Rarely viewed as an 'actor's director,' Malick has nevertheless brought out some great work
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6. Nick Nolte, “The Thin Red Line” (1998)
Nick Nolte fully owned the role of Lt. Col. Gordon Tall in 1998's “The Thin Red Line.” Digging under the skin of a soldier-for-life type desperate to finally have “his war,” the actor mined fascinatingly contradictory rhythms throughout, offering the best of the film’s three showcased performances (the other two coming from Sean Penn and Jim Caviezel). But outside of a Chicago Film Critics Association nod for Best Supporting Actor, the awards season passed him up entirely. He spits fire one minute and calmly waxes philosophic the next, putting out perhaps the most complex character of the piece.