Thursday, January 14, 2010

Final conclusions - Best Actress 1980

Best Actress 1980 really looked like a weak category, right? I thought of that myself, but going into it again: 3 of the performances really made me happy! In the end: it’s a really interesting line-up, with very different performances! The uneducated biopic singer, the funny sweet blonde, the arrogant intellectual woman, the simple woman with super powers, the gangster’s tough ex-mistress! :D fantastic!

The ranking was difficult for me! #1 is a coin toss between the first 3 ladies (if that would be possible)! I have been a bit too generous with the other 2, but they still make for interesting Oscar cases. In a year with not so good reputation for women (leading AND supporting), Sissy & Goldie & Mary gave career-defining performances, becoming some of the worthiest nominees this category’s ever had.

Here is how I’ve appreciated them (again: just my opinion, not the universal truth). If you want to read more, just click on the name:

1. Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner's Daughter
Forget the singing, even though she’s great at it! Biopic performances rarely get this honest. Sissy refuses to do a glamorized, idealized version of this country legend and creates a down-to-earth character that you might not love, but definitely understand. She’s always in character and at the top of her game!
The highlight: break-down scene on stage!

You rarely see pure wacky comedy getting recognition here! Goldie is unique: with unmatched charm and terrific comedy timing, she seduces us everytime she’s on screen. The line delivery is so delicious, but she keeps it real and grounded and despite the easiness of the film, we can really feel the journey of this woman.
The highlight: [After being issued with an Army uniform] Excuse me, sir, is green the only color these come in?

3. Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary PeopleA haunting performance, even though the screentime is not on her side! She firmly controls a very calculated character and subtly underlines the hidden emotional tragedy of this woman! Her incapacity of real emotional connection is very believable and intelligently presented!
The highlight: the uncomfortable garden scene with her son.

Her presence in any film is always reassuring! It’s not easy when you get some kind of a paranormal storyline and a back-stabbing screenplay and manage to create a believable, balanced character! Her shining moments are the suffering ones, but Ellen does a fine job in making us believe in the healing power!
The highlight: The goodbye scene between her and the grandmother.

***EDIT: As stated at the 100th profile celebration (HERE), Ellen's performance has been downgraded to  . :( Mostly for that terrible acting at the ending.

5. Gena Rowlands, Gloria
Gena Rowlands is an exceptional, intelligent, talented actress, but NOT a miracle worker. With the worst child actor as a screen partner and a screenplay that makes no sense, she barely survives this sinking ship. There are moments of terrific acting and kindness, but very often she drowns in the cliché of the-yelling-woman-with-a-gun.
The highlight: literally standing between the gangsters in the car and the kid; and pleading for his life.

The Academy's choice was pretty obvious. I'm sure they loved Mary Tyler Moore, who also had the Best Picture winner, but Sissy had the screentime; plus an excellent performance and an already established interesting movie career. The runner-up was for sure Mary; Gena Rowlands must've been 3rd because she was Oscar-less, Goldie 4th and Ellen Burstyn with the least chance of winning.

Other Best Actress years discussed so far:

What's next?

Tomorrow I'll post my profiles for Stinkylulu's Supporting Actress Blogathon, a bit earlier but I have to finish all by Saturday when I move back to Bucharest. Next Best Actress year? 2009 of course, and I'll start with that hopefully as soon as the nominees are announced February 2nd! Until then: possibly various other comments! :)


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Bon voyage, early but applicable. Looking forw3ard to your Supporting analysis.

joe burns said...

Ah, I almost got it right. Wrong about Hawn.

Gustavo said...

My preference is Moore, but Sissy didn't rob it form her.