Best Actor – 1972

Official Nominations: Marlon Brando. Michael Caine. Laurence Olivier. Peter O’Toole. Paul Winfield.

The 1972 saw at least two of who most critics consider the ‘best actor ever’ going toe to toe – with Brando coming out on top for The Godfather – one of the single most famous performances in history. Olivier, already a Best Actor winning an million time nominee is typically brilliant in Sleuth, and yet he is overshadowed by Michael Caine who delivers a performance good enough to win any year that he doesn’t go up against Don Corleone. Peter O’Toole can make a claim for appearing on any Best Actor Ever list, here picking up one of his many nominations and certainly his most bizarre. I can’t see a film like The Ruling Class ever being made outside of the weirdest Indie House, never mind it being featured at The Oscars. Nevertheless, it leaves an impression and O’Toole is great – you can’t help but wonder if Jack Nicholson had starred instead, would he have won? Finally, Paul Winfield has a more wholesome nomination for Sounder – a little film completely lost to time but one worthy of catching, not least because Winfield gets a deserved nod.

One other notable thing to mention is that each of the nominees this year made other notable performances in different films, some of them worthy of nominations themselves – Brando has Last Tango In Paris, Winfield had Trouble Man (maybe not..), Caine had Pulp, O’Toole had Man Of La Mancha, and Olivier had Lady Caroline Lamb. There’s not many years these days where the many or any of the nominees have multiple notable movies in a single year.

My Winner: Marlon Brando

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My Nominations: Marlon Brando. Michael Caine. Robert Redford. Bruce Dern. Bruce Lee.

The five officials are good enough to be on any list, but I’ll switch things up a little more and keep the only two genuine official contenders. I’d also be tempted to include Pacino here rather than the supporting category, but lets give someone else a chance. Robert Redford had two hits this year, with Jeremiah Johnson where he stars as a veteran and mountain man and The Candidate as a Democrat asked to enter a political race against the Republican powerhouse. Both these films are wonderful Redford showcases but feel as if they have been left behind in time. Although Dern deserves a shout for The King Of Marvin Gardens it is Silent Running which gets my vote. Dern gives a one man show for much of the film, growing steadily more manic and desperate, though his wide-eyed behaviour may be too much for some. Finally, Bruce Lee also appears in a couple of hits this year – while there doesn’t appear to be a lot of difference between the two characters he plays – both are moral and driven to rage and revenge by tragedy – but you’d be hard-pushed to find anyone who commanded the screen with such vitality than Lee.

My Winner: Marlon Brando

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

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Marlon J.D

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Evoking powerful images of Marlon Brando’s Reflections In A Golden Eye, the lyrics are visceral and brutal and speak of Richey’s appreciation of the beauty of minimalist survival, of withstanding torture and physical pain as if you’re a wraith. The music bursts out of the speakers sharply, like a rifle crack, the guitars and drums reminiscent of Joy Division and angular punk. It’s brief, leaving no room to catch your breath, and the nifty closing guitar solo is straight out of The Holy Bible.

Misheard Lyrics: Oh well, whatever, never lonely Marlon JD

Actual Lyrics: A well-oiled rifle, never lonely Marlon JD

Marlon J. D: 4/Great

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Best Actor – 1962

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Actual Nominations: Gregory PeckTo Kill a Mockingbird as Atticus Finch Burt LancasterBirdman of Alcatraz as Robert Stroud Jack LemmonDays of Wine and Roses as Joe Clay Marcello MastroianniDivorce, Italian Style as Ferdinando Cefalù Peter O’TooleLawrence of Arabia as T. E. Lawrence

This was a big year for leading male performances with at least two of the nominations remaining iconic to this day. Peter O’Toole commands the screen with his misty eyed Lawrence in a role which has seen him on British TV screens every Christmas, while Gregory Peck gives his career defining performance as judge, father, and all round good man Atticus Finch- a role which has ensured that he will haunt English Classrooms for years to come. Peck won the award this year and gets my vote too. Other A-listers missing out this year included a fiery drunk Lemmon (two Ms) , and a harmonious Burt Lancaster. Propping up the list is Marcello Mastroianni is the hit Italian comedy as an unhinged husband.

My Winner: Gregory Peck.

My Nominations: Gregory Peck. Burt Lancaster. Jack Lemmon. James Mason. Marlon Brando.

There isn’t too much difference in my choices except that I have added Brando for Mutiny On The Bounty and James Mason for Lolita.

My Winner: Marlon Brando

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Marlon Brando: April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004

Marlon Brando

The original Hollywood hellraiser, Brando set out to do things his own way and left behind one of the most incredible bodies of work of any actor. Always a misfit and rebel in his life and career, he essentially single-handedly reinvented acting and created some of the most iconic characters and performances in movie history.

‘There’s a line in the picture where he snarls, ‘Nobody tells me what to do.’ That’s exactly how I’ve felt all my life.’