Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1952

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Richard Burton (My Cousin Rachel)
Arthur Hunnicutt (The Big Sky)
Victor McLaglen (The Quiet Man)
Jack Palance (Sudden Fear)
Anthony Quinn (Viva Zapata!)

Biggest Snub:

Lionel Barrymore – Lone Star

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where the majority of the performances nominated aren’t really that amazing. One of them stands out more than the others and he had the best chance.

My Rankings:

Supporting Actor

5. Arthur Hunnicutt
4. Victor McLaglen
3. Richard Burton
2. Jack Palance
1. Anthony Quinn


5. The Big SkyInteresting story about friendship among traders and explorers in the attempt to expand westward in the early 1800’s. The cast is ok, but none of them really stick out among the others. Cunningham was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance here as one of the main character’s uncle who helps them along their journey. Even Douglas doesn’t manage to do anything that would make this film more interesting or groundbreaking.
4. My Cousin Rachel Intriguing story that works largely due to the great performances by Burton and deHavilland. They manage to keep things flowing throughout and the way that the story unfolds keeps changing directions which helps make things more mysterious and gripping at the same time. Much of what happens is left ambiguous which allows for the viewer to constantly try to guess what is the truth just as the main character himself must do. Burton was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role.
3. Viva Zapata!Nice idea about the cyclical nature of power and corruption that would work better if someone else had the lead role. Brando is a great actor, but even he can’t make us believe that he is a Mexican. Quinn, on the other hand is great as his brother and right hand man and deservingly won an Oscar for his role. The message of the film still (unfortunately) rings true even after so many years.
2. Sudden FearGreat premise that works quite well the whole way through.  The cast is great and they allow us to really feel for the various ways that the characters act. Crawford is superb in the lead and we can easily understand her paranoia especially once she begins to see things in a different light. Palance is also great as her husband and he is able to play the character as both the lovable husband and the scary one. The story moves at a nice pace but a few scenes drag along a bit too much and would have worked better if they were shorter.  Palance and Crawford were both nominated for Oscars as Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress for their performances.
1. The Quiet ManGreat collaboration between Ford and Wayne that helps showcase the range both of them had. Wayne is not your typical romantic actor, but he easily slips into the lead character here and does more than a decent job opposite O’Hara. Very good story that works on various levels. The landscapes are shot amazingly and it’s not too surprising that Ford went on to win the Oscar for Best Director that year. (His 4th) 

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yep!  Quinn is by far the best of the nominees here and it’s no real surprise that he won with this performance.

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

3 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1952

  1. Quinn was always great in these roles (and I disagree about Brando…) but I would’ve gone with McLaglen who was absolutely perfect as O’Hara’s blustery pugnacious brother. He and Wayne were so good playing off of one another – surrounded by Fords cast of Irish actors – that it made The Quiet Man one of my favorite movies of all time.


  2. Also – on the subject of snubs – although not in this category – where the hell was Wayne’s nomination for The Quiet Man? Also – Cooper won best Actor for High Noon – a role turned down by Gregory Peck.


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