And the Academy selected:
- Brenda Fricker in My Left Foot
- Anjelica Huston in Enemies: A Love Story
- Lena Olin in Enemies: A Love Story
- Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias
- Dianne Wiest in Parenthood
5. Julia Roberts as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie in Steel Magnolias
Steel Magnolias is a pretty hideous movie, but the actresses mostly give it a bad name. All are either forced (or think they have too) to go completely over the top and this year's nominee is perhaps the worst. Roberts, an actress with little to no acting range, puts on a fake, doomed smile and horrible accent throughout until she is finally dead. Her emotional scenes are shaky, her happy moments are awful, and for the third time, that accent!
4. Brenda Fricker as Mrs. Brown in My Left Foot
I was surprised revisiting My Left Foot after several years at how unmoved I was with Brenda Fricker's performance as Christy Brown's mother. She is still the wonderful-to-watch tough mother who would do anything for her child, but there's just something so bland about it now. It feels like I've seen a ton of roles just like this and Fricker is doing just 'okay' work here.
3. Lena Olin as Masha in Enemies: A Love Story
Lena Olin plays a married woman Masha and one of the main character's lovers in Enemies: A Love Story. She typifies the usual New York lady, but Olin projects a perfect charm, a mysterious sexiness that sets her character apart from being the usual thing audiences would be used too. Lena Olin gives a surprisingly wonderful performance that sticks out as much as she stands out against the rest.
2. Anjelica Huston as Tamara Broder in Enemies: A Love Story
They are both on the same level, but Anjelica Huston's performance is just a bit better. Tamara Broder was the wife of the main character but was sent to the concentration camps and presumed dead. When she comes to New York and finds him, he's actually thought of as a ghost there to haunt him, and throughout the film, that's the way I always saw her. She floats around the film, haunting it, and bringing a depressing bit of charm that uplifts the film wonderfully.
1. Dianne Wiest as Helen Buckman in Parenthood
Perhaps no one can handle straight forward comedy and hard hitting drama as well as Dianne Wiest, and her performance as single mother Helen in Parenthood is even more proof. The movie is a complete failure, but Wiest is able to make the best of it - getting the witty lines, the emotional scenes, and alot of good screentime. One minute she has me laughing and completely moved in the next; it's a totally terrific performance from this talented actress.
Honorable Omissions: None.