Best performance by an actor in only one scene of a movie

I feel the Oscars should add this as a new category. The all time best example for me is Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross- so brilliant, he makes Mamet dialogue sound good. However I don’t think it fair that someone in only one scene should be eligible for best supporting actor/actress, as this takes away from actors who are in the entire movie, thus the need for a “Best very small role” category. Let’s say less than around 10 minutes in the film- who are some other worthy performances?

Two scenes, but under ten minutes: Mark Rydell as Marty Augustine in The Long Goodbye. One of the most chilling villains ever on film.

I’m not sure how much screen time Hugh Millais had in McCabe and Mrs. Miller – I think there was only one scene with dialog, though he was shown in others – but he’s a candidate. Also a memorable villain.

Alec Cawthorne as Inspector Doppler in Sleuth. It’s a mystery as why he never appeared elsewhere. :wink:

Good call on Long Goodbye- was he the one who did the “and this is someone I like, imagine what I would do to you” bit?

Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction.

Robert Duvall’s movie debut in To Kill A Mockingbird

Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein.

I was beaten to it by **Hampshire ** but
Christopher Walken as Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction. Incredible scene.

In a very bad movie, **House II: The Second Story ** (1987)
The highlight and only memorable part of the movie was John Ratzenberger as Bill a contractor called in to figure out what is wrong with the structure of the house. He deadpans in his Cliff Claven style.


Christopher Walken in True Romance.

Peter Stormare in Constantine.

Steve Buscemi in Miller’s Crossing.

Charlton Heston in Wayne’s World 2.

“You see that a lot in these older houses.”

The first one that came to mind for me was Sean Connery as King Richard in Robin Hood: Men Without Accents. I completely missed the Walken performance, but agree completely.

I know it’s TV, not the movies, but Martin Sheen’s performance in the first episode of ‘The West Wing’ changed his intended role from occasional cameos to a full part.

Spell-binding. :cool:

Ned Beatty in Network

Walter Huston as the preacher in Duel in the Sun

Cyril Cusak in 1984, Day of the Jackal, The Spy who Came in from the Cold and everything else where he played the guy who knew what you were thinking berfore you were thinking it.

Beatrice Straight for the spurned wife in Network (oh, wait… she did get an award for that).

You think you’re clever, don’t you?

I was going to mention Beatrice Straight. I think she was in more of the movie, but it was just one scene that won her the Oscar.

I vote for Alec Baldwin in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. “Whats my name? Fuck you that’s my name!”

I also liked Ben Affleck in “Boiler Room”.


I haven’t seen most of these, but how about Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors?

Exactly. And you remember it, don’t you? :slight_smile:

Billy Gilbert is memorable in his two scenes in His Girl Friday.

John Goodman in Oh, Brother, Where are Thou?.

O. P. Heggie in Bride of Frankenstein (in the role Gene Hackman parodied in ** Young Frankenstein**.

I agree with Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross; he was also very good in Elizabethtown and Fun With Dick and Jane in similarly small roles.

To add another nomination: William Hurt in A History of Violence. Ed Harris was also very good, but was in more than one scene (though probably less than ten minutes total).

John Turturro in The Big Lebowski.

Wilford Brimley in Absence Of Malice.

“Wonderful thing, a supenee…”