William Hurt’s Oscar, Emmy, & Golden Globe Nominated Performances, Ranked According To IMDb

William Hurt's Oscar, Emmy, & Golden Globe Nominated Performances, Ranked According To IMDb

William Hurt has had a long and successful career. His debut film was in Ken Russell’s sci-fi, Altered States, in 1980, and from then on he continued to receive critical acclaim for his performances both on-screen and on the stage.

RELATED: 10 Films You Should Watch From The Oscar-Nominated Actors of 2022

In fact, from 1985 to 1987, he was nominated three consecutive times for his performances. Most recently, fans might recognize him from his role as Thaddeus Ross in MCU. Hurt passed away from a long battle with cancer in 2022, so fans are reminiscing on their favorite roles of his, and honoring his legacy as a critically acclaimed contributor to the entertainment industry.

7 Altered States (1980) – 6.9

Nominated for Golden Globe

This sci-fi body horror film is based on a novel by Paddy Chayefsky. In it, a psychology professor and scientist decided to mix his understanding and study of schizophrenia and sensory deprivation with hallucinogenic drugs. The result, by his assumption, would be heightened and different states of consciousness. The story is in part based on John. C. Lilly’s sensory deprivation research in the 1950s.

The film was highly praised for its use of visual effects, its bizarre storyline, and the mixture of questionable reality and cheerful ridiculousness. It is truly an ’80s sci-fi masterpiece, and one many might not have heard of. However, it was also questioned for the moments that it went a little bit too far, and took the horror away, replacing it with silly. The film was William Hurt’s debut and for his performance as Dr. Eddie Jessup, he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best New Actor, a category that has since been discontinued.

6 Children of a Lesser God (1986) – 7.2

Nominated for Academy Award & Golden Globe

William Hurt with Marlee Matlin in a theater in Children of a Lesser God

Children of a Lesser God is a historically groundbreaking film for the deaf community as well as women in acting. The story follows two employees at a school for the deaf, who argue about their conflicting ideologies but eventually fall in love. Hurt stars alongside Marlee Matlin in this 1986 romantic drama. The two had incredible on-screen chemistry and their acting served the film well, both receiving nominations at the Academy Awards, as well as the film itself.

RELATED: 10 Movies To Watch If You Liked CODA

Hurt took home nominations at the Golden Globes as well. Matlin ended up winning in her category, becoming the youngest to do so, as well as the only deaf winner in Oscar history. The film is intelligent and fierce and has viewers hooked from beginning to end. It is a touching story that points out the barriers of language while allowing the characters to exist in each other’s worlds despite that.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

5 Broadcast News (1987) – 7.2

Nominated for Academy Award & Golden Globe

Tom in a news room in Broadcast News

In his third consecutive nomination at the Academy Awards, Hurt broadcasts his talents in Broadcast News, a story about rival news producers. This satirical news drama is a comic masterpiece. It is extremely charming, the actors and performances are top-notch, and the story itself is very entertaining. The film is praised for its deeply honest writing and how accurately it understands the media workplace as it was in the past and as it become when the film was released.

At its bare bones, the story tells viewers of a love triangle at the workplace, but it is so much more than that. It may be one of the most accurate stories about broadcast news that there ever was. The Academy thought highly of it as well, awarding it seven nominations, including Best Picture. The others include: Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Cinematography, and Film Editing.

4 Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) – 7.3

Nominated for Academy Award & Golden Globe

Molina dressed in feminine garb in his cell in Kiss of the Spider Woman

Kiss of the Spider Woman is probably Hurt’s most well-known and celebrated performance, and the only Oscar win he secured in his career, for Best Actor. It was adapted from a novel by the same name and tells the story of two men who live in a prison cell together in Latin America. They are very different in their personalities and ideologies, but during their time together in prison, they must learn to understand each other.

The film received mostly positive reviews many citing the performances as the main reason that the film’s power has remained strong through the years. The character study is one that challenges societal, political, and sexual norms and the assumptions and expectations we have of one another. It forces audiences to question their own relationships with others and the ways in which their beliefs and fears drive how they perceive the world.

3 Too Big to Fail (2011) – 7.3

Nominated for Golden Globe & Primetime Emmy

William Hurt on the phone in the streets in Too Big to Fail

Too Big to Fail is one of many films that explores money and the economic crisis in the United States after the crash in 2008. The story specifically follows the actions of two government officials as they tried to contain the problems during that time. It was released as a television movie, qualifying it for Emmy nominations, for which it earned 11, Hurt the recipient of one of those nominations. The film received generally favorable reviews from critics, but its many nominations as the various major awards shows prove its stature in the film industry.

The film was highly educational and took what could have been used as a boring homework assignment and instead used entertainment, humor, and educational visuals to help tell the story of the 2008 financial crisis. At times the film can feel like a dramatic re-creation with nothing special or entertaining to share, but Hurt’s performance was spectacular and worth the viewing experience.

2 A History of Violence (2005) – 7.4

Nominated for Academy Award

William Hurt posing in A History of Violence

In a seemingly heroic act, Tom Stall, played by Viggo Mortensen in arguably one of his greatest movies, saves his diner from a couple of robbers, but accidentally exposes his violent past as a missing mobster from Philadelphia in the process. A History of Violence is a classic action thriller film based on a graphic novel by the same name. Hurt plays Stall’s brother, a crime boss, who orders Stall to return to Philadelphia. With edge-of-your-seat action and superb acting, this film received high praise from critics and fans alike.

RELATED: 10 Oscar Winners You Didn’t Realize Played Marvel Superheroes

The movie focuses mainly on the characters and utilizes complex storylines, conflicting ideologies, and the nature of violence to navigate its story arc. There is something new at every turn, which makes the viewing experience unique and entertaining. In fact, the less that is known about the film before viewing, the better. One might expect something to happen, and then be totally shocked. The film was honored with two nominations at the Academy Awards, and two at the Golden Globes, with Hurt up for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.

1 Damages (2007-2012) – 8.1

Nominated for Golden Globe & Primetime Emmy

William Hurt leaning over a table in Damages

Damages is a high-stakes legal thriller that first aired on FX in 2007. The story follows a ruthless lawyer, played by Glenn Close, and her law-firm protegee, as they navigate their relationship professionally and personally. The show is known for how it tells the story of a single case throughout the length of the entire season. The series itself won four Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe. William Hurt first appeared in season 2 as an old acquaintance of Patty’s (Close).

For his performance, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes and for an Emmy in the same category. Damages’ twists and turns, subplots, tangled story threads, and delightful entertainment, make this an edge-of-your-seat, must-watch. It is one of the best lawyer-based TV shows out there and is full of fresh storylines and interesting takes on the realities of complicated relationships. It holds itself with confidence and truly creates great TV.

NEXT: 9 Best Fictional News Anchors In Movies & TV, Ranked

Next
The Batman: 10 Aesthetically Gothic Movies To Watch For Fans Of The Movie

About The Author

Savanna Shackleford
(28 Articles Published)

Savanna Shackleford is a list writer for Screen Rant. She began her career in the film/video industry when she graduated from University with a degree in Film Studies and Journalism in 2019. She currently works freelance in marketing and copyrighting, but has a deep love for the movies. Her favorite directors are Steven Spielberg and Hayao Miyazaki. She has a deep interest in writing about film theory, the MCU universe, and the latest animated features. She currently lives in Philadelphia and you can often find her working as a PA or as a Production Designer on local films.

More From Savanna Shackleford

Author: Deann Hawkins