Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1982

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Charles Durning (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)
Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman)
John Lithgow (The World According to Garp)
James Mason (The Verdict)
Robert Preston (Victor Victoria)

Biggest Snub:

David Keith – An Officer and a Gentleman

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with a great crop of nominees but one of them gave a much stronger and standout performance that made him the front runner throughout the awards season.

My Rankings:

Supporting Actor

5. Robert Preston
4. Charles Durning
3. John Lithgow
2. James Mason
1. Louis Gossett Jr.


5. The Best Little Whorehouse in TexasFarcical film that just doesn’t work as well as one would hope. Reynolds and Parton have poor chemistry together despite both of their high profiles at the time. The songs are a bit too corny and don’t work that well.  Nice supporting performances by DeLuise, Neighbors and of course Durning who was able to get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role (still a bit confused as to why tho). The idea of media sensationalism still works today and that is the one aspect of this film that actually works.
4. Victor VictoriaFunny idea that gets crazier and crazier as things move along. Spectacular cast helps keep this enjoyable and Andrews shines in the lead role. The use of a 1930’s backdrop helps the story because it is able to feature the ideas of Chicago and gangsters which helps highlight the macho/anti-macho stance of this film. The music and songs are passable, but are far from being as memorable as some of the non musical scenes of this film.
3. The World According to GarpAs funny as Williams could be in comedies, he really shined in dramatic roles. Irving loves controversial material and this movie is no exception to that. I assume the book tells a better narrative since stories like this are not the easiest to adapt to the screen. Close and Lithgow are both excellent in supporting roles.
2. An Officer and a GentlemanScenes in training camp are stronger than the love story aspects of this movie. Gossett Jr. is amazing in his Oscar Winning role. Theme song is spectacular.
1. The VerdictExcellent courtroom drama that helps highlight how great an actor Newman was. His performance here is truly amazing and he takes an engaging script and raises it even higher just by his actions and reactions to everything that happens. The courtroom drama isn’t as flashy as many TV shows or even other films of the genre, but that helps form a parallel between the character and the type of life he leads. So much happens in this story that takes place in the background and if you aren’t paying close attention, you may miss some key elements to why the film works so well. So glad I rewatched this and got a newfound appreciation for a film like this.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  LGJ definitely stands out here as the best of the list of nominees who all do great jobs with their performances.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1982

  1. Agree on Keith. He was heartbreaking in probably the best role of his career. As to the rest – a very strong field here. Would’ve had Durning 5th, then Preston 4th. Mason was terrific in one of my all-time favorite movies. Could’ve been a career award – but others were better and if Newman wasn’t winning (and I thought he should have in a superb performance), than no way Mason wins. Loved Gossett – and it was a great part and he knocked it out of the park. No problem with his win. But how is it any better than R. Lee Ermey – a non-actor – who STUNNED in “Full Metal Jacket” 5 years later and wasn’t even nominated? For me – Lithgow in Garp was more impressive for what he brought to a role which could’ve played like a punchline – but was fully fleshed out, original and layered.


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