It’s Oscar season, and we are looking for a Gabbing Geek way to cover Hollywood’s biggest night, so today we take a look at the best and worst performances by an Oscar Winning performer while playing a character in a comic book superhero film. Some of them were future winners when they donned the tights, others already had the Oscars on the shelf.
We are leaving out movies like Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles and other non-superhero comic films, so you gotta be a superhero property to be eligible here! So who is the best and who is the worst (and a bonus for comic completionists, the full list of every Oscar winning performer to play in the genre!)? Let’s read on, shall we?
5. Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in Superman Returns
Won For: Supporting Actor in Usual Suspects and Best Actor in American Beauty
Worst Moment: Spacey, who is an amazing actor, picked up on Hackman’s take about 15 years too late. The campy era was dead, making Spacey’s “dancing away from the scene of the crime” moment cringe worthy.
4. Kim Bassigner as Vicky Vale in Batman
Won For: Best Supporting Actress in LA Confidential
Worst Moment: Journalist Vicky Vale had just learned that Bruce Wayne was a bat-themed costumed vigilante and instead of discussing the matter, she asks was it just a one night stand they had the night before.
3. Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face in Batman Forever
Won For: Best Supporting Actor in The Fugitive
Worst Moment: Two-Face is not supposed to be campy. Thank goodness Aaron Ekhardt came along and did the character justice years later! Jones’ worst scene was pretty much any scene between him and the Riddler; naughty and nice sidekicks included.
2. George Clooney as Batman (but not bad as Bruce Wayne) in Batman & Robin.
Won For: Best Supporting Actor in Syrianna
Worst Moment: Clooney as Clooney does a passable Bruce Wayne (like RDJ as Stark, Clooney sort of IS Bruce Wayne…). His turn as Batman was terrible. The worst moment was when he breaks out the ice skates and plays hockey with the diamond. Straight out of the Adam West days. Worse than Bat Nipples.
1. Halle Berry as Catwoman in Catwoman and….in a double whammy, as Storm in the X-Men series.
Won For: Best Actress in Monster’s Ball
Worst Moment: Halle has earned a special place in Hell. I have no idea the worst moment in Catwoman, as I haven’t seen it, but her worst moment as Storm was the dreaded joke when she electrocuted Toad. You know EXACTLY what I am talking about. As bad as I’ve ever seen in any film not starring Arnold Schwarzenegger,
5. JK Simmons as J Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman Trilogy
Won For: Ha! We are so certain he is going to win Sunday for Whiplash, we are including him here. Take THAT!
Best Moment: This guy was the living embodiment of J Jonah Jameson. Every scene was perfect.
4. Russell Crowe as Joe-El in Man of Steel
Won For: Best Actor in Gladiator
Best Moment: The role Marlon Brando made a dull, self-indulgent exercise in the original Superman films, Crowe turned into an action badass guy. In the beginning, when he goes full Maximus on the enemies of Krytpon, it made me wish the movie was about Jor-El. The setup to a comic origin story is not supposed to be that good!
3. Jack Nicholson as Joker in Batman
Won For: Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good As It Gets. Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment.
Best Moment: Jack was the last villain that successfully played camp. Of course, he blended it with razor sharp mania where you actually thought he could go off and be violent at any moment. That’s why his best scene was the museum job where the goal wasn’t theft, but transformation. It doesn’t hurt that was also the scene where he quipped the memorable line “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”
2. Michael Caine as Alfred in the Dark Knight Trilogy
Won For: Best Supporting Actor for Hannah & Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules
Best Moment: Easily the “Some Men Just Want to Watch the World Burn” monologue from Dark Knight. That’s the film in a nutshell. If not for Ledger’s brilliant turn, we’d all be talking about how Michael Caine gave the best performance of anyone, Oscar winner or not, ever in a Superhero flick. But….
1. Heath Ledger as Joker in Dark Knight
Won For: THIS FREAKING MOVIE! Only one ever to do that.
Best Moment: All of them. Picking his best moment is like picking my favorite child. Well….since I can tell you that’s Collin, I guess I will say Ledger’s best scene is when he introduces himself to the mob and does his magic trick.
THE FULL LIST:
I combed through Wikipedia, and looked for every Oscar winning actor to appear in a superhero movie (at least since Superman in 1978). Some people appeared in more than one flick, but I think I got them all on one list. Can you find someone I am missing? Tell me I suck in the comments section.
|George Clooney||Batman & Robin|
|Michael Cane||Batman Begins|
|Morgan Freeman||Batman Begins|
|Christian Bale||Batman Begins|
|Tommy Lee Jones||Batman Forever|
|Nicole Kidman||Batman Forever|
|Christopher Walken||Batman Returns|
|Robert Redford||Captain America: The Winter Soldier|
|Nic Cage||Ghost Rider|
|Tim Robbins||Green Lantern|
|Benecio del Toro||Guardians of the Galaxy|
|Jeff Bridges||Iron Man|
|Gwyenth Paltrow||Iron Man|
|Ben Kingsley||Iron Man 3|
|Russell Crowe||Man of Steel|
|Geoffrey Rush||Mystery Men|
|Kevin Spacey||Superman Returns|
|Sally Field||The Amazing Spider-Man|
|Jamie Foxx||The Amazing Spider-Man 2|
|Heath Ledger||The Dark Knight|
|Anne Hathway||The Dark Knight Rises|
|Marion Cottiliard||The Dark Knight Rises|
|Christoph Waltz||The Green Hornet|
|William Hurt||The Incredible Hulk|
|Louis Gossett Jr||The Punisher|
|Alan Arkin||The Rocketeer|
|Jennifer Lawrence||X-Men: First Class|