The 10 Most Disturbed Best Supporting Actor Performances of All-Time

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science loves two things: Histrionic supporting actresses, and disturbed and/or disturbing supporting actors. Since we've already explored the former with nutty comprehension, it's time to revisit the chillier side of Oscar's supporting categories. Which roles are the grisliest in Academy history? Join us for the rundown.

10. Tim Robbins in Mystic River

We can thank Mystic River for gifting us with some of the best performances of 2003, even if it's a memorably disappointing movie. Tim Robbins plays Dave Boyle, a man haunted by his childhood abduction and molestation. Trauma is the ultimate Academy Award clincher, and here, Robbins took that familiar formula to the Oscar dais.

9. Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People

I'm one of the few who supports Ordinary People's 1980 Best Picture win over Raging Bull, and it's because of this performance: Timothy Hutton's portrayal of a suicidal, clinically guilt-ridden teenager struggling to cope with the death of his older brother is positively un-melodramatic. It is stunning. Thirty years later, the character is still fresh, believable, and downright lovable -- in part thanks to his mother's (Mary Tyler Moore) maddening aloofness.

8. Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects

As ho-hum con man Verbal Kint, Kevin Spacey weaves a tale for police about a crime overlord named Keyser Soze with remarkable clarity and quotability. "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist," he deadpans. Even better is what he doesn't say.

7. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas

If Ray Liotta's laughter isn't enough to strike fear into your life, Joe Pesci's unhinged, amusing role as Tommy DeVito will scare you away from so much as giggling at his hammy delivery.

6. Gig Young in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

As the barker at a torturous, months-long dance marathon in the '30s, Gig Young brings ringmaster bravado and an underworldly sleaze to Sydney Pollack's 1969 masterpiece. You know you're a disturbed character when the movie uses you to symbolize the constantly oppressive forces that plague everyone in the agonizing marathon of life. Nice!

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Comments

  • John Constantine says:

    most disturbed best supporting actor performances, billy. does Han Solo seem disturbing to you?

  • Cameron says:

    Quirky just made a bit of a twat of himself. The Oscars are meaningless. Anthony Hopkins had a supporting role to Jodie Foster's lead. It's her character arch the film's narrative is driven by. Just like Tom Cruise was a supporting actor in Collateral. Half-wit.

  • JAB says:

    Ledger's Joker may be the best performance by an actor in movie history. It may top Pacino's Michael Corleone in the first two "Godfather"s. Maltin is right on but why do I keep going back to Ledger's scenes over & over again.
    Bardem is actually scarier in his brief, but oh-so-memorable turn as Felix in "Collateral". The Joker had no plan. Felix's plan was to fuck to hell anybody who got in the way of his plan.

  • Fidelio says:

    The Academy doesn't like the idea of giving an Oscar to someone for playing a Nazi? That would be news to Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz.
    I think that Fiennes was terrific in Schindler's List, and I think he was more deserving of an Oscar that year than Tommy Lee Jones was. But I doubt that Fiennes losing had anything to do with his character being a Nazi.
    Most voters had never even heard of Ralph Fiennes before Schindler's List came out. Tommy Lee Jones, on the other hand, was a well-respected Hollywood veteran who had never won an Oscar before - in other words, he was exactly the kind of actor who the Academy loves to recognize.
    The Academy should only focus on the quality of the performances, of course...but we all know that a lot of the voters take other things into account.

  • CitKeane says:

    I think you'll find that all 10 won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for their performances. That was THE criteria for the list.

  • jamie says:

    Heath Ledger's 'The Joker'=Number 1. naff said.....

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