Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1974

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Art Carney (Harry and Tonto)
Dustin Hoffman (Lenny)
Albert Finney (Murder on the Orient Express)
Jack Nicholson (Chinatown)
Al Pacino (The Godfather, Part II)

Biggest Snub:

Gene Hackman – The Conversation

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year with 4 top stars in the running for Best Actor along with a great TV actor. Not surprisingly, all 5 of these men ended up winning an Oscar for Best Actor with less than twenty years of this face-off between them.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Dustin Hoffman 
4. Albert Finney 
3. Al Pacino 
2. Jack Nicholson
1. Art Carney


5. LennyHad high expectations for this and was sorely disappointed. Hoffman is ok here but he has done must better work elsewhere. Think I just don’t like the way Fosse presents movies.
4. Murder on the Orient ExpressVery cleverly written murder mystery that works well on screen, but feels that it would be even better on paper.. Amazing cast of actors playing some very eccentric characters. Finney was a strange choice as the lead, but they could have done much worse.
3. Harry and Tonto – Great story about growing older that works really well. Carney is superb in the lead role and makes us care so much about his character during his travels because he may look old, but he still remains young at heart. He was so deserving of Best Actor that yer even with such a strong competition. The script by Mazursky is amazing and he really was able to make it all seem so realistic and even after 44 years it still remains relevant.
2. ChinatownGreat detective film that does a great job of keeping things moving at a superb pace. The twists and turns throughout the story keep things so interesting the whole way through. Loved how they slowly give us information about the past history of some of the characters which gives us insight into what may or may not be relevant later on. Nicholson, Dunaway and Huston are all excellent here but Nicholson stands out because he is able to show how great an actor he could be with this role. One of Polanski’s best films!
1. The Godfather, Part IIGreat movie. Not as good as the first one, but much better than the third one. Does a great job of explaining how the mafia works.  Great cast helps make this quite an interesting film.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Carney was not the favorite choice here, because he is the actor on the list with the least gravitas, yet his role in this film is superb and was more emotionally challenging than any of the others.  So happy he won for this role!

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1974

  1. This was a year where the award could have gone to any of the 5 nominees and been deserving. Cutthroat competition. (Rob, you’re clearly not a Fosse fan and should recuse yourself from commenting on anything with any connection to him…) Funnily enough, having watched Harry& Tonto again, as good as Carney is here – I thought he was even better in a movie called “The Late Show” opposite Lily Tomlin where he played an old time PI, and in this group – he would’ve come in last. Pacino was excellent. Nicholson was fantastic in what is maybe my favorite movie of all time (if I had to pick only 1) and Finney was so good in “Murder” that he literally disappeared into the role after the opening credits and I forgot it was him until the movie ended. Hoffman, who is not a comic, caught the rhythms of Bruce’s stand up and addiction perfectly. Tough group. My hunch is that those 4 split up the vote amongst themselves so perfectly that Carney snuck in on the outside to win by a nose.

    Liked by 1 person

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