Best Actor – 1971

Official Nominations: Gene Hackman. Peter Finch. Walter Matthau. George C Scott. Chaim Topol.

There were two clear front-runners this year, with Gene Hackman picking up the win for his (arguably) career best performance in The French Connection. Missing out was Topol in Fiddler In The Roof – a full-blooded performance but one I’m never going to pick over Hackman. Peter Finch plays one third of a sexual triangle in Sunday Bloody Sunday, a million miles away from camp, while Walter Matthau is not grumpy in the forgotten, curious, and light Kotch. Finally, George C Scott is grumpy and stressed and more besides in The Hospital. As mentioned – only one winner.

My Winner: Gene Hackman

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My Nominations: Gene Hackman. Gene Wilder. Dustin Hoffman. Al Pacino. Sean Connery. Malcolm McDowell. Oliver Reed. Michael Caine. Warren Beatty. Richard Roundtree. Robert Duvall.

Only Hackman transcends reality to make it onto my list, joining a list of snubs and others. Gene Wilder seems like a major snub here, at least with hindsight – his portrayal of Willy Wonka one of the most beloved ever, commanding every scene he is in and providing many memorable moments. Similarly, Dustin Hoffman may feel aggrieved that he didn’t get a nomination for Straw Dogs – Hoffman slowly cracking then shattering. Al Pacino got off to his first major lead role in Panic In Needle Park, an interesting film raised by his performance while Sean Connery plays a more dastardly version of Bond in The Anderson Tapes. Malcolm McDowell gives a tour de force performance as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, ensuring he would have a career playing madcap characters while Oliver Reed furthered his legend with The Devils. Staying in England, Michael Caine earns another nomination from me thanks to his meanest performance in Get Carter while back in the US, Warren Beatty should feel aggrieved by not getting a nomination for Mccabe & Mrs Miller. Finally, two performances which never would have got a nomination – Robert Duvall in a rare lead role for THX 1138 and Richard Roundtree for the ground-breaking Shaft. 

This is a tough one, but I think it’s between Wilder and McDowell for me.

My Winner: Gene Wilder

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Who do you pick as the Best Actor of 1971? Let us know in the comments!

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.

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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

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