It was a long time coming, but Sam Elliott finally earned his first Oscar nomination for “A Star Is Born” (2018). He contends as Best Supporting Actor for this musical drama about a failing rockstar (Bradley Cooper) who falls in love with a rising pop star (Lady Gaga), but can’t kick his drug and alcohol addiction despite the best efforts of his girlfriend and his older brother/manager (Elliott). In honor of his achievement, let’s take a look back at 15 of his greatest films, ranked worst to best.
In a career spanning 50 years, Elliott has received scant awards recognition for his film career. He has, however, contended at the Emmys for his work in “Buffalo Girls” (Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor in 1995) and “Robot Chicken” (Best Voice-Over Performer in 2013). He competed at the Golden Globes for “Buffalo Girls” and once more for “Conagher” (Best TV Movie/Mini Actor in 1992).
An overdue narrative has been brewing for the actor for years, thanks to memorable supporting turns in “Mask” (1985), “Tombstone” (1993), “The Big Lebowski” (1998), “The Contender” (2000), “I’ll See You in My Dreams” (2015), and “Grandma” (2015), plus a rare lead role in “The Hero” (2017). That paid off in a big way with “A Star Is Born,” which brought him additional nominations at the Critics Choice and SAG awards, plus a victory at the National Board of Review. So perhaps the iconic star can finally add a little gold man to his shelf.
Tour our photo gallery above of Sam Elliott’s 15 greatest films, including a few for which he should’ve earned Oscar nominations.
– Original text and gallery published in November 2018.