24. DENZEL WASHINGTON
It's easy to see this as Tom Hanks' movie. It was his character who suffered the indignities of being afflicted with AIDS, and Hanks won a well-deserved Oscar for his efforts. But Washington, as the ambulance-chasing homophobe, had the harder task. He had to coerce audiences, ever so gently, into realizing that his character represented our own ignorance, and then drag us on his path to enlightenment.
Image Credit: Everett Collection
Still fuming that Ben Affleck didn't get nominated as Best Director? It's not the first time fan faves got the cold shoulder. See our list of the most unjustly overlooked work in Academy Award history