Oscar History

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Aug 17 2016

120 Nominated Performances,Ranked.Who's Next?

As you will undoubtedly understand,I'm not up to speed at the moment.But I find a weird comfort in list-making and cine-dreaming,wondering what our next batch of Oscar contenders will look like.Will it be a great vintage or a weak one?Or,more usual,a weird combo of both.It's far too early to tell though we're hopeful.As I was wandering aimlessly around the web this morning I found this very enjoyable video from Ali Benz ranking all Oscar acting nominees this decade.Like a moving scrapbook of Oscar's classes for the past six years (2010-2015).Some things about the order make mesocrazy but that is the joy and discussability of list-making.

Here's the video and after the jump I'll rank them all myself.Busywork is good for me today.

120 Oscar-nominated Performances of the Decade - RANKED -fromAli BenzekrionVimeo.

by Nathaniel
New predictions here| Asterisks indicate Oscar winners

  1. Cate Blanchett,Blue Jasmine *
  2. Cate Blanchett,Carol
  3. Charlotte Rampling,45 Years
  4. Marion Cotillard,Two Days One Night
  5. Christopher Plummer,Beginners *
  6. Jacki Weaver,Animal Kingdom
  7. Viola Davis,The Help
  8. Daniel Day Lewis,Lincoln *
  9. Edward Norton,Birdman
  10. Emmanuelle Riva,Amour
  11. Michael Keaton,Birdman
  12. Christian Bale,The Fighter *
  13. Nicole Kidman,Rabbit Hole
  14. Annette Bening,The Kids Are All Right
  15. Rooney Mara,Carol
  16. Melissa Leo,The Fighter *
  17. Anne Hathaway,Les Miserables *
  18. Saoirse Ronan,Brooklyn
  19. Mark Ruffalo,Foxcatcher
  20. Brad Pitt,Moneyball
  21. Jean DuJardin,The Artist *
  22. Lupita Nyong'o,12 Years a Slave *
    the awesomeness...

    ...just love em
  23. Jesse Eisenberg,The Social Network
  24. Chiwetel Ejiofor,12 Years a Slave
  25. Patricia Arquette,Boyhood *
  26. Mark Ruffalo,The Kids Are All Right
  27. Amy Adams,The Fighter
  28. Joaquin Phoenix,The Master
  29. Brie Larson,Room *
  30. Sally Field,Lincoln
  31. Reese Witherspoon,Wild
  32. Bruce Dern,Nebraska
  33. Michelle Williams,Blue Valentine
  34. Jessica Chastain,The Help
  35. Helen Hunt,The Sessions
  36. Tommy Lee Jones,Lincoln
  37. Natalie Portman,Black Swan *
  38. Michael Fassbender,Steve Jobs
  39. John Hawkes,Winter's Bone
  40. Ethan Hawke,Boyhood
  41. Melissa McCarthy,Bridesmaids
  42. Michael Fassbender,12 Years a Slave
  43. Keira Knightley,The Imitation Game

    worthy fine choices.They brought it
  44. Matt Damon,The Martian
  45. Kate Winslet,Steve Jobs
  46. Julianne Moore,Still Alice *
  47. Hugh Jackman,Les Miserables
  48. Rosamund Pike,Gone Girl
  49. James Franco,127 Hours
  50. Janet McTeer,Albert Nobbs
  51. Matthew McConaughey,Dallas Buyer's Club *
  52. Jessica Chastain,Zero Dark Thirty
  53. Bradley Cooper,American Hustle
  54. Sylvester Stallone,Creed
  55. Leonardo DiCaprio,The Wolf of Wall Street
  56. Denzel Washington,Flight
  57. Demian Bichir,A Better Life
  58. Sally Hawkins,Blue Jasmine
  59. Amy Adams,American Hustle
  60. Eddie Redmayne,The Theory of Everything *
  61. Mark Rylance,Bridge of Spies *
  62. Alicia Vikander,The Danish Girl *
  63. Jennifer Lawrence,Winter's Bone
  64. Bradley Cooper,Silver Linings Playbook
  65. Judi Dench,Philomena
  66. Geoffrey Rush,The King's Speech
  67. Jeremy Renner,The Town

    i get it even if I wouldn't necessarily have gone there...
  68. Meryl Streep,The Iron Lady *
  69. Jennifer Lawrence,American Hustle
  70. Jennifer Lawrence,Joy
  71. Naomi Watts,The Impossible
  72. Bradley Cooper,American Sniper
  73. Rooney Mara,The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  74. Quvenzhane Wallis,Beasts of the Southern Wild
  75. Meryl Streep,August: Osage County
  76. Gary Oldman,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  77. Leonardo DiCaprio,The Revenant *
  78. Colin Firth,The King's Speech *
  79. Philip Seymour Hoffman,The Master
  80. Octavia Spencer,The Help *
  81. Benedict Cumberbatch,The Imitation Game
  82. Michelle Williams,My Week With Marilyn
  83. Jeff Bridges,True Grit
  84. Felicity Jones,The Theory of Everything
  85. JK Simmons,Whiplash *
  86. Javier Bardem,Biutiful
  87. Sandra Bullock,Gravity
  88. June Squibb,Nebraska
  89. Jared Leto,Dallas Buyer's Club *

    things that make you go "hmmmm..."
  90. Julia Roberts,August Osage County
  91. Helena Bonham Carter,The King's Speech
  92. Rachel McAdams,Spotlight
  93. Tom Hardy,The Revenant
  94. Robert De Niro,Silver Linings Playbook
  95. Christian Bale,The Big Short
  96. Laura Dern,Wild
  97. Emma Stone,Birdman
  98. Kenneth Branagh,My Week With Marilyn
  99. Jennifer Lawrence,Silver Linings Playbook *
  100. Meryl Streep,Into the Woods
  101. Max Von Sydow,Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  102. Barkhad Abdi,Captain Phillips
  103. Nick Nolte,Warrior

    Was this really necessary???
  104. Jonah Hall,Moneyball
  105. Jacki Weaver,Silver Linings Playbook
  106. Amy Adams,The Master
  107. Berenice Bejo,The Artist
  108. Alan Arkin,Argo
  109. Christian Bale,American Hustle
  110. Jonah Hill,Wolf of Wall Street
  111. George Clooney,The Descendants
  112. Hailee Steinfeld,True Grit
  113. Steve Carell,Foxcatcher
  114. Jennifer Jason Leigh,The Hateful Eight
  115. Christoph Waltz,Django Unchained *
  116. Glenn Close,Albert Nobbs
  117. Bryan Cranston,Trumbo
  118. Robert Duvall,The Judge
  119. Eddie Redmayne,The Danish Girl
  120. Mark Ruffalo,Spotlight

Most Nominated This Decade
Four nominations: Jennifer Lawrence (nominated for 66% of this decade's Oscar nights);Three nominations: Amy Adams,Bradley Cooper,Mark Ruffalo,Meryl Streep and Christian Bale (nominated for 50% of this decade's Oscar nights)

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Reader Comments (83)

Lawrence's popularity is more toxic to me than Streep's.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

(2011) The Iron Lady
(2013) August Osage County
(2014) Into The Woods

Streep only has three for the decade so far.I really hate Lawrence.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

The turnaround in your appreciation of Blanchett 1 and 2 is funny to see when how cool you were on her 5 years ago.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commentermark

You must've really hated Mark Ruffalo in SPOTLIGHT lol

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Lupita's performance is one of the best.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterInsider

Only appropriate the bottom of the list is full of men and the top full of women.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCoco

Except for the astonishing 6 noms in the 80's incl.3 in a row (and 70's-but who knows what would have been if she broke out in films 5 or 6 years earlier?),Meryl has 4 nominations in the 90's and 00's.Maybe that's why the Academy could hesitate to give her another nom for something she won't win anyway.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

I'd agree with the Ruffalo's pick being so low since his performance and mannerisms were the main reason I could never get on board with Spotlight.Very distracting.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdamA

I love lists like this.I can look at the names and see the ones I would have ranked higher or lower.Though most of your highest can stay.I have a huge adoration for Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl so she'd make it higher on my list.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBrian


August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCineJAB

My #s 1 and 2 would be Arquette and Blanchett for Blue Jasmine.The best men of the decade,Fiennes in Grand Budapest and Isaac in Llewyn Davis,weren't even nominated.

I think I agree with your pick for worst.He just seemed like he was in a different film than anyone else.Actually,I agree with everyone in your bottom tier except Clooney,Carell and Bale,all of whom I enjoyed.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm surprised that - at 108 - Alan Arkin's performance in Argo ranks so high on your list.We all enjoy the guy's work,of course,but that was one of the laziest nominations I can recall in 15+ years of close oscar-watching.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

Streep fares pretty well in the video- almost cracking the top 30 performances for her 3 nominations.

32- The Iron Lady
22- Into the Woods
16- August: Osage County

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenterjamie

It's interesting how the most nominated people of the decade were all in David O.Russell films - Lawrence,Cooper,Bale and Adams.Shows how the Academy loves what he does with actors and how unwilling he is to stray from his wheelhouse of actors.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris James

Your top 7 is perfection.

Placing Berenice Bejo in the bottom group,that's way harsh Tai.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Are there new predictions?When I click on the link they look suspiciously like the old predictions...

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterGena

Neat list.While I'd substitute a handful of performances into/out of it,that top 13 is very,very strong.

And yep,those last 31 were all most all hmmm or unnecessary (though I like both Bale in American Hustle and Stone in Birdman quite a bit).

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

It really is Oscars so white when you see them all in a row like that.亚博主页Viola Davis so low on the video made me really angry ;-0

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRami

It won't be white this year.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I like Bejo,Dern,Clooney,and Steinfeld more than you did.And Von Sydow did what he could with a baffling role/movie.

The Fighter had such strong acting that I forgave it for being yet another boxing movie.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commentercash

Nicely done!Is Steinfield low because of her work in the film or category fraud?Be honest :D

I enjoy Lawrence more than most,her performance in Silver Linings Playbook is such a joyous explosion of OTTness,I kinda love it and am unashamed about that - but I can't deny your top 10 - they're just wonderful performances - undeniable classics.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commentermorganb

my top 10:

Quvenzhane Wallis,Beasts of the Southern Wild
Michelle Williams,Blue Valentine
Patricia Arquette,Boyhood *
Viola Davis,The Help
Jessica Chastain,Zero Dark Thirty
Lupita Nyong'o,12 Years a Slave *
Brie Larson,Room *
Rosamund Pike,Gone Girl
Emmanuelle Riva,Amour
Cate Blanchett,Carol

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCineJAB

What a terrible list ranking!

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I just hate Waltz's win for Django Unchained.He was doing exactly the same as he did in Basterds...well,actually,what he always does in any film.No wonder he's the lowest ranked Oscar winner!Philip Seymour Hoffman should have won.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

WOW!Kidman at #11?!Pleasantly surprised people hold her work in "Rabbit Hole"in high regard.Such an undervalued gem of a performance.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

@Brian - I'm with you - I loved Rosamund Pike's performance and would have bumped it higher.Ditto Hailee Steinfeld - but each to their own.
Otherwise I'm mostly in agreement with Nathaniel.

I didn't really like "Blue Jasmine"but Cate Blanchett was the best thing in it.
Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight wasn't my favourite either.
Jacki Weaver for SLP & Laura Dern in Wild were 2 of the silliest noms ever.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Loved the list.

Strongest disagreement: Amy Adams deserved to win for The Master.Joaquin Phoenix's performance is the most overrated of the decade.

Nominating Quvenzhane Wallis' non-performance was especially an insult to Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Rachel Weisz (Deep Blue Sea),both of whom would have made my Top 10 had they been nominated.

I also liked Bryan Cranston and Eddie Redmayne A LOT better than Matt Damon in The Martian - or Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant for that matter

It takes a certain kind of knack but how they managed to finally nominate Max Von Sydow for one of his few undistinguished performances is some kind of reverse miracle.

Mark Ruffalo's performance in Spotlight is certainly annoying,but worse than Glenn Close's in Albert Nobbs?

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Albert Nobbs is Close's second best performance after Fatal Attraction.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

@ cal roth,turning back the clock,I am willing to give the 2011 Oscar to Glenn Close,not Viola Davis.Close's perfection inAlbert Nobbsis similar in tone and color to Blanchett's inCarol.

I just love it that critics and fans universally agree that Cate Blanchett's doing her best work this decade.I just absolutely loved her inKnight of Cups.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Very neat,but I almost clicked off when I saw Jessica Chastain at 90-something for ZDT.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I love lists such as this doesn't necessarily have to agree with them...I would have moved around few...but I am not unhappy with the list..

why do people have to use the "hate"word for the same people over and over again!!!???

we all get it!

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Looking at this list,my first thought was Emanuelle Riva crying "Pain".Such a performance.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPedro


A part of me died the night Viola lost her 2nd nomination.But I'm grateful Streep has her 3rd because she no longer has an overdue narrative.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

What a beautiful video.Just saw Brooklyn and was so pleased to see how high Saoirse Ronan is on the list.Beautiful performance.The two performances I would move up a tier or two would be Nick Nolte and Jessican Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenteri/fwp

rick--thank you.Sometimes I just skip comments sections on blogs for that very reason.

Fun to watch the montage a couple of times in a row.I guess I have seen every movie nominated now (some a few years late!).

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPam

nathaniel,super fun list!!!there is so much truly great acting within those first 70 performances,that it really makes the alan arkin,glenn close,robert duvall lazy default nominations that much more glaring.

octavia spencer seems like such a fantastic person,but i'd argue she's borderline BAD in the help.she hits every beat like she's on a 70s sitcom (effectively,though,i'll give her that).

and i agree with Ken S about quvenzhane wallis over cotillard in RUST & BONE...that's a travesty.but then oscar voters love little girls and not sexually powerful women.

and i love your new love for the Great Great Cate.those two performances are on a whole other level,and unimaginable with any other actress.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Nathaniel,I'm so disappointed at your low ranking of Jennifer Jason Leigh :( What didn't you like about her performance???

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Fuck the Jennifer Lawrence aka JLawgend haters.She's deserved every single one of her nominations,fair and square.Best actress of her generation by far!!!

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJA


Lol no.She's not even the best actress under 30.

Anyway Nat LOVE your high ranking of Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher.Tremendously underrated and understated performance.I would've given him the Oscar in a cakewalk,yes even over JK Simmons and Edward Norton.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterHunter

Hunter,we clearly don't agree so I'm not going to get into it!But she's far and away the actress of her generation as far as I'm concerned,and has deserved to win 3 times already.Yes,I said it!

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Amen.If anyone had to win the Oscar from Django,it should've been Samuel L.Jackson IMO.Waltz winning again and for a leading role at that is pretty perplexing.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenter@Marcos

@ JA,Jennifer Lawrence was born in 1990,let's conservatively define her generation by putting 5 years before and after her year of birth,so 1985 - 1995.

Saoirse Ronan,born in 1994 is already a better actress than Jennifer Lawrnce by measure of performances given and directorial collaboration.

Carey Mulligan,Rooney Mara,Keira Knightly - all born in 1985,so please,you're turning this into a joke.

I think you're heavily influenced by the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is the box office actress of her generation (which has helped her earn more Oscar glory than she deserves) similar to Julia Roberts being the box office star of her generation.But Julia Roberts isnot a better actress than Cate Blanchett,Marion Cotillard,Nicole Kidman,or Kate Winslet.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Whatever Yavor!She's better than all of those actresses to me and it's not just because she's a box office star.Jennifer Lawrence detractors such as yourself will regret underestimating Lawrence one day,because she's on her way to becoming an icon and is here to stay!And she'll probably pick up another Oscar as well,while all of the other actresses you listed will be lucky to even win one.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Yavor: I'd even say that Katie Jarvis,at ONE performance,blows JLaw's,honestly modest,collective achievement out of the water.Does she deserve FOUR nominations?Not really.Winter's Bone,I'd absolutely let slide.And maybe her first round out as Katniss,if we stretch it a little.But if Silver Linings Playbook,American Hustle and Joy are the standard for JLaw nods?One,please.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I can't take this Blanchett love.She's awful.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Ranking the 75 I've seen:

1.Joaquin Phoenix,The Master
2.Emmanuelle Riva,Amour
3.Patricia Arquette,Boyhood
4.Leonardo DiCaprio,The Wolf of Wall Street
5.Ethan Hawke,Boyhood
6.Michelle Williams,Blue Valentine
7.Jesse Eisenberg,The Social Network
8.Daniel Day-Lewis,Lincoln
9.Bruce Dern,Nebraska
10.Jennifer Lawrence,Silver Linings Playbook
11.JK Simmons,Whiplash
12.Rooney Mara,Carol
13.Michael Keaton,Birdman
14.Jeff Bridges,True Grit
15.Gary Oldman,Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
16.Barkhad Abdi,Captain Phillips
17.Rosamund Pike,Gone Girl
18.Kate Winslet,Steve Jobs
19.John Hawkes,Winter's Bone
20.Michael Fassbender,Steve Jobs
21.Cate Blanchett,Carol
22.Steve Carell,Foxcatcher
23.Natalie Portman,Black Swan
24.Bradley Cooper,Silver Linings Playbook
25.June Squibb,Nebraska
26.Tommy Lee Jones,Lincoln
27.Chiwetel Ejiofor,12 Years a Slave
28.Emma Stone,Birdman
29.Bradley Cooper,American Sniper
30.Mark Rylance,Bridge of Spies
31.Lupita Nyong'o,12 Years a Slave
32.Mark Ruffalo,Foxcatcher
33.Cate Blanchett,Blue Jasmine
34.Edward Norton,Birdman
35.Christopher Plummer,Beginners
36.Philip Seymour Hoffman,The Master
37.Rooney Mara,The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
38.Eddie Redmayne,The Theory of Everything
39.Hugh Jackman,Les Miserables
40.Geoffrey Rush,The King's Speech
41.Sandra Bullock,Gravity
42.Jean Dujardin,The Artist
43.Saoirse Ronan,Brooklyn
44.Colin Firth,The King's Speech
45.Sally Field,Lincoln
46.Jessica Chastain,Zero Dark Thirty
47.Felicity Jones,The Theory of Everything
48.Michael Fassbender,12 Years a Slave
49.Quvenzhane Wallis,Beasts of the Southern Wild
50.Bradley Cooper,American Hustle
51.Jennifer Lawrence,Joy
52.Anne Hathaway,Les Miserables
53.Matthew McConaughey,Dallas Buyers Club
54.Nicole Kidman,Rabbit Hole
55.Leonardo DiCaprio,The Revenant
56.Jonah Hill,The Wolf of Wall Street
57.Berenice Bejo,The Artist
58.Jennifer Lawrence,Winter's Bone
59.Rachel McAdams,Spotlight
60.Amy Adams,American Hustle
61.Jennifer Lawrence,American Hustle
62.Robert De Niro,Silver Linings Playbook
63.Sally Hawkins,Blue Jasmine
64.Benedict Cumberbatch,The Imitation Game
65.Hailee Steinfeld,True Grit
66.Tom Hardy,The Revenant
67.Jennifer Jason Leigh,The Hateful Eight
68.Jared Leto,Dallas Buyers Club
69.Helena Bonham Carter,The King's Speech
70.Mark Ruffalo,Spotlight
71.Amy Adams,The Master
72.Alan Arkin,Argo
73.Jacki Weaver,Silver Linings Playbook
74.Christian Bale,American Hustle
75.Keira Knightley,The Imitation Game

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMikadzuki

Was I the only one shocked Lupita ranked so low in the video?These lists are always fun and inspire lively discussions,but I almost clicked off the video as each performance above Lupita's was apparently better.Then Roberts and Streep were so high from August: Osage County and I had to chuckle a bit.At least the three I mentioned were ranked a little better on this post.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterJames

My own top 8:

1.Cate Blanchett,Carol
2.Michelle Williams,Blue Valentine
3.Mark Ruffalo,Foxcatcher
4.Saoirse Ronan,Brooklyn
5.Rooney Mara,Carol
6.Jesse Eisenberg,The Social Network
7.Natalie Portman,Black Swan
8.Edward Norton,Birdman

August 17,2016 | Unregistered Commenterdomgogo

Weird thing is,if this was a ranking of all the best picture nominees the bottom half would probably be dominated by movies I straight up dislike,but watching all the performances ranked even the ones I would agree belong in the bottom ten are still worthy or at least "good"performances.

Oh,and Christian Bale in American Hustle >>>>> Christian Bale in The Big Short

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

Yavor & Volvagia - I'm with you,JLaw is a talented actress & big box office but let's retire this term "best of generation".Other actresses close to her age are enormously talented.

August 17,2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

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