Tim Curry did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wadsworth in Clue.
Clue is a film that probably has the greatest comedy ensemble period. I have heard some feel that Curry here is not lead in the film but rather supporting since the group of Wadsworth and the pseudonym using guests could all be leads. The problem is there are so many of them therefore it is a film where there is no true lead therefore everyone is supporting. I can understand this point especially in the middle of the film where Curry very much is just among the others, and seems to have equal importance. The reason I don't subscribe to this feeling though is the beginning and the end of the film Curry becomes the ringmaster of the circus, and absolutely leads the film.
Tim Curry portrays not one of the board game characters but rather the butler Wadsworth who invites everyone to the mansion to air out the secrets of everyone, as well as invite their apparent blackmailer Mr. Boddy. Tim Curry's role actually is quite a mystery and at first he just seems to be a butler who is doing his duties while getting all of the guests settled. He is certainly prim and proper enough to be the butler role, and there is no reason for us to assume that he is anything but. Soon enough though it appears Wadsworth is the one who in fact invited everyone to in fact expose Mr. Boddy as the blackmailers of the rest.
When Curry begins to expose the others' various weaknesses that cause them to be blackmailed it is here that Curry takes his very proper place within the arrangement of the cast. That placement being always the smartest one in the room, as well as the one who always stands on top in any battle of wits the others attempt to muster up. Curry is excellent in portraying the sharpest mind and he never has a missed timing when making Wadsworth seem smarter on the other seeming a lot dumber. He is sufficiently superior without ever seeming smug or obnoxious in any way. Instead Curry in fact comes off as the most likable of the entire cast.
Curry is just great in the role and has a terrific chemistry with the rest of the cast. His method of bringing every little quip, and reaction into perfect harmony with who ever he is working with is simply wonderful. Curry in the role never fails to bring the laughs into every scene, with his perfect timing throughout the film. He is incredibly entertaining, and really in a way he is the glue that keeps everything working as Wadsworth does stay in charge for almost the entire film. There is not a moment where Curry is for a moment lacking, he brings something humorous to almost anything that he says. He even does this when talking about Wadsworth's wife suicide by the hilarious delivery of his line that said his wife had friends who were socialists.
This is an extremely energetic performance by Curry which livens every scene that he is in certainly, but even more so this sort of portrayal is what makes the final act of the film work. The final act consists of Wadsworth recounting the whole night, and coming to the conclusion of who the killer is. This is one big recreation of the whole night, and really it is a strange idea for a rather short film to spend its ending recounting the rest of the film, but it works. The reason it works is because of Curry's portrayal of it. He never loses a minute of time with his manic method of telling the story that is constantly funny and very entertaining the whole way through. Whether it is constant almost crazed physical movements, or his quick humorous impressions of rest of the cast it is just a joy to watch.
Eventually the finale comes three times with a different ending each time. Curry in the first two keeps up that same comedic energy, and the reveal about his character is not really any sort of stretch and makes sense considering Wadworth's action and Curry's portrayal. The final time though it is very much different and it turns out that in fact spoilers, that Wadsworth is in fact Mr. Boddy the black mailer all along. Well I must say Curry certainly can pull of suddenly being the villain, since after all he's Tim Curry, but frankly he really does not lead up to it technically speaking the first two endings fit in more accordingly to Curry's portrayal.
Nevertheless this is not a big deal being a comedy, since it would have been impossible to have really have both ways anyways, and plus Curry still remains enjoyable particularly his very funny delivery of his final line. This is just a fun performance from Curry throughout that adds considerably to his film. In the scenes where he needs to act with the rest of the cast he plays off of them marvelously, on the other hand when he needs to lead the film he handles it just well never leaving any question about his ability as well as doing it always with a great deal of comedy. This may not be an overly complex performance, but it is a very entertaining one which is exactly what it needed to be.