Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class

Actress/politician Glenda Jackson received her third Best Actress nomination and second Oscar for playing Vicki Allessio, a divorced woman who's having an affair with a married man in Melvin Frank's Best Picture nominated movie, A Touch of Class. Glenda's second Oscar is one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. She was the one who was not expected to win at all and the other actresses must have been (were :D) really pissed off. Furthermore, this became one of the least popular Oscar wins, though nowadays it's gaining more and more fans.

A Touch of Class is quite simply a great, very entertaining movie and I think that it deserved the Best Picture nomination. It's not one for the ages, but it's still better than The Sting, LOL. I thuroughly enjoyed it and there wasn't a boring minute. The screenplay is top-class, though my vote for that year definitely goes to Cries and Whispers. George Segal gives a charismatic lead performance, though his role is not as memorable as Glenda's. The Globe nom was deserved for him, though.

I hate hypocrisy more than anything. People always complain that comedy performances are never recognised at the Oscars, but when there is one lucky one, than it's instantly criticised, hated and so on. They are so eager to find all the flaws and mistakes only to prove that the Academy cannot get it right. Why can't someone appreciate a great lightweight performance as much as a serious one. Comedy is just as hard as drama. I will go further: giving an effective comedy performance is harder. You don't get to benefit from the drama and the sadness, it's all about you and if you miss an opportunity, you fail. That's it.

Glenda Jackson is a great actress. I'm not saying that I'm a fan (haven't seen enough from her), but I have seen all of her nominated works and was impressed by all of them. Her talent and style of acting is so unique. She has a great voice of which I just cannot get enough. She's gorgeous, talented and yeah, I think sexy (I guess I think that Mickey Mouse is sexy, I wonder how many people understood this). She always plays emancipated, free women (usually divorced) who are not ashamed of her own sexual needs. There's Gudrun from Women in Love, Alex Greville from Sunday, Bloody Sunday etc. And there's Vicki Allessio. I don't think that Glenda made many comedies, but this exception is really memorable.

This is quite a lightweight performance by its nature, but its effect is so far from lightweight. Whenever she's on the screen, she has this sizzling, charming presence which makes you listen to her, watch her and never take your eyes off her. Not for a moment. But you really don't want to, to tell the truth. Every line reading, every face of Glenda is just pure delight. Even in her very first scene. She's so coldly and politely sarcastic with Steve. She's cheeky, courageous and strong on the outside. She is far from being demanding, but she gets what she wants. She has a kind of "cut the bullshit" attitude, which makes her so attractive and likeable. But to have this effect she needs to deliver all the lines perfectly and as I said, she's just brilliant at that. None of the jokes falls flat, and the one-liners really hit. Especially in the scene where she has a hilarious argument with Steve at the hotel.

I have never thought about this one before (and many others I think), but Glenda must have put so much effort into this performance. She does it with such ease, but it's really complex acting by Glenda. She adds so many layers to Vicki. On the outside, she's a very sarcastic, strong woman, but inside, she's actually very vulnerable. Vicki wants a man in her life, she wants real happiness, but everything is working against her. In the beginning she just wants carefree sex, but in the end the whole thing becomes quite complicated. Glenda terrificly showed this vulnerable side of Vicki and the whole performance became quite bitter by this. I don't mind it that Glenda put a touch of drama into this movie. I think it really needed it.

This is not a typical Oscar-winning performance, but I'm really glad that it was honored, because it's an unforgettable, complex and extremely lovely work by a great actress. I'm sorry that there are not many people who appreciate it. I simply love it. Period. Terrific job, which naturally gets
What do you think? It's time for your last predictions! :)


joe burns said...

Haven't seen her yet, but I really want to. Many relly like her, at least around here.

Ws her win in 70 a bigger surprise?

My predictions for your ranking:

1. Glenda

2. Ellen

3. Joanne

4. Barbara

5. Marsha

Louis Morgan said...

Segal was nominated and won the globe actually. I have not seen this one, but I agree about winning comedic performances are complained about by some of the same people who complain about the lack of love comedy is given.

Anonymous said...

Yay! :)

joe burns said...

By the way, I rewatched The Kids Are All Right.

The film fared worse with me this time around, but Benning did a little better with me. I felt she had some very good moments, and was pretty believable, yet she still played it too one-note, at least to me.

dinasztie said...

Sage: :-)

Joe: I think TKAAR is a great movie and Annette is terrific. I wouldn't mind if she won, though my pick is obviously Natalie.

Anonymous said...

Amazing performance, she definitely deserved the Oscar, the line delivery was perfect and she also knew how to balance the comedy with the drama, like her face at the very end, which was amazing. I think it's miles better than her work in Women in Love. Great review!

Timothy Vollkommer said...

Glenda Jackson is a BEAST!!! Well deserved Oscar. Very tricky part.

Silk Chord said...

One of my fave Glenda performances (I am a bit of a fan) :) was a well deserved gong.