10. Karl Malden as "Father Barry" in On the Waterfront
He's my first "favorite supporting actor" with his roles in this one and of course, A Streetcar Named Desire.
9. Alec Guiness as ”Prince Faisel" in
Lawrence of Arabia
Yes, it's slow, but the highlights of this movie include every time he's on screen.
8. Javier Bardem as "Anton Chighur" in No Country For Old Men
He barely talks but when he does he spouts a beautiful psychotic wisdom. I've never seen him in any other movie though, which I find strange because when I see him, all I see is this psychotic character. It's kind of like when I see Jason Alexander all I see is "Costanza."
7. Steve Buscemi as "Mr. Pink" in Reservoir Dogs
I didn't know who any of these actors were when I saw this movie. As much as I love Harvey Kietel, who's more of a lead actor in this one, and Mr. Blonde, who's the comic relief, Mr. Pink is the biggest bright spot in a movie full of them.
6. R. Lee Ermey as "Sgt. Hartman" in Full Metal Jacket
It's true to a degree that the training camp portion of this film is an A+, whereas the rest of the movie pales in comparison. I love the second half, but Ermey's performance is so wonderful it'd be hard for just about any film to reach that peak. How many drill sergeants in other stories are modeled after this guy?
5. Heath Ledger as "The Joker" in The Dark Knight
Two people I've talked about way too much on my blog or maybe just in real life are this character and those famous two played by Daniel Day-Lewis. What's left to say? How about … Top 5 Lines said by The Joker in The Dark Knight
5. Scar Story #2: "Come here. Hey! Look at me. So I had a wife, beautiful, like you, who tells me I worry too much. Who tells me I ought to smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks... Look at me! One day, they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can't take it. I just want to see her smile again, hm? I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars. So... I stick a razor in my mouth and do this to myself. And you know what? She can't stand the sight of me! She leaves. Now I see the funny side. Now I'm always smiling!"
4. " If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"
3. "You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!"
2. "Do I really look like a guy with a plan?"
1. Scar Story #1: "Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was... a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not-one-bit. So - me watching - he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it! Turns to me, and he says, "why so serious, son?" Comes at me with the knife... "Why so serious?" He sticks the blade in my mouth... "Let's put a smile on that face!""
4. Robert DeNiro as "Vito Corleone" in The Godfather Part II
Instead of The Godfather Part III, something that would've been great, maybe in the late 70s or early 80s would've been a Godfather prequel. Pick up DeNiro's "Vito" character as he rises to power and let him dominate for a movie, rather than get shot several times in the back and lay in a bed most of the film. Obviously if this was done today it'd be pretty bad.
3. Marlon Brando as "General Kurtz" in Apocalypse Now
Though I usually fall asleep before he appears in the movie, it's a new level of fun when he does, well, except the cow slaughtering. It's funny, of all the violent stuff that happens in this film, it's the cow slaughtering that's too much for me. By the late 70s though, "supporting actor" was the best way to use a suddenly aging Brando.
2. Joe Pesci as "Tommy" in Goodfellas
Obviously, the clown speech is the highlight so …
Henry: You're a pistol! You're really funny. You're really funny!
Tommy: What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry: It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy!
Tommy: [dangerously] What do you mean? You mean the way I talk?
[Everyone becomes quiet]
Henry: It's just, you know, you're just funny. It's funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy: Funny how? What's funny about it?
Anthony: Tommy, no, you got it all wrong —
Tommy: Oh, no, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. [to Henry] What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry: Just —
Henry: Just, ya know, you're funny.
Tommy: You mean, let me understand this, 'cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?
Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story, y'know —
Tommy: No, no, I don't know. You said it! How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny? What the fuck is so funny about me?! Tell me, tell me what's funny!
Henry: Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy: Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him! You stuttering prick, you! Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.
1. Robert Duvall as "Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore" in Apocalypse Now
The four things that need to come into place for a great supporting acting performance are great acting, fun characters, phenomenal lines, and it really helps to appear in a classic movie. If you review this list, pretty much every character adheres to this formula. The Granddaddy of them all is Duvall. Though he's been great sometimes as a lead actor, (that one movie where he killed that guy with a baseball bat … The Apostle … was pretty good for instance) he's better when someone else is taking the lead, even if he's a much better actor than that person, as he is much better than Martin Sheen in this, hell, he's even better than Brando in this one. If there indeed was a "Best Supporting Actor Hall of Fame", he'd be the best nominee and it may as well named after him.
Here's the first 10 people I'd put in order of their relevance:
Lee J. Cobb
Philip Seymour Hoffman (even though he didn't qualify for this list)
William H. Macy
Benicio Del Toro