The 1970s provided many older actors with their first Oscars, particularly in Best Supporting Actor. The decade also included what remains the only instance of an actor winning back-to-back Oscars in a supporting category. So which Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner of the 1970s do you like the best? Look back at each year’s winner and be sure to vote in the poll below!
John Mills, “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970) — Mills started the decade off with an Oscar win for playing the town fool Michael who uncovers a secret in “Ryan’s Daughter.” This was Mills’ only Oscar nomination and win, despite a very long career in film and television.
Ben Johnson, “The Last Picture Show” (1971) — Johnson would win his Oscar for “The Last Picture Show” in which he plays Sam the Lion, a thoughtful business owner who hopes to set the kids in town down the right path in life. This was Johnson’s only nomination and win at the Oscars.
Joel Grey, “Cabaret” (1972) — Grey said “willkommen” to his first Oscar thanks to his role as the flamboyant yet mysterious Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub in “Cabaret.” Like Mills and Johnson, this was the sole instance of Grey being nominated at the Oscars.
John Houseman, “The Paper Chase” (1973) — Houseman was next to win for his uncompromising portrayal of Harvard Law Professor Charles W. Kingsfield in “The Paper Chase.” He was nominated 20 years earlier in the Best Picture category for producing “Julius Caesar” (1953).
Robert De Niro, “The Godfather Part II” (1974) — While De Niro is now one of Hollywood’s most well-known actors, “The Godfather Part II” is what helped make him a star in the first place, playing the young version of mob boss Vito Corleone. He earned another Oscar for “Raging Bull” (1980), with additional nominations for “Taxi Driver” (1976), “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “Awakenings” (1990), “Cape Fear” (1991), and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012).
George Burns, “The Sunshine Boys” (1975) — Burns won his Oscar for playing one half of a bickering vaudeville comedy duo in “The Sunshine Boys.” This was Burns’ only Oscar nomination and win, though he did win an Emmy for the special “A Conversation With…” in 1988.
Jason Robards, “All the President’s Men” (1976) — Robards won his first of two Oscars this decade for playing “The Washington Post” editor Ben Bradlee in “All the President’s Men,” a key figure in uncovering the Watergate scandal that took down President Richard Nixon.
Jason Robards, “Julia” (1977) — Robards made history by becoming the first person to win a supporting category two years in a row with his role as Dashiell Hammett, lover and mentor to a struggling writer. He would go on to earn another nomination in this category just a few years later for “Melvin and Howard” (1980).
Christopher Walken, “The Deer Hunter” (1978) — Walken won his Oscar thanks to his role as Nick in “The Deer Hunter,” who gradually loses his mind in the midst of the Vietnam War. Walken would earn another nomination in this category for “Catch Me If You Can” (2002).
Melvyn Douglas, “Being There” (1979) — The ’70s concluded with Douglas winning an Oscar for “Being There,” in which he plays wealthy businessman Ben Rand, who takes in a wayward gardener. Douglas had previously won Best Supporting Actor for “Hud” (1963), and earned a nomination in Best Actor for “I Never Sang for My Father” (1970).