Favorite Best Actor nominee for each year

Same concept as my Best Picture list, the idea is that I pick my favorite performance nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars each year. "Read notes" for further rankings of the years' slates of nominees and info on what I haven't seen.

* = the actual Oscar winner

Years where I've only seen one nominee will be skipped.

  • Manchester by the Sea

    Manchester by the Sea

    ★★★★½

    2016
    Casey Affleck*
    2. Ryan Gosling - La La Land
    UNSEEN
    Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
    Viggo Mortensen - Captain Fantastic
    Denzel Washington - Fences

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    ★★★★

    2015
    Michael Fassbender
    2. Matt Damon - The Martian
    3. Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant*
    UNSEEN
    Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
    Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl

  • Birdman

    Birdman

    ★★★★

    2014
    Michael Keaton
    2. Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
    UNSEEN
    Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything*
    Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
    Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game

  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    ★★★★★

    2012
    Hugh Jackman
    2. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
    3. Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
    UNSEEN
    Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln*
    Denzel Washington - Flight

    Show Reviews
  • The Artist

    The Artist

    ★★★

    2011
    Jean Dujardin*
    2. Brad Pitt - Moneyball
    3. George Clooney - The Descendants
    4. Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    UNSEEN
    Demián Bichir - A Better Life

  • The King's Speech

    The King's Speech

    ★★★

    2010
    Colin Firth*
    2. Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
    3. James Franco - 127 Hours
    4. Jeff Bridges - True Grit
    UNSEEN
    Javier Bardem - Biutiful

  • A Single Man

    A Single Man

    ★★★★★

    2009
    Colin Firth
    2. George Clooney - Up in the Air
    3. Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart*
    4. Morgan Freeman - Invictus
    5. Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

  • Milk

    Milk

    ★★★★

    2008
    Sean Penn*
    2. Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
    3. Frank Langella - Frost/Nixon
    4. Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    UNSEEN
    Richard Jenkins - The Visitor

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    ★★★★★

    2007
    Johnny Depp
    2. Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood*
    3. Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises
    4. George Clooney - Michael Clayton
    UNSEEN
    Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah

  • The Pursuit of Happyness

    The Pursuit of Happyness

    ★★★★

    2006
    Will Smith
    2. Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland*
    3. Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson
    4. Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond
    UNSEEN
    Peter O'Toole - Venus

  • Hustle & Flow

    Hustle & Flow

    ★★★★★

    2005
    Terrence Howard
    2. Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain
    3. David Strathairn - Good Night, and Good Luck
    4. Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line
    UNSEEN
    Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote*

  • Million Dollar Baby

    Million Dollar Baby

    ★★★★★

    2004
    Clint Eastwood
    2. Jamie Foxx - Ray*
    3. Johnny Depp - Finding Neverland
    UNSEEN
    Don Cheadle - Hotel Rwanda
    Leonardo DiCaprio - The Aviator

  • Lost in Translation

    Lost in Translation

    ★★★★★

    2003
    Bill Murray
    2. Ben Kingsley - House of Sand and Fog
    3. Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
    4. Sean Penn - Mystic River*
    UNSEEN
    Jude Law - Cold Mountain

  • Adaptation.

    Adaptation.

    ★★★★★

    2002
    Nicolas Cage
    2. Jack Nicholson - About Schmidt
    3. Daniel Day-Lewis - Gangs of New York
    4. Adrien Brody - The Pianist*
    UNSEEN
    Michael Caine - The Quiet American

    Read Review
  • In the Bedroom

    In the Bedroom

    ★★★★★

    2001
    Tom Wilkinson
    2. Russell Crowe - A Beautiful Mind
    UNSEEN
    Denzel Washington - Training Day*
    Sean Penn - I Am Sam
    Will Smith - Ali

  • Cast Away

    Cast Away

    ★★★★

    2000
    Tom Hanks
    2. Geoffrey Rush - Quills
    3. Russell Crowe - Gladiator*
    UNSEEN
    Javier Bardem - Before Night Falls
    Ed Harris - Pollock

  • The Straight Story

    The Straight Story

    ★★½

    1999
    Richard Farnsworth
    2. Kevin Spacey - American Beauty*
    3. Denzel Washington - The Hurricane
    UNSEEN
    Russell Crowe - The Insider
    Sean Penn - Sweet and Lowdown

  • Life Is Beautiful

    Life Is Beautiful

    ★★★★

    1998
    Roberto Benigni*
    2. Edward Norton - American History X
    3. Tom Hanks - Saving Private Ryan
    UNSEEN
    Ian McKellen - Gods and Monsters
    Nick Nolte - Affliction

  • As Good as It Gets

    As Good as It Gets

    ★★★½

    1997
    Jack Nicholson*
    2. Matt Damon - Good Will Hunting
    UNSEEN
    Robert Duvall - The Apostle
    Peter Fonda - Ulee's Gold
    Dustin Hoffman - Wag the Dog

  • Sling Blade

    Sling Blade

    1996
    Billy Bob Thornton
    2. Woody Harrelson - The People vs Larry Flynt
    UNSEEN
    Geoffrey Rush - Shine*
    Tom Cruise - Jerry Maguire
    Ralph Fiennes - The English Patient

  • Forrest Gump

    Forrest Gump

    ★★★★★

    1994
    Tom Hanks*
    2. Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption
    3. John Travolta - Pulp Fiction
    UNSEEN
    Nigel Hawthorne - The Madness of King George
    Paul Newman - Nobody's Fool

  • The Remains of the Day

    The Remains of the Day

    ★★★★★

    1993
    Anthony Hopkins
    2. Tom Hanks - Philadelphia*
    UNSEEN
    Daniel Day-Lewis - In the Name of the Father
    Laurence Fishburne - What's Love Got to Do with It
    Liam Neeson - Schindler's List

    Read Review
  • The Silence of the Lambs

    The Silence of the Lambs

    ★★★★★

    1991
    Anthony Hopkins*
    2. Robert De Niro - Cape Fear
    3. Warren Beatty - Bugsy
    4. Robin Williams - The Fisher King
    UNSEEN
    Nick Nolte - The Prince of Tides

    Read Review
  • Born on the Fourth of July

    Born on the Fourth of July

    ★★★★

    1989
    Tom Cruise
    2. Robin Williams - Dead Poets Society
    UNSEEN
    Daniel Day-Lewis - My Left Foot*
    Kenneth Branagh - Henry V
    Morgan Freeman - Driving Miss Daisy

  • All That Jazz

    All That Jazz

    ★★★★

    1979
    Roy Scheider
    2. Dustin Hoffman - Kramer vs. Kramer*
    UNSEEN
    Jack Lemmon - The China Syndrome
    Al Pacino - ...And Justice for All
    Peter Sellers - Being There

  • Annie Hall

    Annie Hall

    ★★★

    1977
    Woody Allen
    2. John Travolta - Saturday Night Fever
    UNSEEN
    Richard Dreyfuss - The Goodbye Girl*
    Richard Burton - Equus
    Marcello Mastroianni - A Special Day

  • Taxi Driver

    Taxi Driver

    ★★★★

    1976
    Robert De Niro
    2. Peter Finch - Network*
    3. Sylvester Stallone - Rocky
    4. William Holden - Network
    UNSEEN
    Giancarlo Giannini - Seven Beauties

  • Bonnie and Clyde

    Bonnie and Clyde

    ★★★½

    1967
    Warren Beatty
    2. Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate
    UNSEEN
    Rod Steiger - In the Heat of the Night*
    Paul Newman - Cool Hand Luke
    Spencer Tracy - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Read Review
  • The Thin Man

    The Thin Man

    ★★★½

    1934
    William Powell
    2. Clark Gable - It Happened One Night*
    UNSEEN
    Frank Morgan - The Affairs of Cellini

    Read Review