Greatest Acting Performances that won Best Supporting Actor

Only acting performances I watched are included. (27 Did not watch - Syriana, Iris, The Cider House Rules, City Slickers, The Killing Fields, An Officer and a Gentleman, Being There, Julia, The Sunshine Boys, The Paper Chase, The Last Picture Show, Ryan's Daughter, The Subject Was Roses, Topkapi, Hud, The Big Country, Mister Roberts, The Barefoot Contessa, Miracle on 34th Street, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Johnny Eager, The Westerner, Kentucky, The Life of Emile Zola, Come and Get It)
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
Robert De Niro, thought of as one of the greatest actors of all time, was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, German, Dutch, English, and French. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
“ The Godfather, Pt. II (1972) ” - Paul Hamell
 
2.
Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger work comprised nineteen films, including 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), The Patriot (2000), A Knight's Tale (2001), Monster's Ball (2001), Ned Kelly (2003), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Lords of Dogtown (2005), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Casanova (2005), Candy (2006), I'm Not There (2007)...
“ The Dark Knight (2008) ” - Paul Hamell
 
3.
Christopher Walken
Nervous-looking lead and supporting actor of the American stage and films, with sandy colored hair, pale complexion and a somewhat nervous disposition. He won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Deer Hunter, and has been seen in mostly supporting roles, often portraying psychologically unstable characters...
“ The Deer Hunter (1978) ” - Paul Hamell
 
4.
Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Manuela (Oaxaca) and Francisco Quinn, who became an assistant cameraman at an LA film studio. His paternal grandfather was Irish, and the rest of his family was Mexican. After starting life in extremely modest circumstances in Mexico...
“ Lust for Life (1956) ” - Paul Hamell
 
5.
Karl Malden
Born to a Czech mother and a Serbian father in Chicago, on March 22, 1912, Karl Malden didn't learn how to communicate a single word of English until he was in kindergarten. Raised in Gary, IN, a medium-sized steel town, Malden--like many other young men in Gary--got a job in a steel factory when he finished school...
“ A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) ” - Paul Hamell
 
6.
Kevin Spacey
As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey has always kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person"...
“ The Usual Suspects (1995) ” - Paul Hamell
 
7.
Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem is the youngest member of a family of actors that has been making films since the early days of Spanish cinema. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal grandparents were actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro...
“ No Country for Old Men (2007) ” - Paul Hamell
 
8.
Joe Pesci
Actor, Goodfellas
Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943, in Newark, NJ, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor and by the mid-50s was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-'60s he released a record under the stage name of "Joe Ritchie" titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing"...
“ Goodfellas (1990) ” - Paul Hamell
 
9.
Chris Cooper
Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised. Educated at the University of Missouri school of drama...
“ Adaptation. (2002) ” - Paul Hamell
 
10.
Tim Robbins
Born in West Covina, California, but raised in New York City, Tim Robbins is the son of former The Highwaymen singer Gil Robbins and actress Mary Robbins (née Bledsoe). Robbins studied drama at UCLA, where he graduated with honors in 1981. That same year, he formed the Actors' Gang theater group...
“ Mystic River (2003) ” - Paul Hamell
 
11.
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
“ The Fighter (2010) ” - Paul Hamell
 
12.
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001). Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1990s...
“ Glory (1989) ” - Paul Hamell
 
13.
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford Motor Company executive from Indiana...
“ Good Will Hunting (1997) ” - Paul Hamell
 
14.
Gene Hackman
Actor, Unforgiven
Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves...
“ Unforgiven (1992) ” - Paul Hamell
 
15.
J.K. Simmons
Actor, Whiplash
J.K. Simmons is an American actor. He was born Jonathan Kimble Simmons in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to Patricia (Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a music teacher. He attended the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; University of Montana, Missoula, MT (BA in Music). He had originally planned to be a singer and studied at the University of Montana to become a composer...
“ Whiplash (2014) ” - Paul Hamell
 
16.
Benicio Del Toro
Actor, Snatch
Benicio Del Toro emerged in the mid-'90s as one of the most watchable and charismatic character actors to come along in years. A favorite of film buffs, Del Toro gained mainstream public attention as the conflicted but basically honest Mexican cop in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Born on February 19...
“ Traffic (2000) ” - Paul Hamell
 
17.
Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn was born Antonio Rudolfo Oaxaca Quinn on April 21, 1915, in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Manuela (Oaxaca) and Francisco Quinn, who became an assistant cameraman at an LA film studio. His paternal grandfather was Irish, and the rest of his family was Mexican. After starting life in extremely modest circumstances in Mexico...
“ Viva Zapata! ” - Paul Hamell
 
18.
Jared Leto
Jared Leto made his film debut in How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and received critical praise for his performance in Prefontaine (1997). Leto played supporting roles in The Thin Red Line (1998), Fight Club (1999) and American Psycho (2000), as well as the lead role in Urban Legend (1998), and earned critical acclaim after portraying heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000)...
“ Dallas Buyers Club (2013) ” - Paul Hamell
 
19.
James Coburn
Lanky, charismatic and versatile actor with an amazing grin that put everyone at ease, James Coburn studied acting at UCLA, and then moved to New York to study under noted acting coach Stella Adler. After being noticed in several stage productions, Coburn appeared in a handful of minor westerns before being cast as the knife-throwing...
“ Affliction (1998) ” - Paul Hamell
 
20.
Timothy Hutton
Actor, Leverage
Timothy Hutton was born in Malibu, California, to Maryline (Poole), a teacher, and actor Jim Hutton (Dana James Hutton). He set Hollywood ablaze when he burst onto the acting scene in the early 1980s. After only a small number of significant roles in TV movies, he bagged the part of Conrad in the Robert Redford-directed Ordinary People...
“ Ordinary People (1980) ” - Paul Hamell
 
21.
“ The Fortune Cookie (1966) ” - Paul Hamell
 
22.
Gig Young
Affable, immensely likable American actor, usually in second leads. A native of Minnesota, his parents John and Emma Barr raised him in Washington, DC. He developed a passion for the theatre while appearing in high school plays. After some amateur experience, he applied for and received a scholarship to the acclaimed Pasadena Community Playhouse...
“ They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) ” - Paul Hamell
 
23.
George Sanders
George Sanders was born of English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. He worked in a Birmingham textile mill, in the tobacco business and as a writer in advertising. He entered show business in London as a chorus boy, going from there to cabaret, radio and theatrical understudy. His film debut, in 1936...
“ All About Eve (1950) ” - Paul Hamell
 
24.
Donald Crisp
Donald Crisp was born George William Crisp at the family home in Bow, London. Donald's parents were James Crisp and Elizabeth Crisp, his birth was registered by his mother on 4th September 1882. Donald's sisters were Elizabeth, Ann, Alice (known as Louisa) and Eliza and his brothers were James, John and Mark...
“ How Green Was My Valley (1941) ” - Paul Hamell
 
25.
Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. Starting out as a saloon singer in musty little dives (he carried his own P.A...
“ From Here to Eternity (1953) ” - Paul Hamell
 
26.
George Chakiris
George Chakiris made his film debut at the age of 12 singing in the chorus of Song of Love. Following his graduation from high school, he supported his night-time dancing, singing and dramatic lessons with a daytime job clerking in a Los Angeles department store. Later he started his acting/dancing...
“ West Side Story (1961) ” - Paul Hamell
 
27.
Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz was born in Vienna, Austria, to Elisabeth Urbancic, an Austrian-born costume designer, and Johannes Waltz, a German-born stage builder. He has 3 siblings. He was born into a theater family, as his maternal grandmother was Viennese Burgtheater actress Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather was fellow Burgtheater actor Emmerich Reimers...
“ Inglourious Basterds (2009) ” - Paul Hamell
 
28.
George Kennedy
George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City, to Helen A. (Kieselbach), a ballet dancer, and George Harris Kennedy, an orchestra leader and musician. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope to become a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps...
“ Cool Hand Luke (1967) ” - Paul Hamell
 
29.
Walter Huston
Walter Huston, who was born Toronto, Ontario, established himself as one of the great actors of the English-speaking stage and cinema. He established himself as a well-respected and much-sought-after character lead beginning with the early talkies and continuing through the 1930s & '40s. Huston originally studied engineering before seeking a life in the theater...
“ The Treasure on Sierra Madre (1948) ” - Paul Hamell
 
30.
Morgan Freeman
With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...
“ Million Dollar Baby (2004) ” - Paul Hamell
 
31.
Christoph Waltz
Christoph Waltz was born in Vienna, Austria, to Elisabeth Urbancic, an Austrian-born costume designer, and Johannes Waltz, a German-born stage builder. He has 3 siblings. He was born into a theater family, as his maternal grandmother was Viennese Burgtheater actress Maria Mayen, and his step-grandfather was fellow Burgtheater actor Emmerich Reimers...
“ Django Unchained (2012) ” - Paul Hamell
 
32.
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school for boys in Dallas...
“ The Fugitive (1993) ” - Paul Hamell
 
33.
Charles Coburn
A cigar-smoking, monocled, swag-bellied character actor known for his Old South manners and charm. In 1918 he and his first wife formed the Coburn Players and appeared on Broadway in many plays. With her death in 1937, he accepted a Hollywood contract and began making films at the age of sixty.
“ The More the Merrier (1943) ” - Paul Hamell
 
34.
Barry Fitzgerald
One of Hollywood's finest character actors and most accomplished scene stealers, Barry Fitzgerald was born William Joseph Shields in 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. Educated to enter the banking business, the diminutive Irishman with the irresistible brogue was bitten by the acting bug in the 1920s and joined Dublin's world-famous Abbey Players...
“ Going My Way (1944) ” - Paul Hamell
 
35.
Hugh Griffith
Actor, Ben-Hur
Enjoyably larger-than-life character actor Hugh Emrys Griffith was born in Marianglas, Anglesey, North Wales, to Mary (Williams) and William Griffith. Griffith left the world of banking (having been employed as a teller) after winning a scholarship to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art...
“ Ben-Hur (1959) ” - Paul Hamell
 
36.
Ed Begley
Charismatic character star Edward James Begley was born in Hartford, Connecticut of Irish parents and educated at St.Patrick's school. His interest in acting first surfaced at the age of nine, when he performed amateur theatricals at the Hartford Globe Theatre. Determined to make his own way, he left home aged eleven and drifted from job to job...
“ Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) ” - Paul Hamell
 
37.
Jason Robards
Powerful and highly respected American actor Jason Nelson Robards, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Hope Maxine (Glanville) and stage and film star Jason Robards Sr. He had Swedish, English, Welsh, German, and Irish ancestry. Robards was raised mostly in Los Angeles. A star athlete at Hollywood High School...
“ All the President's Men (1976) ” - Paul Hamell
 
38.
Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Margaret and Robert Joseph Kline, who owned several stores. His father was of German Jewish descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Kline studied at the Juilliard School in New York. In 1972, Kline joined the Acting Company in New York which was run by John Houseman...
“ A Fish Called Wanda (1988) ” - Paul Hamell
 
39.
John Gielgud
Actor, Gandhi
Sir John Gielgud is a highly distinguished and prolific performer who is considered to be one of the finest actors of his generation. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, Gielgud played his first Hamlet in 1930 and quickly established himself as one of the most eminent Shakespearean interpreters of his time...
“ Arthur (1981) ” - Paul Hamell
 
40.
Christopher Plummer
Actor, Up
Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892)...
“ Beginners (2011) ” - Paul Hamell
 
41.
Sean Connery
Actor, Dr. No
Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. His mother, Euphamia McBain (Maclean), was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver. He also has a brother named Neil Connery, who works as a plasterer in Edinburgh. He is of Irish and Scottish descent...
“ The Untouchables (1987) ” - Paul Hamell
 
42.
Martin Balsam
Martin Henry Balsam was born on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, New York City, to Lillian (Weinstein) and Albert Balsam, a manufacturer of women's sportswear. He was the first-born child. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and his mother was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents. Martin caught the acting bug in high school where he participated in the drama club...
“ A Thousand Clowns (1965) ” - Paul Hamell
 
43.
“ Cabaret (1972) ” - Paul Hamell
 
44.
Michael Caine
Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in London, to Ellen Frances Marie (Burchell), a charlady, and Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, a fish-market porter. He left school at 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean War, where he saw combat...
“ Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) ” - Paul Hamell
 
45.
Martin Landau
Actor, Ed Wood
Oscar-winning character actor Martin Landau was born on June 20, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. At age 17, he was hired by the New York Daily News as a staff cartoonist and illustrator. In his five years on the paper, he served as the illustrator for Billy Rose's "Pitching Horseshoes" column. He also worked for cartoonist Gus Edson on "The Gumps" comic strip...
“ Ed Wood (1994) ” - Paul Hamell
 
46.
Thomas Mitchell
Certainly there have been many phrases coined about Thomas Mitchell as one of the most recognizable and exemplary character actors of Hollywood's golden years, but behind that elfish demeanor was a talent to fit many hats. He was a first-generation American of Irish immigrants who settled in New Jersey...
“ Stagecoach (1939) ” - Paul Hamell
 
47.
Peter Ustinov
Actor, Robin Hood
Peter Ustinov was a two-time Academy Award-winning film actor, a director, writer, journalist and raconteur. He wrote and directed many acclaimed stage plays and led numerous international theatrical productions. He was born Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ustinov on April 16, 1921, in Swiss Cottage, London...
“ Spartacus (1960) ” - Paul Hamell
 
48.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His paternal grandfather was from Barbados...
“ Jerry Maguire (1996) ” - Paul Hamell
 
49.
Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, screen-writer and director, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine - who have received Oscar nods in every decade from sixties through the naughts...
“ Terms of Endearment (1983) ” - Paul Hamell
 
50.
Dean Jagger
Dean Jagger was born in Lima, Ohio, on November 7, 1903. He dropped out of high school twice before finally graduating from Wabash College. Working first as a school teacher, he soon became interested in acting and enrolled at Chicago's "Lyceum Art Conservatory". Mr. Jagger made his first movie and only silent film...
“ Twelve O'Clock High (1949) ” - Paul Hamell
 
51.
Harold Russell
Harold John Russell was born in Nova Scotia in 1914. His family moved to Cambridge Massachusetts when his father died in 1919. He was training paratroopers at Camp MacKall NC on June 6, 1944 when some TNT he was using exploded in his hands. He lost both hands. After receiving hooks, and training on them...
“ The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) ” - Paul Hamell
 
52.
Alan Arkin
Actor, Argo
Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer. He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946 the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles...
“ Little Miss Sunshine (2006) ” - Paul Hamell
 
53.
Melvyn Douglas
Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka, but he was much, much more...
“ Being There (1979) ” - Paul Hamell
 
54.
Red Buttons
Composer, actor, comedian and author, he joined ASCAP in 1963 and wrote several popular songs (which he often personally performed), including "Strange Things Are Happening" and "The Ho-Ho Song".
“ Sayonara ” - Paul Hamell
 
55.
Don Ameche
Actor, Cocoon
Don Ameche was a versatile and popular American film actor in the 1930s and '40s, usually as the dapper, mustached leading man. He was also popular as a radio master of ceremonies during this time. As his film popularity waned in the 1950s, he continued working in theater and some TV. His film career...
“ Cocoon (1985) ” - Paul Hamell