Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 1952


And the nominees were:
  • Gloria Grahame in The Bad and The Beautiful
  • Jean Hagan in Singin' In The Rain
  • Colette Marchand in Moulin Rouge
  • Terry Moore in Come Back, Little Sheba
  • Thelma Ritter in With A Song In My Heart
My Ranking:

5. Gloria Grahame as Rosemary Bartlow in The Bad and The Beautiful

Gloria Grahame is an often forgotten actress whose big banner year was 1952 - she was nearly perfect in Sudden Fear and serviceable in the year's Best Picture, The Greatest Show On Earth, however the Academy decided to nom her for her least impressive performance from that year and perhaps from her whole filmography. She plays Rosemary Bartlow, the ill-fated Southern wife of a writer. She doesn't enter the picture until 80 minutes into the film and when she does appear, she is often robotic and doesn't know how to handler her character. From there, it's perhaps 9-10 minutes of Grahame acting like a nervous child then an all-knowing flirty wife. She is neither impressive or charismatic enough to pull off the performance convincingly.

4. Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in Singin' In The Rain

As I showed in my lead actress ranking, just because a performance has legion of fans, doesn't automatically mean it's going to be out of this world, and the proof lays with this nomination. Jean Hagan plays the silent film actress Lina Lamont who is in need of voice lessons. The movie irritates me to an unknown level and Jean Hagan raising her voice as high as she can isn't a bit hilarious or incredible. She relies on the voice to get her through the movie and as much as she wants to be Judy Holliday, it's not happening with this viewer. If anything she brings the movie down ever further.

3. Thelma Ritter as Clancy in With A Song In My Heart

What would Thelma Ritter do if she couldn't support somebody? To me, she's an often watchable actress who wanders too much into sentimentality for the most part. Here, she plays the nurse to Susan Hayward's handicapped singer. While Hayward gets the most out of this boring drama, Ritter is stuck narrating and telling the audience how she doesn't work for 'quitters', it's tailor made for Ritter to play: all the spunk and sarcasm she can through in there to make herself alot more likeable. As usual, she speaks her mind and when she leaves, I had the same feeling as when she comes on: indifference.

2. Terry Moore as Marie Buckholder in Come Back, Little Sheba

Come Back, Little Sheba is a movie that is centered around Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster's emotional performances, Terry Moore could only survive if she had some own suffering of her own. Unfortunately, she is stuck with a less flashy role that requires her to often be the eye of the hurricane. For the most part, she does her absolute best with the part - she is even given a subplot involving a romantic young guy who is interested in her and she brings the best out of her material. She emerges from being just a plot device into giving a nice, pleasant performance.

1. Colette Marchand as Marie Charlet in Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is a surprising film, mostly because I thought it would be a boring musical, but instead it is a wickedly entertaining drama. Colette Marchand is handed the most complicated character in this category: a streetwalker who is utterly vain but instantly desperate. Marchand pulls off the character with relative ease, showing the disgusting side of her character just waiting to bust out. She can be romantic, funny, and change sides at the drop of a hat. She is the clear standout this year, delivering a great performance.

Honorable Omissions: Gloria Grahame in "Sudden Fear".


Fritz said...

Oh, I love the way you do the ranking! Congratulations on your new category!

Anyway, Jean Hagen for me. One of the funniest performances I ever saw.

DistinguishedFlyer said...

I also liked Hagen more than you did, but then I guess I liked the whole movie more than you did.

joe burns said...

Great! Did you rewatch all the nominees before ranking them this way?

Jean Hagen and Moore are the only ones I've seen, and I guess I'd go with Hagen? Don't really know though, I'd have to rewatch both.

Tom said...

Excellent choice! Love the movie and the performances.

Louis Morgan said...

I have never been much of A singing in the rain fan either, so I have never been all that impressed with Hagen. Although I really have not thought about all that much I suppose I would go with Marchand as well at the moment, although I would have probably gone with Grahame if she had been properly nominated for Sudden Fear.

dinasztie said...

For me it's... I don't know.

dinasztie said...

Oh, and I can't wait for 1974 and the dreadful things you'll say about Ingrid. ;) I think Diane Ladd will be a sure winner.

Jamie said...

1952 seemed to be a weak year in Academy history, and this category reflects it. The only nominee that even stands out to me is Jean Hagen, and like you said, even she isn't as great as everyone seems to think she was. There were some other great possible nominees in all the categories, but the Academy made some very uninspired choices like Grahame.

Robert said...

I love the way you're doing the rankings too! And I totally agree with you on Jean Hagen - she really disappointed me. It's a character with a lot of potential but she squanders it. I'm not familiar with the other performances but Moulin Rouge sounds quite intriguing!