Dustin Hoffman had an incredible run of films at the start of his career. After breaking through with The Graduate in 1967, he followed that with the legendary Midnight Cowboy, and steadily continued on with Little Big Man, Straw Dogs, Papillion, Lenny, All the President’s Men and Marathon Man. When 1979 rolled around, he was 42 years old and already had three Best Actor nominations under his belt.
Hoffman was no fan of the Academy at the time. In the midst of his 70’s run, Hoffman called the Oscars a garish and embarrassing evening. He even drew the ire of Frank Sinatra during the 1975 ceremony. Despite that, the Academy didn’t mind all that much as they nominated him again in 79 for Kramer vs. Kramer, and this time they gave him the award.