As the actor celebrates his seventh Oscar nod, we round up his career highlights.
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1. Jake La Motta in "Raging Bull" (1980)
Well, you knew it was coming. "Raging Bull" has topped a couple of different lists I've done here over the years, but it remains such a conspicuous high-water mark for all involved -- notably De Niro, who never quite replicated the unhinged commitment to Method process he demonstrates here. Nor did just about anyone else: the physical trials and dangerous weight alterations undertaken by De Niro as animalistic boxer Jake La Motta have long since passed into Hollywood lore, but it's still the internal details of his characterization -- the crippling cocktail of rage, conceit and doubt eating La Motta from the inside out -- that make this performance for more dangerous, and finally moving, than a mere thespian stunt. Rarely has a Best Actor Oscar been more inevitable, or deserved.
Awards: Best Actor, Academy Awards, New York Film Critics' Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics' Association, National Board of Review, Boston Society of Film Critics; Best Actor (Drama), Golden Globes
Nominations: Best Actor (runner-up), National Society of Film Critics; Best Actor, BAFTA Awards