Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best Supporting Actress: "And the winners were. . . . "

Speaking of Edward Copeland, he is the spirit behind the annual Best/Worst polls in honor of the Academy Awards. Brooke Cloudbuster at The Performance Review is assisting with the mechanics this year.

And the poll is: Best Supporting Actress.

It’s an intriguing poll, calling into play all the ideas of what a supporting performance really means.

My 5 worst were easy. I’m not particularly articulate about the whys: either I don’t like the actress, or it’s just not an appealing performance.

5. Diane Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway. Over the top, didn’t find it charming
4. Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower. But I like her in every role since.
3. Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aphrodite. Left me cold at every turn.
2. Geena Davis, Accidental Tourist. I’m just so not a fan.
1. Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost. Don’t like her in anything she’s been in except Soapdish.

In my 5 best I find much more resonance:

5. Kim Basinger, LA Confidential. Here she embodies every cliché and desire about Old Hollywood glamour without descending into cartoon. It’s a beautiful, exquisite performance.

4. Jane Darwell, The Grapes of Wrath. On the other side of the spectrum, Ma Joad, Earth Mother incarnate. Her reactions to the “Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there” speech along buy her the Oscar.

3. Kim Hunter, Streetcar Named Desire. STELLA. She has all the vulnerability, desire, and despair that Mrs. Kowalski needs.

2. Peggy Ashcroft, Passage to India. The consummate stage actress with a capital “A” working with David Lean. A thrill that celluloid captured the intersection of such pros.

1. Claire Trevor, Key Largo. Playing across from a young, stunning Lauren Bacall should have earned her battle pay. Singing “Moanin’ Low” as Edward G. Robinson mocks her clenches the top supporting honors for me.

There is such a wealth of talent in this category. Here’s just a short list of the other actresses who could have easily fit into the best slots: Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker; Shirley Jones, Elmer Gantry; Helen Hayes, Airport; Maggie Smith, California Suite; Cloris Leachman, Last Picture Show; Ruth Gordon, Rosemary’s Baby; Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables; Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront

I invite you to participate! Send your selections to Deadline is Feb. 24.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I enjoyed your comments very much and agree whole heartedly with your favs. I think I would probably add Mary Steenbergen in Melvin and Howard. She was right spice in that mix of very strong minded performances.

Looking forward to reading more.