Best Supporting Performance in a Movie of All Time, Ranked

It takes a lot for an actor to turn a supporting performance into an award-winning supporting performance. Along with this, we have seen several supporting characters come along and completely steal the film. Actors such as Christoph Waltz have shown several times that they can create scene-stealing supporting performances; It takes sheer emotion and talent. At times, a good supporting performance can skyrocket an actor’s career. At the same time, we constantly see big-name actors playing supporting roles.



A good supporting performance also depends on the material the actor is working with. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino are constantly adding depth and layers to characters, no matter how small. A film is nothing without its supporting characters. They either help or stand in the way of the main characters overcoming their obstacles. There have been countless great supporting performances throughout the years. Let’s dive into the ranks of the best.

7 Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Bastards

In Tarantino’s spectacular WWII film Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz Gives one of the best performances ever in any Tarantino film. Also Waltz probably gives the best performance of his career. He plays the smart, yet sadistic, Nazi officer known as Hans Landa. Waltz is brilliant every minute that he is on-screen and deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Waltz also features some comical moments in his performance.

RELATED: Inglourious Bastards: Where the Cast Is Today

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6 Viola Davis – Fences

Viola Davis Playing Rose Maxson in the film stole the show fence, based on the play of the same name. Davis played a loving and supportive mother and wife in 1950s Pittsburgh. Simultaneously, she must deal with the heartbreak and turmoil created by her husband, Troy (Denzel Washington). Davis is a tremendous force and delivers a performance full of raw emotion. At the same time, his chemistry with Washington was amazing. Davis shows us the struggles that life goes through in relationships and through his performances. Per Screen Daily, Rose is a role that Davis first played on stage with Washington before being brought to the screen.

5 Melissa Leo – The Fighter

In Warrior, Melissa Leo Fully transformed into Alice Eklund-Ward, the mother of two boxers, played by Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Leo is fiery and delivers intense intensity with his performance. Plus, she totally nails the Boston accent. Her character is tough, yet loving, which gives us a character with multiple layers. At some points in the movie, you hate Alice, but at many others, you understand her. Leo proved that he is one of the most talented actors currently working in Hollywood.


4 JK Simmons – Whiplash

JK Simmons Presents performances from his career so far in Damien Chazelle’s acclaimed film, Sprain, Simmons creates a character in the unconventional instructor band Terrence Fletcher who is dim, mean, and unpredictable. His character is downright creepy at some points and Simmons delivers scenes that are filled with intense emotions. At the same time, his chemistry with Miles Teller was perfect.

3 George Kennedy – Cool Hand Luke

in classic film cool hand luke, George Kennedy Clarence “Dragline” is an absolute scene-stealer as Slidell. His character is tough, charismatic and a delight to watch on screen from start to finish. Kennedy had great chemistry with Paul Newman and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He gives an honest portrayal of a prison inmate and his character has a great arc as well.


2 Meryl Streep – Kramer Vs. crme

In this Academy Award winning film, Meryl Streep Joanna Kramer plays a depressed wife and mother who decides to leave her family. Streep delivers a brilliant and honest performance of a woman who is extremely conflicted about her life and relationships. His character is very complex and has many layers. At the same time, he had a great chemistry with his co-star Dustin Hoffman. Streep is an absolute scene-stealer from start to finish and delivers one of the best performances of her career.

1 Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men

In the film-masterpiece of the Coen brothers no country for old men, Javier Bardem Gives the best performance of his career. He plays a sadistic killer who goes by the name of Anton Chigurh. Bardem is absolutely chilling every minute that he is on-screen. At many points, he almost seems like he’s not human. He portrays a wicked character who lacks empathy at once. He absolutely makes the film, and it wouldn’t have been like this without him. It was a brilliant character and Bardem won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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