Heath Ledger: The Top 25 (Best Supporting Actor)

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Continuing on with this weekly series I’m doing for the site, we’re in the midst of talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories. Aside from the shorts and something a bit harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Mixing as I mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months, including of course the big eight categories.

Today I’ll be going ahead and knocking off another of those rather big ones, the ever interesting Best Supporting Actor category. As always, depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just give more of a broad overview of the winners, but I’m keeping it simple for this one and will focus on the list. Like I’ve said each week though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the paragraph or two…

Best Supporting Actress is an incredibly interesting Oscar category without question, due in part to some of the more interesting names that you can see sometimes pop up as winners. I’ll be honest and let you all know that I personally find this to be the weakest of the acting categories, but there are some outstanding winners to be found here, no doubt about that. I know my number one choice isn’t necessarily going to be a popular one, but I stand by it, as you’ll see below!

This week, for this particular acting category, what I’m going to do is give you the list right now, along with a few words about some of the top choices at the end. The big eight categories cater to this style nicely I think, so that’s likely how I’ll continue to handle these going forward. Here we go now though…

My Top 25 Best Supporting Actor winners are:

25. Louis Gossett Jr. – An Officer and a Gentleman
24. Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
23. Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
22. Joel Grey – Cabaret
21. Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby
20. Christopher Plummer – Beginners
19. Jack Nicholson – Terms of Endearment
18. Gene Hackman – Unforgiven
17. Jack Lemmon – Mister Roberts
16. Chris Cooper – Adaptation
15. Martin Landau – Ed Wood
14. George Kennedy – Cool Hand Luke
13. Kevin Spacey – The Usual Suspects
12. Christian Bale – The Fighter
11. Michael Caine – Hannah and her Sisters
10. Benecio del Toro – Traffic
9. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
8. Cuba Gooding Jr. – Jerry Maguire
7. Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
6. Joe Pesci – Goodfellas
5. Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting
4. Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
3. Robert De Niro – The Godfather Part II
2. Kevin Kline – A Fish Called Wanda
1. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Basically, as you can see above, I’m of the school of thought that no one has ever captivated in a winning supporting turn like Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight. Beyond Ledger though, I know the whole world loves Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II and he’d be most folks’ number one, but he’s below Ledger and Kevin Kline from A Fish Called Wanda on my list. Kline’s rare comedy win is a landmark. Also in the top five I had Christoph Waltz’s first win, for Inglourious Basterds (lower on the list I have his other win for Django Unchained), as well as Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting. Those are far and away the best I’ve ever seen, though the top ten is pretty stacked as well, which consists of Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men, Benecio del Toro for Traffic, Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire, newest winner Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, and Joe Pesci for Goodfellas. They’re all top notch and certainly deserve these honors, no doubt about that…

Next week, I’ll turn my attention to another category, so stay tuned!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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