These are my top 20 performances listed in order for each category (lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor & supporting actress)
Henry Jaynes Fonda was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, to Elma Herberta (Jaynes) and William Brace Fonda, who worked in advertising and printing. His recent ancestry included Dutch, English, and Scottish. Fonda started his acting debut with the Omaha Community Playhouse, a local amateur theater troupe directed by Dorothy Brando...
“ in The Ox Bow Incident (best performance by an actor in lead role 1943) ” - Aunt-Peg
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy in Andover...
“ in Casablanca (2nd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Jr. was born in Petersburg, Virginia, into a well-to-do Southern family. He was the eldest of three sons born to Sally Whitworth (Willson) and Joseph Cheshire Cotten, Sr., an assistant postmaster. Jo (as he was known) and his brothers Whit and Sam spent their summers at their aunt and uncle's home at Virginia Beach...
“ in Shadow of a Doubt (3rd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
The son of Joseph Livesey and Mary Catherine (nee Edwards), Roger was educated at Westminster City School, London. His first stage appearance was the office boy in Loyalties at St. James' theatre in 1917. Subsequently, he played in everything from Shakespeare to modern comedies. He played various roles in the West End from 1920 to 1926...
“ in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (4th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
Large and hearty Monty Woolley was born to privilege on August 17, 1888, the son of a hotel proprietor who owned the Marie Antoinette Hotel on Broadway. A part of Manhattan's elite social circle at a young age, he studied at both Yale (Master's degree) and Harvard and returned to Yale as an English instructor and coach of graduate dramatics...
“ in Holy Matrimony (5th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
A comedienne and singer in the British Music Halls, she was the top box-office draw and the highest paid actress in Britain in the 1930's. Her Northern, working-class girl character was a favourite during the inter-war years.
“ in Holy Matrimony (best performance by an actress in a lead role 1943) ” - Aunt-Peg
A natural and lovely talent who was discovered for films by Samuel Goldwyn
, the always likable Teresa Wright distinguished herself early on in high-caliber, Oscar-worthy form -- the only performer ever to be nominated for Oscars for her first three films. Always true to herself, she was able to earn Hollywood stardom on her own unglamorized terms...
“ in Shadow of a Doubt (2nd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
One of the world's most underrated Academy Award-winning actresses, Jennifer Jones was born Phylis Lee Isley on 2 March 1919 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Flora Mae (Suber) and Phillip Ross Isley, who ran a travelling stage show. As a young aspiring actress, she met and fell for young aspiring actor Robert Walker
and they soon married...
“ in The Song of Bernadette (3rd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
“ in Day of Wrath (4th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
Dubbed "the funniest woman in the world", comedienne Beatrice Lillie was born the daughter of a Canadian government official and grew up in Toronto. She sang in a family trio act with her mother, Lucy, and her piano-playing older sister, Muriel. Times were hard and the ambitious mother eventually took the girls to England to test the waters...
“ in On Approval (5th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
William Claude Rains, born in the Camberwell area of London, was the son of the British stage actor Frederick Rains. The younger Rains followed, making his stage debut at the age of eleven in "Nell of Old Drury." Growing up in the world of theater, he saw not only acting up close but the down-to-earth business end as well...
“ in Casablanca (best performance by an actor in supporting role 1943) ” - Aunt-Peg
American character actor of gruff voice and appearance who was a fixture in Hollywood pictures from the earliest days of the talkies. The fifth of seven children, he was born in the first minute of 1891. He was a boisterous child, and at nine was tried and acquitted for attempted murder in the shooting of a motorman who had run over his dog...
“ in The Song of Bernadette (2nd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
American leading man of the 1940s and 1950s, Dana Andrews, was born Carver Dana Andrews on a farm by Collins, Covington County, Mississippi. He was the son of Annis (Speed) and Charles Forrest Andrews, a Baptist minister. He was one of thirteen children, including actor Steve Forrest
. Andrews studied business administration at Sam Houston State Teachers College in Texas...
“ in The Ox Bow Incident (3rd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
William Bendix was not a son of Brooklyn, New York, although because of his stereotypical "Brooklyn accent" it has been widely supposed that he was. Bendix was actually born in the Borough of Manhattan (New York City proper), in a midtown flat hard by the tracks of the long-since defunct Third-Avenue Elevated Railway...
“ in Guadalcanal Diary (4th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. Arriving in Los Angeles in 1927...
“ in Hitler's Madman (5th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
Missouri-born Jane Darwell was the daughter of a railroad president and grew up on a ranch in Missouri. She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her father's disapproval (she eventually changed her name to Darwell from the family name of Woodward so as not to "sully" the family name)...
“ in The Ox Bow Incident (best performance by an actress in a supporting role 1943) ” - Aunt-Peg
Gladys Cooper was the daughter of journalist William Frederick Cooper and his wife Mabel Barnett. As a child she was very striking and was used as a photographic model beginning at six years old. She wanted to become an actress and started on that road in 1905 after being discovered by Seymour Hicks to tour with his company in "Bluebell in Fairyland"...
“ in The Song of Bernadette (2nd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
began her acting career at the age of 12. She was dancing in the chorus in a West End revue when she was spotted by a Warner Brothers casting director. She went to do a screen test for them at the Riverside Studios and was invited to become an extra. On her first day at the filming of The Girl in the Crowd
she arrived on the set just after Michael Powell
had just sacked the second lead...
“ in On Approval (3rd choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography she stated that on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order to find work as an actress and Lena was left in the care of her grandparents...
“ in Cabin in the Sky (4th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg
The child of a teenage rape victim, Ethel Waters
grew up in the slums of Philadelphia and neighboring cities, seldom living anywhere for more than a few weeks at a time. "No one raised me, " she recollected, "I just ran wild." She excelled not only at looking after herself, but also at singing and dancing; she began performing at church functions...
“ in Cabin in the Sky (5th choice) ” - Aunt-Peg