And the Academy selected:
- Alice Brady in In Old Chicago
- Andrea Leeds in Stage Door
- Anne Shirley in Stella Dallas
- Claire Trevor in Dead End
- Dame May Whitty in Night Must Fall
5. Andrea Leeds as Kay Hamilton in Stage Door
Andrea Leeds starts out very promising in her performance as Kay Hamilton, but soon she takes a wide left turn and her performance becomes unbelievably shrill and terrible. She is the only dead serious character in the film and her performance is clearly trying to make the film a more insightful experience. Not to mention Leeds like to exaggerate her emotional plays and expressions.
4. Alice Brady as Molly O'Leary in In Old Chicago
Few Oscars winners are as bland as Alice Brady is in In Old Chicago. She sinks in the film as a wise cracking, tough old lady who takes care of her sons no matter what. The problem is she is flat as a piece of wood and as boring as if she's ready to fall asleep. There is nothing interesting about the character, the film, or Alice Brady to make this an enjoyable piece of work. And does it help she overacts throughout? Not really.
3. Anne Shirley as Laurel Dallas in Stella Dallas
At first, Anne Shirley is playing Laurel as a annoying young girl, but eventually she becomes a reflective young woman and her performance improves vastly. She shows how the character hasn't changed that much since growing up, but she still has feelings for her mother. Shirley may not keep a strong hold on the performance, but she still manages to be moving and terrific in many scenes.
2. Claire Trevor as Francie in Dead End
Claire Trevor's small performance as Francie, the former girlfriend of Humphrey Bogart is something incredible. She rips through the film for a mere 4 minutes and is able to make such a huge impact, she outshines everyone. Her example of broken dreams that are shown in her character's fears and the darkness in her eyes are amazing. This is how small cameo performances should be, they should make the impact Claire Trevor makes on Dead End, a film that could use alot more of her.
1. Dame May Whitty as Mrs. Bramson in Night Must Fall
It doesn't get much better then this, Dame May Whitty's performance as a cranky old rich woman Mrs. Bramson in Night Must Fall. Mrs. Bramson is a old woman who can manipulate those around her while just sitting in a chair. She is funny, charming, and is constantly being superior. She moves through the film wonderfully, brilliantly layering her character in nearly every scene up until that amazing breakdown scene which is hilarious and terrifying at the same time.
Honorable Omissions: None.