5. Harry Carey in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- Harry Carey completely fulfills his role, his role just does not ask much of him.
4. Brian Donlevy in Beau Geste- Donlevy's performance is one dimensional evil just as he should be. I suppose someone could have been truly great in this role, but there is nothing wrong about Donlevy's performance.
3. Brian Aherne in Juarez- Aherne creates the earnestness, as well as his naivety well. He comes quite close to being great by the finale of the film where he gives a rather moving portrait of a good man who simply was in the wrong place.
2. Claude Rains in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- Rains gives a very effective portrait of a corrupt politician. He does this by combining the odd officialism in his cruelty, as well as showing the sadness and regret in the man who at one time was a good man.
1. Thomas Mitchell in Stagecoach- Both of the top two performance are perfect supporting performances that do far more than perfectly support the leads of the film. Mitchell gets my win because he as well gives an amazing portrait of a man. Doc Josiah Boone could have been a stock, or dull character but Mitchell brings him fully to life, and gives a striking performance. A performance that brilliantly combines weakness with strength, humor with sadness.
Ray Bolger in The Wizard of Oz
Frank Morgan in The Wizard of Oz
Thomas Mitchell in Gone With the Wind