On our podcast over the weekend, we were discussing some of the best performances … ever. In 1982 Dustin Hoffman did Tootsie, Paul Newman did The Verdict, Ben Kingsley did Gandhi and Meryl Streep did Sophie’s Choice. While Streep’s stratospheric rise happened just before she reached the apex with Sophie’s Choice, journalists weren’t quite ready to surrender to the force that was and is Meryl Streep. I personally think that Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice is the best performance by any actor ever, male or female. But that got me thinking and wondering what others I would add to the list. Off the top of my head I would say, in no particular order (but with an eye on transformation, becoming someone other than the actor) – obviously my own personal choices, this list of names: [Note: a few of of these performance missed out on an Oscar nomination but we're making up for the omission and including them anyway -- Ryan]. Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire/On the Waterfront Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor/Sandy Dennis/George Segal, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Mary Tyler Moore/Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People Bette Davis, All About Eve/Now Voyager/The Letter Jack Nicholson Carnal Knowledge/Five Easy Pieces/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Louise Fletcher, Cuckoo’s Nest Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter Peter O’Toole, Lawrence of Arabia/The Stuntman Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind/A Streetcar Named Desire Robert De Niro, Raging Bull Judy Garland, A Star is Born Frances McDormand/Steve Buscemi/William H. Macy, Fargo Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast Paul Newman/Piper Laurie, The Hustler Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona Anthony Perkins, Psycho Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy/Tootsie Cloris Leachman/Ben Johnson/Jeff Bridges/Ellen Burstyn, The Last Picture Show William Hurt, The Kiss of the Spider Woman Denzel Washington, Malcolm X Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski Anjelica Huston/Annette Bening/John Cusack, The Grifters Kevin Spacey, American Beauty Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein Peter Sellers, Being There/Dr. Strangelove/Lolita Liza Minnelli, Cabaret Malcolm McDowell, Clockwork Orange Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie, Carrie George C. Scott, Patton Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard Judy Holiday, Born Yesterday Al Pacino, The Godfather II Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train Jessica Lange, Frances Sally Field, Norma Rae Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment Helen Mirren, The Queen Sean Penn, Milk Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues Glenn Close & Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List Colin Firth, A Single Man/The King’s Speech Emma Thompson, Sense & Sensibility Anthony Hopkins, Silence of the Lambs Kate Winslet, Heavenly Creatures Holly Hunter, The Piano Cicely Tyson/Paul Winfield, Sounder Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple Jodie Foster, Taxi Driver Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive Laura Dern, Inland Empire Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth/I’m Not There Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven Diane Keaton, Reds/Annie Hall Nicole Kidman, To Die For Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter Emmanuelle Riva, Amour Gene Hackman, The French Connection Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Jason Leigh, Georgia Peter Finch, Network Faye Dunaway Network/Chinatown/Bonnie and Clyde Charles Laughton, Hunchback of Notre Game Sidney Poitier, To Sir with Love, Lilies of the Field Meryl Streep, One True Thing/The Devil Wears Prada What would be your list? Or more importantly, whom have I left off?