Friday, October 21, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 1939

And the Academy selected:
  • Olivia de Havilland in Gone With The Wind
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald in Wuthering Heights
  • Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind
  • Edna May Oliver in Drums Along The Mohawk
  • Maria Ouspenskaya in Love Affair

My Ranking:

5. Maria Ouspenskaya as Grandmother Janou in Love Affair

She's an exotic legend, but her two nominations were received for doing absolutely nothing. Her grandmother of Charles Boyer is a sweet creation, she appears in the middle, and disappears after 5 minutes of her just acting a bit senile and reminiscence of her youth. It's an interesting part but hardly one that deserved an Oscar nomination.

4. Edna May Oliver as Sarah McKlennar in Drums Along The Mohawk

In a movie that is downright awful and should be avoided at all costs, Edna May Oliver emerges as the best part of it, playing pioneer woman Sarah McKlennar. It's a bold, loud, and sometimes ridiculous performance that she handles incredibly well. She may void of any depth, but she gives a fun performance where she is mostly hilarious and evokes spirit into her spiritless film.

3. Geraldine Fitzgerald as Isabella Linton in Wuthering Heights

In the moody atmosphere of Wuthering Heights, Geraldine Fitzgerald's Isabella emerges as perhaps the most doomed and pathetic character of the story. At first, a rich girl too good for Heathcliff and finally his put upon wife whom she knows will never love her. It is a most terrific part where she conveys the feelings of a pathetic character wonderfully. She mesmerizes me almost everytime she's on-screen.

2. Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in Gone With The Wind

Gone With The Wind would be a different film without the caring, funny, and compassionate Mammy performed by Hattie McDaniel. At first glance, it is a typical slave role, but McDaniel adds the incredibly right amount of charm and humanity that frees it from being a total cliche. Every scene, she nails Mammy's dominance over Scarlett O'Hara whether she knows it or not. A magnificent performance incredibly worthy of her Oscar.

1. Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Wilkes in Gone With The Wind

But it is Olivia de Havilland's large, grand performance as the impossibly nice Melanie that gets my vote this year. She's 'too good too be true' and throughout she shows how Melanie's kindness forces her to sacrifice more then anyone. De Havilland does masterful work, edging around the fact that Melanie could be taken more then one way - instead we get the impossibly nice woman, with a sacrificing side who will do anything out of her kindness. A masterpiece of a performance and one of the best parts of Gone With The Wind.

Honorable Omissions: Butterfly McQueen in "Gone With The Wind", Ona Munson in "Gone With The Wind", and Margaret Hamilton in "The Wizard Of Oz".


Louis Morgan said...

For me it is a hard choice between McDaniel and de Havilland since they are both great. Fitzgerald is also terrific though particularly in her plea to Heathcliff. Oliver is sort of okay I guess.

Jamie said...

Both McDaniel and de Havilland are so good it is a tough call. But I give de Havilland the edge. I think it was a tricky performance to give, because she had to maintain a believable consistency in Melanie's honest and good nature. If she ever let it seem insincere at all, then the character & performance would have been a failure and unbelievable. But you never doubt Melanie in the movie, so de Havilland hits a homerun.

dinasztie said...

I knew you would pick Olivia. :P I don't like Olivia. For me, it's easily Hattie.

Dazzling Aura said...

you are right with Ouspenskaya. her piano scene was good but nothing really to be rewarded just for that.
i like the supporting actors of GWTW they are all terrific. nice you mention Ona Munson, she has limited screentime but her scene with Vivien Leigh was wonderful.

JJJ said...

Hmm, I thought Havilland was...okay. She's more interesting than her somewhat boring character. McDaniel was great, though not amazing, for me.

Gable is closer to that. I kinda wish It Happened One Night had lost Best Actor since then I would actually like one of the Big Five films (I'm pretty sure Gable would've won for Gone with the Wind anyway.).

Fritz said...

I agree it's a touch choice between the two Wind-ladies.

Jamie said...

With 1939 being such a great year in movies, another "Honorable Omission" was Gladys George in The Roaring Twenties. I also think Greer Garson should have been placed in supporting rather than lead.

joe burns said...

I like Mcdaniel a lot, but Olivia is certainly the best. Fitzgerald sounds really good!