Alan Alda celebrates his 83rd birthday on January 28, 2019. The multi-Emmy winner and Oscar nominee has extra reason to celebrate this year, since he receives the SAG Life Achievement award on January 27. In honor of his special weekend, let’s take a look back at 15 of Alda’s greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Born in 1936, Alda first came to the attention of movie audiences with his leading performance in “Paper Lion” (1968), which cast him as a sportswriter posing as a quarterback for the Detroit Lions. The role brought him a Golden Globe nomination as Best Newcomer (Male).
It was just four years later that he landed the role of his career: Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H.” Based on Robert Altman‘s iconic film, the series centered on the staff at an Army hospital during the Korean War. Alda received a staggering 25 Emmy nominations for the show, winning five trophies (three for acting, one for writing, and one for directing). He won an additional Emmy for his supporting role as a senator on “The West Wing” in 2006.
On the film side, Alda earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Martin Scorsese‘s Howard Hughes biopic “The Aviator” (2004), for which he also contended at BAFTA and at SAG as part of the ensemble. He previously competed at BAFTA for his supporting turn in Woody Allen‘s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989), which also brought him wins at the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review. He earned Golden Globe bids for “Same Time, Next Year” (Best Comedy/Musical Actor in 1978) and “The Four Seasons” (Best Comedy/Musical Actor and Best Screenplay in 1981), which marked his feature directing debut.
Alda was recognized for his stage work as well, reaping Tony nominations for “The Apple Tree” (Best Actor in a Musical in 1967), “Jake’s Women” (Best Actor in a Play in 1992), and “Glengarry Glen Ross” (Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2005). He also competed at the Grammys for the spoken word album “Things I Learned While Talking to Myself,” so while he may only have the E portion of the EGOT, he at least contended at the G, O, and T.
Even though he is best known for television, our photo gallery above focuses on Alda’s 15 greatest films, including a few titles the Academy should’ve recognized him for.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 24.