23 Greatest Oscar Moments of Superman

01
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Academy Award Winning and Nominated Actors in Superman Movies

Photo of Superman movie with Academy Award
Superman (1978). Warner Bros

There have been many superhero movies over the years, but the Superman movies have been praised for their acting talent. No wonder! The studios have hired some amazing talent over the years. The first Superman movie was nominated for four Oscars and won the "Special Achievement Award" in 1978.

Many of the actors have been recognized for their acting skills at the annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The movies have had their fair share of Oscar winners and nominees.

Here now are the Oscar nominated and winning actors that have appeared in the Superman movies.

The list is ordered chronologically by film release date.

02
of 24

Marlon Brando

Publicity still of Marlon Brando from Superman (1978)
Jor-El (Marlon Brando) from Superman (1978). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's biological father Jor-El in Superman (1978)

Oscar Wins and Nominations (8): Won the Best Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972). He got nominated Best Actor Academy Awards for A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Viva Zapata! (1952), Julius Caesar (1953), Sayonara (1957), and Last Tango in Paris (1973). He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for A Dry White Season (1989).

He was such a big star that his role set records. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Brando was paid a record $3.7 million ($14 million after adjustment for inflation) and the  first actor to make more than one million dollars. He only worked 13 days on Superman.  

03
of 24

Ned Beatty

Publicity still of Ned Beatty and Gene Hackman in Superman II (1980)
Otis (Ned Beatty) and Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) in Superman II (1980). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Otis, Lex Luthor’s right-hand man, in Superman (1978) 

Oscar Nomination: Back in 1976 Beatty was nominated for the Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actor" as Arthur Jensen.

04
of 24

Gene Hackman

Publicity still of Gene Hackman from Superman (1978)
Lex Lutor (Gene Hackman) from Superman (1978). Warner Bros. Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's villain Lex Luthor in Superman (1978), Superman II (1980) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).

Oscar Wins and Nominations (5): He won an Oscar for Best Actor for The French Connection (1971) and a Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven (1992). Hackman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Bonnie & Clyde (1967) and I Never Sang for My Father (1970). He was nominated in the Oscar category of Best Actor for Mississippi Burning (1988).

Because of his accolades, he initially refused to shave his head or mustache for the role. Director Richard Donner tricked him into doing it.

05
of 24

Jackie Cooper

Publicity still of Jackie Cooper from Superman (1978)
Perry White (Jackie Cooper) from Superman (1978). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: The Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White in Superman (1978),  Superman II and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Oscar Nomination: At age nine, Jackie Cooper was the first child actor to receive an Academy Award nomination for his role in Skippy (1931). He was also the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Actor in a Leading Role".

06
of 24

Terence Stamp

Promotional still of Terence Stamp in Superman (1980)
General Zod (Terence Stamp) in Superman (1980). Warner Bros

Superman Movie Role: General Zod in Superman II (1980)

Oscar Nomination: Stamp began his film career in Peter Ustinov's film adaptation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd (1962). His was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role".

07
of 24

Robert Vaughn

Publicity still of Robert Vaughn from Superman III (1980)
Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn) from Superman III (1980). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Evil billionaire Ross Webster in Superman III (1983)

Oscar Nomination: Vaughn got an Oscar nomination for "Best Supporting Actor" as Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians in 1960

08
of 24

Faye Dunaway

Publicity still of Faye Dunaway from Supergirl (1984)
Selena (Faye Dunaway) from Supergirl (1984). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: The villain Selena in the Superman spin-off movie Supergirl (1984)

Oscar Win: She won an Oscar in the Best Actress category for Network (1976) 

09
of 24

Peter O'Toole

Publicity still of Peter O'Toole and Helen Slater from Supergirl (1984)
Zaltar (Peter O'Toole) and Kara Zor-El (Helen Slater) in Supergirl (1984). TriStar Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Supergirl’s friend Zaltar in the Superman spin-off Supergirl (1984)

Oscar Win and Nominations (8): He was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category six times for Lawrence of Arabia (1963), Becket (1965), The Lion in Winter (1969), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1970), The Ruling Class (1973), The Stunt Man (1981), and My Favorite Year (1983).

He held the record for the most Oscars without a win until he received an Academy Honorary Award for his entire body of work and lifelong contribution to film in 2003. 

10
of 24

Mariel Hemingway

Publicity still of Mariel Hemingway in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Lacy Warfield (Mariel Hemingway) in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Warner Bros. Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Lacy Warfield in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Oscar Nomination: Hemingway was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award category as Tracy in Manhattan (1979). 

11
of 24

Jim Broadbent

Publicity still of Jim Broadbent in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Jean Pierre Dubois (Jim Broadbent) in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Warner Bros. Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Jean-Pierre Dubois in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

Oscar Win: Broadbent won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Iris (2001).

Do you remember Jean-Pierre Dubois, who Lex Luthor calls the biggest 'Nuclear warhead dealer to the world'? No. Don't be surprised. He only had two lines in the whole movie.

An interviewer for FHM once asked Broadbent, "Is there a performance you can't bear to watch?"

Jim said "I can't bare to watch any of them, really. There are a few things I've never seen... Superman IV where I was a French Ambassador - haven't seen that.  No-one's ever come up to me and said 'I saw you in Superman IV. You were really good.'"

12
of 24

Eva Marie Saint

Publicity still of Eva Marie Saint from Superman Returns(2006)
Martha Kent (Eva Marie Saint) from Superman Returns(2006). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's adoptive mother Martha Kent in Superman Returns (2006).

Oscar Win: Won a "Best Actress in a Supporting Role" Oscar for On the Waterfront (1955).

Interestingly, she's also in the movie along with her On The Waterfront co-star Marlon Brando. He shows up thanks to a CGI hologram.

13
of 24

Frank Langella

Publicity still of Frank Langella from Superman Returns(2006)
Perry White (Frank Langella) from Superman Returns(2006). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role:  The Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White in Superman Returns (2006)

Oscar Nomination: He was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for Frost/Nixon (2008).

14
of 24

Laurence Fishburne

Publicity still of Laurence Fishburne from Man of Steel (2013)
Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) from Man of Steel (2013). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: The Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White in Man of Steel (2013)

Oscar Nomination: Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It (1993).

15
of 24

Diane Lane

Publicity still of Diane Lane from Man of Steel (2013)
Martha Kent (Diane Lane) Man of Steel (2013). Warner Bros. Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's adoptive mother Martha Kent in Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Nomination: Best Actress as Constance 'Connie' Sumner in Unfaithful (2002)

16
of 24

Amy Adams

Still of Lois Lane from Man of Steel (2013)
Man of Steel (2013) - Lois Lane (Amy Adams). Warner Bros

Superman Role: Lois Lane in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Nominations (5): Adams was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role quite  a few films over the years: Junebug (2005), Doubt (2008), The Fighter (2010), and The Master (2012). She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for American Hustle (2013)

17
of 24

Michael Shannon

Publicity still of Michael Shannon from Man of Steel (2013)
General Zod (Michael Shannon) from Man of Steel (2013). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: General Zod in Man of Steel (2013)

Oscar Nomination: Shannon was nominated for a "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar for playing a mentally troubled math prodigy in Revolutionary Road (2008).

18
of 24

Kevin Spacey

Publicity still of Kevin Spacey from Superman Returns(2006)
Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) from Superman Returns(2006). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman’s enemy Lex Luthor in Superman Returns (2006) 

Oscar Wins (2): Spacey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for the drama American Beauty (1999).

19
of 24

Kevin Costner

Publicity still of Kevin Costner from Man of Steel (2013)
Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) from Man of Steel (2013). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's adoptive father Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel (2013)

Oscar Wins and Nominations (3): He won an Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture (as producer) for Dances with Wolves (1991). He was also nominated for a "Best Actor" Academy Award for that movie.

20
of 24

Russell Crowe

Publicity still of Russell Crowe from Man of Steel (2013)
Jor-El (Russell Crowe) from Man of Steel (2013). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Superman's biological father Jor-El in Man of Steel (2013)

Oscar Win and Nominations (3): He won an Oscar in the Best Actor category for Gladiator (2000). He also got a Best Actor nomination for The Insider (1999) and A Beautiful Mind (2001).

21
of 24

Ben Affleck

Publicity still of Ben Affleck from Batman v Superman (2016)
Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), Batman v Superman (2016). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Wins and Nominations (3): Affleck won the Academy Award for "Best Original Screenplay" for Good Will Hunting (1997). Argo won the Academy Award for "Best Picture" (as producer) and "Best Direction" (not Director) for Argo (2012).

Affleck is the first director to win the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild of America awards for "Best Director" and not get an Oscar nomination for "Best Director".

22
of 24

Jesse Eisenberg

Publicity still of
Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) in "Batman v Superman" (2015). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Nominations (2): Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor for The Social Network (2010) and Academy Award for singing in the Best Original Song ("Real in Rio") Rio (2011).

23
of 24

Holly Hunter

Publicity still of Holly Hunter from Batman v Superman (2016)
Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) from Batman v Superman (2016). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Senator Finch in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Wins and Nominations (4): Won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Piano (1993). Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Broadcast News(1987), and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Firm (1993) and Thirteen (2003).

24
of 24

Jeremy Irons

Publicity still of Jeremy Irons from Batman v Superman (2016)
Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) from Batman v Superman (2016). Warner Bros Pictures

Superman Movie Role: Alfred Pennyworth in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Oscar Win: Irons won an Academy Award for Best Actor for Reversal of Fortune (1990). He’s one of the few actors who won the "Triple Crown of Acting" by winning an Academy Award (for film), an Emmy Award (for television) and a Tony Award (for theatre).

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Your Citation
Mitchell, Maurice. "23 Greatest Oscar Moments of Superman." ThoughtCo, Aug. 23, 2016, thoughtco.com/greatest-oscar-moments-of-superman-3896234. Mitchell, Maurice. (2016, August 23). 23 Greatest Oscar Moments of Superman. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/greatest-oscar-moments-of-superman-3896234 Mitchell, Maurice. "23 Greatest Oscar Moments of Superman." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/greatest-oscar-moments-of-superman-3896234 (accessed November 20, 2017).