The median age for a Supporting Actor winner is 49.6. The mean is 49.5. Yet, people don’t win at that age – no one has ever won when 48 or 50 and only one winner was 49 (Burl Ives). A lot of people win in their 30’s and 40’s. A good amount even win in their 70’s (9 winners). The youngest was Timothy Hutton (20) and the oldest was George Burns (79).

The interesting differences in careers is that you can’t win when you’re too young. The three people who won it in their 20’s had a decent career (Hutton), a mediocre career (George Chakiris) and a horrifying career (Cuba Gooding Jr.). On the other hand, look at some of the people who won it in their 30’s, heading into the prime of their careers, including 4 actors who went on to win another Oscar for Best Actor (Jack Lemmon, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Kevin Spacey). There are also two-time Supporting winners Anthony Quinn and Peter Ustinov, as well as multiple time nominees like Benicio Del Toro, Christopher Walken and Frank Sinatra.

The list of best choices for winner would include Lemmon, De Niro, Spacey, Washington, Kevin Kline, Walter Huston, Martin Landau, Gene Hackman and Karl Malden. The best winner I don’t agree with is George Sanders, who would deserve it in almost any other year but 1950. To me the worst choices were the third Walter Brennan award, the second Peter Ustinov award and the Burl Ives award (it so should have been for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).

Given the massive influx of awards groups in the last twenty years the oddest win was the one for James Coburn. The only other things he had to show for his award season were nominations from the Independent Spirits and SAG. No wins, nothing from the critics and not even a nomination from the Golden Globes. The bigger consensus winner would have been Bill Murray who wasn’t even nominated in spite of three critics awards, the Golden Satellite win and a Golden Globe nomination.

The top point earners for just Supporting Actor alone are:

  1. Walter Brennan  –  210 points  (4 nominations, 3 Oscars)
  2. Peter Ustinov  /  Jason Robards  –  150 points  (3 nominations, 2 Oscars)
  3. Jack Nicholson  –  150 points  (4 nominations, 1 Oscar)

The next group of people, all with 120 points, fall into three categories.  The first is those with 2 Oscars but no other nominations (Anthony Quinn, Melvyn Douglas, Michael Caine).  The second is those with 3 nominations and 1 Oscar (Charles Coburn, Gig Young, Jack Palance, Gene Hackman, Martin Landau).  The third is those poor great actors, Claude Rains and Arthur Kennedy who were both nominated 4 times but never won.  For Rains, that was his whole Oscar experience, but Kennedy was also nominated once for Best Actor and never won.

Of that group, Nicholson is the only one who makes the top 10 points for male acting.  Most of the actors with lots of nominations or wins got most of their nominations in the lead category.  They either got an early nomination before they became a leading man, or a late nomination when they were no longer as big.  Al Pacino had 90 points in the Supporting Actor category (3 nominations), Jack Lemmon and Robert DeNiro each had 60 (1 win), Laurence Olivier, Paul Newman and Marlon Brando all had 30 (1 nomination).  The three remaining members of the top 10 who were never nominated as a Supporting Actor are Spencer Tracy, Dustin Hoffman and Peter O’Toole.

Honor Role: Longtime Companion / Jackie Brown / Charlie Wilson’s War

Shame Role: none

Grades: Winners: B+ (B overall) / Nominations: B (B- overall) / Seen: 100 % (96.99% 99.19% overall)

(blue won Best Picture, red was nominated for Best Picture, purple received just the one nomination)

(because actors can only be nominated once in a category, if someone gives two of the 5 best performances in one year, like Robert De Niro in 1973, I still nominate five different actors, but note De Niro’s second performance as still being worthy of a nomination)

1970 AA: John Mills in Ryan’s Daughter

  • John Marley in Love Story
  • Richard Castellano in Lovers and Other Strangers
  • Chief Dan George in Little Big Man
  • Gene Hackman in I Never Sang for My Father

me: Robert Duvall in M*A*S*H

  • Gene Hackman in I Never Sang for My Father
  • Trevor Howard in Ryan’s Daughter
  • Frank Langella in Twelve Chairs
  • John Mills in Ryan’s Daughter

1971 AA: Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show

  • Roy Scheider in The French Connection
  • Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show
  • Leonard Frey in Fiddler on the Roof
  • Richard Jaeckel in Sometimes a Great Notion

me: Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show

  • Edward Fox in The Go-Between
  • Roy Scheider in The French Connection
  • Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show
  • John Hurt in 10 Rillington Place
  • Richard Jaeckel in Sometimes a Great Notion

1972 AA: Joel Grey in Cabaret

  • Al Pacino in The Godfather
  • Robert Duvall in The Godfather
  • James Caan in The Godfather
  • Eddie Albert in The Heartbreak Kid

me: Al Pacino in The Godfather

  • Robert Duvall in The Godfather
  • Joel Grey in Cabaret
  • James Caan in The Godfather
  • Richard Castellano in The Godfather

note:  Joel Grey was great, but Pacino’s performance is one of the great performances in film history.

1973 AA: John Houseman in The Paper Chase

  • Jason Miller in The Exorcist
  • Vincent Gardenia in Bang the Drum Slowly
  • Jack Gilford in Save the Tiger
  • Randy Quaid in The Last Detail

me: Robert De Niro in Mean Streets (also for Bang the Drum Slowly)

  • Jason Miller in The Exorcist
  • John Houseman in The Paper Chase
  • Erland Josephson in Cries and Whispers
  • Robert Ryan in The Iceman Cometh

1974 AA: Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II

  • Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather Part II
  • Lee Strasberg in The Godfather Part II
  • Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno
  • Jeff Bridges in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

me: Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II

  • John Huston in Chinatown
  • Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather Part II
  • Lee Strasberg in The Godfather Part II
  • Robert Duvall in The Godfather Part II

1975 AA: George Burns in The Sunshine Boys

  • Brad Dourif in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Chris Sarandon in Dog Day Afternoon
  • Burgess Meredith in The Day of the Locust
  • Jack Warden in Shampoo

me: Jack Warden in Shampoo

  • George Burns in The Sunshine Boys
  • Brad Dourif in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Regimantas Adomaitis in Kirol Lir
  • Charles Durning in Dog Day Afternoon

1976 AA: Jason Robards Jr. in All the President’s Men

  • Burgess Meredith in Rocky
  • Burt Young in Rocky
  • Ned Beatty in Network
  • Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man

me: Jason Robards Jr. in All the President’s Men

  • Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man
  • Harvey Keitel in Taxi Driver
  • Martin Balsam in All the President’s Men
  • Robert Duvall in Network

1977 AA: Jason Robards Jr. in Julia

  • Maximilian Schell in Julia
  • Alec Guinness in Star Wars
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Turning Point
  • Peter Firth in Equus

me: Alec Guinness in Star Wars

  • Jason Robards Jr. in Julia
  • Tony Roberts in Annie Hall
  • Peter Firth in Equus
  • James Earl Jones in Star Wars

1978 AA: Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter

  • Bruce Dern in Coming Home
  • John Hurt in Midnight Express
  • Jack Warden in Heaven Can Wait
  • Richard Farnsworth in Comes a Horseman

me: Michael Caine in California Suite

  • Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter
  • Bruce Dern in Coming Home
  • Robert Morley in Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe
  • John Hurt in Midnight Express

1979 AA: Melvyn Douglas in Being There

  • Justin Henry in Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now
  • Frederic Forrest in The Rose
  • Mickey Rooney in The Black Stallion

me: Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now

  • Paul Dooley in Breaking Away
  • Melvyn Douglas in Being There
  • Ian Holm in Alien
  • Klaus Kinski in Nosferatu

1980 AA: Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People

  • Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People
  • Joe Pesci in Raging Bull
  • Michael O’Keefe in The Great Santini
  • Jason Robards Jr. in Melvin and Howard

me: Joe Pesci in Raging Bull

  • Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People
  • Jason Robards Jr. in Melvin and Howard
  • Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People
  • Freddie Jones in The Elephant Man

1981 AA: John Gielgud in Arthur

  • Ian Holm in Chariots of Fire
  • Jack Nicholson in Reds
  • James Coco in Only When I Laugh
  • Howard E. Rollins Jr. in Ragtime

me: Howard E. Rollins Jr. in Ragtime

  • Jack Nicholson in Reds
  • John Gielgud in Arthur
  • Nicol Williamson in Excalibur
  • Robert Preston in S.O.B.

1982 AA: Louis Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman

  • James Mason in The Verdict
  • Charles Durning in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • John Lithgow in The World According to Garp
  • Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria

me: Kevin Kline in Sophie’s Choice

  • Robert Preston in Victor/Victoria
  • Louis Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman
  • James Mason in The Verdict
  • Peter MacNicol in Sophie’s Choice

1983 AA: Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment

  • John Lithgow in Terms of Endearment
  • Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff
  • Charles Durning in To Be or Not to Be
  • Rip Torn in Cross Creek

me: Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment

  • William Hurt in The Big Chill
  • Jan Malmsjo in Fanny and Alexander
  • Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff
  • Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy

1984 AA: Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields

  • Adolph Caesar in A Soldier’s Story
  • John Malkovich in Places in the Heart
  • Pat Morita in The Karate Kid
  • Ralph Richardson in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

me: Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields

  • Richard Burton in 1984
  • Denzel Washington in A Soldier’s Story
  • Adolph Caesar in A Soldier’s Story
  • James Fox in A Passage to India

1985 AA: Don Ameche in Cocoon

  • Klaus Maria Brandauer in Out of Africa
  • William Hickey in Prizzi’s Honor
  • Robert Loggia in Jagged Edge
  • Eric Roberts in Runaway Train

me: Klaus Maria Brandauer in Out of Africa

  • Raul Julia in Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Peter in Ran
  • Denholm Elliott in A Private Function
  • Michael Palin in Brazil

1986 AA: Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters

  • Tom Berenger in Platoon
  • Willem Dafoe in Platoon
  • Denholm Elliott in A Room with a View
  • Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers

me: Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters (also for Mona Lisa)

  • Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in My Beautiful Laundrette (also for A Room with a View)
  • Denholm Elliott in A Room with a View
  • Willem Dafoe in Platoon

note:  To me, this is the 1950 of the modern era.  I really have a very tough time deciding between the top three and at various times have gone with any of those three.  Even Dennis Hopper was surprised when they nominated him for Hoosiers instead of for Blue Velvet.

1987 AA: Sean Connery in The Untouchables

  • Albert Brooks in Broadcast News
  • Vincent Gardenia in Moonstruck
  • Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom
  • Morgan Freeman in Street Smart

me: Mandy Patinken in The Princess Bride

  • Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom
  • Morgan Freeman in Street Smart
  • Sean Connery in The Untouchables
  • Albert Brooks in Broadcast News

1988 AA: Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda

  • Alec Guinness in Little Dorrit
  • Martin Landau in Tucker: The Man and His Dream
  • River Phoenix in Running on Empty
  • Dean Stockwell in Married to the Mob

me: Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda

  • River Phoenix in Running on Empty
  • Alec Guinness in Little Dorrit
  • Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice
  • Martin Landau in Tucker: The Man and His Dream

1989 AA: Denzel Washington in Glory

  • Dan Aykroyd in Driving Miss Daisy
  • Danny Aiello in Do the Right Thing
  • Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Marlon Brando in A Dry White Season

me: Denzel Washington in Glory

  • Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Morgan Freeman in Glory
  • James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams
  • Danny Aiello in Do the Right Thing

1990 AA: Joe Pesci in GoodFellas

  • Graham Greene in Dances with Wolves
  • Andy Garcia in The Godfather Part III
  • Bruce Davison in Longtime Companion
  • Al Pacino in Dick Tracy

me: Joe Pesci in GoodFellas

  • Bruce Davison in Longtime Companion
  • Andy Garcia in The Godfather Part III
  • John Spencer in Presumed Innocent
  • Albert Finney in Miller’s Crossing

1991 AA: Jack Palance in City Slickers

  • Tommy Lee Jones in JFK
  • Harvey Keitel in Bugsy
  • Ben Kingsley in Bugsy
  • Michael Lerner in Barton Fink

me: Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

  • Steve Martin in Grand Canyon
  • Ice Cube in Boyz N the Hood
  • Ben Kingsley in Bugsy
  • Michael Lerner in Barton Fink

1992 AA: Gene Hackman in Unforgiven

  • Jaye Davidson in The Crying Game
  • Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men
  • Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • David Paymer in Mr. Saturday Night

me: Gene Hackman in Unforgiven

  • Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men
  • Jaye Davidson in The Crying Game
  • Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Anthony Hopkins in Howards End

1993 AA: Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive

  • Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List
  • Pete Postlethwaite in In the Name of the Father
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  • John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire

me: Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List

  • Michael Keaton in Much Ado About Nothing
  • Pete Postlethwaite in In the Name of the Father
  • John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire
  • Denzel Washington in Much Ado About Nothing

note:  Fiennes deserves it just for the line “I forgive you.”  But it’s also one of the most remarkable and realistic portrayals of evil ever put on screen.

1994 AA: Martin Landau in Ed Wood

  • Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump
  • Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
  • Paul Scofield in Quiz Show
  • Chazz Palminteri in Bullets Over Broadway

me: Martin Landau in Ed Wood

  • Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
  • John Turturro in Quiz Show
  • Chazz Palminteri in Bullets Over Broadway
  • Paul Scofield in Quiz Show

1995 AA: Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects

  • Ed Harris in Apollo 13
  • James Cromwell in Babe
  • Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys
  • Tim Roth in Rob Roy

me: Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects

  • Patrick Stewart in Jeffrey
  • Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys
  • Kenneth Branagh in Othello
  • Alan Rickman in Sense and Sensibility

1996 AA: Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire

  • William H. Macy in Fargo
  • Armin Mueller-Stahl in Shine
  • Edward Norton in Primal Fear
  • James Woods in Ghosts of Mississippi

me: William H. Macy in Fargo

  • Paul Scofield in The Crucible
  • Edward Norton in Primal Fear
  • Jeremy Northam in Emma
  • Ian McKellen in Cold Comfort Farm

1997 AA: Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

  • Greg Kinnear in As Good as It Gets
  • Anthony Hopkins in Amistad
  • Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights
  • Robert Forster in Jackie Brown

me: Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential

  • Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights
  • Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
  • Robert Forster in Jackie Brown
  • Anthony Hopkins in Amistad

1998 AA: James Coburn in Affliction

  • Geoffrey Rush in Shakespeare in Love
  • Robert Duvall in A Civil Action
  • Billy Bob Thornton in A Simple Plan
  • Ed Harris in The Truman Show

me: Bill Murray in Rushmore

  • Donald Sutherland in Without Limits
  • Ed Harris in The Truman Show
  • Billy Bob Thornton in Primary Colors
  • Geoffrey Rush in Shakespeare in Love

1999 AA: Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules

  • Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile
  • Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense
  • Tom Cruise in Magnolia
  • Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley

me: Tom Cruise in Magnolia

  • Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense
  • Christopher Plummer in The Insider
  • John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich
  • Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules

2000 AA: Benicio Del Toro in Traffic

  • Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator
  • Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich
  • Jeff Bridges in The Contender
  • Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire

me: Bruce Greenwood in Thirteen Days

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous
  • Benicio Del Toro in Traffic
  • Stephen Culp in Thirteen Days
  • Robert Downey Jr. in Wonder Boys

note:  Another very difficult year, deciding between Bruce Greenwood’s spot-on depiction of JFK or Philip Seymour Hoffman’s brilliant take on Lester Bangs.

2001 AA: Jim Broadbent in Iris

  • Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Ethan Hawke in Training Day
  • Jon Voight in Ali
  • Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast

me: Ian McKellen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast
  • Steve Buscemi in Ghost World
  • Ian Holm in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Jude Law in A.I.

note:  I’m not sure which stunned me more: when Jim Broadbent won over Ian McKellen and Ben Kingsley (even though Broadbent had won the Golden Globe) or when Ethan Hawke was nominated over Steve Buscemi.

2002 AA: Chris Cooper in Adaptation

  • John C. Reilly in Chicago
  • Ed Harris in The Hours
  • Christopher Walken in Catch Me if You Can
  • Paul Newman in Road to Perdition

me: Chris Cooper in Adaptation

  • Christopher Walken in Catch Me if You Can
  • Jude Law in Road to Perdition
  • Stephen Dillane in The Hours
  • Andy Serkis in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

2003 AA: Tim Robbins in Mystic River

  • Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams
  • Djimon Honsou in In America
  • Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai
  • Alec Baldwin in The Cooler

me: Sean Astin in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

  • Tim Robbins in Mystic River
  • Andy Serkis in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai
  • Bill Nighy in Love Actually

2004 AA: Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby

  • Alan Alda in The Aviator
  • Thomas Haden Church in Sideways
  • Clive Owen in Closer
  • Jamie Foxx in Collateral

me: Clive Owen in Closer

  • Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby
  • Peter Sarsgaard in Kinsey (also for Garden State)
  • Thomas Haden Church in Sideways
  • Chris Cooper in Silver City

2005 AA: George Clooney in Syriana

  • Matt Dillon in Crash
  • Jake Gyllenhall in Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt in A History of Violence
  • Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man

me: George Clooney in Syriana

  • Jake Gyllenhall in Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt in A History of Violence
  • Matt Dillon in Crash
  • Chris Cooper in Capote

2006 AA: Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine

  • Mark Wahlberg in The Departed
  • Djimon Honsou in Blood Diamond
  • Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children
  • Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls

me: Michael Sheen in The Queen

  • Mark Wahlberg in The Departed
  • Jack Nicholson in The Departed
  • Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children
  • Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls

2007 AA: Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men

  • Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton
  • Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild
  • Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War

me: Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton

  • Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men
  • Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Albert Finney in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

2008 AA: Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

  • Josh Brolin in Milk
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
  • Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road
  • Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder

me: Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

  • Emile Hirsch in Milk
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
  • Josh Brolin in Milk
  • James Franco in Milk

2009 AA:

  • Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
  • Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
  • Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
  • Matt Damon in Invictus
  • Christopher Plummer in The Last Station

me:  Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

  • Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
  • Alfred Molina in An Education
  • Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
  • Christian McKay in Me and Orson Welles

Honorary Mentions:

  • 1970: Jon Voight in Catch-22
  • 1987: Daniel Auteuil in Manon of the Spring
  • 2001: Hugh Bonneville in Iris
  • 2003: Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams

My Own Top Points (for my nominations):

  1. Claude Rains  –  360 points  (9 nominations, 3 Nighthawk Awards)
  2. Robert Duvall  –  210 points  (5 nominations, 2 Nighthawks)
  3. Michael Caine  –  180 points  (4 nominations, 2 Nighthawks)
  4. Alec Guinness  /  Jack Nicholson  –  180 points each  (5 nominations, 1 Nighthawk)
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