5. Warren Beatty in Bugsy- Simply a bad performance which fails at its core. He never finds the right tone for Bugsy, and never seems to be authentic, and many times comes off unintentionally funny in his worst scenes.
4. Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides- Nolte has a few scenes where he is okay, they are his quiet confession scenes, but everything else he does either comes off as completely false or just weird. He always plays his character artificially and never really gets down to the heart of him.
3. Robert De Niro in Cape Fear. De Niro has some good scenes early on despite his terrible accent, but as the film goes on he simply hams it up way too much.
2. Robin Williams in The Fisher King- Robin Williams at first over plays the role, and cannot stay in character, but as he goes on he gets a bit better in the crazy scenes, and he actually is fairly effective in his quiet scenes.
1. Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs- This ought to be a surprise to no one, but Hopkins by far gave the best lead actor performance nominated this year and he can even be argued as not a lead. Still Hopkins is brilliant in every minute of his relatively short performance. He creates a fascinating, memorable, and truly effective character from Hannibal Lecter. Every scene he handles with perfection, never going over the top, or even seeming calculated since all of his motions are brilliant.
John Turturro in Barton Fink