Monday, 21 September 2009

The Least of the Best: Actresses

Twister is giving his opinion of the five worst Best Actress winners. It got me thinking of our love of ranking. Not because X amount of actresses are the worst of 80 means that their performances are bad. Of the four acting categories, even though I have hated the winners quite often. There are reasons Oscars pick who they pick. Strangely, I agree with none of

And I’m not saying these five persons are bad...although some of them...they are just my LEAST favourite.

Joan Fontaine in Suspicion [*]
I’m not a huge Alfred Hitchock fan, and I suppose I have not seen enough of his films…but I can say that this is one of his worst films. The discordant tone of this film edging between drama, suspense and comedy is annoying and Joan Fontaine’s performance is just not very good. And to add to it, Cary Grant plays his role as if he’s C.K. Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story and she seems to still think that she’s in Rebecca. It’s not a good performance at all, and the revelation at the end just makes her acting look even more insipid that it seemed before. Without a doubt my least favourite Best Actress win. I really don’t care who should have won – but I don’t see how any of the five could have been worse than this horrific trifle.
After Ms. Fontaine, I can’t say that I think any of the winners were as horrible. Some just were not as good as others…they include
Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle [* *]
Katharine Hepburn reportedly turned down this role. I don’t know if that true, I’m sure she wouldn’t have done well in the role. But for that matter neither did Ginger Rogers. Ginger Rogers is a hit or miss with me and this is a miss. This film is incessantly trivial and her performance is thus. It’s not that hard to see why she won – it’s one of those baity female roles. But ugh, so trivial. She does nothing to elevate the material.
Jodie Foster in The Accused [* * *]
One of the many films I looked at only because it had Oscar in it. This is another performance that screams baity – and that’s why she won. I figure many won’t agree with this, but I don’t see anything outstanding in this performance. And I when I found out she beat out Glenn Close AND Sigourney Weaver. Not right, not right. I’m not one to hate on a performance just because it beat out a favourite of mine. I mean Gwyneth Palthrow beat out Cate in Elizabeth…and Cate was unequivocally my favourite that year. But Gwyneth was fine, I just didn’t want her winning. Jodie’s performance though, I don’t think it’s very good and I didn’t want her winning.

The next two performances are fine…but
Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets [* * *]
This performance is just okay, for me. And though I don’t hate it, I hate who that she beat out a deserving winner. Helena Bonham Carter, Helena Bonham Carter, Helena Bonham Carter. This movie is not a favourite of mine, other than Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear’s performance I wasn’t blown over by Helen. The performance is terrifically one note and sometimes she just seems shrill. No, Oscar...just no.

Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby [* * *]
I write this in trepidation since Danny loves this performance… this actually made my top ten of Actresses that year, but there are MANY reasons I hate this performance. First, I think the lack of subtlety spoiled this for me. We get it, Maggie is an angel and her hillbilly family are undeserving of her. But there was no layering of character. I don’t like Hilary Swank as a star and I didn’t see her disappear in this role. What I saw was Hilary Swank playing Maggie…and it annoyed the crap out of me that everyone lauded the performance…and it’s not just because Annette Bening didn’t win either. Although I was emotionally invested in Bening that year many actors were more deserving – Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Imelda Staunton, even Julia Roberts. And this just was not a very good performance as far as I could see.

I'm anticipating disagreement. So have at it...I want to know who's your worst. Shout it out!


MovieMania said...

Actually Andrew, it's "Twister". You have me confused with a big website! Haha!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Thnx. Changing that...

Univarn said...

When Million Dollar Baby ran away with the Oscars I had just seen it weeks before and fell in love with it as a film, so I was sort of headlining the supporters. Granted I thought Hilary Swank was pretty good, especially in the films final 30mins. Though I think Eastwood made her good, I absolutely love him in MDB.

I'll be honest, and I know I'm so incredibly in the minority with this, but to date I've yet to be best performance of the year impressed with Halle Berry in Monster's Ball. Three viewings later I still think she's 3rd of the 5 with Judi Dench and Sissy Spacek miles ahead of the pack.

But it's just impossible to put yourself into the mind set of the voters, all the things that influence them (gifts, money, viewings, personal relationships, tastes, public opinion, etc.) in a particular year.

Anonymous said...

Eh, where's Julia or Liz's Butterfield?

Rae Kasey said...

I actually thought Hilary Swank was VERY subtle in Million Dollar Baby. Specifically in the diner scene with Morgan Freeman. She's not a reactionary actress. She has these moments of stillness that I think are just extraordinary.

But I completely agree about Helen Hunt. I think Jack Nicholson's performance made hers look better than it actually was.

anahita said...

I hated suspicion, but I thought joan fontaine did the part well. It definitely wasn't her best role though and I wouldn't rush to say the oscar was deserved, but it wasn't too bad. xxx

CrazyCris said...

Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love.

Every time I remember that I get really angry... grrrr