Counting down Robert De Niro's 10 best performances
As the actor celebrates his seventh Oscar nod, we round up his career highlights.
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5. Michael Vronsky in "The Deer Hunter" (1978)
Amid his 1970s and early 1980s hot streak, many of De Niro's most celebrated performances -- including "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" -- are galvanizing one-man platforms, but the 1978 Best Picture winner offered him a quieter showcase. Here, his tacitly bruised characterization of a Russian-American Pittsburgh steelworker and haunted Vietnam vet is only marginally the leading player of an equally matched ensemble (for which Christopher Walken earned the lion's share of the acclaim), though his dramatic peaks -- notably the famous Russian roulette sequence -- are as urgent and vivid as anything on his résumé. Interesting, too, to see the actor working in a different ethnic register from his most celebrated work.
Nominations: Best Actor, Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards; Best Actor (second runner-up), New York Film Critics' Circle; Best Actor (Drama), Golden Globes