Best Supporting Actor – 1976

Official Nominations: Jason Robards. Ned Beatty. Burgess Meredith. Laurence Olivier. Burt Young.

This is a horrible year in that it’s a horrible choice – anyone is a good winner. Hold on, that actually makes it good, not horrible. It’s difficult to decide though. I think we can drop Young because I prefer Meredith from Rocky. Robards and Beatty are great, but Beatty’s role is too small when viewed alongside the others – Robards picked up the official win for All The President’s Men. Finally, Laurence Olivier goes WAY against type in Marathon Man as a Nazi and a fan of the old ultra-torture. He is terrifying, and in any other year deserves the win. However, my love for Rocky means that Meredith gets my win.

My Winner: Burgess Meredith


My Nominations: Jason Robards. Ned Beatty. Burgess Meredith. Laurence Olivier. Burt Young. Darwin Joston. Carl Weathers. Harvey Keitel.

All the official nominees make it to my list so lets look at the extras. Now, if Burt Young and Burgess Meredith get nods for Rocky, then there’s no way my man Apollo Creed shouldn’t be there too, with Carl Weathers doing his very best impersonation of Ali, with a little more pizzazz. Harvey Keitel is another dirty piece in Scorsese’s grimy puzzle, playing a scumbag pimp who clashes with De Niro’s Taxi Driver – not quite reversing the roles from Mean Streets but definitely allowing Keitel to expand his horizons a little. Finally, making a large statement (but sadly one which he would never build upon) is Darwin Joston as Napoleon in Assault On Precinct 13 – the chain-smoking criminal who gets all the best lines and snarls and charms his way past cops, secretaries, and faceless goons alike.

My Winner: Burgess Meredith

Let us know who pick to be the Best Supporting Actor of 1976!

Best Supporting Actor – 1975

Official Nominations: George Burns. Brad Dourif. Burgess Meredith. Chris Sarandon. Jack Warden.

A lot of veteran nods this year, with Burns becoming the oldest winner (at the time) at 80 years old. Burgess Meredith follows with Day Of The Locust where he’s one of the story’s many failures, eking out his final days still trying to perform to anyone who’ll listen.  Jack Warden stars as a rich man and unwittingly part of a sexual rectangle… pentangle.. who knows? He gets many of Shampoo’s best lines and memorable moments. Brad Dourif is one of several well acted and sympathetic side characters in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest while Chris Sarandon is effective as Pacino’s transgender wife in Dog Day Afternoon. 

My Winner: Brad Dourif

My NominationsBrad Dourif. John Cazale. Richard Dreyfuss. Robert Shaw. Richard O’Brien. Oliver Reed. 

Even though all the official nominees are worthy, I’m only taking Dourif. Replacing Sarandon is John Cazale who gives the more notable performance in Dog Day Afternoon as Sonny’s hapless partner. Oliver Reed is equally hapless in Tommy, at least when it comes to bringing Roger Daltry out of his crippling psychosis, while Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff is a personal favourite in a film where everyone has their own pick. Finally, we have Jaws and both Dreyfuss and Shaw giving career-defining performances.

My Winner: Robert Shaw

Best Supporting Actor – 1974

Official Nominations: Robert De Niro. Fred Astaire. Jeff Bridges. Michael V Gazzo. Lee Strasberg.

Lets be clear – basically any of the male supporting cast from The Godfather II could be nominated here. We get three of them, but there’s room for more, and there’s a case for De Niro being in the Lead category too. Any way you slice this though, De Niro wins. His Vito Corleone performance is a marked step up from anything he had done previously, and he arguably covers more ground than Brando did. The legendary teacher, Lee Strasberg got a nod too – ordinarily I would be cynical about this, but his performance is terrific – as is Gazzo’s as the side-switching ‘Five Fingers’. Elsewhere, Jeff Bridges continues his string of early hits with an endearing performance as the petty crook Lightfoot, while Fred Astaire gets the unnecessary veteran nod in The Towering Inferno – thankfully there isn’t much dancing.

My Winner: Robert De Niro

My Nominations: Robert De Niro. Jeff Bridges. Michael V Gazzo. Lee Strasberg. John Cazale. Gastone Moschin. Kris Kristofferson. Christopher Lee. Gene Wilder. Marty Feldman. Peter Boyle.

Four make it over, and a host of others join them. The Godfather Part II is the big winner, with the dastardly duo of Fredo and Don Fanucci joining their comrades, while Wilder gets a nod here for Blazing Saddles as well as a lead nod in the other category. Feldman and Boyle both excel in Young Frankenstein, Christopher Lee makes for one of the most charming and memorable Bond villains, and Kris Kristofferson brings the beard and heart-throbbing in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. 

My Winner: Robert De Niro

Best Supporting Actor – 1972

Official Nominations: Joel Grey. Eddie Albert. James Caan. Robert Duvall. Al Pacino.

Part of me is glad that Joel Grey won here – the Buffy part. Buffy fans will know what I’m talking about. However, he’s going up against The Godfather cast so good luck. I’m not sure Robert Duvall does enough here to warrant a nomination, especially when some others from the movie didn’t make it. He’s great, no doubt, but I’d take a few others over him. James Caan is more obviously notable over the understated Duvall, starring as the hot-headed Sonny. Al Pacino is the star of the show, still a little odd that he didn’t get the main actor nod but he’s my winner here regardless in a role that grows and grows from reluctant first scene to crushing last. Finally, Eddie Albert gets his second nomination, this time for The Heartbreak Kid. It’s funny, he’s great, but he has no chance against Pacino here.

My Winner: Al Pacino


My Nominations: Joel Grey. Eddie Albert. James Caan. Robert Duvall. Al Pacino. Jon Voight.

I don’t have any issue with any of the nominations this year. There’s a case for Voight being a lead in Deliverance, but due to the ensemble nature of the film I’m happy to have him here. Out of the four central characters in the movie I feel he gives the most committed and varied performance. There are plenty of other great performances this year, but I don’t think any compete with those above and certainly won’t impact my choice of winner.

My Winner: Al Pacino

Let us know in the comments who you pick as the Best Supporting Actor of 1972!

Best Supporting Actor – 1971

Official Nominations: Ben Johnson. Jeff Bridges. Leonard Frey. Richard Jaeckel. Roy Scheider.

Ben Johnson was reluctant to star in the role that would win him the Oscar originally, the stunt man and rodeo cowboy turned actor a perfect fit for Sam The Lion. His years of experience mark his performance with a realism and poignancy which is hard to come by and difficult to top. Alongside him in The Last Picture Show is Jeff Bridges as Duane, the fiery and energetic kid of the tale and an early sign of Bridges’ talents. Leonard Frey had starred in the stage version of Fiddler On The Roof but takes on a different part for the movie – it’s one of about 80 roles in the film and I don’t see any need for this one to be nominated. Richard Jaekel is the odd one out here – even more so given that it was for Sometimes A Great Notion which came out a year earlier. It’s a good film that no-one remembers and a decent performance. Finally, Roy Scheider is strong alongside Gene Hackman in The French Connection – Buddy is the perfect partner for Doyle and Scheider fills the role so fully you can’t see anyone else doing it.

My Winner: Jeff Bridges


My Nominations: Ben Johnson. Jeff Bridges. Roy Scheider. Timothy Bottoms. Cleavon Little. David Gulpilil. Jack Albertson. Donald Pleasance.

If the other two actors are there, then surely we have to include Timothy Bottoms for The Last Picture Show too? Elsewhere I add David Gulpilil’s breakout performance in Walkabout, Cleavon Little’s commentary in Vanishing Point, Jack Albertson’s energy in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, and drunk Donald Pleasance for Wake In Fright.

My Winner: Jeff Bridges

Let us know in the comments who you would give the Best Supporting Acting Award of 1971 to!

Best Supporting Actor – 1970

Official Nominations: John Mills. Richard S Castellano. Chief Dan George. Gene Hackman. John Marley.

John Mills was always going to get nominated or be a winner eventually, and this was his year. It’s a bit of an embarrassing performance and it’s an odd one out in any normal year – this year though we have some strange/interesting nominations. Speaking of, Chief Dan George at the ripe old age of 71 got his most famous part alongside Dustin Hoffman in in Little Big Man, opening doors for other Native American performers. Similarly, Castellano hit the big time in Lovers And Other Strangers, while Gene Hackman was on the rise and could do no wrong getting another nomination in I Never Sang For My Father. Finally, John Marley, a veteran of big and small screen ensures another nod for Love Story as Jenny’s dad.

My Winner: Chief Dan George


My Nominations: Chief Dan George. Gene Hackman. George Kennedy. Leonard Frey. Robert Duvall.

Only two from the main list, and I’m struggling to pull over any additional strong supporting performances. Kennedy was in three films this year, but we’ll give him the nomination for Airport. Leonard Frey would find greater success the following year, but he’s very good in The Boys In The Band. This is probably a good place to give MASH it’s acting nomination so we’ll hand it to Robert Duvall for an early, surly performance.

My Winner: Chief Dan George

Let us know in the comments who you would pick as the Best Supporting Actor of 1970!

Best Supporting Actor – 1969

Official Nominations: Gig Young. Rupert Crosse. Elliot Gould. Jack Nicholson. Anthony Quayle.

Gig Young already had almost thirty years of performances and two Oscar nominations before he picked up the win for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They. It’s a suitably reptilian performance, a Cowell before there was a Cowell, as he eggs on competitors for his own amusement becoming the viewer’s focal point for rage, becoming more venomous with each minute. Rupert Crosse was primarily a TV actor before landing the role in The Reivers, and becoming the first African American to be nominated in this category. It’s a fine performance but your focus is always drawn to McQueen so it feels like a strange nomination. Gould picks up a nomination for his straight-laced portrayal and landed him on the map – it would almost become his signature role as he would continue to tow the line between comedy and drama with a straight face. Jack Nicholson makes an impact in Easy Rider, firmly announcing himself to the world in a typically madcap way. For the next few years Nicholson would play straighter characters before eventually going ‘full Nicholson’, and here he manages to shows a little of both sides. He is a minor character and doesn’t have a huge amount of screen time, but uses that time to perfection. Finally, it’s Anne Of The Thousand Days again and Anthony Quayle. It’s… very stagey, Quayle is good at authority but not so good at authority slipping away. It’s fine, just not something I would ever pick.

My Winner: Gig Young.


My Nominations: Gig Young. Jack Nicholson. Noel Coward. Gregory Peck. Robert Duvall. James Cann. Robert Ryan. Richard Thomas.

Only two from the official list make it over to mine. My list sees existing and future legends competing for the crown, with Noel Coward bringing the laughs in The Italian Job. Many would say that Peck’s role in Marooned was as a lead – he was certainly the big name, but I find it more of an ensemble piece so for the sake of argument he’s being included. It’s a tense movie and Peck is his usual commanding self, and is conflicted and at odds with various characters throughout the movie. It’s a good performance and a movie no-one really remembers. Robert Duvall gets a nomination for The Rain People, already a star thanks to a number of previous big hits, but happy to appear in this seemingly minor indie. Again it isn’t a huge role but he garners enough empathy from the viewer and Natalie that he becomes another integral part.

Robert Ryan was notable as Captain Nemo in 1969, but he gets the nomination for his performance as Deke in The Wild Bunch, the Grim Repair stalking the central gang. We see him in flashback and in the present, and though ostensibly the villain we know that his revenge is justified given the circumstances. Ryan is just as cunning as the men he is chasing down and though it seems he is always one point behind he is in fact one step ahead. My final pick is for Richard Thomas, only 18 but already a veteran, very good as the bronzed, snobbish teen who gets his kicks through punishing and humiliating others – a little against type. Burns gets the most admiration in the film, but Thomas is very strong too.

My Winner: Gig Young


Let us know in the comments who is your pick as the Best Supporting Actor of 1969!

Best Supporting Actor – 1968

Official Nominations: Jack Albertson. Seymour Cassel. Daniel Massey. Jack Wilde. Gene Wilder.

A lot of unusual choices for performances this year, with Jack Albertson doing nothing out of the ordinary in the merely ordinary The Subject Was Roses. In a bleaker look at the falling apart of family and American values, Faces has a number of nominated performers including Seymour Cassel but none of them truly stand out for me while Daniel Massey camps it up memorably as Noel Coward in Star! Jack Wilde does an okay job as The Artful Dodger, and while those accents just grate on me his portrayal is the one I know best. Finally,Gene Wilder announced himself to the world in sterling form in The Producers.

My Winner: Gene Wilder.


My Nominations:Gene Wilder. Jack Wilde. Robert Vaughn. Robert Helpmann. Karl Hardman. Henry Fonda.

Only Wilde and Wilder make it to my list, with four overlooked performances added. Karl Hardman is the opposing force to Duane Jones’s Ben in Night Of The Living Dead – creating one of the most punchable people in horror history yet an utterly human and understandable character, all the more surprising given Hardman was a Producer not an actor. Robert Helpmann likewise crafted an iconic figure in the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitt Bang Bang, while Robert Vaughn is the unlikable politician Chalmers Bullitt. Finally, Henry Fonda is even more unlikable and cast against type brilliantly as the devious killer Frank in Once Upon A Time In The West. 

My Winner: Gene Wilder


Who is your pick for the Best Supporting Actor of 1968? Let us know in the comments!

Best Supporting Actor – 1967

Official Nominations: George Kennedy. John Cassavetes. Gene Hackman. Cecil Kellaway. Michael J Pollard.

George Kennedy was the surprise winner this year for his memorable turn as the big, brazen friend to Paul Newman’s Luke, against type for his usual bad guy roles. John Cassavetes could almost have been awarded a nomination for the Best Lead Actor category but due to the ensemble nature of The Dirty Dozen he fits into this category better – standing out in the large cast as one of the most memorable characters. Gene Hackman made his first significant impact this year with Bonnie And Clyde, and although he plays second fiddle to Beatty and Dunaway it is clear he has star power of his own. Kellaway feels like a strange choice as he doesn’t have a major role or a huge amount of screen time in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, but is an affable presence who supports the young lovers unexpectedly. Finally, Michael J Pollard gives Bonnie And Clyde another nomination, giving a respectable performance as the unlikeliest member of the gun-totin’ clan.

My Winner: John Cassavetes.


My Nominations: George Kennedy. John Cassavetes. Alan Arkin. Telly Savalas. Peter Sellers.

Kennedy and Cassavetes make it over to my list and join Alan Arkin for his sinister, over the top performance in Wait Until Dark. Speaking of over the top performances, Telly Savalas turns on the crazy in The Dirty Dozen as the most ill-advised choice of ally to go on a suicide mission. Finally, Peter Sellers does as well as he can in the original Casino Royale, winning most of the laughs that the film has.

My Winner: John Cassavetes.

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Who do you think deserved the Best Supporting Actor award for 1967? Let us know in the comment!

1966 – Best Supporting Actor

Official Nominations: Walter Matthau. Mako. James Mason. George Segal. Robert Shaw.

This years nominations don’t hold many surprises, although the shock win of Walter Matthau for The Fortune Cookie may have raised a few eyebrows due it it being light fare. In his first collaboration with Jack Lemmon, Matthau is memorable as the slimy, money-grabbing Whiplash Willie. In a film (The Sand Pebbles) which attempts to portray the racism of the time and situation, Mako makes for a sympathetic and always likable character who befriends some of the US sailors at the cost of creating enemies elsewhere. Mason is, as always, dependable in a role (Georgy Girl) which required him to give his standard cold demeanor shtick and later become more obviously affectionate, while George Segal undergoes similar changes as Nick in Who’s Afraid Fo Virginia Woolf? Robert Shaw picks up the final nomination as Henry VIII in A Man For All Seasons in one of the definitive performances of the big chicken-thigh eater.

My Winner: Mako


My Nominations: Mako. Robert Shaw. Lee Van Cleef. Eli Wallach.

Mako and Robert Shaw make it over to my nominations, and I add to that couple two men who went toe to toe with The Man With No Name in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.  Lee Van Cleef, a man who looks like a veteran of the Wild West through and through, gives a worn, sinister performance as Angel Eyes. The bad guy of the piece, Van Cleef tones down much of the charm which made previous villians so memorable, and accentuated the ruthless, murderous side. My win though goes to Wallach whose performance is largely grounded in comedy, but manages to make the audience both despise him and feel pathos. In a film where most of the performances are marked more by the silence and the internalised, Wallach’s Tuco provides the outlet for the emotion and absurdity of the events.

My Winner: Eli Wallach


Who is your pick for the best Supporting Actor of 1966? Let us know in the comments section!