Originally Posted by zoey67
Fun brain exercise, just top of my head there are many timeless that defined films :
Good, bad, ugly - Eastwood
Enter the dragon - Lee
Superman - Reeves
Scarface - Pacino
Indiana Jones - Ford
T2 - Arnold
Die hard - Willis
Leon - Portman
Pulp fiction - Jackson
Gladiator - Crowe
Some of these are debatable, like Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood. And a lot of them didn't win any award. I'm not sure Crowe's turn in Gladiator was his "performance of a lifetime", yes he did win the Oscar, but his career is far from over yet and since then he has made a few commendable performances as well. Don't get me wrong I love Gladiator, I just think it's perhaps not the "best" performance of his career.
And...Christian Bale in Equilibrium??? "performance of a lifetime in the role of a lifetime"? Please!...
Again no academy award winner, but regarding Schwarzenegger, I would say his defining performance/role of a lifetime was actually the first Terminator, not T2.
May I add Philippe Noiret for Cinema Paradiso who won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. His filmography include a lot of amazing performances actually, but this one, to me, is the most significant, because the film is kinda special to me, and a real masterpiece.
Someone mentioned Amadeus as well and F. Murray Abraham, who won the Oscar. But let's not forget Tom Hulce's Mozart portrayal. He was also nominated for Best Actor but Abraham won.
Funny there's a lot of talk about Pacino in the Godfather, but um, how about Brando???
Here are a few names I'd add to the list:
Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur
Liza Minelli in Cabaret
Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs
Kathy Bates in Misery
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Michael Douglas in Wall Street
Marion Cotillard in La Môme
Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird.
There's also Dustin Hoffman, who won for Rain Man, but I don't think it was 'the role of a lifetime' for him...they are too many!
...Natalie Portman and Marion Cotillard are too young actually, but, so far... we'll see what they come up with in the future