Official Nominations: Burt Lancaster’s unsettling portrayal of Elmer Gantry was deservedly the winner of 1960’s Best Actor award, but my pick goes to Jack Lemmon. He gives a more edgy comedic performance than anything else in his career and lets the dialogue shine without making it sound like movie dialogue. His performance is influential, opening the doors for actors in the future and showing how to make the subject of adultery both tragic and hilarious without sacrificing any of the seriousness. Trevor Howard and Spencer Tracey offer strong performances but lack the long lasting impact of the previous two lads, while Olivier gives a restrained and understated performance as an actor in front of an uncaring audience.
My list is entirely different from the official nominations this year, meaning that there were quite a few notable snubs. Anthony Perkins crazies it up in his defining role in Psycho where he looks just innocent enough to not concern yourself about, but acts just crazy enough to make you look over your shoulder before getting into your car. Toshiro Mifune expands his impressive filmography with another performance of power and prowess in Yojimbo, while Kirk Douglas commands the screen in Spartacus with arguably his greatest role. Yul Brunner. Steve McQueen. Carl Boehm tries to out-crazy Anthony Perkins and is almost as impressive and is arguably more creepy. My final two nominations got to one of the greatest unsung movie partnerships- Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner for The Magnificent Seven. Both actors are at the top of their game and, like their characters, play off each other for inspiration and often trying to outdo each other.
My Winner: Anthony Perkins.