The 30 Most Award Worthy Performances

by tammyaphillips | created - 04 Mar 2014 | updated - 14 Sep 2014 | Public

These 30 performers may or may not have been awarded for these performances. But, they are among my favorites. Enjoy

1. Angela Lansbury

Actress | The Manchurian Candidate

The daughter of an actress and the granddaughter of a high-ranking politician, Angela Brigid Lansbury studied acting from her youth, departing for the United States in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. She was contracted by MGM while still a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her ...

If you only know her as Jessica Fletcher in MURDER SHE WROTE, you are missing out. Her performance in the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE is beyond outstanding.

2. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

Denzel's portrayal of the charismatic leader in MALCOLM X was one of the best of his career.

3. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...

Viola's frightened and brokenhearted mom in DOUBT was spellbinding.

4. Paul Newman

Actor | The Hustler

Screen legend, superstar, and the man with the most famous blue eyes in movie history, Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, the second son of Arthur Sigmund Newman (died 1950) and Theresa Fetsko (died 1982). His elder brother was , Arthur S. Newman Jr., named for ...

Paul's portrayal of the washed-up alcoholic attorney in THE VERDICT was so convincing that I could smell the liquor on his breath.

5. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

Mr. Poitier shared many wonderful performances with his audience. One of my favorites was from A RAISIN IN THE SUN.

6. Laurence Fishburne

Actor | The Matrix

One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His ...

Laurence is a gifted actor. See his work in AKEELAH AND THE BEE, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT and THURGOOD MARSHALL.

7. Agnes Moorehead

Actress | Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Of Irish/English ancestry, Agnes was born near Boston, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (her mother was a mezzo-soprano) who encouraged her to perform in church pageants. Aged three, she sang 'The Lord is my Shepherd' on a public stage and seven years later joined the St. Louis Municipal ...

Agnes' performance in HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE was so good.

8. Eileen Heckart

Actress | The Bad Seed

Versatile, award-winning character actress Eileen Heckart, with the lean, horsey face and assured, fervent gait, was born Anna Eileen Herbert on March 29, 1919, in Columbus, Ohio. An only child, she lived with her mother after her parents separated at age 2, and was eventually adopted by her ...

You could not help but cry for Eileen's character in THE BAD SEED.

9. Humphrey Bogart

Actor | Casablanca

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born in New York City, New York, to Maud Humphrey, a famed magazine illustrator and suffragette, and Belmont DeForest Bogart, a moderately wealthy surgeon (who was secretly addicted to opium). Bogart was educated at Trinity School, NYC, and was sent to Phillips Academy ...

Humphrey's performance in THE CAINE MUTINY was so believable.

10. Frank Sinatra

Actor | From Here to Eternity

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. ...

I became a Frank Sinatra fan after seeing him in the original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.

11. Clint Eastwood

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...

Clint's has given many fine performance. But my favorite comes from IN THE LINE OF FIRE.

12. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to...

Forest is incapable of ever giving a bad performance. Just take a look at THE BUTLER.

13. Whoopi Goldberg

Actress | Ghost

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in...

Whoopi's performance in THE COLOR PURPLE was stunning.

14. Angela Bassett

Actress | Strange Days

Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters and on stages and television screens throughout the world. Angela Evelyn Bassett was born on August 16, 1958 in New York City, to Betty Jane (Gilbert), a social worker, and Daniel Benjamin Bassett, a ...

Angela became Tina Turner in WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT.

15. Matt Damon

Actor | Good Will Hunting

Matthew Paige Damon was born on October 8, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Kent Damon, a stockbroker, realtor and tax preparer, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. Matt has an older brother, Kyle, a sculptor. His father was of English and ...

THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY solidified for me how talented Matt Damon is.

16. James Stewart

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

James Maitland Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth Ruth (Johnson) and Alexander Maitland Stewart, who owned a hardware store. He was of Scottish, Ulster-Scots, and some English, descent. Stewart was educated at a local prep school, Mercersburg Academy, where he ...

James gave a fine performance in one of my favorite movies IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

17. Al Pacino

Actor | Serpico

Alfredo James "Al" 'Pacino established himself as a film actor during one of cinema's most vibrant decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies.

He was born April 25, 1940 in Manhattan, New York City, to Italian-American parents, Rose (nee Gerardi)...

Al's career is full of memorable performances. His in THE GODFATHER PART II was one of his best.

18. John Cazale

Actor | Dog Day Afternoon

John Cazale was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to an Irish-American mother, Cecilia (Holland), and an Italian-American father, John Cazale. Cazale only made five feature films in his career, all which many fans and critics alike call classics. But before his film debut, the short The American Way (...

John's Fredo in THE GODFATHER movies was one of the best ever.

19. Ernest Borgnine

Actor | Marty

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents were Anna (Boselli), who had emigrated from Carpi (MO), Italy, and Camillo Borgnino, who had emigrated from Ottiglio (AL), Italy. As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, ...

His performances in MARTY and FROM HERE TO ETERNITY are stellar.

20. Don Cheadle

Actor | Crash

Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in...

Don's character in PICKET FENCES did not prepare me for his hilarious performance in A DEVIL WITH A BLUE DRESS ON.

21. Jennifer Hudson

Soundtrack | Dreamgirls

Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol (2002) can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a ...

Jennifer's debut in DREAMGIRLS was powerful.

22. Haley Joel Osment

Actor | The Sixth Sense

Haley Joel Osment is an American actor who has proven himself as one of the best young actors of his generation. He is the first millennial male to have received an Academy Award nomination for acting.

Osment was born in Los Angeles, California, to Theresa (Seifert), a teacher, and actor Eugene ...

After seeing Haley in THE SIXTH SENSE, I thought I was seeing dead people.

23. Idris Elba

Actor | Beasts of No Nation

An only child, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born and raised in London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at Ford Dagenham; his mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting, before he dropped...

His portrayal of Nelson Mandela in THE LONG WALK TO FREEDOM was outstanding.

24. Adolph Caesar

Actor | The Color Purple

Born in the Harlem section of New York City, joined the Navy, then studied drama at New York University; was an announcer for then joined the Negro Ensemble Co. in 1970 for such productions as "The River Niger", "Square Root of the Soul" and "The Brownsville Raid"; worked with repertory groups such...

His performances in THE COLOR PURPLE and A SOLDIER'S STORY were great.

25. Jamie Foxx

Actor | Django Unchained

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the biographical film Ray (2004). The same year, he was nominated for the Academy...

His Ray Charles in RAY was perfect.

26. Tim Robbins

Actor | Mystic River

Born in West Covina, California, but raised in New York City, Tim Robbins is the son of former The Highwaymen singer Gil Robbins and actress Mary Robbins (née Bledsoe). Robbins studied drama at UCLA, where he graduated with honors in 1981. That same year, he formed the Actors' Gang theater group, ...

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and MYSTIC RIVER prove that Tim is an excellent actor.

27. Morgan Freeman

Actor | Se7en

With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...

Morgan has given many fine performances. But one of his best was in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

28. Kathy Bates

Actress | Misery

Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as...

Kathy's MISERY performance was tremendous.

29. Marlon Brando

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in ...

ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GODFATHER and A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE were excellent showcases for Marlon's talent.

30. Beah Richards

Actress | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Beah Richards left her native Vicksburg, Mississippi, for New York City in 1950. She would not acquire a significant role on stage until 1955, when she appeared in the off-Broadway show "Take A Giant Step" convincingly portraying an 84-year-old grandmother without using theatrical makeup. In 1962 ...

Ms. Richards performances in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER were great.



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