Ranking Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor

by luke-a-mcgowan | created - 04 Apr 2015 | updated - 28 Mar 2016 | Public

All of the Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, ranked from Best to Worst. This is based on memorability, difficulty of character, whether they were the best of the nominees and the impression put on the audience.

1. Heath Ledger

Actor | Brokeback Mountain

When hunky, twenty-year-old heart-throb Heath Ledger first came to the attention of the public in 1999, it was all too easy to tag him as a "pretty boy" and an actor of little depth. He spent several years trying desperately to sway this image, but this was a double-edged sword. His work comprised ...

The Dark Knight

2. Jared Leto

Actor | Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto is a very familiar face in recent film history. Although he has always been the lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and songwriter for American band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Leto is an accomplished actor merited by the numerous, challenging projects he has taken in his life. He is known to be ...

Dallas Buyers Club

3. Christian Bale

Actor | The Dark Knight

Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries ...

The Fighter

4. Robin Williams

Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford ...

Good Will Hunting

5. Javier Bardem

Actor | Skyfall

Javier Bardem belongs to a family of actors that have been working on films since the early days of Spanish cinema.

He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, to actress Pilar Bardem (María del Pilar Bardem Muñoz) and businessman José Carlos Encinas Doussinague. His maternal grandparents were...

No Country For Old Men

6. J.K. Simmons

Actor | Whiplash

J.K. Simmons is an American actor.

He was born Jonathan Kimble Simmons in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to Patricia (Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a music teacher. He attended the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; University of Montana, Missoula, MT (BA in Music).

He had ...

Whiplash

7. Joe Pesci

Actor | Goodfellas

Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor, and by the mid-1950s, was starring on the series "Star Time Kids"....

Goodfellas

8. Christoph Waltz

Actor | Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz is an Austrian-German actor. He is known for his work with American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, receiving acclaim for portraying SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained (2012). For each performance, he won...

Inglourious Basterds

9. 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 ...

Glory

10. Gene Hackman

Actor | The French Connection

Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After ...

Unforgiven

11. Kevin Spacey

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Kevin Spacey Fowler, better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, screenwriter and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in...

The Usual Suspects

12. Cuba Gooding Jr.

Actor | Jerry Maguire

Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His ...

Jerry Maguire

13. George Kennedy

Actor | Cool Hand Luke

George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City, to Helen A. (Kieselbach), a ballet dancer, and George Harris Kennedy, an orchestra leader and musician. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope to become a fighter ...

Cool Hand Luke

14. Mark Rylance

Actor | Bridge of Spies

Widely regarded as the greatest stage actor of his generation, Sir Mark Rylance has enjoyed an esteemed career on stage and on screen, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg's Bridge of ...

Bridge of Spies

Should've won: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

15. 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...

Million Dollar Baby

16. Christoph Waltz

Actor | Django Unchained

Christoph Waltz is an Austrian-German actor. He is known for his work with American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, receiving acclaim for portraying SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds (2009) and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained (2012). For each performance, he won...

Django Unchained

Should've won: Alan Arkin (Argo)

17. 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, ...

Mystic River

18. Robert De Niro

Actor | Raging Bull

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, English, Dutch, German, and French. He was trained ...

The Godfather - Part II

19. Tommy Lee Jones

Actor | The Fugitive

Tommy Lee Jones was born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Lucille Marie (Scott), a police officer and beauty shop owner, and Clyde C. Jones, who worked on oil fields. Tommy himself worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school ...

The Fugitive

Should've won: Leonardo DiCaprio (What's Eating Gilbert Grape)

20. Jack Nicholson

Actor | Chinatown

Jack Nicholson, an American actor, producer, director and screenwriter, is a three-time Academy Award winner and twelve-time nominee. Nicholson is also notable for being one of two actors - the other being Michael Caine - who have received an Oscar nomination in every decade from the 1960s through ...

Terms of Endearment

21. Christopher Plummer

Actor | Beginners

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister...

Beginners

Should've won: Jonah Hill (Moneyball)

22. Chris Cooper

Actor | Adaptation.

Christopher Walton Cooper was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Mary Ann (Walton), a homemaker, and Charles Sherwood Cooper, a cattleman and internist who served as a doctor in the US Air Force. His parents were from Texas, where Cooper was raised.

Educated at the University of Missouri school of ...

Adaptation

Should've won: John C. Reilly (Chicago)

23. Jason Robards

Actor | All the President's Men

Powerful and highly respected American actor Jason Nelson Robards, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Hope Maxine (Glanville) and stage and film star Jason Robards Sr. He had Swedish, English, Welsh, German, and Irish ancestry. Robards was raised mostly in Los Angeles. A star athlete at ...

All the President's Men

Should've won: Burgess Meredith (Rocky)

24. Alan Arkin

Actor | Argo

Alan Arkin is an Academy Award-winning American actor who is also an acclaimed director, producer, author, singer and composer.

He was born Alan Wolf Arkin on March 26, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Jewish emigrants from Russia and Germany. In 1946, the Arkins moved from Brooklyn to ...

Little Miss Sunshine

Should've won: Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)



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