I was chatting with a friend recently about how Oscars are sometimes given for good-not-great roles or movies, because they are making up for mistakes in the past. Scorcese winning for The Departed is a good example. It's a good movie, but it's no Goodfellas, Raging Bull, or Taxi Driver. The other example, for me, was Paul Newman winning for The Color of Money (coincidentally directed by Scorcese). I haven't looked at the list of nominees for Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butch Cassidy, or The Sting, but as anyone who has seen these movies surely know, he's more than a pretty face.
Predictably, my favorite Newman movies are Hud (Texas, Larry McMurtry, etc.) and The Hustler (Pool). I ran across this fantastic clip of the climax of The Hustler. Total spoiler if you haven't seen the movie which is a four-star absolute must watch movie. But if you have seen it, take ten minutes and watch the interplay between Newman, Gleason, and George C. Scott (as the embodiment of evil).