IMDb Polls

Poll: Standout Leading Man

Every so often there is a performance of a leading actor that just stands out and is nominated for an Oscar even though the film itself is not all that great and does not receive a nomination in any other category. Which of these performances is your favourite?

Listed are all performances from the last 50 years (1964-2014), plus one earlier one as a default option for those who prefer a performance in an older film.

If you'd like to give a shout-out to a particular earlier performance you can do so here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Demián Bichir in A Better Life (2011)

    2012: Demian Bichir as Carlos Garlindo in A Better Life
  2. Vote!

    Colin Firth in A Single Man (2009)

    2010: Colin Firth as George in A Single Man
  3. Vote!

    Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (2007)

    2009: Richard Jenkins as Walter Vale in The Visitor
  4. Vote!

    Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises (2007)

    2008: Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai in Eastern Promises
  5. Vote!

    Best Actor

    2008: Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield in In the Valley of Elah
  6. Vote!

    Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006)

    2007: Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland
  7. Vote!

    Peter O'Toole and Jodie Whittaker in Venus (2006)

    2007: Peter O'Toole as Maurice in Venus
  8. Vote!

    Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

    2007: Will Smith as Chris Garner in The Pursuit of Happyness
  9. Vote!

    Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson (2006)

    2007: Ryan Gosling as Dan Dunne in Half Nelson
  10. Vote!

    Michael Caine in The Quiet American (2002)

    2003: Michael Caine as Thomas Fowler in The Quiet American
  11. Vote!

    Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001)

    2002: Sean Penn as Sam Dawson in I Am Sam
  12. Vote!

    Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls (2000)

    2001: Javier Bardem as Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls
  13. Vote!

    Denzel Washington stars as Rubin Carter

    2000: Denzel Washington as Rubin Carter in The Hurricane
  14. Vote!

    Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story (1999)

    2000: Richard Farnsworth as Alvin in The Straight Story
  15. Vote!

    Edward Norton in American History X (1998)

    1999: Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard in American History X
  16. Vote!

    Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold (1997)

    1998: Peter Fonda as Ulee Jackson in Ulee's Gold
  17. Vote!


    1998: Robert Duvall as The Apostle E.F. in The Apostle
  18. Vote!

    Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

    1996: Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland in Mr. Holland's Opus
  19. Vote!

    Richard Harris in The Field (1990)

    1991: Richard Harris as Bull McCabe in The Field
  20. Vote!

    Stand and Deliver (1988)

    1989: Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver
  21. Vote!

    Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

    1988: Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam
  22. Vote!

    Dark Eyes (1987)

    1988: Marcello Mastroianni as Romano in Dark Eyes
  23. Vote!

    Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987)

    1988: Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street
  24. Vote!

    Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, and Cathy Tyson in Mona Lisa (1986)

    1987: Bob Hoskins as George in Mona Lisa
  25. Vote!


    1985: Jeff Bridges as Starman in Starman
  26. Vote!

    Peter O'Toole and Ramon Sison in My Favorite Year (1982)

    1983: Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year
  27. Vote!

    Tribute (1980)

    1981: Jack Lemmon as Scottie Templeton in Tribute
  28. Vote!

    John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977)

    1978: John Travolta as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever
  29. Vote!

    Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975)

    1976: James Whitmore as Harry S Truman in Give 'Em Hell, Harry!
  30. Vote!

    The Man in the Glass Booth (1975)

    197: Maximilian Schell as Arthur Goldman in The Man in the Glass Booth
  31. Vote!

    Peter O'Toole in The Ruling Class (1972)

    1973: Peter O'Toole as the 14th Earl of Guerney in The Ruling Class
  32. Vote!

    "Women In Love" Alan Bates 1969 UA

    1969: Alan Bates as Yakov Bok in The Fixer
  33. Vote!

    Cliff Robertson in Charly (1968)

    1969: Cliff Robertson as Charly Gordon in Charly
  34. Vote!

    Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker (1964)

    1966: Rod Steiger as Sol Nazerman in The Pawnbroker
  35. Vote!

    Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade (1941)

    I prefer any of these ealier performances: Cary Grant in Penny Serenade, Stuart Whitman in The Mark, Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer or in Richard III, Anthony Franciosa in A Hatful of Rain, Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe, Jose Ferrer in Cyrano De Bergerac, Richard Todd in The Hasty Heart, Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty, Paul Muni in Black Fury, Leslie Howard in Berkeley Square, Fredric March in The Royal Family of Broadway, George Arliss in The Green Goddess, Maurice Chevalier in The Big Pond, Ronald Colman in Condemned, Lawrence Tibbett in The Rogue Song, George Bancroft in Thunderbolt, Richard Barthelmess in The Patent Leather Kid or in The Noose, Emil Jannings in The Way of All Flesh,

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