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Oscars' Outrages Poll: Who really was the best actor of 1973?

January 2, 2008 | 10:14 pm

Attention Oscars fans who've not yet suffered through a viewing of "Save the Tiger": save yourself from enduring the agony of Lemmon_oscar_white_topwatching Jack Lemmon's Oscar-winning performance as an annoying businessman going through a never-ending mid-life meltdown. It's not just over the top, it's over-bearing, unwatchable. The only reason he won that award in 1973 was because voters suddenly felt guilty that the only other Oscar they ever gave him was in the supporting slot for "Mr. Roberts" nearly 20 years earlier. He deserved that Oscar, no question. But too bad they didn't give Lemmon a lead trophy for one of his interim nominations like "The Apartment" (winner of best picture of 1960) or "Days of Wine and Roses" (1962).

Now consider who Lemmon robbed in 1973: Marlon Brando in "Last Tango in Paris" and Al Pacino in "Serpico." (Somebody, please, call the kudos cops!) Also darn good were Jack Nicholson in "The Last Detail" and Robert Redford in best-picture champ "The Sting." Gee, I wonder if voters would've given "Ordinary People" those Oscars for best picture and Redford's direction seven years later if they'd given him this best-actor trophy over Jack Lemmon!

But never mind all that. Who do you believe really deserved to win back in 1973?