Oscar Actors: Coburn, James–Supporting Actor, Affliction (1998)

Coburn won the Supporting Actor Oscar for his riveting, highly intense performance, as Nick Nolte’s abusive and alcoholic father, in Paul Schrader’s “Affliction.”  But the award also could have served as an acknowledgement of the his lengthy and fruitful career, which in 1998 celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Born August 31, 1928 in Laurel, Nebraska; died in 2002.

A mechanic’s son, James Coburn studied acting at Lost Angeles City College, USC, and with Stella Adler in New York.

Coburn segued in the 1960s from being a Western star to playing a spy in a series of popular films: “Our Man Flint” and “In Like Flint.” But he’s perhaps still best known for his turn in the Steve McQueen starring vehicle, “The Great Escape,” in 1963.

Oscar Context

In 1998, Coburn competed for and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in a contest that included Robert Duvall in “A Civil Action,” Ed Harris in “The Truman Show,” Geoffrey Rush in “Shakespeare in Love,” and Billy Bob Thornton in “A Simple Plan.”