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 While we’re all scarfing down our tofurducken and enjoying the entertaining barbarism of [American] football, it’s great to take just a moment to look back at what we’re really thankful for. Today, I celebrate that great, surprisingly unsung actor Albert Finney, a British living treasure.

Unlike his contemporary Sir Michael Caine, Finney has been very selective in film roles, and his winner-to-dud ratio has been high. He’s scored five Oscar nominations in his career, unfortunately never taking home that trophy.

His breakout role as an “angry young man” in 1960’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning made him the British Brando, and he followed that up with his Oscar-nominated title part in Tom Jones in 1963. His other Oscar nods came for 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, in which he played Poirot; 1983’s The Dresser; 1984’s Under the Volcano; and 2000’s Erin Brockovich opposite Julia Roberts. And that’s not counting 1970’s Scrooge, 1982’s adaptation of Annie, 1990’s Coen Brothers classic Miller’s Crossing, 2003’s Tim Burton-directed Big Fish, and his last credited movie role, 2007’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. On TV, he won an Emmy and a BAFTA for playing Sir Winston Churchill in the BBC’s 2002 film The Gathering Storm.

Before you ask, “Why doesn’t this man have a ‘Sir’ in front of his name?”, realize that Finney reportedly turned down a knighthood back in 2000.

Have a look at some of Albert Finney’s best roles.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Tom Jones

Murder on the Orient Express

Miller’s Crossing

Big Fish

What’s your favorite Albert Finney role? What British icon are you most thankful for today?

by Kevin Wicks

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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.