20 Mentally Disturbed Movie Characters Oscar Loved

7. Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) 12 Monkeys (1995) Best Actor Nominee


Synopsis snippet: Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time (to get a lighter prison sentence) from 2035 to try to stop a virus that destroyed most of the population around 1996. The only thing they think they know is the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. Sent to 1990 by accident, he meets Jeffrey Goines and Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), the latter is the doctor who commits him to a mental hospital, the former is a patient at said mental hospital.

Whooshed back to the future then back to 1996 because he thinks crazy Brad Pitt is behind it (who wouldn’t?), he just wants to live til the end with Kathryn (who wouldn’t?). But tragic characters like this cannot be left alone and he ends up dying in front of himself. Just watch it! You’re welcome.

How disturbed was he? Brad Pitt said crazy things as Jeffrey Goines but that by itself wasn’t really the crazy. His twitching head, the “crazy eyes”, the way he moved his fingers, repetitive words, and motions, and the requisite yelling required of most insane characters.

Character Quote: “Telephone call? Telephone call? That’s communication with the outside world. Doctor’s *discretion*. Nuh-uh. Look, hey – all of these nuts could just make phone calls, they could spread insanity, oozing through telephone cables, oozing into the ears of all these poor sane people, infecting them. Wackos everywhere, plague of madness.”

Opponents: Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects (WINNER! Ok-understandable. Biggest plot twist ever in movies), Ed Harris in Apollo 13 (Gene: “Failure is not an option.”, Tim Roth in Rob Roy (Troubled man, seduces housemaid, spends money), & James Cromwell in Babe (Winning farmer brings home smart pig).


6. Howard Beale (Peter Finch) Network (1976) Best Actor WINNER!


Synopsis snippet: With his ratings declining, and two weeks before he is let go, news anchor Howard Beale announces on the air that he will kill himself in one week. At first fired, the network starts using him for his rants and raves, because of the uptick in ratings this sensation causes. They just let him loose and he rallies viewers.

Unfortunately, he attacks his own broadcasting company (CCA). Logically, they assassinate him. And so……. “This was the story of Howard Beale: The first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.”

How disturbed was he? Mostly it was screaming like a paranoid conspiracy theorist. But deciding to kill yourself on live tv because you thought you were losing your job is pretty crazy too.

Character Quote: “So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’”

Opponents: Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (Southpaw underdog, Adrian!! Apollo wins decision), Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties (Mustached Italian survives imprisonment, seven sisters), Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (Mad driver, save Iris! gun rampage), & William Holden in Network (News president, fires Beale, has affair).


5. Jane (Bette Davis)-What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) Best Actress Nominee

a what ever happened to baby jane davis crawford

Synopsis snippet: Baby Jane, a former child star, competed with her sister, Blanche for stardom when they were both young movie stars, but Blanche is more famous. There is a car accident. Years later, they are very old and Blanche is in a wheelchair. Jane delights in torturing her sister and wearing grotesque makeup. Blanche tries to get help and escape, to no avail. There is a twisty twist at the end.

How disturbed was she? Serves her sister her parakeet and a rat for lunch, starves her sister, kills the cleaning lady with a hammer, and dances when she is caught by police because she has completely lost it.

Character Quote: “I didn’t bring your breakfast, because you didn’t eat your din-din!” (Referring to uneaten dead carcass).

Opponents: Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker (WINNER! She helped Helen Keller say “water”, Lee Remick in Days of Wine and Roses (Alcoholic couple keep trying to stop), Katherine Hepburn in Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Morphine addict in an alcoholic family), & Geraldine Page in Sweet Bird of Youth (Past her prime actress likes Chance).


4. Travis Bickle (Robert Deniro)-Taxi Driver (1976) Best Actor Nominee

taxi driver

Synopsis snippet: Travis Bickle is a Vietnam vet who (you’ll never guess) drives a taxi! Watching the sludge of NYC nightlife in the 70s, he feels more and more angry and violent towards and about his fellow man. He tries to save young prostitute Iris (Jodi Foster) who doesn’t really want to be saved, but he gets a message to her parents anyway.

As his anger increases, so his sanity decreases, and he starts stalking Senator Palantine (whom I really want to call Senator Palpatine…..sorry, I digress), collecting guns, doing practice shooting runs, and eventually going after Iris’s pimp boyfriend and ending him.

How disturbed was he? He took his crush to a sex movie on their 1st date. He believes, “Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.” He goes on a shooting rampage. More importantly, it’s how De Niro embodies the mannerisms and inflections of a man losing his mind.

Character Quote: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Oh yeah? OK.”

Opponents look familiar?: Peter Finch in Network (WINNER! Anchor loses mind over media conspiracy), Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (Southpaw underdog, Adrian!! Apollo wins decision), Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties (Mustached Italian survives imprisonment, seven sisters), & William Holden in Network (News president, fires Beale, has affair).


3. Margaret White (Piper Laurie) Carrie (1976) Best Supporting Actress Nominee

Carrie Piper Laurie 1976

Synopsis snippet: Bullied at school and abused at home by a fanatically religious mother, telekinetic Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is asked out to the prom by the boyfriend of one of her former bullies (Amy Irving) who feels guilty and urges him to go. A non-guilty bully who is banned from the prom sets up a prank to douse Carrie with pig’s blood. Amy Irving tries to stop it, but it’s too late, and it’s a telekinetic party at the old gym tonight! Doors slam, kids scream, lots of fire. Carrie goes home to her mother and gets the opposite of comfort.

How disturbed was she? Well she stabbed her daughter with a kitchen knife in order to purify the devil out of her. That’s pretty fucked up.

Character Quote: “They’re all going to laugh at you!!!”

Opponents: Beatrice Straight in Network (WINNER! “Scorned wife throws pecked husband out”), Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver (Young hooker seen as Bickle’s redemption), Lee Grant in Voyage of the Damned (tragic doomed cruise escaping Nazi Germany), & Jane Alexander in All the President’s Men (Holds info to break open Watergate).


2. Blanche DuBois (Vivien Leigh) A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Best Actress WINNER!

A Streetcar Named Desire

Synopsis snippet: Blanche DuBois arrives on the doorstep of her pregnant sister Stella and her angry, domineering husband Stanley. Blanche is lost in her past and fabricates an imaginary version of herself. She is fragile and nervous. Stanley is suspicious (rightly so) but cannot control his temper. He looks through her things and has her investigated. Just when it seems that Blanche might have a chance at real happiness with slightly dim Oedipal Mitch, Stanley pulls back the “veil” revealing the harshness of the light, which Blanche could never handle.

How disturbed was she? She kissed one underaged boy and had an affair with another, lied about drinking, the many men she slept with, what happened to Belle Reve. I guess you can call her a pathological liar.

Character Quote: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Opponents: Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun (George impregnates, leaves, accidentally drowns her), Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen (Missionary turned warrior, loves her Charlie), Jane Wyman in The Blue Veil (Nursemaid to all after losing baby), & Eleanor Parker in The Detective Story (Jim’s wife, he thinks she’s trampy).


1. Annie Wilkes(Kathy Bates) Misery (1990) Best Actress WINNER!

Annie Wilkes Misery

Synopsis snippet: Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is the author of a “crazy” popular series about a character named Misery Chastain. He gets into a car “accident” and is “saved” by Annie Wilkes, his “number one fan”. After reading his last Misery manuscript, she flips like an Olympic gymnast and forces him to write another novel, explaining away Misery’s death. The captive turns on his captor, and only one can make it out alive.

How disturbed was she? Sledgehammer to the ankles (can never ever watch that part), words like “oogie” and “cockadoodie” and “dirty birdie” by someone over the age of 10, kidnapping him and tying him to a bed to get him to write a book the way she wanted it.

Character Quote: “I am your number one fan. There is nothing to worry about. You are going to be just fine. I am your number one fan.”

Opponents: Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (Hooker, heart of gold, snags man), Anjelica Huston in The Grifters (Wins worst mother of the year), Joanne Woodward in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (Wants to hold her family together), & Meryl Streep in Postcards From the Edge (Kinda about Carrie Fisher, rehabbed actress).

Author Bio: Athena Costanza Torkel is a mom of three and a high school assistant principal from Brooklyn, NY. When not working, she spends her days lazing on the couch watching TV and movies, while her long-suffering and much younger husband cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, and oh…works a full time job.