My #1 was quite easy to choose, as it was the most complex performance and had the kind of drama I easily fall for, with tears & everything. #2 is also quite obvious, though unlike my winner, it holds the best until too far into the film. After that, the order seems almost randomly, though I clearly preferred #3 to the ones to follow.
Starting with this line-up, I’m also introducing a Best Acted Scene award, which this time goes to:
Ingrid Bergman, The Bells of St. Mary’s – the very emotional scene where Sister Mary Benedict asks God to remove the bitterness from her heart, in a moment of pure honesty, humility and willingness to forgive.
Few actresses gave such calculated performances like Joan Crawford did. And this is a great example: she’s very in-control, and you can see the experience: she knows where the camera is, when to show tears and so on. But beyond the technical flawlessness, there’s the humility she brings to the role, the easiness to win the audience’s sympathy and the ability to carry the film by herself without any serious acting competition.
the highlight: The introduction of the character, while contemplating suicide.
the highlight: Her final prayer.
There are some issues with the accent, and of course she’s too damn old to play this character, but Greer has a good understanding of who Mary is. She plays the role with impressive humbleness, which quickly wins the approval of the audience. In a couple of great scenes, she (and not the screenplay) lets us know a lot about class differences and struggles of that kind.
To see other BEST ACTRESS years discussed so far, go to the column on the right.