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Oscar should've beens...Best Actor and Actress (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Sep 12, 2001
Judging from the debate the Best Picture thread generated, I thought it a good idea to discuss the top prizes for acting. Again, I'm focusing on the period of 1970-present, and again, these are just my opinions.
George C. Scott in "Patton" (a powerhouse performance by Scott and well deserved win, with Jack Nicholson's performance in "Five Easy Pieces" coming in a close second)
Glenda Jackson in "Women in Love" (another great performance that deserved the top honor)
Gene Hackman in "The French Connection" (Hackman's signature role was the deserving winner)
Jane Fonda in "Klute" (another great performance that deserved the trophy, with Vanessa Redgrave's performance in "Mary, Queen of Scots" coming in a close second)
Marlon Brando in "The Godfather" (though it was a great peformance, I would've given Brando the Best Supporting Actor award and given the top prize to Al Pacino for his masterful performance as Michael in "The Godfather")
Liza Minnelli in "Cabaret" (I wasn't a big fan of the film or Minnelli's performance, I would've given it to Cicely Tyson for her great work in "Sounder")
Jack Lemmon in "Save the Tiger" (though Lemmon gave a fantastic performance, I still lean toward Marlon Brando's incredible work in "Last Tango in Paris")
Glenda Jackson in "A Touch of Class" (personally, I think Ellen Burstyn's performance in "The Exorcist" was more deserving)
Art Carny in "Harry and Tonto" (Carny was great in the movie, but for me it's always been a tossup between Al Pacino in "The Godfather Part II" and Jack Nicholson in "Chinatown")
Ellen Burstyn in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (a deserved win, but I also wouldn't have minded if Faye Dunaway had won for her work in "Chinatown")
Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (a most deserved win)
Louise Fletcher in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (another well deserved win)
Peter Finch in "Network" (this is really a supporting role and I would've given the top award to Robert De Niro for his now legendary role of Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver")
Faye Dunaway in "Network" (a well deserved win)
Richard Dreyfuss in "The Goodbye Girl" (a good performance, but I would've awarded Richard Burton's work in "Equus")
Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall" (I think that Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft cancelled each other out for their equally great work in the film "The Turning Point", but Keaton was really good in 'Hall')
Jon Voight in "Coming Home" (a well deserved win)
Jane Fonda in "Coming Home" (another deserving winner)
Dustin Hoffman in "Kramer vs. Kramer" (a great performance, but I would've given it to Peter Sellers for "Being There")
Sally Field in "Norma Rae" (a well deserved win)
Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull" (while De Niro was awesome as boxer Jake LaMotta, I think John Hurt's work in "The Elephant man" is grossly underrated and, in my opinion, more deserving)
Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter" (Spacek's work in this film was easily the best of the year)
Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond" (I can't really argue with this one)
Katherine Hepburn in "On Golden Pond" (a deserving winner)
Ben Kingsly in "Gandhi" (a great performance, but Paul Newman's work in "The Verdict" was the more deserving of the two)
Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice" (this remains Streep's best work in my opinion, and a richly deserved win)
Robert Duvall in "Tender Mercies" (a very deserving winner)
Shirley MacLaine in "Terms of Endearment" (another deserving winner)
F. Murray Abraham in "Amadeus" (a richly deserved win)
Sally Field in "Places in the Heart" (her "You like me! You really like me!" speech overshadowed what remains a great performance and very deserving win)
William Hurt in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (both Jack Nicholson and Harrison Ford were great in "Prizzi's Honor" and "Witness" respectively, but few can argue with Hurt's win for his amazing performance in 'Spider Woman')
Geraldine Page in "The Trip to Bountiful" (I still think Whoopi Goldberg's underrated performance in "The Color Purple" was the best that year)
Paul Newman in "The Color of Money" (a deserved win)
Marlee Matlin in "Children of a Lesser God" (though I love Sigourney Weaver's performance in "Aliens", I can't really argue with Matlin winning the Oscar)
Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" ("Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works." 'nuff said)
Cher in "Moonstruck" (I loved the movie, but I would've awarded the trophy to Glenn Close for her work in "Fatal Attraction")
Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man" (Edward James Olmos was amazing in "Stand and Deliver", but I can't argue with Hoffman's win)
Jodie Foster in "The Accused" (great performance, but I think Sigourney Weaver's work in "Gorillas in the Mist" was the most deserving of that year)
Daniel-Day Lewis in "My Left Foot" (no arguments here)
Jessica Tandy in "Driving Miss Daisy" (again, no arguments here)
Jeremy Irons in "Reversal of Fortune" (both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, who failed to get a nod, were amazing in "Awakenings", but Irons deserved the win)
Kathy Bates in "Misery" (a well deserved win)
Sir Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs" (it basically is a supporting role, but Hopkins is so mesmerizing as Dr. Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter that it's hard to argue against him winning the top prize)
Jodie Foster in "The Silence of the Lambs" (I think Susan Surandon was the more deserving winner for her work in "Thelma & Louise", but I think she and Geena Davis cancelled each other out)
Al Pacino in "Scent of a Woman" (great performance, but I would've gone with Denzel Washington in "Malcolm X")
Emma Thompson in "Howard's End" (I would've awarded Michelle Pfeiffer for her great work in "Love Field")
Tom Hanks in "Philadelphia" (Hanks was good, but I really think that Liam Neeson should've won for "Schindler's List")
Holly Hunter in "The Piano" (a deserved win)
Tom Hanks in "Forrest Gump" (again, Hanks was good, but I think Morgan Freeman's work in "The Shawshank Redemption" was the best performance of the year)
Jessica Lange in "Blue Sky" (a deserving winner)
Nicolas Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas" (I can't argue with this one)
Susan Surandon in "Dead Man Walking" (great performance, but I would've given it to Sharon Stone for her work in "Casino")
Geoffrey Rush in "Shine" (to me, Noah Taylor as the younger David was the real star of this movie, but I would've given the Oscar to Billy Bob Thornton for his powerful performance in "Sling Blade")
Frances McDormand in "Fargo" (a very deserved win)
Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" (as much as I loved Jack's performance, I would've given the award to Robert Duvall for his amazing work in "The Apostle", a case can also be made for Peter Fonda in "Ulee's Gold")
Helen Hunt in "As Good As It Gets" (she was good, but I think Judi Dench was much better in "Mrs. Brown")
Roberto Benigni in "Life is Beautiful" (in a year full of great performances, I would've given the award to Sir Ian McKellen in "Gods and Monsters", though it's hard to choose out of him, Nick Nolte in "Affliction" and Ed Norton in "American History X")
Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love" (no disrespect to Ms. Paltrow, but I really feel that Cate Blanchett should've won for her great performance in "Elizabeth")
Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty" (no arguments here)
Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" (again, no arguments here)
Russell Crowe in "Gladiator" (I love "Gladiator", but I think Ed Harris should've won for "Pollock")
Julia Roberts in "Erin Brockovich" (I know it was Julia's year, but I think Joan Allen was more deserving for her work in "The Contender"
No telling how this year's awards will turn out, but this is how I see the previous 30 years.

Peter McM

Nov 18, 1999
Indianapolis, IN
Real Name
My biggest should-have-beens:
1997: Robert Duvall for The Apostle, and at least a nomination to Jodie Foster for Contact.
This past year, Juliette Binoche should have gotten the trophy for Chocolat
"For Montagar, forever!"

Reginald Trent

Feb 18, 2000
Denzel Washington got raped in losing for Malcolm X and The Hurricane in 1999. So yes there is an argument regarding 1999.

Gilbert Galindo

Stunt Coordinator
Jul 29, 2001
Come on man. DeNiro should have won easily for Raging Bull, which also should have won Best picture. 1994's race should have come down to Hanks and Travolta, not Freeman. Just my 2 cents.

Agee Bassett

Supporting Actor
Feb 13, 2001
1972: Laurence Olivier for Sleuth (Winner of the New York Film Critics' prize for Best Actor, the Oscar--shamefully--went instead to the performance of a supporting player (Brando) of dubious merit.)
The Devil & Daniel Webster (1941)
"Cinema is simply letting the audience fill in the blanks." - David Lean.

Marc Colella

Senior HTF Member
Jun 19, 1999
1997 - My biggest problem was that Ian Holm didn't take home Oscar for his fantastic performance in The Sweet Hereafter (he wasn't even nominated !!!). One of the biggest injustices in Oscar history.
1996 - William H. Macy deserved an Oscar for his role in Fargo.
2000 - Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream) was deserving of an Oscar. Julia Roberts shouldn't have even been nominated.

Jacob McCraw

Stunt Coordinator
Dec 24, 2003
Would have most likely been for Best Supporting Actor, but I can't believe Robert Shaw wasn't even nominated for Jaws. It's one of my favorite performances by anyone EVER.

Bobby K

Nov 24, 2004
2003 awards:

I felt Daniel Day-Lewis deserved the award for Best Actor in Gangs Of New York.

Ashley Seymour

Supporting Actor
Jun 29, 2000
First and foremost - the biggest slight of all time.

Would have most likely been for Best Supporting Actor, but I can't believe Robert Shaw wasn't even nominated for Jaws. It's one of my favorite performances by anyone EVER.

2003 awards:

I felt Daniel Day-Lewis deserved the award for Best Actor in Gangs Of New York.

Also agreed.

Cher for Moonstruck - A very nice little movie that Cher carried with a great performance.

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