Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1991

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Warren Beatty (Bugsy)
Robert De Niro (Cape Fear)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs)
Nick Nolte (The Prince of Tides)
Robin Williams (The Fisher King)

Biggest Snub:

Billy Crystal – City Slickers

My Overall Thoughts:

This was yet another year with 5 great performances nominated. The precursor awards before the Oscars showed that anyone could have won and most people were shocked by the come from behind win by SotL in 5 of its 7 nominations, tying the record in the process of a film winning Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay and being only 1 of 3 films to ever do that.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Warren Beatty
4. Robin Williams 
3. Nick Nolte 
2. Robert De Niro 
1. Anthony Hopkins 


5. BugsyGives a good impression of who Bugsy was; a dreamer and a businessman whose motivations often clashed with his colleagues. The ‘industry’ loves Beatty more than they should because this movie is far from being perfect but still has some entertaining scenes. Terrible chemistry between Beatty and Benning which is quite ironic.
4. The Fisher King – Williams, Bridges and Reuhl are all superb here and make us really believe in the ideas of redemption and making up for past mistakes in life.
3. The Prince of TidesBetter than I recalled. Nolte is superb here in one of his best roles. Streisand feels extremely miscast in this role and the director (her) should have chosen much better. Loved the way this film delves into the past and how it slowly reveals deep dark hidden secrets. The book is so much better (as I recall) and I can’t wait to read it again to once again fall in love with Conroy’s writing.
2. Cape FearGreat thriller that really makes you think about decisions we all make in life. Superb cast helps keep this story suspenseful throughout. DeNiro is especially scary as Max Cady and this is probably one his best roles despite the fact that his accent feels a bit too over the top. The twists and turns along the way help make this film really enjoyable.
1. The Silence of the Lambs  – Great psychological thriller that gives us so much insight into the mind of serial killers. Lecter is one of the best villains from literature because he is so intelligent, calm and extremely dangerous at the same time. Foster and Hopkins have amazing chemistry in their scenes together and they both were very deserving of the Oscars they won for these roles.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Hopkins clearly gave the best performance of the 5 and this role has become so iconic over the past 25 years that it would be hard to imagine that it wasn’t expected to win any awards besides Best Actress for Foster.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1991

  1. For me, it could have been anyone in this category other than Beatty (although I have a built in prejudice there. Long story…) Williams was fantastic. DeNiro improved on an excellent Robert Mitchum from the original (the tats helped), Nolte was excellent (and if I recall – might have been the slight frontrunner going in) and Hopkins – as good as he was – might have logged the lowest amount of screen time of any Best Actor winner ever. That’s what an impression he made. He could have been Supporting. Lambs became the 1st movie since It Happened One Night and Cuckoo’s Nest to win the BIG 5 – Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay. Lecter has become an iconic villain. I remember reading the novel in one sitting (on the 4th of Jluy. Didn’
    tt want to put it down and kept reading right through a 4th of July party on the beach I had been invited to). It was a spectacular read. A true “page turner” and one of the easiest adaptations for the screen (IMO) ever. If you stuck to the book, you couldn’t miss. The writer did – and won an Oscar.


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