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Top 10 Supporting Roles That Stole The Show

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May 12, 2016

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  • >> Speaker 1: Sometimes, small roles can leave a big impression.
  • And sometimes, they're the only thing we're talking about when the credits roll.
  • This week, we're counting down our picks for
  • the top ten supporting roles that stole the show.
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 1: [SOUND] Kicking us off at number ten, an easy
  • way to end up with an upstaged star is to cast an even bigger one below them.
  • Think of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada,
  • Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, and Brad Pitt in Twelve Monkeys.
  • These actors have far too much charisma to be relegated to second fiddle.
  • And the same goes for our pick for
  • number ten, Christian Bale as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.
  • >> Dicky Eklund: Cuz he's my younger brother.
  • I taught him everything he knows.
  • I'm still his trainer, though we got different styles.
  • I'm [BLEEP] ing squarely, as [BLEEP] fuck.
  • You know, I'm like [SOUND], you know, I'm not even there.
  • It's what Sugar Ray said.
  • I was the most tricky fighter he'd ever come across.
  • >> Speaker 1: Deservedly winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor,
  • Christian Bale really blows the lid off of The Fighter.
  • And no disrespect to Wahlberg, who's done his fair share of outshining ala
  • the departed, Christian Bale is incredibly under appreciated actor with
  • immense dedication and dramatic talent that Wahlberg just couldn't match.
  • And it's not just the 63-pound weight loss,
  • the action and biographical mimicry, Bale lights up the screen from the first frame
  • with the performance that's both histrionic and believable.
  • And for that, we're happy to give him a spot on our list.
  • But not all supporting actors stealing the show are stars.
  • Let's not forget about the incredible performances by character actors.
  • These tend to be subtler, quieter interpretations that don't necessarily
  • take the air out of the star's role so
  • much as they quietly land in emotional depth and texture to a story.
  • Ben Mendelsohn quietly outshone Ryan Gosling in Place Beyond the Pines,
  • as did Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters.
  • Martin Landau, and Ed Wood, and Gary Oldman in like everything he's ever done.
  • However, we think that our number nine pick really belongs to
  • Robert Shaw as Quint in Jaws.
  • >> Quint: You know the thing about a shark, he's got lifeless eyes.
  • Black eye like a doll eye.
  • When he comes at you, don't seem to be living until he bites you and
  • those black eyes roll over white.
  • >> Speaker 1: It's fascinating that a film cast purposefully without any big stars
  • became Hollywood's first true blockbuster.
  • But with that kind of casting, it's not surprising that a secondary character was
  • able to sneak up and steal the spotlight.
  • Robert Shaw was a career character actor, more notable in villain roles and
  • supporting parts than the headline.
  • But he always nailed it, and Jaws was no different.
  • He anchored the whole film, bringing a mysterious sea dog and
  • sense of dread to the plane New Englanders he was surrounded by.
  • Elevating the film to a timeless classic in the process.
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 1: One of the best places for an upstaging is in a comedy film.
  • Often a comedy star is the straight man, the audience surrogate,
  • who spends more time reacting to jokes and
  • pointing out the lunacy of it all than acting crazy him or herself.
  • This opens a lot of room for
  • the bit players to bounce off the wall in a memorable way.
  • Think Bill Murray in Caddyshack or Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny.
  • Think Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect.
  • Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaid.
  • Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder, and our pick for
  • number eight, Jack Black from High Fidelity.
  • >> Barry: Whoa!
  • Hey. >> Speaker 5: [BLEEP] asshole.
  • >> Speaker 6: Hey, what are you doing?
  • Stop! >> Speaker 5: Will you shut up?
  • Will you?
  • >> Dicky Eklund: Break it up.
  • >> Barry: You're a [BLEEP] fucking maniac.
  • I swear to God, if you tore this thing, it's vintage, and
  • I will [BLEEP] fucking sock your nose!
  • You'll pay big.
  • >> Speaker 1: Barry was the role where Jack Black finally broke out.
  • Stoner, slacker, cut-up wild, crazy music lover.
  • It was the role Jack Black was born to play.
  • And play, and play, and play and play.
  • Stealing every scene from Cusack with his erratic shenanigans and wild pantomimes.
  • It's not that John was bad, it's just that pretty much
  • nothing can top Jack Black at his full level of hyperactivity.
  • And then, his song at the end?
  • The deal is sealed, Mr. Black has arrived.
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 1: [SOUND] This leads us to some other spotlights
  • that have been stolen by actors in their breakout role.
  • We're not sure whether it was their spotlight stealing performances that
  • paved the way for their stardom or that they always had stardom inside them.
  • But actors, like Ed Norton in Primal Fear, Anna Paquin in the Piano, Denzel in Glory,
  • Larry Fishburne in Boys in the Hood,
  • and Leo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape,
  • have come out swinging way bigger than anyone could have expected.
  • But one of our favorite picks for
  • the breakout, Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted.
  • >> [SOUND]
  • [MUSIC]
  • >> Mary: Hey, Dais, is anyone in your room yet?
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Mary: Hey girls, hey sexy.
  • >> [SOUND]
  • [MUSIC]
  • >> Mary: Good to be home!
  • >> Speaker 1: Before Girl, Interrupted, Angelina Jolie was known for
  • frequent TV work and the occasional film role.
  • But by the time she finished her explosive turn as a committed sociopath,
  • gleefully creating chaos wherever she turned with the kind of on-screen presence
  • usually reserved for Godzilla, she won herself a Golden Globe, an Oscar,
  • a Teen Choice Award, and the kind of heat that would
  • push her into the A-list stratosphere by the very next year.
  • [SOUND] But Angelina isn't the only star breaking out in a supporting role.
  • We also wanna give a quick second slot to Mo'Nique for
  • blowing everyone's mind in Precious.
  • >> Mary: Who else was gonna love me?
  • Hm? Since you got your degree and
  • you know every [BLEEP] fucking thing, who was gonna love me?
  • Who was gonna make me feel good?
  • >> Speaker 1: There was nothing as shocking as Mo'Nique bursting out of her
  • foul mouth, comedian cocoon and metamorphosizing into an actress of
  • unparalleled vulnerability, strength, and talent.
  • Her performance turned an abusive mother into an almost four-dimensional character.
  • Just as cruel and terrifying as human and heartbreak.
  • And she won just about every award she could for it.
  • So, we've gotta put her on this list.
  • A quick sidetrack into a category that isn't really an important grouping, so
  • much is one that just accidentally emerged.
  • And in this case, they're all military themed.
  • And sure that could easily be Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men,
  • monologuing circles around Tom Cruise.
  • Or either Rob Duvall or Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now.
  • But for our number five pick, we think that R Lee Ermey is easily the most
  • memorable part of Full Metal Jacket >> Speaker 8: Who the [BLEEP] fuck said
  • that?
  • Who the slimy little common as [BLEEP] shit twinkle toes [BLEEP] fuck sucker down
  • here who just signed his own death warrant?
  • Nobody?
  • That fairy [BLEEP] fucking godmother said, out- [BLEEP] fucking-standing!
  • I will PT you all until you [BLEEP] fucking die!
  • >> Speaker 1: A tried and true Marine Corps drill sergeant,
  • Full Metal Jacket wasn't his first role, as many often believe.
  • He actually started in Apocalypse Now as a chopper pilot and technical advisor.
  • Moved on to Boys in Company C,
  • where he put on a performance pretty similar to this one, and then,
  • finally, worked his way through minor roles onto Kubrick's set as a consultant.
  • But after a videotaped tirade he sent to Stanley, Kubrick cast him in the role,
  • let him improv most of his own dialogue, and basically,
  • handed him the whole first half of the movie, where he spits, curses, abuses,
  • and humiliates his way into our hearts.
  • [SOUND] For our number four pick,
  • we wanna honor what we like to call the one-scene wonders.
  • Actors who showed up, did a scene or two, blew our socks off, and then, disappear.
  • Leaving us wanting much, much more.
  • These are actors like Beatrice Straight in Network, Judi Dench in Shakespeare in
  • Love, Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken in True Romance.
  • And definitely, Charlton Heston's hilarious cameo in Wayne's World 2.
  • However, is there a better pic for
  • this slot than Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross?
  • We think not.
  • >> Speaker 9: Put that coffee down!
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 9: Coffee is for closers only.
  • >> Speaker 1: Surrounded by the likes of Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey,
  • Ed Harris, and Al Pacino, there's no doubt that Alec Baldwin stole the crown.
  • And in an unbelievably brief fashion, with less than ten minutes on the clock.
  • But not only did Baldwin's character, or [BLEEP] fuck you,
  • as he introduces himself, steal the show, so, did the scene Itself.
  • In a film that was almost a word for word transcription of Mamet's stage
  • play from which it was adapted, Baldwin's tirade wasn't in it.
  • Mamet added it because he felt he had to pad the link.
  • That's right, the most memorable moment in a memorable film came from an actor in
  • a scene that was entirely unnecessary to the success of the plot.
  • But God damn, was it great.
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 1: [SOUND] Closing in at number three,
  • we wanna take a look at just a few classic overshadowing.
  • Like Lee J Cobb in 12 Angry Men, Thomas Mitchell in Stagecoach.
  • And our number three pick, Orson Welles as Harry Lime in the The Third Man.
  • >> Speaker 10: It's good to you, Ollie.
  • >> Speaker 11: Was that your funeral?
  • >> Speaker 12: It was, but he isn't buying, wasn't it?
  • The same old indigestion on it.
  • These are the only things that help, these tablets.
  • These are the last.
  • I can't get them anywhere in Europe anymore.
  • >> Speaker 11: You know what's happened to your girl?
  • >> Speaker 12: Mm-hm? >> Speaker 11: She's been arrested.
  • >> Speaker 12: [INAUDIBLE] Don't worry, old man, they won't hurt her.
  • >> Speaker 11: They're handing her over to the Russians.
  • >> Speaker 12: What can I do, old man?
  • Dare to hunt her.
  • >> Speaker 1: There's no secret that we love this film and Orson Wells in it.
  • And we've gone on at link about how and why it's so incredible, so,
  • we won't talk your ear off.
  • But from the very first moment that Wells' smile hits the screen,
  • there's no question that he's stolen, in this case, quite literally, the spotlight.
  • Throw in a couple more brilliant scenes and ignore a silly foot chase that he
  • hardly showed up for, and you've got yourself our number three.
  • >> [MUSIC] >> Speaker 1: [SOUND] Runner up at number
  • two, just like soldiers, there seems to be an unusual amount of
  • gangster flicks with stellar outperformances.
  • These are films with roles like Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, John Cazale and
  • Bobby De Niro in Godfather 2.
  • And of course, our number two pick, Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
  • >> Speaker 13: Hey, what's that movie that Bogart made?
  • >> Speaker 14: Which one?
  • >> Speaker 13: The one wear he played the cowboy.
  • The only good one.
  • >> Speaker 12: The Oklahoma Kid. >> Speaker 13: Shane?
  • >> Speaker 1: Oklahoma kid. >> Speaker 12: Shane, Oklahoma Kid.
  • >> Speaker 1: [LAUGH] >> Speaker 13: That's me,
  • I'm the Oklahoma Kid.
  • Yeah [BLEEP] fucking far me, [INAUDIBLE] Yahoo, you mother [BLEEP] fucker!
  • >> Speaker 14: Come on. >> Speaker 13: [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE]
  • [NOISE] [SOUND] [CROSSTALK] Yeah, you little prick!
  • Now, he's moving!
  • >> Speaker 1: Joe Pesci is a Jack Russell with the bite of a bulldog.
  • Commanding any room his character is in with a temper shorter than he is.
  • And nobody loves his funny how scene more than us.
  • But it's not just that, it's every loose-cannon moment he's on screen.
  • And it's not like Ray Liotta's some slouch.
  • He's turning in one of the best performances of his career.
  • And he might even be the better actor here, but
  • that doesn't stop our man from completely hogging the spotlight.
  • [SOUND] Finally, finishing up with our number one,
  • we can't forget the supporting role that comes in the form of the villain.
  • Now, we did a whole feature on our favorite villains list that you should
  • check out here.
  • But for this category,
  • we wanna focus on the movies where they're far, far more interesting than the hero.
  • Think of villains like The Joker, or Anton Chigurh, or Max Katie, or
  • Agent Smith, or Amon Goeth, or Hans Landa.
  • I don't even have to say the films or the actors,
  • but you know exactly who I'm talking about.
  • But if there's a villainous role that defines, transcends his film more than
  • any other, it's gotta be our number one pick, Hannibal Lecter.
  • >> Hannibal Lecture: Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling?
  • Thrall me with your acumen.
  • >> Clarice: It excites him.
  • Most serial killers keeps some sort of trophies from their victims.
  • >> Hannibal Lecture: I didn't.
  • >> Clarice: No.
  • No, you ate yours.
  • >> Speaker 1: Anthony Hopkins' Lecter has to be the first thing that comes to mind
  • when anyone thinks of Silence of The Lambs, which is crazy on its own,
  • because Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling is already so good.
  • Hopkins scored a paltry 16 minutes of screen time, but
  • made every 24th of a second count.
  • He transfixes Clarice, the camera, and us for every moment he's on screen,
  • delivering one of the most chilling examples of upstagemenship
  • we can think of.
  • Which is why he's our pick, the best of all time.
  • >> [MUSIC]
  • >> Speaker 1: So, what do you think?
  • Do you disagree with any of our choices?
  • Did we leave out any supporting roles you would've picked?
  • Let us know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe for
  • more Cinefix movie list.
  • >> [MUSIC]

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Sometimes small roles can leave a big impression. And sometimes, they're the only thing we're talking about when the credits roll.. Subscribe: http://goo.gl/9AGRm

What did you think of the list? Do you disagree with any of our picks? Feel like we left out or mis-represented any of the films? What do you think are the best supporting roles in film history? What makes a supporting role stand out?

What other topics would you like to see us cover in future editions of CineFix Movie Lists?

Let us know in the comments!

THE LIST

Christian Bale - Dicky Eklund in The Fighter (2010)
And it's not just the 63 pound weight gain and accent and biographical mimicry... Bale lights up the screen from the first frame with a performance that's both histrionic and believable.

Robert Shaw - Quint in Jaws (1975)
He anchored the whole film, bringing a mysterious, sea-dogged sense of dread to the plain new-englanders he was surrounded by, elevating the film to a timeless classic in the process.

Jack Black - Barry in High Fidelity (2000)
Stealing every scene from Cusack with his erratic shenanigans and wild pantomimes - it's not that John was bad, it's just that pretty much nothing can top Jack Black at his full level of hyperactivity.

Angelina Jolie - Lisa in Girl Interrupted (1999)
Before Girl Interrupted, Angelina Jolie was known for frequent tv work and the occasional film role, but by the time she finished her explosive turn as a committed sociopath, gleefully creating chaos wherever she turned with the kind of screen presence usually reserved for Godzilla, she'd won herself a golden globe, an oscar, a teen choice award, and the kind of heat that would push her into the A-list stratosphere by the very next year.

Mo’Nique - Mary in Precious (2009)
Her performance turned an abusive mother into an almost 4 dimensional character, just as cruel and terrifying as human and heartbreaking.

R. Lee Ermy - Gny. Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket (1987)
After a video-taped tirade he sent to Stanley, Kubrick cast him in the role, let him improv most of his own dialogue, and basically handed him the whole first half of the movie, where he spits, curses, abuses and humiliates his way into our hearts.

Alec Baldwin - Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Not only did Baldwin's character - or "fuck you" as he introduces himself - steal the show, so did the scene itself.

Orson Welles - Harry Lime in The Third Man (1949)
From the very first moment that Welles' smile hits the screen, there's no question that he's stolen - in this case quite literally - the spotlight.

Joe Pesci - Tommy Devito in Goodfellas (1990)
He’s a Jack Russell with the bite of a bulldog, commanding any room his character is in with a temper shorter than he is.

Anthony Hopkins - Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Hopkins scored a paltry 16 minutes of screen time, but made every 24th of a second count. He transfixes Clarice, the camera, and us for every moment he's on screen, delivering one of the most chilling examples of upstagemanship we can think of.

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