Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 1942


And the Academy selected:
  • Gladys Cooper in Now, Voyager
  • Agnes Moorehead in The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Susan Peters in Random Harvest
  • Dame May Whitty in Mrs. Miniver
  • Tersea Wright in Mrs. Miniver

My Ranking:

5. Agnes Moorehead as Fanny Minafer in The Magnificent Ambersons

It's a peculiar performance that I wish I could get the love for - Moorehead doesn't rip through the movie hard enough to impress the pants off me. She plays Fanny, the unmarried aunt who likes to mix up trouble. She is often refereed to as the leading actress of the film, but I couldn't disagree more, she is often in the background and never making a huge impact unless the camera is willingly to work with her exaggerated mannerisms. Some performances just don't do it for me, and this is by far one I just can't get into.

4. Susan Peters as Kitty in Random Harvest

Random Harvest is one confusing messy melodrama that is utterly avoidable at any cost. Susan Peters plays the step-niece of Ronald Colman, and enters the story as a prim and prissy teenager who is annoying at all sakes. Slowly, she turns into a more matured woman who starts becoming more and more 'affected' by Ronald Colman and the movie becomes really odd. However, Peters is still very good, realizing her performance wonderfully and having a hold on her performance that was really surprising. Still, a very limited performance.

3. Dame May Whitty as Lady Beldon in Mrs. Miniver

Dame May Whitty delivers a witty, charming, and wonderful performance as the rich grandmother of Carol Miniver. She seems like a grouchy old lady but slowly after the effects of WWII affect everyone in the British town, she turns into a lady who can't help but be kind and caring towards everyone who comes in contact with her. Whitty fills the screen with her normal wonderful behavior and it may be a limited performance, but she is still very good.

2. Tersea Wright as Carol Beldon Wright in Mrs. Miniver

In a sweet, endearing performance Tersea Wright plays Carol, the charming young girl who falls in love with the Miniver's son. Wright on her own part makes Mrs. Miniver one great film, with her lovely presence and charming characterization she is just as good as Greer Garson. She's great on one hand because she knows how to transition her performance beautifully, not making the changes too dramatically or unbelievably. She can sell the scenes for all their worth and delivers a great, unforgettable performance.

1. Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Vale in Now, Voyager

When it comes to an actress playing evil, some can go for straight campy horror and some can go for subtle, matron-induced terror. Gladys Cooper is an actress who was able to the latter and then some, playing Mrs. Vale the quiet terror that is Bette Davis' mother. She criticizes, emotionally mangles, and is a complete bitch to her daughter and is completely giddy about it. She is a force on-screen, commanding the movie even when she's supposed to be in another room and in a bed. It's all thanks to Cooper's ability to command the screen - she gives one fantastic performance that is on the same level of Bette Davis.
Honorable Omissions: None.


joe burns said...

I'm surprised. I thought you liked Moorehead? If not you, then who did? I can't remember!

Anyway, I want to see these nominees. They all sound interesting.

dinasztie said...

I am the one who really liked Moorehead. "IT'S NOT HOT! IT'S COOOOOOOOOOOOLD!" I might go with Whitty, though.

I don't think that Teresa Wright was that great.

dinasztie said...

Can't wait for 1990, BTW. I hope you pick Lorraine Bracco.

dinasztie said...

Can't wait for 1990, BTW. I hope you pick Lorraine Bracco.

Louis Morgan said...

I have yet to see Moorehead. I liked both of the Mrs. Miniver women, but I did not love either of them. Peters has very little to work with, but what she had I was not particularly impressed by. Only have seen part of Now, Voyager, but what I saw of Cooper seemed fairly strong.

JJJ said...

Yeah, on Awardsdailyforums they named Moorehead's the single best performance of any movies in the 1940's so it has its lovers.

I've been following your blog off and on for months, and the other day I finished going through the Best Actress rundowns. Great work.

I’m interested to see your takes on the races of 1940 (Ma Joad/Mrs. Danvers) & 1962 (Helen Keller/Eleanor Iselin), as well as whether with their multiple noms Winslet and/or Streep can catch up with or surpass those on top of your personal wins list. I would give both at least one supporting crown.