Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1992

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Robert Downey Jr. (Chaplin)
Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven)
Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman)
Stephen Rea (The Crying Game)
Denzel Washington (Malcolm X)

Biggest Snub:

Daniel Day Lewis – The Last of the Mohicans

My Overall Thoughts:

This was another great year with some very talented performances nominated.  It was pretty much a given that Pacino was gonna take home Gold in the year of his 7th (and 8th) nomination (he also received a support nomination for Glengary Glen Ross this year.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Stephen Rea 
4. Clint Eastwood 
3. Al Pacino
2. Robert Downey Jr.
1. Denzel Washington


5. The Crying GameMovie starts off really well, but loses its impact if you are aware of the big twist. Great performances by Rea and Whitaker make this start off as a film with so much potential that gets lost along the way. I wonder what I would have thought about it had I not known what would happen. I liked parts of this film, but I’m still not convinced that it’s a film that should have made the cut of the best 5 of the year.
4. Scent of a WomanInteresting story about being yourself and the importance of integrity. Pacino’s over the top performance won him an Oscar. The ending is done well, but the spontaneous applause seems extraneous at best.
3. UnforgivenExcellent film which is among Eastwood’s best as both Director and Actor. The anti-western aspect of it all plus the realism help make this so enjoyable and stunning to watch. Freeman and Hackman are also both amazing here in supporting roles and its ironic that Eastwood ended up helping both of them eventually win Best Supporting Actor Oscars for roles he directed them in. The slow pace works really well here to help establish the story and the necessity to follow through with the job they agreed to fulfill. Loved the way that they show how the west probably really was and we see that not all is just or unjust but just like real life, it is a mixture of both.
2. ChaplinGreat way of telling the story of a man who only wanted to entertain people but had many issues in his personal life. Downey Jr. Is amazing as Chaplin.
1. Malcolm X – Amazing biographical film that tells such an epic tale that is hard to actually believe is really true. Washington is superbly cast in the lead and this is clearly his best performance of his entire career that he probably will never be able to match. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for this role and should have beaten Pacino, but apparently due to Academy sentiments, they chose to finally give it to Pacino. The story does an amazing job developing the characters and due to the long run time of the film manages to tell us so many important and poignant parts of the life of this very controversial man. Even at nearly 3.5 hours, this film feels too short and it makes the viewer want to learn even more about the characters and events that have already been delivered to us so spectacularly by Lee. This will now be among my favorite films of 1992 and I am shocked that it took me so long to finally see this near-masterpiece of a film.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  I think that Pacino is a great actor and his performance in SoaW is really enjoyable yet it comes across as being very over the top but is deserving of winning the Oscar yet Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Chaplin is sublime and would have been an even more worthy winner IMHO.  Neither of them even manages to shadow the performance by Washington tho and she was truly robbed of a very deserving win for his portrayal of Malcolm X.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1992

  1. Well, I’m glad Pacino got an Oscar somewhere along the way but this wasn’t even his best performance that year–that would be in Glengarry Glen Ross for which he was nominated for supporting actor. Speaking of Glengarry, the most glaring omission among lead actors was Jack Lemmon. At least I can understand Pacino’s win as a de facto lifetime achievement award but I feel Scent Of A Woman was a poor best picture nominee when voters had films like Glengarry, The Player, Malcom X, and Reservoir Dogs to choose from.


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