Oscar 1983: Alcoholics–Best Year, All Five Best Actor Nominees

You did not have to look far for evidence. Rather shockingly, in 1983, all five Best Actor nominees played drunks, of one kind or another.

Winner: Robert Duvall, Tender Mercies

The versatile Robert Duvall won Best Actor for Tender Mercies, Bruce Beresford’s intimate drama about an alcoholic country singer who’s rehabilitated by the love of a decent woman (Tess Harper). Duvall had earlier received a Best Actor nomination for playing an alcoholic and abusive father in “The Great Santini.” And he would receive yet another lead nomination for the indie, “The Apostle,” in which he played an abusive and violent alcoholic.

Nominee: Tom Conti, Drunken Scottish Poet

That year, Tom Conti played a drunken Scottish poet on a lecture tour in Reuben, Reuben, written by Julius Epstein, the Hollywood vet, best-known for “Casablanca” Oscar-winning script.

Nominees: Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, The Dresser

Brits Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay achieved the almost impossible task of receiving Best Actor nominations for the same film, The Dresser, in which Finney played an aging alcoholic Shakespearean actor (based on the life of Donald Wolfit), and Courtenay played his abused and alcoholic dresser.