Also surprised to find no polls like this have already been made. Nicholson is another one of the all-time greats that you simply cannot condense their best (or even just his Oscar-nominated) roles into 10 poll options, so I divided it into two. This one covers the most acclaimed roles from his earlier years.
Chinatown and Cuckoo’s Nest (a performance and film I find overrated) will get most of the votes, but my vote goes to his brilliant work in The Last Detail. THAT should have been the film he won his first Oscar for.
I also choose his performance in The Last Detail. It’s not only his best performance in this period, but, IMO, the best performance in his career. He should have won his first Oscar for this film. Nicholson has always said that it’s always hurt him not winning an Oscar for this film.
You could tell from his reaction when Lemmon’s name was called out that he was disappointed, and that he briefly thought for a second that he won when Liza said “Jack…”
I recall reading a story somewhere that said that after Nicholson lost for The Last Detail, Hal Ashby (the director) gave Nicholson the Oscar he won for editing “In the Heat of the Night” because he wanted Jack to win.
In this order..
1 ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST
3.TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
5.THE LAST DETAIL
7.FIVE EASY PIECES
I am not a fan of his performances in the remaining 2 films…