Jack Nicholson He holds the honor of being the most nominated actor in the history of the Academy Awards. With 12 nominations and three wins under his belt, the actor has been a mainstay in Hollywood for over 60 years. While he’s currently retired from acting, there’s no denying the influence Nicholson has had on some of the biggest and most iconic films in history, but which of his award-nominated roles is the best? Rated for your enjoyment, here are Jack Nicholson’s 12 Oscar-nominated movie roles.


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12 Reds (1981)

Barclays Industrial Trade Finance
JRS Productions

reds It tells the story of journalist John Reed played by Warren Beatty, who helped cover the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in the early 20th century, as well as anarchist writer Emma Goodman played by Diane Keaton, and playwright Eugene O’Neill played by Jack Nicholson. With one reviewer mentioning the passion displayed by the film’s characters, it’s easy to see why Nicholson, Beatty, and Keaton were nominated for Academy Awards.

11 Sharaf Brezi (1985)

Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner in Breezy Honors
Twentieth Century Fox

Jack Nicholson shines in the outrageousness of his dark comedy Brizi honor. which tells the story of two murderers who fell in love before they were hired to kill each other. With his absolute commitment to the role, no matter how farcical it may be, Nicholson earned the Academy Award nomination bestowed upon him in 1986.

10 Iron Grass (1987)

Iron grass
TAFT Entertainment Pictures

Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep were at the top of their acting game in the 1987 drama, Iron grass. The two, portraying a homeless couple, learn life-changing lessons during a single day in Albany. While the movie itself didn’t garner universal praise, the performances of the two are undeniable.

9 About Schmidt (2002)

About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson
New Line Cinema

About Schmidt is a unique coming-of-age story told through the lens of a recently retired man, Warren Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson. Throughout the film, Schmidt learns more about the person he is while on a road trip to attend his daughter’s wedding. Nicholson, who was an actor towards the end of his career, shines in his performance as his acting talents are on full display in the character of Schmidt.

8 Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces
Columbia Pictures

At the time of its release in 1970, it was Jack Nicholson’s role as Bobby Dubea Five easy cuts It was hailed as the greatest performance of the young actor’s career. The film follows drill worker Dhupia as he travels home to visit his dying father. Renowned film critic Roget Ebert called Dubia “one of the most memorable characters in American films”, crediting Nicholson with the life that Nicholson breathed into the character.

7 As good as it gets (1997)

As good as Jack Nicholson gets
Gracie Films

Director James L. Brooks is credited with helping to breathe fresh air into the ancient genre of romantic comedy. Along with an outstanding performance by Jack Nicholson, as best as possible It truly transcends the genre to make for an all-time classic. Nicholson won his third Academy Award for his portrayal of Melvin Udall in the film.

6 The last detail (1973)

Jack Nicholson in the last detail
Columbia Pictures

Few actors excel in the challenging comedy-drama genre more than Jack Nicholson. This talent was shown in one of his early roles in The last detail. Nicholson plays Navy officer Billy “Badass” Budowsky who is tasked with getting Seaman to prison.

Along with another desk, Budsky decided to show the young man some good times along the way to prison. This performance would earn Nicholson his third Academy Award nomination in his young career.

5 A Few Good Men (1992)

Some good men
Columbia Pictures

Some good men It tells the partially true story of two Marines who are accused of killing one of their fellow Marines. From the brilliant writing mind of Aaron Sorkin, the cast of A-listers shines brightly in this film, perhaps none brighter than Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan Jessip. The combination of Nicholson’s acting talent and Sorkin’s genius writing was a match made in heaven.

Related: These Are The Best Rated Tom Cruise Movies

4 Easy Rider (1969)

Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider
Columbia Pictures

Easy Rider He is often credited with starting the new Hollywood era in cinema, beginning in the late 1960s. Featuring memorable performances from Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda as a duo of motorcycle-riding best friends as well as Jack Nicholson’s turn as attorney George Hanson, as well as one of the best final shots in movie history, Easy Rider remains cinematic kings.

3 Terms of Endearment (1983)

granulation terms
Paramount Pictures

A truly iconic movie about motherhood, granulation terms It tells the story of the 30-year relationship between Aurora Greenway, played by Shirley MacLaine, and her daughter, Emma, ​​played by Debra Winger. Playing a retired astronaut and Aurora’s love interest, Garrett Breedlove, Nicholson earned his second Academy Award for Terms of Endearment.

2 Chinatown (1974)

A scene from Chinatown
Robert Evans Company

Chinatown It received worldwide acclaim upon its release in 1974. Roman Polanski’s brilliant direction and outstanding performances by Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway helped the film become one of the best crime films of the 1970s and a true piece of cinematic history.

Related: The Two Jakes: The Chinatown Sequel That Ruined Friendship

1 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jack Nicholson as Randall McMurphy in a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
United Artists

Perhaps the most well-known role in Jack Nicholson’s career, which doesn’t involve slashing a bathroom door, is the iconic literary character of “R.B.” McMurphy in the film adaptation. Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Based on Ken Kesey’s novel of the same name, director Miloš Forman crafts a compelling narrative, albeit a divergence from the novel’s source material.

While getting classy performances for his actors in this classic piece of cinema. Nicholson’s role would earn him his first Academy Award win, as the film would sweep the five big categories at the awards show.

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