Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1964

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady)
John Gielgud (Becket)
Edmond O’Brien (Seven Days in May)
Lee Tracy (The Best Man)
Peter Ustinov (Topkapi)

Biggest Snub:

Burl Ives – Ensign Pulver

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year filled with 5 stellar performances nominated in this category and it ultimately came down to a choice between two roles that were both stand outs among the rest of the nominees.

My Rankings:

Supporting Actor

5. Stanley Holloway
4. John Gielgud
3. Edmond O’Brien
2. Lee Tracy
1. Peter Ustinov


5. My Fair LadyNot the best Best Picture, but entertaining never the less.  Hepburn and Harrison are great here.
4. BecketAmazing story that shows how friendship and integrity can be put to the test when one wishes to fulfill one’s duty. Burton and O’Toole are perfect as the two main leads. Amazing dialogue helps keep this interesting the whole way through. I’m surprised that this film didn’t win more awards because it is done so well.
3. The Best ManAmazing political drama that stays thrilling throughout due to the way that they present things. The dialogue is superb and allows us to see that unfortunately not much has changed in nearly 60 years in the political arena. The cast is extraordinary with Fonda and Robertson playing the two candidates. Tracy plays the best character tho because he has nothing to worry about during this turbulent day and easily steals every scene he appears in. He was quite deserving of an Oscar nomination for his performance. The dialogue is quick and witty and lets us really see who these men and women are because what they say helps develop their personalities so well for us. Vidal’s stage play and script for this film is great and stands the test of time because this story and everything that is presented to us still remains quite relevant in the way that the political system works.
2. TopkapiExcellent crime caper film that is presented really well that it stays interesting and intriguing the whole time.  The characters are all excellent and the way that they plan each character’s role is done so well here since each feels unique and essential to the plot.  The way that the story moves at a great and swift pace works really well and that helps raise the stakes of the caper as things move along.  Ustinov stands out among the stellar cast and was quite deserving of winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role here.  The story is filled with so many small details that it’s the kind of film that needs to be viewed numerous times in order to try and catch everything going on especially in the background.  Among the best heist films ever made and will now be quite high on my favorite films from this year.
1. Seven Days in MayAmazing political thriller that gives us a scenario that feels so realistic and even feels completely “ripped from the headlines”. The cast is superb with March, Douglas, Lancaster, Gardner, O’Brien and Balsam giving amazing performances. Love the way that this film has twists and turns along the way that help keep things thrilling even when you think that all has been said and done. It manages to say so much about the political atmosphere of the early 1960’s while at the same time show that there can be a big difference if instead of just thinking differently, the differing political attitudes might cause much more damage if they act on their ideas in very extreme circumstances. This is IMHO, the best film of 1964.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  PU is superb in Topkapi and gives such a standout performance here that he was quite a deserving winner even if he had won this award just a few years earlier.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1964

  1. Didn’t even remember Gielgud in BECKET. All I remember was how good Burton and O’Toole were playing off of one another. Both nominated. Both lost. Neither ever won a competitive Oscar. A shame. Ustinov was brilliant. Deserved his win. As to snubs – I would’ve nominated John Lennon from “A Hard Day’s Night”


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