Every month, our contributors submit lists of ten films fitting certain topics. Each month, we feature an alphabetical list of films along with commentary explaining our selections. There will also be an itemized list at the end of each of our individual selections.
This month, we finish out our individual performances series by looking at supporting actors. Considering the long history of film, it should come as little surprise that our selections are so broadly distinct from one another. It’s rather surprising then that only five performances manage to show up on multiple lists and none of them more than once. Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Claude Rains in Notorious, Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street, Martin Landau in Ed Wood, and George Sanders in All About Eve are those five. A further 30 other individual supporting performances grace the list.
After the break, dig into our setups and follow that by reading about each film.
Wesley Lovell: It was incredibly difficult to narrow to 10 this time around. In two cases, I chose not to list actors because their roles were borderline leads and with that much impact, it’s hard to really consider them as such. Alec Guinness was simply brilliant in multiple roles in Kind Hearts & Coronets and Robert De Niro has never been better than he was in the flashbacks of The Godfather, Part II. The performances I selected are genuine supporting ones, they have a major impact on their films without being the primary focus. Each one indelibly added to the film in which I have cited and while some might seem a bit unusual, they were no less impactful in my mind.
Peter J. Patrick: Half of my picks are from the 1940s, but the range of my choices span eighty years from 1932 through 2011 with a forty-three-year gap between 1968 and 2011. Five of them won Oscars for their performances and two others were nominated for theirs. Most of them can be regarded as co-leads rather than true supporting characters in that every one of them dominates their scenes, but they are all in support of their film’s stories and none of them had top billing in them.
Tripp Burton: Some of these performances are big, some are small, but they are all memorable. There doesn’t seem to be a through-line here, and there were dozens of others I could cite, but these are some of the supporting performances that stick with me and, most importantly, define what great acting is to me.
Thomas LaTourrette: With this group, I started with the largest set of people and had the hardest time winnowing it down to ten. There were some that I hated dropping from the list, but it had to be done. Looking over the set, I realized how much a character actor can steal scenes in a movie and yet still give support to the titular stars. Many of the parts would not have worked with a less adept actor. Few of these men went on to headlining status, but they all brought a certain magnetism and humanity to their roles. More than in the other three acting categories we have written about these performers were recognized by the Academy. Eight of them went on to be nominated for and seven won Oscars for these roles. It shows that it was not just me that noticed them.
Jack Albertson – The Subject Was Roses (1968)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Albertson and Martin Sheen reprised their Broadway roles as father and son with Patricia Neal replacing Irene Dailey as wife and mother in the film version of Frank D. Gilroy’s acclaimed play. Essentially a three-person drama in which a young man (Sheen) returns from World War II to find his parents (Neal, Albertson) still bickering the way they always did. Eventually he will leave them, but not before tensions mount and the relationships between husband and wife, parent and child are broken to the point they may never be completely healed. Albertson: “Bless us and save said Mrs. O’Davis. Joy, joy, said Mrs. Molloy. Mercy, mercy, said old Mrs. Percy.”
Sean Astin – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – This is one of those unusual selections I referenced in my introduction. Sean Astin, in spite of his brilliant parentage (actor Patty Duke and adoptive father John Astin) never earned the level of acclaim of either of his parents. The child actor from the 1980s appeared in a number of popular films, but it wasn’t until he claimed the role of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that he became a genuinely well known presence (some might say Rudy, but that may be more of a sports fanatic appreciation than a broad recognition). In the final film of the franchise, The Return of the King, Astin displayed a level of talent he had never before presented. In a devastatingly poignant moment as Frodo begins to succumb to the power of the One Ring, Sam carries his friend up Mount Doom. Astin brought every crucial element of that moment (and of the entire trilogy) to vivid life.
Hank Azaria – The Birdcage (1996)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Hank Azaria had a breakout role as the gay Guatemalan housekeeper in The Birdcage. He is utterly flamboyant and hysterical and steals every scene that he is in. The part is not necessarily essential to the plot, yet he imbues it with such life that it is a pity anytime he is offscreen. The part could have been played merely for laughs, but he makes you care about Agador. It shows what a gifted comedian can do with a part. The Screen Actors Guild saw fit to nominate him for an award, it is a pity that the Academy was not also tempted to try for something that bordered on the outlandish.
Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men (2007)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – Many great roles challenge an actor to find nuance, depth, and multiple dimensions to bring them to life; Anton Chigurh has none of that. He is a one-faced, almost non-human Grim Reaper who glides through the Coen Brothers’ masterpiece and it is a credit to Javier Bardem just how real and tactile he makes Chigurh. You believe at every moment the threat to humanity that his own existence is to this world, and it creates one of the great (and most human) movie monsters in history.
Lionel Barrymore – Grand Hotel (1932)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Barrymore’s character, a terminally ill bookkeeper who wants to spend his last days living it up, had become something of a cliché long before he played it, but the actor imbues it with such warmth and pathos that it seems eternally fresh no matter how many times you’ve seen the film. Although much has been made of Joan Crawford stealing the film from Greta Garbo, it is Barrymore who really steals the film from not only Garbo and his brother John, but Wallace Beery and Crawford herself as he would steal countless other films in which he was not the credited lead. This one, though, remains the best.
Ray Bolger – The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – I was the only one of the four of us not to list Margaret Hamilton’s witch as one of the best supporting actress roles. It was an oversight on my part that I will try to make up with listing Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow here. As Dorothy’s first and best friend in Oz, the limber Bolger seemingly did not have a bone in his body. One could almost believe he was made of straw. When Dorothy decides to leave Oz to return to Kansas, the ache in his face is palpable. It was only his fourth movie role, but it did give him immortality as everyone remembers his Scarecrow.
Jim Broadbent – Iris (2001)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Jim Broadbent had always been a reliable character actor for years, before having a banner 2001. He had plum roles in both Iris and Moulin Rouge! He may have been seen by more people as the conniving owner of the Moulin Rouge, but his portrayal of the doting husband of the writer Iris Murdoch showed just what he was capable of. He tries to be kind and patient but finds himself getting frustrated and angry as she descends into the forgetfulness of Alzheimer’s Disease. He is both hopeless and dogged in his care of her, and the touching role brought him a well deserved Oscar.
John Cazale – The Godfather Part II (1974)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – The Godfather films are filled with great actors, and I’m sure that there are valid arguments to be made to put a lot of different performances on this list. The most wrenching parts of the trilogy for me, however, have always been centered on Fredo. John Cazale is an actor who, like Fredo, died too soon but left an impeccable movie resume behind (he only made five films, and they were all Best Picture nominees). Here he brings tenderness and compassion to the sad, slow downfall of the Corleone brother trapped in a world he isn’t cut out for. He lets everyone around him get the fireworks, but makes Fredo the one we all care about the most.
Donald Crisp – How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Crisp’s acting on film totaled 171 appearances that stretched from 1908’s The French Maid to 1963’s Spencer’s Mountain. It also included 72 directorial efforts that ended in 1930. He was quite good in almost everything he touched, but nothing quite equaled his Oscar-winning portrayal of the patriarch of the Welsh coal-mining family in John Ford’s film of Richard Llewelyn’s novel. He and Sara Allgood as his wife were the heart and soul of the film which has been done several times since in TV adaptations with excellent actors in their roles, but none ever quite as good.
Bruce Davison – Longtime Companion (1989)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – All Bruce Davison needed to make this list was one scene, the now-famous “Let Go!” scene, where he tackles every emotion in the world head-on as he gives his lover permission to die of AIDS. To center on that one moment, though, doesn’t do enough justice to what Davison brings to the film in general. Davison is the definition of a smart actor, and he makes this wealthy, 1980s gay man anything but a stereotype, imbuing him with traits that surprise you at every turn. Even that central scene, the definition of an Oscar scene, never goes into hysterics and is restrained at every turn. It is one of our great actors getting the role of a lifetime.
Melvyn Douglas – Hud (1963)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Douglas was leading man to such high-profile actresses as Irene Dunne, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo in the 1930s, settling in to other-man roles in the 1940s. He was seen mostly on stage and TV in the 1950s, returning to the screen in character roles beginning with 1962’s Billy Budd and topping that with his heartbreaking Oscar-winning portrayal of amoral Paul Newman’s hardworking rancher father in 1963’s Hud. If you didn’t know you were in the presence of an acting giant, you’d think sophisticated New Yorker Douglas was a lifelong Texas rancher emulating his everyday routines. He’s that good.
Ralph Fiennes – Schindler’s List (1993)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – With only five inconsequential credits to his name, Ralph Fiennes burst forth with fury and fire in his Oscar-nominated performance as Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust masterpiece Schindler’s List. As the Nazi commandant who struggles with the morality of his actions, Fiennes brought surprising humanity to a role that many others would have played full bore evil. Make no mistake, his character is unquestionably the villain (literal and symbolic) of the piece, but Fiennes gives him just the right dollop of humanity to create a mesmerizing and vital character.
Joel Grey – Cabaret (1972)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – So often we see great stage performances get captured on film and they fall flat. It takes a wonderful actor to be able to syphon the energy of a stage performance into a film performance, and Joel Grey’s emcee in Cabaret may be the greatest of all. He is full of life and charm, yet is also seedy and conniving; you want to run up and hug him and run away from him at the same time. Grey pitches every moment of the film perfectly to the camera, often addressing us directly, and makes a theatrical being feel completely cinematic.
Edmund Gwenn – Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – You couldn’t count all the actors who’ve played Santa Claus if you tried, but ask anyone who played the real Santa Claus, they won’t say Thomas Mitchell, Sebastian Cabot, Ed Wynn, Laurence Naismith, Richard Attenborough, or any of the other fine actors who’ve played Kris Kringle. They will say, without batting an eyelash, Edmund Gwenn, the diminutive British character actor who rose to late career stardom with this role on the cusp of his 70th birthday and never looked back. A Thanksgiving perennial, Gwenn still warms the cockles of the hearts of everything who discovers and re-discovers this magical film year after year.
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Few people end up as associated with a role as Edmund Gwenn did as Kris Kringle. Hired to be a Macy’s Santa Claus, he breaks with tradition to send people to other stores for the right toy. In the end Mr. Macy loves the idea and Kris becomes indispensible for the season. Another character worries of his belief in himself as Father Christmas, but with the help of the U.S. Postal Service, he is declared Santa. Gwenn brought a twinkle in his eye to the role but also enough humanity that one hopes he will be the true Santa. A cane left in a house at the end of the film leaves one wondering. It is a role that could have been played simply as cute, but Gwenn creates a real character.
Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – Some might say that Donnie Darko was the performance that indicated most of all that Jake Gyllenhaal had talent. The intervening years, however, suggested the opposite. We now know that he’s one of this generation’s brightest talents, but in Brokeback Mountain, we, for the first time, see an actor who understands how to dig into a character. His character has a lot of conflicting emotions and growth to go through and Gyllenhaal conveys it perfectly. Although this is a borderline lead role, it fits so perfectly into the concept of a supporting performance, I can’t help but cite it here.
Jackie Earle Haley – Little Children (2006)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Jackie Earle Haley had been in numerous films before getting the role of a lifetime as a recently released sex offender. He is creepy, disturbed, and haunted by himself and others. One is not sure if he deserves the treatment he is receiving from everybody, but then in private he will show off a more despicable side. That Haley makes the viewer care for such a person shows just how good his performance is. The pathos he brings at the end is impressive and he should have won the Oscar for this.
Dennis Hopper – Blue Velvet (986)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – There is always something a little unhinged in every one of Dennis Hopper’s performances, but his Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet is the actor going all out. He explodes off of the screen, taking control of every moment and every character he is with. He is frightening, over-the-top, violent, and almost inhuman, although you also fear how believable he is and how he could turn towards you as his next victim. David Lynch has made a career of unsettling images and frightening action, and Frank Booth may be the most unsettling of them all.
John Houseman – The Paper Chase (1973)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – John Houseman had spent a career as a producer before officially stepping in front of the camera in 1973’s The Paper Chase. As an intimidating law school professor, he has a field day in the role of both a man who scares but also pushes his students to achieve. It is a part that easily could have been a caricature, but he created a true character out of it. Over the next 15 years, he often played variants of the crusty but caring father figure, but he was never better than in this.
Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Huston was not only a great actor in his own right, he was the founder of an acting dynasty through his only son, actor/writer/director John Huston, that is still going strong in its fourth generation today. The elder Huston was one of those rare actors who remained in demand throughout his life, capping his career with his Oscar-winning role of the toothless old prospector in son John’s double Oscar-winner (for writing and directing). Usually in cultured, urbane roles, the actor was clearly having the time of his life as he steals the film out from under Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and anyone else in earshot of him.
Commentary By Tripp Burton – Walter Huston was a wonderful journeyman sort of actor, as comfortable in dapper clothes as he was in rugged cowboy gear, but no one has ever looked as comfortable on screen as he is in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Huston makes big choices in the film, but they all seem logical and grounded and never like he is showboating or scenery chewing. He is heartbreaking, funny, and intense at the same time and creates one of the most memorable Hollywood creations of all time.
Timothy Hutton – Ordinary People (1980)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Timothy Hutton made an amazing big screen film debut as the suicidal son in Ordinary People. He brilliantly captured the hurt and angst of his character who has just been released from a stay in a psychiatric hospital. He is trying to find stability in his life and to reconnect with his family, made more difficult by his cool mannered mother. Hutton seemingly opens his emotions to the world in a raw way and is incredibly believable as the aching boy.
Martin Landau – Ed Wood (1994)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – In one of the great late-career renaissances in Hollywood history, Martin Landau transformed into one of Hollywood’s most tender actors with a sharp edge that brought out his characters’ darkest sides. In Ed Wood, Landau does a pitch perfect imitation of Bela Lugosi, but the accent and affectation are only part of it. He manages to make Lugosi a full-blooded, three-dimensional character who is so noble and so pathetic at the same time you can’t help but weep. It is one of the most real depictions of a celebrity I’ve seen, made all the more impressive by the fact that we keep forgetting this is Martin Landau the actor and thinking we are watching Bela Lugosi the actor.
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Late in his acting career, Martin Landau had a resurgence in popularity and got several plum roles, earning Oscar nominations three times in seven years. No performance was as good as his winning portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood. He played the fading star with pathos and wit, finding a truth in how the aging Lugosi still wanted to do good work even in bad films. It was a sublime and subtle role, easily deserving of the Oscar he won for it.
Eugene Levy – A Mighty Wind (2003)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – Eugene Levy is one of the most dependably funny men in show business, but until A Mighty Wind came out I never imagined he could be one of our best actors also. In Christopher Guest’s hilarious mockumentary, Levy brings a rich sense of loss and sadness to a character that is incredibly moving. It brings a different layer to the film than Guest’s previous films, and paired with long-time cohort Catherine O’Hara, you can feel the decades of ensemble work that has led to this performance. To focus on that serious strain, however, skips over how bizarre and hilarious Levy is at the same time, with his plastic face and deadpan timing making you laugh until you cry, then cry because you shouldn’t be laughing.
Fredric March – Seven Days in May (1964)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – The early sixties were a time in which there were many on-screen portrayals of presidents and their men, from Advise & Consent to Dr. Strangelove to The Best Man to Fail-Safe. One of the best was Seven Days in May, which was based on one of hottest best-sellers of the day. March, approaching the twilight of his career, gave one of his best performances as the unpopular president, patterned after Harry Truman, who stands up to the military-industrial complex and with the aid of Kirk Douglas and Edmond O’Brien averts a military coup from Burt Lancaster at his nastiest.
Ian McKellen – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – Coming to prominence late in his career, Ian McKellen has delivered countless impressive performances, but few have been as masterful as that of Gandalf the Grey (and later “the White”) in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While the character doesn’t have the kinds of emotional highs and lows one would expect from a bravura performance, McKellen’s subtle dignity and strength help shepherd the young hobbits and the audience along with them on a journey that he knows will be fraught with peril. You see it all within his eyes as the fellowship travels across the Shire and into sure danger in the first film as well as its successors, but here is where McKellen best shines at building an indelible character.
Ricardo Montalban – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – In the realm of science fiction and especially Star Trek, there are few villains as complex and rich as Khan Noonien Singh played by Ricardo Montalban both in the original series and in one of the franchise’s best adaptations. As Khan, Montalban convinces us that his actions are almost justified. Through sheer force of personality, we understand every machination as if his humanity was somehow amplified by his righteousness. Although his goals are noble and we understand that, there’s little question he is a danger and must be stopped. Montalban may never have been given a character more worthy of his talents.
Frank Morgan – The Mortal Storm (1940)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – On the heels of his lovable, if befuddled, characters in The Wizard of Oz and The Shop Around the Corner, veteran actor Morgan had a complete change of pace role as the beloved, scholarly college professor in a small town in the German Alps who is arrested as a non-Aryan as Hitler comes to power and is sent to a Nazi concentration camp. One of Hollywood’s first anti-Nazi films, it remains powerful for the performances of Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Robert Young, Robert Stack, William T. Orr, Bonita Granville, Edna Best, Maria Ouspenskaya, and, towering above them all, Frank Morgan at his best.
Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls (2006)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – As a comedian, Eddie Murphy built a stellar career through the 1970s and 1980s. He wa a top box office draw at the pinnacle of his fame in the 1980s after an impressive short run on Saturday Night Live. As many box office stars understand, his successes began to diminish as his career waned. The 1990s brought some accomplishments, but not enough of them to genuinely match his 80s triumphs. Yet, through it all, Murphy seldom dug into dramatic roles, his strengths obviously lying in comedy. In Dreamgirls, Murphy plays a raucous soul singer whose fade into obscurity triggers alcoholism and depression. Murphy delves into the role with relish hitting all the highs and lows expected while crafting a sometimes frustrating, but undeniably sympathetic character.
Robert Preston – Victor/Victoria (1982)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – It’s hard to pick just one performance out of the brilliant Victor/Victoria to celebrate and while many focus on lead Julie Andrews, her tutor and friend Toddy, played by the superlative Robert Preston, is where the film’s genuine heart lies. The Pygmalion-esque tutelage of Andrews’ Victoria Grant/Count Victor suits Preston well as all of his fears, frustrations, and joys are conveyed through his inimitable support of Andrews. This is a performance that often gets overlooked simply because it feels so effortless. Yet, that’s one of the reasons it’s so impressive.
Dennis Quaid – Far From Heaven (2002)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – In Todd Haynes’ quintessential 50s drama, Julianne Moore plays a frustrated woman whose marriage is crumbling. Her husband, played by Dennis Quaid, is becoming distant and cold. As the film plays along, various plots begin to unravel, one of the most compelling of which is the revelation that Quaid’s emotional disconnect is due to his repressed homosexuality. In a role of humane dignity, Quaid delivers his most potent and mesmerizing performance. Haynes’ brilliant Sirkian drama offers plenty of dramatic turns, but the fears of discovery and societal pressure help give Quaid’s character added depth, all of which Quaid skillfully conveys.
Claude Rains – Notorious (1946)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – Alfred Hitchcock’s best film of the 1940s, Notorious shockingly garnered only two Oscar nominations, but although we find it difficult to forgive them for ignoring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Hitchcock and the film itself, we heartily endorse their nominations for Ben Hecht’s screenplay and Rains’ brilliant portrayal of the Nazi who discovers his wife (a fabulous Bergman) is an American spy. As vile as his character is on the one hand, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him when after he helps Grant rescue her that he is left to fend for himself against the Nazi din led by his own mother, an equally brilliant Leopoldine Konstantin.
Commentary By Tripp Burton – No list of supporting performances in movies can be made without considering Claude Rains, who played the doting husband or the villain to such perfection, in so many movies, that he has to rank as one of the best character actors in Hollywood history. I could have cited him many times here, but I had to focus on Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. As Alex Sebastian, Rains creates a menacing villain who mixes charm, class, and pure evil together. He may not be the overt monster that some other Hitchcock films gave us, but he is one of the scariest just because of how nonchalant he seems and how refined Rains makes him.
George Sanders – All About Eve (1950)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – One of the best written dramas in cinema history, All About Eve explores the backstage world of the theater and through Addison DeWitt, played by George Sanders, the audience gets every tantalizing detail with acerbic wit and panache. Although DeWitt’s theatre critic acts both as observer and instigator, Sanders’ performance is iconic in its detached engagement, a blend of genuine concern and desperate enabling. It’s a performance that while not incredibly deep acts similar to that of the Greek Chorus. Imparting his wisdom on the proceeding, sympathizing with those aggrieved by the actions of others, and relishing with delight all the ups and downs on display. He is the ultimate audience surrogate.
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – As the conniving and acid-tongued critic Addison DeWitt, George Sanders had a part that suited him perfectly. He is a suave manipulator, seemingly on the fringe of the theater world, respected and loathed by those inside. He seems relatively benign until the end of the film when Anne Baxter’s Eve Harrington finds that she cannot outmaneuver him and that he sees through her ploys and knows the truth about her. He informs her that she now belongs to him. He is charming and absolutely ruthless, and very chilling.
George C. Scott – Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Commentary By Tripp Burton – In a film filled with big performances, several of them from the preeminent clown Peter Sellers, non-comedian George C. Scott may be the biggest and funniest of them all. He blusters through the film, bellowing out ridiculous claims and contorting his face into cartoon-like anger. As the film gets crazier, so does Scott’s Gen. Turgidson, and the glint of madness in his eyes grows larger and more ridiculous. Scott masters it because you feel him never playing for the laugh, turning Dr. Strangelove into his own Shakespearean drama and committing to it with 110%.
Terence Stamp – The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
Commentary By Wesley Lovell – Veteran actor Terence Stamp had been working for decades, often with little recognition. Although he was most famously cast in the Superman series, few know Stamp’s other work very well. Reinventing his career at the age of 56, Stamp took on the role of the feisty Bernadette in the raucous drag road comedy Adventures of Priscilla. Stamp plumbs a depth of humane sorrow as a transsexual woman whose husband has recently died. Attempting to escape the city, she joins a pair of younger drag queens as they take the backroads of Australia by storm. This may well be the highlight of his career and showcased a poignant and exceptionally moving portrait of someone fighting to retain their dignity in the face of sadness in world filled with persecution both from within and from without.
Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
Commentary By Peter J. Patrick – From Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal to Jan Troell’s The Emigrants to Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror abroad, and from George Stevens’ The Greatest Story Ever Told to William Friedkin’s The Exorcist to Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island domestically, von Sydow has always been a force to be reckoned with. His powerful speaking voice is one of his greatest assets, but he still managed to give one of his best performances in this 9/11 aftermath drama without uttering a word. It was strong enough to garner him a richly deserved Oscar nomination.
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Commentary By Thomas La Tourrette – Christoph Waltz burst into America’s consciousness as the charming Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. He had acted in European films before this, but made an indelible impression as the clever, courteous, conniving, self-interested, murderous, and detestable officer. Tarantino was worried that he had written an un-playable part in Hans Landa, but then he found the perfect actor in Waltz. Easily slipping into different languages, he oozes oily charm and frightening cold-bloodedness. He won the Oscar for it, and has since won a second one, but I doubt he will ever be as good as he was in this.