Monday, December 26, 2011

Another Year Down

2011 brought a number of personal changes and experiences in my life - this was also the year I met Glenda Jackson and watched all the Best Actress nominees, which I will eventually do some rambling review on the role of women in the Best Actress category, but until there is time for that, what about the future Oscar nominees?

The best thing about this year is all of the races are COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE. There is no clear frontrunners in any category (when was the last time this happened?) and the movies I have seen thus far have been unusually strong.

Here's who I think the Best Actress nominees will be:

And since I've already seen 3/5, I can safely say this lineup is incredible. The only other possible happening would be Glenn Close getting in over Charlize or Tilda, otherwise this is the lineup.

Also this year, I fell in love with a new actress, as I'm sure her 1,226 movies have made other people do:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 1947

And the Academy selected:
  • Ethel Barrymore in The Paradine Case
  • Gloria Grahame in Crossfire
  • Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement
  • Marjorie Main in The Egg and I
  • Anne Revere in Gentleman's Agreement

My Ranking:

5. Anne Revere as Mrs. Green in Gentleman's Agreement

Doing your usual shtick is fine, but receiving an Oscar nomination for it is ridiculous. Anne Revere plays Gregory Peck's mother this time around and couldn't be more boring even if she tried. If Gregory Peck wasn't so bad, she may just be worse, but as it is, this is another one of those waste of a nomination and Revere is doing nothing she hadn't done on-screen before.

4. Celeste Holm as Anne Dettrey in Gentleman's Agreement

The performance can be captivating for most people, but for me, she's on the same level as Anne Revere. It's a totally useless performance, only saved by Holm's own acting instincts which shine through sometimes. The part doesn't offer her anything, besides being something pretty shocking for the time - a head magazine editor, but other then that, it's as dry and boring as anything can get.

3. Gloria Grahame as Ginny in Crossfire

Crossfire is pretty much on the same level as Gentleman's Agreement - but Gloria Grahame manages to make the most out of her limited part. Ginny is the catalyst to the mystery and Grahame shows how much mystery she can actually inject into the part. It's flashy and gritty at the same time, but not always amazing. Grahame surely has some overdramatic moments that could have been handled very differently. Still, it's a nice, good, mysterious performance.

2. Ethel Barrymore as Lady Sophie Horfield in The Paradine Case

Ethel Barrymore once again takes another small role and becomes a true standout. Here she plays the wife of the trail judge who is obviously mentally detached. It's hard to say if that's what's wrong with her or if she is just exhausted. Whatever the case, Barrymore fills the screen with such intrigue, such uniqueness, that another actress possibly could have misstep along the way. It's a terrific, intriguing performance that truly standouts.

1. Marjorie Main as Ma Kettle in The Egg and I

I nearly gave Ethel Barrymore the win, but Marjorie Main is simply too irresistible. She totally steals her film away from star Claudette Colbert, simply by appearing on-screen - she would later make this character her shtick, but here, it's completely fresh and engaging without ever seeming cliched, which is astonishing since this downhome humor can quickly be redid over and over again. So for what it's worth, I think Main gives a terrific comedic performance, full of rich characterization.

Honorable Omissions: None.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 2003

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo in House of Sand and Fog
  • Patricia Clarkson in Pieces Of April
  • Marcia Gay Harden in Mystic River
  • Holly Hunter in Thirteen
  • Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain

My Ranking:

5. Patricia Clarkson as Joy Burns in Pieces Of April

A total waste of a nomination. Joy Burns is mostly around to give quirky one-liners and try to ease up a road trip. It's amazing in this day and time (and considering how 'loud' the winner was) that such an unspectacular, forgettable performance could be in contention for an Oscar. There is simply nothing to note, write, or reward her for.

4. Shohreh Aghdashloo as Nadi in House of Sand and Fog

The performance is simply not moving, and the main cause for this for me is Aghdashloo herself. She brings no realistic humanity to the character of Nadi - simply letting her shriek and look depressed with the downplaying of her eyeballs. And since she isn't on-screen for a huge deal of time, she squanders it and wastes what could have been a deep, compelling performance.

3. Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain

It's not a particularly good performance, me as a viewer is always aware I'm watching Renee Zellweger act, but it is enjoyable for the most part. The loudness and over the top characterizations are what kill it, but also make it fairly watchable. I happen to like this film, no matter what the casting of the main actors, and Zellweger falls into that mix. She's not great, just watchable in a good movie.

2. Holly Hunter as Melanie Freeland in Thirteen

This movie drives me up the wall, and Holly Hunter's performance nearly falls right into that. She's such a good actress, she takes the awfulness around her and turns it into her favor. It's still a performance I'm mixed on, but her good moments overcome any reactions I had on it earlier in the film. It's mostly a testament to her true talent for acting.

1. Marcia Gay Harden as Celeste Boyle in Mystic River

In a very easy win, Marcia Gay Harden is perfection in Mystic River. Playing perhaps the most pivotal character, she changes the course of the film within moments she begins unravel the mysteries that have haunted her for a few days. Harden brilliantly handles the character, making her a bit naive but unknowingly in control of the situation. And her final scene kills me everytime, her running down the street is the heart of Mystic River.

Honorable Omissions: None.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Ranking Of Best Supporting Actress (so far...)

  1. Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby (1968) 
  2. Eileen Heckart in Butterflies Are Free (1972) 
  3. Olivia de Havilland in Gone With The Wind (1939)
  4. Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  5. Catherine Burns in Last Summer (1969)
  6. Lee Grant in Shampoo (1975) 
  7. Carolyn Jones in The Bachelor Party (1957)
  8. Karen Black in Five Easy Pieces (1970)
  9. Rinko Kikuchi in Babel (2006)
  10. Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) 
  11. Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind (1939)
  12. Geena Davis in The Accidental Tourist (1988) 
  13. Beatrice Straight in Network (1976)
  14. Julianne Moore in The Hours (2002)
  15. Adriana Barraza in Babel (2006)
  16. Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights (1997) 
  17. Estelle Parsons in Bonnie and Clyde (1968)
  18. Katharine Ross in The Graduate (1968)
  19. Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
  20. Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted (1999) 
  21. Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas (1990) 
  22. Dame May Whitty in Night Must Fall (1937) 
  23. Amy Adams in Doubt (2008) 
  24. Cate Blanchett in Notes On A Scandal (2006) 
  25. Virginia Madsen in Sideways (2004)
  26. Viola Davis in Doubt (2008)
  27. Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver (1976)
  28. Eileen Heckart in The Bad Seed (1956)
  29. Dyan Cannon in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  30. Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  31. Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny (1992) 
  32. Dianne Wiest in Parenthood (1989)
  33. Angelica Huston in Prizzi's Honor (1985)
  34. Piper Laurie in Carrie (1976)
  35. Diane Ladd in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) 
  36. Anne Archer in Fatal Attraction (1987)
  37. Edith Evans in Tom Jones (1963)
  38. Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler (2008) 
  39. Thelma Ritter in Pickup On South Street (1953)
  40. Mildred Dunnock in Baby Doll (1956) 
  41. Geraldine Page in Pete N' Tillie (1972)
  42. Susan Tyrell in Fat City (1972)
  43. Lynn Carlin in Faces (1968) 
  44. Bonita Granville in These Three (1936) 
  45. Anjelica Huston in Enemies: A Love Story (1989)
  46. Shelley Winters in A Patch Of Blue (1965)
  47. Joyce Redman in Tom Jones (1963)
  48. Jeannie Berlin in The Heartbreak Kid (1982)
  49. Kathy Bates in Primary Colors (1998) 
  50. Mary Ure in Sons and Lovers (1960)
  51. Diane Cilento in Tom Jones (1963) 
  52. Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981)
  53. Meryl Streep in Adaptation (2002)
  54. Joan Hackett in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  55. Anne Baxter in The Razor's Edge (1946)
  56. Miranda Richardson in Damage (1992) 
  57. Lena Olin in Enemies: A Love Story (1989) 
  58. Ethel Barrymore in The Spiral Staircase (1946)
  59. Geraldine Fitzgerald in Wuthering Heights (1939)
  60. Sylvia Miles in Farewell, My Lovely (1975) 
  61. Gladys Cooper in The Song Of Bernadette (1943)
  62. Valentina Cortese in Day For Night (1974)
  63. Glenn Close in The World According To Garp (1982) 
  64. Barbara Bel Geddes in I Remember Mama (1948)
  65. Shirley Jones in Elmer Gantry (1960)
  66. Helen Hayes in Airport (1970)
  67. Eva Le Galienne in Resurrection (1980)
  68. Ronee Blakely in Nashville (1975) 
  69. Jessica Lange in Tootsie (1982)
  70. Gladys Cooper in Now, Voyager (1942)
  71. Lee Grant in The Landlord (1970)
  72. Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost (1990)
  73. Ruth Gordon in Inside Daisy Clover (1965) 
  74. Tersea Wright in Mrs. Miniver (1942) 
  75. Terri Garr in Tootsie (1982)
  76. Claire Trevor in Dead End (1937)
  77. Marisa Tomei in In The Bedroom (2001) 
  78. Meg Tilly in Agnes Of God (1985) 
  79. Cathy Moriarty in Raging Bull (1980) 
  80. Wendy Hiller in Separate Tables (1958) 
  81. Cate Blanchett in The Aviator (2004)
  82. Cara Williams in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  83. Michelle Pfieffer in Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
  84. Natalie Wood in Rebel Without A Cause (1955) 
  85. Maureen Stapleton in Lonelyhearts (1958) 
  86. Claire Trevor as Key Largo (1948)
  87. Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple (1985)
  88. Mary Astor in The Great Lie (1941)
  89. Kathy Bates in About Schmidt (2002)
  90. Lee Grant in Voyage Of The Damned (1976) 
  91. Colette Marchand in Moulin Rouge (1952) 
  92. Kim Stanley in Frances (1982)
  93. Marisa Pavan in The Rose Tattoo (1955)
  94. Tersea Wright in The Little Foxes (1941) 
  95. Ethel Barrymore in None But The Lonely Heart (1944) 
  96. Betsy Blair in Marty (1955) 
  97. Chloe Sevingy in Boys Don't Cry (1999) 
  98. Shelley Winters in The Diary Of Anne Frank (1959) 
  99. Melinda Dillon in Absence Of Malice (1981)
  100. Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck (1987) 
  101. Ann Blyth in Mildred Pierce (1945) 
  102. Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom (2010)
  103. Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960) 
  104. Katina Paxinou in For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943)
  105. Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower (1969)
  106. Queen Latifah in Chicago (2002)
  107. Dorothy Malone in Written On The Wind (1956) 
  108. Glynis Johns in The Sundowners (1960) 
  109. Jennifer Tilly in Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  110. Angela Lansbury in The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1945) 
  111. Brenda Fricker in My Left Foot (1989)
  112. Gale Sondergaard in Anthony Adverse (1936)
  113. Kate Winslet in Iris (2001)
  114. Estelle Parsons in Rachel, Rachel (1968)
  115. Margaret Rutherford in The VIPS (1963) 
  116. Anne Revere in The Song Of Bernadette (1943)
  117. Edna Mae Oliver in Drums Along The Mohawk (1939)
  118. Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama (1948)
  119. Margaret Avery in The Color Purple (1985)
  120. Patricia Collinge in The Little Foxes (1941) 
  121. Joan Plowright in Enchanted April (1992)
  122. Eileen Brennan in Private Benjamin (1980) 
  123. Geraldine Page in Hondo (1953)
  124. Norma Alejandro in Gaby: A True Story (1987)
  125. Susannah York in They Shoot Horses, Don't They (1969) 
  126. Jean Simmons in Hamlet (1948) 
  127. Sophie Okonedo in Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  128. Terry Moore in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) 
  129. Dame May Whitty in Mrs. Miniver (1942) 
  130. Mary Steenburgen in Melvin and Howard (1980)
  131. Sondra Locke in The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (1968) 
  132. Anne Shirley in Stella Dallas (1937) 
  133. Thelma Ritter in Pillow Talk (1959) 
  134. Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure (1972) 
  135. Laura Linney in Kinsey (2004)
  136. Maureen Stapleton in Airport (1970) 
  137. Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957) 
  138. Annette Bening in The Grifters (1990)
  139. Amy Adams in The Fighter (2010) 
  140. Jennifer Jones in Since You Went Away (1944) 
  141. Diane Varsi in Peyton Place (1957) 
  142. Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl (1988) 
  143. Joan Lorring in The Corn Is Green (1945)
  144. Joyce Redman in Othello (1965)
  145. Sylvia Miles in Midnight Cowboy (1969) 
  146. Shirley Knight in The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs (1960)
  147. Gloria Stuart in Titanic (1997)
  148. Thelma Ritter in With A Song In My Heart (1952) 
  149. Lily Tomlin in Nashville (1975) 
  150. Hermione Bladdley in Room At The Top (1959)
  151. Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear (1991)
  152. Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  153. Jo Van Fleet in East Of Eden (1955) 
  154. Juanita Moore in Imitation Of Life (1959) 
  155. Patty McCormack in The Bad Seed (1956) 
  156. Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago (2002)
  157. Helen Mirren in The Madness Of King George (1994)
  158. Eve Arden in Mildred Pierce (1945) 
  159. Donna Reed in From Here To Eternity (1953)
  160. Paulette Goddard in So Proudly We Hail! (1943) 
  161. Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love (1998)
  162. Beulah Bondi in The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) 
  163. Anne Ramsey in Throw Momma From The Train (1987) 
  164. Susan Peters in Random Harvest (1942)
  165. Agnes Moorehead in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) 
  166. Mercedes Ruehl in The Fisher King (1991)
  167. Lynn Redgrave in Gods and Monsters (1998)
  168. Susan Kohner in Imitation Of Life (1959)
  169. Maggie Smith in Gosford Park (2001) 
  170. Amy Madigan in Twice In A Lifetime (1985)
  171. Toni Collette in The Sixth Sense (1999) 
  172. Joan Cusack in In and Out (1997) 
  173. Agnes Moorehead in Johnny Belinda (1948)
  174. Martha Hyer in Some Came Running (1958)
  175. Alice Brady in My Man Godfrey (1936)
  176. Peggy Lee in Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)
  177. Lila Skala in Lilies Of The Field (1963) 
  178. Agnes Moorehead in Mrs. Parkington (1944) 
  179. Sally Kellerman in MASH (1970)  
  180. Maggie Smith in A Room With A View (1986)
  181. Melissa Leo in The Fighter (2010)
  182. Leslie Ann Warren in Victor/Victoria (1982)
  183. Catherine Keener in Being John Malkovich (1999) 
  184. Rachel Griffiths in Hilary and Jackie (1998)
  185. Maggie Smith in Othello (1965) 
  186. Flora Robson in Saratoga Trunk (1946)
  187. Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles (1974) 
  188. Kate Nelligan in The Prince Of Tides (1991)
  189. Lucile Watson in Watch On The Rhine (1943)
  190. Vanessa Redgrave in Howard's End (1992) 
  191. Gale Sondergaard in Anna and The King Of Siam (1946)
  192. Jean Hagan in Singin' In The Rain (1952)
  193. Margaret Wycherly in Sergeant York (1941) 
  194. Mildred Natwick in Barefoot in The Part (1967)
  195. Helen Mirren in Gosford Park (2001) 
  196. Diana Scarwid in Inside Moves (1980)
  197. Elizabeth McGovern in Ragtime (1981)
  198. Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech (2010)
  199. Natalie Portman in Closer (2004)
  200. Tess Harper in Crimes Of The Heart (1986)
  201. Piper Laurie in Children Of A Lesser God (1986)
  202. Alice Brady in In Old Chicago (1937) 
  203. Ann Sothern in The Whales Of August (1987) 
  204. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (1994)
  205. Beah Richards in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967) 
  206. Rosemary Harris in Tom and Viv (1994)
  207. Mary McDonnell in Dances With Wolves (1990)
  208. Maureen Stapleton in Reds (1981)
  209. Diane Ladd in Wild At Heart (1990)
  210. Lillian Gish in Duel In The Sun (1946)
  211. Anne Revere in National Velvet (1945) 
  212. Grace Kelly in Mogambo (1953)
  213. Samantha Morton in Sweet and Lowdown (1999) 
  214. Peggy Cass in Auntie Mame (1958)
  215. Angela Lansbury in Gaslight (1944) 
  216. Aline McMahon in Dragon Seed (1944)
  217. Sara Allgood in How Green Was My Valley (1941) 
  218. Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting (1997)
  219. Jane Alexander in All The President's Men (1976)
  220. Marjorie Rambeau in Torch Song (1953)
  221. Maria Ouspenskaya in Love Affair (1939)
  222. Peggy Wood in The Sound Of Music (1965) 
  223. Judy Davis in Husbands and Wives (1992)
  224. Ingrid Bergman in Murder On The Orient Express (1974)
  225. Diane Ladd in Rambling Rose (1991) 
  226. Maria Ouspenskaya in Dodsworth (1936)
  227. Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008)
  228. Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008)
  229. Frances McDormand in Mississippi Burning (1988)
  230. Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit (2010) 
  231. Andrea Leeds in Stage Door (1937) 
  232. Mercedes McCambridge in Giant (1956)
  233. Kay Medford in Funny Girl (1968) 
  234. Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias (1989)
  235. Brenda Blethyn in Little Voice (1958)
  236. Elsa Lanchester in Witness For The Prosecution (1957) 
  237. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The Color Of Money (1986)
  238. Talia Shire in The Godfather Part 2 (1974) 
  239. Miyoshi Umeki in Sayonara (1957) 
  240. Joan Cusack in Working Girl (1988) 
  241. Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential (1997) 
  242. Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls (2006)
  243. Gloria Grahame in The Bad and The Beautiful (1952)
  244. Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
  245. Brenda Vaccaro in Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough (1975) 

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    "Actress In A Supporting Role" 2002


    And the Academy selected:
    • Kathy Bates in About Schmidt
    • Queen Latifah in Chicago
    • Julianne Moore in The Hours
    • Meryl Streep in Adaptation
    • Catharine Zeta-Jones in Chicago

    My Ranking:

    5. Catharine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in Chicago

    It's the flashiest part this year, but also holds the distinction of being the weakest. Catharine Zeta-Jones playing the murderess superstar/uber-bitch Velma Kelly. The problem with the performance is how superficial and surprisingly unconvincing and boring Jones is. It's perhaps more of Chicago and her director's fault, but Renee Zellweger was able to overcome this limitations, why not Jones? There's just not a ton of effort at hand and not alot of talent to be found either.

    4. Queen Latifah as Mama Morton in Chicago

    Some of the same limitations are also found in Queen Latifah's performance as the tough and occasionally funny head matron Mama. Latifah's own distinct (if cliched) acting style mostly helps her out, relying on wisecracks which usually works and is very well done, if again, cliched and entirely expected. Still, a nice, entertaining performance that Queen Latifah carries.

    3. Kathy Bates as Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt

    It's amazing how much better and deeper Kathy Bates gets on a review of About Schmidt. It's an extremely brief performance but it shows how Bates became such a famous character actress, who can quickly turn a small part into a memorable part of the film. Here, her Roberta is a quirky extreme creation and she lights up the screen with her comedic timing and delivers a terrific and surprising performance. It's more then a nude scene :)

    2. Meryl Streep as Susan Orlean in Adaptation

    Adaptation is such an odd film that a lesser actress could handle the small quirks and large neuroses of Susan Orlean terribly, but Meryl Streep obviously knew what she was doing. Even when she is off-screen, I could feel her presence and was more interested in her then anyone else - the tenderness of Susan and the quick, initial way she handles new found romance is amazing. It only shows how Streep can take a tricky part and makes the best out of what she is given.

    1. Julianne Moore as Laura Brown in The Hours

    It's such an epic performance, bursting full of emotions and showing the true, sometimes underrated talent of Julianne Moore. The depressed and suicidal 50s' housewife Laura Brown is my favorite part of The Hours, mostly because of Julianne Moore - she handles everything so excellently, so imaginatively, I fell totally under her spell. Lots of layers and tons of depth turn this performance into pure and terrific gold.

    Honorable Omissions: None.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    "Actress In A Supporting Role" 1991

    • Diane Ladd in Rambling Rose
    • Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear
    • Kate Nelligan in The Prince Of Tides
    • Mercedes Ruehl in The Fisher King
    • Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes

    My Ranking:

    5. Diane Ladd as Mother Hillyar in Rambling Rose

    Like the year previous, Diane Ladd emerges as the weakest in her field playing the domineering, sweet spirit known as Mother in Rambling Rose. Some overacting and constant search of character (even though it always seems she knows what she is doing) causes this performance to be all over the place. Some might like her overacting but not this reviewer.

    4. Kate Nelligan as Lila Wingo Newbury in The Prince Of Tides

    Another performance all over the place is Kate Nelligan's performance as Nick Nolte's dominating mother Lila. It's not as bad as Diane Ladd but this particular performance has alot more boring elements added, especially in the younger scenes where I could fall asleep just thinking about it. She's a bit more tolerable playing an old woman, but again, there's that element of why should I care?

    3. Mercedes Ruehl as Anne Napiltano in The Fisher King

    Mercedes Ruehl winning performance doesn't pack the punches one probably would expect with such a hyped performance. A not so interesting character, playing the fiery and put upon girlfriend of Jeff Bridges. In some scenes, there's a hint of staleness that's apparent and the constant attitude of her character gets tiresome extremely fast. Her breakdown in the end is hardly worthy of an Oscar, and neither is the rest of her performance.

    2. Juliette Lewis as Danielle Bowdon in Cape Fear

    Juliette Lewis would probably get a better rating from me had there been more development of her character Danielle. Through many scenes (especially the early seduction at school) she shows the potential she has that was given to her, but much of it is squandered or just handled terribly. Later in the film, she becomes much more annoying and much more cliche, playing an angst-ridden teenager. So much possible, but so little done.

    1. Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode in Fried Green Tomatoes

    In this year, Jessica Tandy would handily been given an Oscar for her witty, wise, and terrific performance as the narrator of the film Ninny who takes us through two journeys, old ones and new ones. It's amazing how she takes the littlest role of the film and makes it the most important - it could have been played so many different ways, but Tandy is just a dominating screen presence that this performance becomes amazing, full of life, and full of wisdom. It's a completely original performance I am in love with.

    Honorable Omissions: None.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    "Actress In A Supporting Role" 1981

    And the Academy selected:
    • Melinda Dillon in Absence of Malice
    • Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond
    • Joan Hackett in Only When I Laugh
    • Elizabeth McGovern in Ragtime
    • Maureen Stapleton in Reds 
    My Ranking:

    5. Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman in Reds 

    Maureen Stapleton had a long career, and she certainly was a good actress, but her career win for Reds is pathetic. Playing famous anarchist Emma Goldman, Stapleton blazes on-screen for what seems like 3 minutes throughout Reds 3 hours running time - she acts ferocious, smarter then everyone in sight, but for me, it's simply exhausting and extremely boring to sit and watch. She does nothing substainal with her runtime and her Oscar win can be thanked to her career and Reds overwhelming epic factor. 

    4. Elizabeth McGovern as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime

    Ragtime is an obvious attempt to win someone an Oscar for something, unfortunately this kind of Oscar bait can be extremely tedious to watch. Elizabeth McGovern managed to get nominated for her portrayal of a manipulative woman who cannot be trusted no matter what she might claim to be. It's a pretty hard performance to explain to anyone since at the end of Ragtime, it's hard to remember what her purpose was in the film.

    3. Melinda Dillon as Teresa in Absence Of Malice

    Melinda Dillon appears in Absence of Malice with blazing, mysterious fury playing the supportive and protective friend of Paul Newman. Immediately emotionally drained, Teresa is depressed and holding onto her friendship with Newman as a possible way out of her depression. Dillon is absolutely terrific, finding every way possible to ignore the cliches that could have riddled her performance.

    2. Joan Hackett as Toby in Only When I Laugh

    I don't quite get the criticism Only When I Laugh receives since it features the most 'down to earth' dialogue Neil Simon wrote and 3 performances (in my opinion) that are very good. Joan Hackett plays the aging, vain Toby who is always criticizing her own looks when in reality she still looks young and is constantly trying to look newer or outdo herself. It's a funny role combined with serious intentions and Hackett really gets the perfect balance - floating between both and matching everyone else every step of the way.

    1. Jane Fonda as Chelsea Thayer in On Golden Pond

    Jane Fonda is playing on a very personal note in On Golden Pond, but she makes her performance incredibly realistic probably for this same reason. Chelsea has been places in life, accomplished many things, but still pining for the respect and love of her father. It's impossible to ignore, Fonda is maybe so good because it's so close to her life. But, nonethless, she is absolutely terrific delivering all she can give to a kind of empty part.

    Honorable Omissions: None.