Joe Pesci won his Oscar from his second nomination for portraying Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas.
Joe Pesci plays the violent psychopathic mobster Tommy DeVito. Pesci from his earliest of moments in the film manages to dominate the screen with his performance. Pesci from his first scene instantly establishes Tommy completely as exactly who he is, which is really a violent animal. Pesci never denies this, but rather embraces this whole idea behind Tommy which makes his performance so impressive.
There is a constant visceral aspect of his performance that always pierces right through the screen showing the utter brutality of Tommy, as well as the unpredictable manner of him. Each scene where Pesci is the focus, or at least where Pesci forces himself as the focus through his performance it is impossible not to watch him. His scenes have a certain unbearable quality to them created by Pesci becuase how well he manages to realize the cruelty of DeVito, but at the same time he makes every scene utterly fascinating because of his performance.
It is this dynamic that makes Pesci's performance so powerful, and so effective. He makes this absolute thug someone you can't help but watch. He is cruel psychopath, with basically zero sympathy, yet there is just something utterly fascinating about him. The lack of any sort of sympathy for his victims or remorse for his crimes, in anyway simply paints a chilling portrait of this man. Pesci really is truly chilling because he never overacts with his cruelty he makes the violence in DeVito absolutely real. He never turns him into a movie villain but a real evil man who kills most people just because they insult him.
Pesci stays true to his portrait throughout the film, never letting off for a hint keeping his brutality always in the forefront, until only his last two words. Pesci probably gives the most powerful performance imaginable in the two words showing really what a waste of life Tommy has in his short final moment, it is absolutely outstanding what he does with it really. Pesci's performance is pivotal part of the entire the film and makes the most of it. He absolutely gets everything he can out his performance, this is a true example of a perfect supporting performance. Pesci only every adds to this already great film.