Powerful performances with nuance and depth transcend the easy-target antagonist. The audience warms and then sympathizes as we notice a glimmer of humor or tenderness— often we learn how means corrupt ends. The following received the Oscar for their great work as failed outcasts, perhaps the greatest performances of their careers.
Victor Mclaglen, The Informer (1935)
Gypo Nolan; self-serving brute who rats on his friend
Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend (1945)
Don Birnam; abusive, lying, thieving alcoholic
Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Blanche Dubois; delusional, devious, promiscuous neurotic