Burt Lancaster did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dr. Ernst Janning in Judgment At Nuremberg.
When Janning finally does speak to silence his defense Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) Lancaster certainly does not waste the opportunity given to him. Lancaster has a very forceful screen presence and he utilizes that well to quickly take command of the film in his single most important scene. All of the speeches in the film really could go either way as they are definitely not written to be subtle, but that in no means that they are bad. This being a Stanley Kramer film the points are perhaps made too clear, but that can easily be compensated for honestly by the delivery of them. Lancaster delivers his incredibly well by bringing out the power of the words as he should but always doing so through the character of Ernst Janning. The speech has the intensity needed for the condemnation it is stating, but what Lancaster does importantly is never forgetting to suggest that self-hatred of his own action is what fuels this passion in Janning the most.
After the speech Lancaster has one more important scene where Janning meets with the chief judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy). Lancaster is very good in this scene by showing some contentment in Janning for the moment as it seems he has made some peace with himself as it seemed he in part made his own sentence. Janning takes the chance to try to, in a way, defend his actions now that he is technically suffering for them to Haywood, which leaves Haywood to quickly remind Janning of his severe crimes. The scene could be more powerful simply because Tracy's characterization of Haywood is a little too muddled throughout, but it still stands as an effective scene because of Lancaster. Lancaster at the beginning of the scene shows Janning content in someway, but when Haywood calls him out on it Lancaster's reaction is great by showing that despair once again engulfs the man.
In the whole scheme of the three hour film Lancaster's screen time is brief and only briefer if you were not to count many of the moments of him merely sitting in the courtroom. Lancaster though does make use of those minimalistic moments as well as the few times in which he is given the spotlight. I would say even with his highlight scenes that when you come right down to his performance is not quite as memorable as Maximilian Schell's purposeful showboating as the firebrand defense attorney or as memorable as Montgomery Clift's heartbreaking portrayal of one of the Nazis's victims. Nevertheless Lancaster still gives the third strongest performance in the film with his fairly remarkable portrait of a man pained by his crimes which he will never be able to forget.