Sunday, January 3, 2010


The year is 1977 and the category is Best Actress in a Leading Role (mark this, because this is the first Best Actress Smackdown). This was a very competitive year, the nominees were great in general (except for one maybe), so from now on I'll give stars like everyone else, which I opposed to do at first, but now I try it and see if it works.
So my ranking is:

1.Diane Keaton in Annie Hall: How can anyone dislike Annie Hall and Keaton in it? Easily as I see, but I just adore this performance. How can you forget Keaton yelling "Oh, my God! There's a parking place!" or her horrible driving or her iconic clothes (OK, it's not her performance) or her flashbacks with her previous boyfriends. Her Annie Hall is interesting, loveable and a joy to watch. Annie Hall is full of unforgettable scenes such as the one with the lobster and Keaton's timing is excellent in all of them. Hands down one of my favorite winners this category has ever given.
Grade: *****

2.Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl: Oh, well I'm a bit negative about Marsha Mason, because in my opinion, she's a bit limited actress, who married quite well. But this performance is still cute and funny. My favorite scene when her purse is stolen with all her money in it, that's one of the most heartbreaking scenes in a comedy I've ever seen. The Goodbye Girl was a very good and enjoyable movie, which I really liked, but I just wasn't as enthusiastic about this performance as so many others. Great effort, though.
Grade: ****

3.Jane Fonda in Julia: I love this woman, I really do. She's one of the greatest American actresses and I've always liked her films. In Julia, she gives one of her most acclaimed and dramatic performances and in the 70s she was on the top of her craft. Although in the greatest scene of Julia she's outacted by Vanessa Redgrave (who IMO deservedly won the Oscar), she managed to create a unique and loveable character, one of those, who you really care about. But her last scene is a real tear-jerking one. Exceptional work.

4.Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point: Well even though she has about 25 minutes of screentime, I felt as if she had twice as much as MacLaine (even though the contrary is true). I'm very surprised that this performance is so disliked, because I found it to be a very good and subtle work by one of the greatest actress who ever lived. I really liked her character Emma, who's losing her only important thing in life: her career for which she sacrificed her private life. I strongly believe that she gave the only memorable performance in The Turning Point which is quite an overrated movie.

5.Shirley MacLaine in The Turning Point: I'm so astonished by the love she gets for this performance. She had no screen presence in this movie, she was always there, but had no moments and in my opinion Bancroft outdid her in all of the scenes. I don't know in their big catfight scene I found Shirley to be over-the-top and hysterical and it was all too much. Although it started well and fortunately ended well, in the middle she did not do anything that caught me. I'm quite surprised that she was so underwhelming for me, because I like her in general.

What do YOU think?


Fritz said...

Great analysis! I agree that Diane was a deserving winner! I really need to see The Turning Point someday.

joe burns said...

I've only seen Keaton and Mason. Of course, Keaton is my pick.