Eighteen Brilliant But Unawarded Acting Performances


3. Orson Welles – Citizen Kane

It’s hard to think of the 1941 classic “Citizen Kane” without thinking of Orson Welles’ performance as Charles Foster Kane.

As the writer, director, and star of the film, Welles was considered the “boy genius” of his day.

The character of Kane was based on the real-life newspaper giant William Hearst, and unfortunately for Welles, Hearst didn’t like the way he and his girlfriend were being portrayed on the silver screen.

Almost as soon as the film came out, Hearst launched a campaign to squash it and discredit Welles entirely.

After an onslaught of dubious newspaper attacks and even blackmail, the public was pitted so firmly against “Citizen Kane” that it was actually booed when it was announced at the Academy Awards, despite its nine nominations.

The film was put on the back shelf for the next several decades, and Welles’ acting career never fully recovered from the debacle. However, while the film eventually ended up with the attention that it deserved, Welles’ on-screen work didn’t, since the Academy passed him over for Gary Cooper. Despite its poor start in Hollywood, however, “Citizen Kane” is today among the top ten classics you have to have on your DVD shelf.