Make Your Picks

My Favorite Supporting Performances


Glenn Close, The World According to Garp

One of the most impressive film debuts in film history. Close received a supporting actress nomination for her Jenny Fields, an independent-minded nurse and domineering mother of T S Garp (Robin Wiliams), who becomes an international celebrity after writing a book. Close makes every aspect of this very complicated character work, including the fact that the character is WAY older than Close. This performance deservedly made Glenn Close a star.

Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker

Duke blindsided Angela Lansbury by winning the Best Supporting Actress for her unhinged performance as the blind, deaf, and mute Helen Keller, being tamed into domesticity by her teacher, Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft).

Julianne Moore, Boogie Nights

Moore should have won the supporting actress Oscar for the richness and the complicated layers she brings to this character. Moore plays an aging porn star and cocaine addict involved (maybe obligated to) with a porn director (Burt Reynolds) and full of regret about giving up her child and inwardly panicked about what to do with her life as the porn industry begins to wane. Moore creates a character who is smart, sexy, nurturing, and just a little bit lost. This is one of those performances that should be studied by acting students.

Alan Arkin, Wait Until Dark

Arkin created one of cinema's most bone-chilling villains in Harry Roat Jr., a thief terrorizing a blind housewife (Audrey Hepburn) in order to find a doll with heroine hidden in it. Arkin was once asked in an interview why he thinks he didn't get a nomination and he replied, "You don't get nominated for being mean to Audrey Hepburn."

Natalie Wood, Miracle on 34th Street

Edmund Gwenn won Best Supporting Actor for this film, but Wood should have won Best Supporting Actress. For those who didn't see my other thread, this performance is also my #1 Child Performance.

Clive Owen, Closer

Owen's vivid Oscar-nominated performance playing one of cinema's greasier characters is the best thing about the movie.

Stanley Tucci, Julie and Julia

Another quietly brilliant performance from one of our most solid character actors...Tucci is wonderful as Paul Child, the hopelessly devoted husband of chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep), who, though sometimes taken granted for by his wife, never seems to mind or complain.

Helen Mirren, Gosford Park

Mirren is masterful as the head of housekeeping who runs the household with pristine efficiency and does her best to turn a blind eye to gossip and innuendo. No flashy theatrics here...acting from the gut.

Joe Pesci, Goodfellas

The Academy got this one right...a brilliantly unhinged performance that offers surprises at every never knew what this guy was going to do next.

Celeste Holm, All About Eve

One of the most underrated performances in the history of cinema and definitely the most underrated performance in the film. Holm somehow manages to capture all of the subtle nuances that Mankiewicz brings to this character whose loyalties are challenged and altered throughout the film and still comes off as the most likable character in the movie. Holm created a memorable character in Karen Richards, probably the MVP in all the twists and turns that this classic story takes.

This was the hardest list I've done so far. I could have put about 250 performances on this list and this is the first time I've started one of these lists without knowing already what was going to be #1 was going to be and my # 1 changed about a dozen times while compiling this list. As usual, I would like to list a few honorable mentions who didn't make the list:

Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver
Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Robert De Niro, The Godfather Part II
Rita Moreno, West Side Story
George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Christopher Walken, Catch Me if You Can
Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz
Jeffrey Tambor, And Justice for all...
Josh Brolin, Milk

OK, Here we go...remember my opinion and my opinion favorite supporting performance:

Ed Harris, The Truman Show

A rare gem of a performance that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it. Harris gave the performance of his career and was robbed of an Oscar for his Cristof, the television producer with the God complex who is the genius (or madman) behind the idea of turning the life of one Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) into a 24-hour television series. It's chilling to watch Cristof manipulate Truman's life with little or no regard for his feelings, but you can't help but be fascinated when he gets to say things like "Cue the sun." It's a performance that provides chills and awe with each repeat viewing. Again, Harris was robbed.

Gideon, you completely deserve a "Master of Movies" nomination and win if there's another MoFies ceremony next year.

I think Moore or Pesci would've been my top choice from your ten. I think both are fantastic performances. Rep for Helen Mirren in Gosford Park, too, though you probably could've filled the top five with performances from that film.

Congrats on finishing your list, Gideon. I see you've started another one already.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Ed Harris is phenomenal in a fantastic movie. The Truman Show is top quality.

Great list, Gideon! Looking forward to the next one.
[ J ] - [ S ] - [ F ]

Ed Norton in Primal Fear and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight are my favorite picks on that list !
''Haters are my favourite. I've built an empire with the bricks they've thrown at me... Keep On Hating''
- CM Punk

Another great list.

Some of my favorites on your list are:
Robert Preston, Victor/Victoria
Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street
Joel Grey, Cabaret
Jack Wild, Oliver!
Meryl Streep, Kramer VS Kramer
William Hurt, The Big Chill
John Gielgud, Arthur
Alan Arkin, Wait Until Dark
Natalie Wood, Miracle on 34th Street
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight should be number 1 all the way!