5. John Wayne in True Grit- Wayne's performance is an odd one with his strange choice to play the part as if he was Wallace Beery, which does not work particularly well for the role. This was certainly a career award since Wayne gave better performances before and after this one.
4. Peter O'Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips- O'Toole plays Chips rather differently than Robert Donat did, and a lot less effectively. Chips undergoes far fewer changes, and stays rather stiff throughout. I did think O'Toole was properly stiff, without being excessively boring, as well as has a few fairly effective moments such as his big speech.
3. Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days- An interesting year where three nominated characters were again or before portrayed in Oscar nominated performances. Burton's performance is extremely over the top making every emotion known as much as possible. I can't say this is the wrong approach for King Henry entirely as some moments do work, but his overall effect is lacking.
2. Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy- There was no question who was going to be in the top two slots this year the only way Wayne, O'Toole and Burton could have competed with these two is if their best performances were nominated this year, but all three of those performances were far, far from their best, the only real question was in what order the top two would be. Voight stands second, why, it is hard for me to say, because Voight is amazing in his performance of Joe Buck. His performance is a raw amazing performance, that could not be more effective if he tried. He gets every single moment of this challenging performance correct, I could not ask for more.
1. Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy- This was really hard to choose, and I will admit a tie seemed reasonable because the two of their performances depend on each other so well, and they achieve so much together. I finally went with Hoffman, why, well again it is hard for me to say, but Hoffman is incredible he takes a enormous amount of risks from his voice to his physical characterization but they all feel entirely natural, and only add to Enrico "Ratso" Rizzo as a character. Every moment he is on screen he is amazing, and his performance is simply one the most heartbreaking performances ever given.
William Holden in The Wild Bunch