Monday, November 14, 2011

"Actress In A Supporting Role" 1981

And the Academy selected:
  • Melinda Dillon in Absence of Malice
  • Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond
  • Joan Hackett in Only When I Laugh
  • Elizabeth McGovern in Ragtime
  • Maureen Stapleton in Reds 
My Ranking:

5. Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman in Reds 

Maureen Stapleton had a long career, and she certainly was a good actress, but her career win for Reds is pathetic. Playing famous anarchist Emma Goldman, Stapleton blazes on-screen for what seems like 3 minutes throughout Reds 3 hours running time - she acts ferocious, smarter then everyone in sight, but for me, it's simply exhausting and extremely boring to sit and watch. She does nothing substainal with her runtime and her Oscar win can be thanked to her career and Reds overwhelming epic factor. 

4. Elizabeth McGovern as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime

Ragtime is an obvious attempt to win someone an Oscar for something, unfortunately this kind of Oscar bait can be extremely tedious to watch. Elizabeth McGovern managed to get nominated for her portrayal of a manipulative woman who cannot be trusted no matter what she might claim to be. It's a pretty hard performance to explain to anyone since at the end of Ragtime, it's hard to remember what her purpose was in the film.

3. Melinda Dillon as Teresa in Absence Of Malice

Melinda Dillon appears in Absence of Malice with blazing, mysterious fury playing the supportive and protective friend of Paul Newman. Immediately emotionally drained, Teresa is depressed and holding onto her friendship with Newman as a possible way out of her depression. Dillon is absolutely terrific, finding every way possible to ignore the cliches that could have riddled her performance.

2. Joan Hackett as Toby in Only When I Laugh

I don't quite get the criticism Only When I Laugh receives since it features the most 'down to earth' dialogue Neil Simon wrote and 3 performances (in my opinion) that are very good. Joan Hackett plays the aging, vain Toby who is always criticizing her own looks when in reality she still looks young and is constantly trying to look newer or outdo herself. It's a funny role combined with serious intentions and Hackett really gets the perfect balance - floating between both and matching everyone else every step of the way.

1. Jane Fonda as Chelsea Thayer in On Golden Pond

Jane Fonda is playing on a very personal note in On Golden Pond, but she makes her performance incredibly realistic probably for this same reason. Chelsea has been places in life, accomplished many things, but still pining for the respect and love of her father. It's impossible to ignore, Fonda is maybe so good because it's so close to her life. But, nonethless, she is absolutely terrific delivering all she can give to a kind of empty part.

Honorable Omissions: None.


dinasztie said...


Jane is the best here, no question. :) I am so happy about this! :) I like the others, too though. Maureen is a bit lost in her movie but I think she adds some of her usual greatness to the part. Joan is very good, I don't really remember McGovern. Haven't seen Dillon.

Louis Morgan said...

McGovern is quite unimpressive in a storyline that seems completely pointless by the end of that film. Stapleton is just like the rest of the lackluster Reds, except Jack Nicholson of course. Dillon is quite strong despite her very very limited screentime. I thought Hackett was quite good as well. Fonda is good as well, although I can't say I love her performance though.

DistinguishedFlyer said...

Knew you didn't care much for Stapleton but didn't expect her to rank so low. I wasn't sure who your top choice would be, but given how much you liked On Golden Pond I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

joe burns said...

Fonda is just okay for me. Hackett sounds really good though!

Can you do 2002 next?

Fritz said...

I'm a big fan of Stapleton but I also like Fonda this year (yes, I do!). Haven't seen the other three but I so want to see Only when I laugh (but only for Mason).