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The Top 25 Best Supporting Actor Winners So Far (Revisited)

A day later than usual, it’s time for another one of these pieces! Continuing a tradition I’ve been keen on for years, I’m ranking the new crop of Academy Award winners. For nearly all of the Oscar categories, you’ll see me list the top 25 recipients of that prize. Sometimes, our newest winner will appear. Other times, they’ll be relegated to the Honorable Mention category. Who knows, maybe one or two won’t even make the cut? It’s a list series that I’ll do each and every single year, in the weeks after the ceremony concludes. So, while this is a fun way to think about the Oscars in the aftermath of the latest telecast, it’s also a beginning for another column here on the site. Of course, definitely show us your own lists as well, in the comments section below. We’re definitely keen to know what you think!

Another big one today! Yes, this time around I’m going with the Best Supporting Actor field. My Top 25 Supporting Actor winners are below, but first, a bit of commentary. For my money, this is often the most satisfying category of any Oscar night, winner-wise. It’s a place where industry veterans and character actors, as well as sometimes exciting newcomers, can take home the gold. The Academy almost never goes completely off the rails here, and that counts for something. Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight is tops for me, especially since it’s something that Oscar voters had never done before. Other top tier winners of the Supporting Actor prize? Well, for me, they’re Kevin Kline in A Fish Called WandaJoe Pesci in GoodfellasBrad Pitt in Once Upon a Time…in HollywoodJ.K. Simmons in WhiplashChristoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds, and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. Where do I rank Daniel Kaluuya for his Academy Award winning turn in Judas and the Black Messiah last year? What about our newest winner in Troy Kotsur for CODA? Read on to find out…

Here are what I consider to be the 25 best winners of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, to date:

Brad Pitt

25. Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
24. Christopher Plummer – Beginners
23. Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby
22. Gene Hackman – Unforgiven
21. Jack Nicholson – Terms of Endearment
20. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
19. Jack Lemmon – Mister Roberts
18. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
17. Martin Landau – Ed Wood
16. Chris Cooper – Adaptation
15. Troy Kotsur– CODA
14. Benecio del Toro – Traffic
13. Christian Bale – The Fighter
12. Michael Caine – Hannah and her Sisters
11. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
10. Robert De Niro – The Godfather Part II
9. Cuba Gooding Jr. – Jerry Maguire
8. Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
7. Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
6. Joe Pesci – Goodfellas
5. Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting
4. Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
3. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
2. Kevin Kline – A Fish Called Wanda
1. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Honorable Mention: Louis Gossett Jr. – An Officer and a Gentleman, Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, George Kennedy – Cool Hand Luke, Karl Malden – A Street Car Named Desire, Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies, and Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Stay tuned for another category later on this week or early next week!


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9 months ago

I am watching Affliction so I will be back later with my list. See if James Coburn makes the list!

9 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

This list proved harder to rank than I expected . I went with favorites and my gut . Some could change next time but this is a stacked category of incredible performances. It also has more honorable mentions then I planned.

1. Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
2. Sean Connery -The Untouchables
3. Burl Ives – The Big County
4. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
5. Javier Bardem – No County for Old Men
6. Joel Grey – Cabaret
7. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
8. Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
9. Troy Kotsur – CODA
10. Timothy Hutton – Ordinary People
11. Jack Lemmon – Mr Roberts
12 . Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
13 . Robert DeNiro – The Godfather part II
14. Kevin Kline – A Fish Called Wanda
15. Peter Ustinov- Spartacus
16. Christopher Plummer- Beginners
17. Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
18. Haing S. Noor – The Killing Fields
19. Martin Landau – Ed Wood
20. Melvyn Douglas- Hud
21. Robin Williams- Good Will Hunting
22. Edmund Gwenn- Miracle on 34th Street
23. Jim Broadbent – Iris
24. Benicio Del Toro – Traffic
25. Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

HM Ben Johnson ( The Last Picture Show), Christoph Waltz ( Inglorious Basterds ) , Christopher Walken, ( The Deer Hunter), Morgan Freeman ( Million Dollar Baby), Frank Sinatra ( From Here to Eternity) ,Ali ( Green Book), Alan Arkin ( Little Miss Sunshine) , Gig Young ( They Shoot Horses Don’t They?), Louis Gossett Jr ( An Officer and A Gentlemen), Sam Rockwell ( Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri)

9 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

One thing about Heath Ledger. I wasn’t sure where I was ranking him so I went back and watched some scenes. You never guess that’s Ledger if you didn’t know it was him. He vanished in that role and it’s not just the makeup. He changed everything , comparing his Joker to other roles and his interviews he’s nothing like himself. He even seems physically different. Completely different from Jack Nicholson. You always know it’s Jack and that’s not a criticism it’s part of his charm and different styles of acting are needed . I had forgotten a little that Ledger changed entirely for the part .



Written by Joey Magidson

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