Jack Nicholson’s 12 Academy Award nominations make him the most nominated male actor in the Academy’s history. Nicholson has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice, one for the drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and the other for the romantic comedy As Good as It Gets (1997).
One of Nicholson’s greatest successes came in 1975 with his role as Randle P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The movie was an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel and was directed by Miloš Forman and co-produced by Michael Douglas. Nicholson plays an anti-authoritarian patient at a mental hospital where he becomes an inspiring leader for the other patients. Playing one of the patients was Danny DeVito in an early role.
Nicholson learned afterwards that DeVito grew up in the same area of New Jersey and they knew many of the same people. The film swept the Academy Awards with nine nominations and won the top five, including Nicholson’s first for Best Actor.
Marlon Brando influenced me strongly. Today it’s hard for people who weren’t there to realize the impact that Brando had on an audience…. He’s always been the patron saint of actors.
John Joseph Nicholson was offered the role of Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), which he turned down. The role was instead given to Louis Gossett Jr. who went onto receive an Oscar for his performance.