• Golden Globe Awards

Tomorrow’s Stars Yesterday: Timothy Hutton, 1981

Between 1948 and 1983 Golden Globes were awarded in a special category of “New Star of the Year” conceived to recognize young actors making a mark in their early roles. In this series, the HFPA’s Phil Berk highlights those that would follow their auspicious starts with distinguished careers.
It’s a tough act to follow, winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar for your first film, Ordinary Peoplebut our 1981 New Star of the Year, Timothy Hutton, weathered that storm and forty years later he’s still fully engaged.
He still holds the record for being the youngest actor ever to win a Supporting Actor Oscar. The son of Jim Hutton, himself a delightful comedian who tragically died a year before Tim’s success, he immediately became a much sought-after star. Before that, he had gone unnoticed in a handful of TV movies, but first-time director Robert Redford saw something in him and he delivered a performance that won every award as Best Supporting Actor that year. 
He had already committed to two TV movies, but after that, it was all major studio offerings with auteur directors. He was credible in TapsGeorge C. Scott and Tom Cruise and introduced a young Sean Penn. He was top-billed but miscast playing a fictionalized son of the Rosenbergs in Sidney Lumet’s Daniel but fared better when Fred Schepisi used him in Iceman.
His best film and only box office hit after Ordinary People was John Schlesinger’s The Falcon and the Snowman again with Sean Penn. He then switched gears attempting a comedy with Bob Clark on Turk 182, which quickly disappeared, and even Alan Rudolph’s Made in Heaven offered little respite from his succession of disappointing movies.
He settled for second billing on Gregory Nava’s A Time of Destiny and even had an uncredited walk-on in his wife Debra Winger’s acclaimed Betrayed, Constantin Costa Gavras’ controversial exposure of white supremacists. He was Dennis Quaid’s college friend in Jessica Lange’s Everybody’s All American and traveled to the Czech Republic to work with Jerzy Skolimowski on Torrents of Spring.
It was Lumet again who salvaged his career offering him a strong role opposite Nick Nolte in Q & A, which was well received and earned Armand Assante a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
After that, there were a series of minor films, even well-intended ones.
The exception was Ted Demme’s Beautiful Girls which introduced a distinctive new talent Natalie Portman and which inspired him to be more careful about accepting roles.
So, he made Mr. and Mrs. Loving, a well-received TV movie about a biracial couple in the segregated south. He had a strong role in the film version of Robin Baitz’s acclaimed play The Substance of Fire and accepted decent supporting roles in John Irvin’s City of Industry and John Sayles’ Sunshine State. After John Travolta’s The General’s Daughter, he decided to throw his lot with TV series where he found his metier at last.
A Nero Wolf Mystery was the first, followed by Kidnapped and eventually Leverage which had a four-year run, and which led to American Crime, nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Limited Series and which introduced another stunning newcomer, Regina King. Since then, he’s had strong roles in the mini-series The Haunting of Hill House, How to Get Away with Murderand
In between he found time to accept supporting roles in acclaimed movies like Kinsey, The Secret Window, The Good Shepherd, The Ghost Writer, All the Money in the WorldandBeautiful Boy, recognizing that there are no small roles, only small actors.
He has tried his hand at directing, starting with the music video he made for the Cars’ hit single “Drive” in 1984, which won an MTV award. In 2010, he directed the music video for “The House Rules” by country rocker/Leverage co-star Christian Kane. He has also directed several episodes of A&E’s A Nero Wolfe Mystery.