Lost But Not Forgotten: Oscar Nominees for Best Supporting Actor

As I mentioned yesterday, every weekend this month (leading up to the 90th Academy Awards) I’m taking a look at Oscar nominees that I feel are still memorable today, despite not taking home the Academy Award.

Note: I narrowed it down to just 20 favorites from each category, so of course there are several great nominees that didn’t make the cut. I also opted to not consider anything from films that were released from 2000 on, as I felt they’re still too recent. But there are some performers on this list that are still working, so there’s still a chance for them to win an Oscar someday…

Now, in chronological order, my favorite Oscar-nominated performances for Best Supporting Actor…

Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman in The Maltese Falcon
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Donald Crisp for How Green Was My Valley (winner)
Walter Brennan for Sergeant York
Charles Coburn for The Devil and Miss Jones
James Gleason for Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Claude Rains in Casablanca (1942)

Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca
Other Nominations: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Mr. Skeffington; Notorious
Competition:
Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier (winner)
Charles Bickford for The Song of Bernadette
J. Carrol Naish for Sahara
Akim Tamiroff for For Whom the Bell Tolls

Clifton Webb in Laura (1944)

Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker in Laura
Other Nominations: The Razor’s Edge; Sitting Pretty (Best Actor in a Leading Role)
Competition:
Barry Fitzgerald for Going My Way (winner)
Hume Cronyn for The Seventh Cross
Claude Rains for Mr. Skeffington
Monty Woolley for Since You Went Away

Robert Ryan in Crossfire (1947)

Robert Ryan as Montgomery in Crossfire
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Edmund Gwenn for Miracle on 34th Street (winner)
Charles Bickford for The Farmer’s Daughter
Thomas Gomez for Ride the Pink Horse
…and…

Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death (1947)

Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition: see above

Eddie Albert in Roman Holiday (1953)

Eddie Albert as Irving Radovich in Roman Holiday
Other Nominations: The Heartbreak Kid
Competition:
Frank Sinatra for From Here to Eternity (winner)
Brandon De Wilde for Shane
Jack Palance for Shane
Robert Strauss for Stalag 17

Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront (1954)

Lee J. Cobb as Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront
Other Nominations: The Brothers Karamazov
Competition:
Edmond O’Brien for The Barefoot Contessa (winner)
Karl Malden for On the Waterfront
Rod Steiger for On the Waterfront
Tom Tully for The Caine Mutiny

Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Sal Mineo as John “Plato” Crawford in Rebel Without a Cause
Other Nominations: Exodus
Competition:
Jack Lemmon for Mister Roberts (winner)
Arthur Kennedy for Trial
Joe Mantell for Marty
Arthur O’Connell for Picnic

Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Ed Begley for Sweet Bird of Youth (winner)
Victor Buono for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Telly Savalas for Birdman of Alcatraz
Terence Stamp for Billy Budd

Burgess Meredith in Rocky (1976)

Burgess Meredith as Mickey in Rocky
Other Nominations: The Day of the Locust
Competition:
Jason Robards for All the President’s Men (winner)
Ned Beatty for Network
Laurence Olivier for Marathon Man
Burt Young for Rocky

Robert Preston in Victor Victoria (1982)

Robert Preston as Carole “Toddy” Todd in Victor Victoria
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Louis Gossett Jr. for An Officer and a Gentleman (winner)
Charles Durning for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
John Lithgow for The World According to Garp
James Mason for The Verdict

Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff (1983)

Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Jack Nicholson for Terms of Endearment (winner)
Charles Durning for To Be or Not to Be
John Lithgow for Terms of Endearment
Rip Torn for Cross Creek

Albert Brooks in Broadcast News (1987)

Albert Brooks as Aaron Altman in Broadcast News
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Sean Connery for The Untouchables (winner)
Morgan Freeman for Street Smart
Vincent Gardenia for Moonstruck
Denzel Washington for Cry Freedom

River Phoenix in Running on Empty (1988)

River Phoenix as Danny Pope in Running on Empty
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Kevin Kline for A Fish Called Wanda (winner)
Alec Guinness for Little Dorrit
Martin Landau for Tucker: The Man and His Dream
Dean Stockwell for Married to the Mob

Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List (1993)

Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List
Other Nominations: The English Patient (Best Actor in a Leading Role)
Competition:
Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive (winner)
Leonardo DiCaprio for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
John Malkovich for In the Line of Fire
Pete Postlethwaite for In the Name of the Father

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994)

Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Martin Landau for Ed Wood (winner)
Chazz Palminteri for Bullets Over Broadway
Paul Scofield for Quiz Show
Gary Sinise for Forrest Gump

James Cromwell in Babe (1995)

James Cromwell as Farmer Arthur H. Hoggett in Babe
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Kevin Spacey for The Usual Suspects (winner)
Ed Harris for Apollo 13
Brad Pitt for Twelve Monkeys
Tim Roth for Rob Roy

Ed Harris in The Truman Show (1998)

Ed Harris as Christof in The Truman Show
Other Nominations: Apollo 13; Pollock (Best Actor in a Leading Role); The Hours
Competition:
James Coburn for Affliction (winner)
Robert Duvall for A Civil Action
Geoffrey Rush for Shakespeare in Love
Billy Bob Thornton for A Simple Plan

Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile (1999)

Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey in The Green Mile
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition:
Michael Caine for The Cider House Rules (winner)
Tom Cruise for Magnolia
Jude Law for The Talented Mr. Ripley
…and…

Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (1999)

Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense
Other Nominations: N/A
Competition: see above

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2 thoughts on “Lost But Not Forgotten: Oscar Nominees for Best Supporting Actor

  1. Love this list…some of my favorite “character actors” are on it, and just scrolling through it reminded me of so many great performances by so many really talented people.

  2. Best Supporting Actor is my favourite Oscars category, simply because I think it’s the one they got right most of the time, in my opinion. They have been a few upsets, obviously, but usually they get it right.

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