stalag 17

My Vote: Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity

1952

Actual Nominees:

  • Richard Burton, My Cousin Rachel
  • Arthur Hunnicutt, The Big Sky
  • Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man
  • Jack Palance, Sudden Fear
  • Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!

 

 

My Vote: Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man

1952 sucks. I can’t nominate someone from The Bad and the Beautiful, since as much as I love that movie, I don’t see which performance stands out as being worth it (despite the fact that it would really liven up this boring category).

Millard Mitchell got nominated for a Globe for My Six Convicts, but I haven’t seen that.

Singin’ in the Rain got shut out, plus it’s not a film for performances, so that’s out. High Noon — no. Who? Lloyd Bridges? I don’t think so. Again, it livens things up, but I don’t think so, performance-wise.

I hate this category, but I have no changes to offer. So I’m leaving it. Burton’s a lead, and I don’t know what the fuck Hunnicutt is — but we’re leaving it. Because Batman always leaves The Joker alive.

Compromise List:

  • Richard Burton, My Cousin Rachel
  • Arthur Hunnicutt, The Big Sky
  • Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man
  • Jack Palance, Sudden Fear
  • Anthony Quinn, Viva Zapata!

My Vote: Victor McLaglen, The Quiet Man

1951

Actual Nominees:

  • 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 Cup

 

 

 

My Vote: Karl Malden, A Streetcar Named Desire

Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train? Wishful thinking. It would never have happened.

Someone in Ace in the Hole? I haven’t seen that movie in years. I can’t think of anyone.

I don’t have too much here that makes sense. Plus the category’s not horrible, so I’m just leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • 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 Cup

My Vote: Karl Malden, A Streetcar Named Desire

1950

Actual Nominees:

  • Jeff Chandler, Broken Arrow
  • Edmund Gwenn, Mister 880
  • Sam Jaffe, The Asphalt Jungle
  • George Sanders, All About Eve
  • Erich von Stroheim, Sunset Boulevard

 

 

My Vote: George Sanders, All About Eve

I’m changing something, and I’m not going to tell you what it is beforehand. This might annoy some people, but I don’t care. History has spoken.

Compromise List:

  • Jeff Chandler, Broken Arrow
  • Sam Jaffe, The Asphalt Jungle
  • George Sanders, All About Eve
  • Erich von Stroheim, Sunset Boulevard
  • Orson Welles, The Third Man

My Vote: George Sanders, All About Eve

That’s one of the greatest characters of all time. The weight he carries over that entire movie — he’s like Colonel Kurtz. That introduction he has will never be topped. History dictates it goes here.

The whole “people might be upset thing” was because I was gonna take off Jaffe instead of Gwenn. Because I’m not a huge fan of The Asphalt Jungle the way some people are and because I really think Mister 880 is one of the underrated movies of the 50s. But in hindsight, Jaffe’s performance was better. So this works pretty much all around.

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