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. 1970 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) 1971 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) 1972 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") 1973 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) 1974 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") 1975 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) 1976 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) 1977 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') 1978 Jon Voight in "Coming Home" (a well deserved win) Jane Fonda in "Coming Home" (another deserving winner) 1979 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) 1980 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) 1981 Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond" (I can't really argue with this one) Katherine Hepburn in "On Golden Pond" (a deserving winner) 1982 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) 1983 Robert Duvall in "Tender Mercies" (a very deserving winner) Shirley MacLaine in "Terms of Endearment" (another deserving winner) 1984 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) 1985 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) 1986 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) 1987 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") 1988 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) 1989 Daniel-Day Lewis in "My Left Foot" (no arguments here) Jessica Tandy in "Driving Miss Daisy" (again, no arguments here) 1990 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) 1991 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) 1992 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") 1993 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) 1994 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) 1995 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") 1996 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) 1997 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") 1998 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") 1999 Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty" (no arguments here) Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" (again, no arguments here) 2000 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.