Oscar Worthy Villains
It's well-known that villains make for some of the best roles and that businessmen (and women) make for some the best villains. So it's a wonder there are so few Oscar-lauded performances as evil entrepreneurs or corporate types. (Perhaps Hollywood's Oscar voters find nothing particularly exotic about tyrannical, power-hungry one-percenters.) Nonetheless, the gallery assembled here---ranging from private-equity sharks to turn-of-the-century oil titans---should strike fear in the hearts of all law-abiding Oscar lovers as they look forward to Sunday's Academy Awards.
Photographs by Everett Collection
Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood) Played by: Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actor, 2007
Evilest Deed: Bludgeoning a minister to death with a bowling pin
Memorable quote: "If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching? And my straw reaches across the room, and starts to drink your milkshake ... I ... drink ... your ... milkshake! Sschhlllluuuuurrrrrrp. I drink it up!"
Michael Corleone (The Godfather: Part II, Best Picture, 1974) Played by: Al Pacino, Best Actor nominee, 1974
Occupation: Olive oil importer (secondarily: casino owner, racketeer, drug kingpin, mob don, Cuban resort investor)
Evilest Deed: Whacking his brother, Fredo
Memorable quote: "If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone."
Karen Crowder (Michael Clayton) Played by: Tilda Swinton, Best Supporting Actress, 2007
Occupation: Corporate attorney
Evilest Deed: Screwing over George Clooney
Memorable quote: "When you really are enjoying what it is you do, who needs balance? There's your balance!"
Alex Goran (Up in the Air) Played by: Vera Farmiga, Best Supporting Actress nominee, 2009
Occupation: Mysterious business traveler; frequent flyer
Evilest Deed: Breaking George Clooney's heart
Memorable quote: "You're a parenthesis."
Note: This slide has been updated.
Noah Cross (Chinatown, Best Picture nominee, 1974) Played by: John Huston (15-time Oscar nominee, two-time winner)
Occupation: Real estate developer
Evilest Deeds: Impregnating daughter, murdering her husband, lusting after granddaughter/daughter.
Memorable quote: "I don't blame myself. You see, Mr. Gitts, most people don't have to face the fact that, at the right time and the right place, they are capable of anything."
Arthur Jensen (Network) Played by: Ned Beatty, Best Actor nominee, 1976
Occupation: TV network chairman
Evilest Deed: Silencing news anchor Howard Beale's righteous, populist anger in order to promote unbridled capitalism
Memorable quote: "You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! ... There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today."
Larry Flynt (The People vs. Larry Flynt)
Played by: Woody Harrelson, Best Actor nominee, 1996
Evilest Deed: Perverting American values
Memorable quote: "If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you."
Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) Played by: Michael Douglas, Best Actor, 1987
Occupation: Corporate raider, self-help guru
Evilest Deed: (Tie) Insider trading; corrupting a young Charlie Sheen
Memorable quote: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good"