Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Randomness: 1985 Best Actress

When good old Alex of Alex in Movieland drew 1985 as the next year for his Best Actress project my brain couldn’t help but drift to the subject of one of my favourite live Oscar moments. As per usual the category was presented by the previous year’s winner in the male category so F. Murray Abraham fresh off his win for his stunning performance in Amadeus takes to the podium and calls out the list of nominees – Anne Bancroft in Agnes of God, Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple, Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams, Geraldine Page in The Trip to Bountiful, Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. Before he deigns to announce the winner he...well, just watch the video.
Now, I’m sure F. Murray is just a fan of Geraldine – who wouldn’t be? The woman was an astonishingly good actress who’d helmed a number of excellent films, even if her performance here wasn’t excellent – she was more than overdue. But, I love that indistinct eye-roll Bancroft gives. You might remember the two went head to head in another brilliant Actress line-up (by my poor estimations, the strongest Actress line-up) and Anne won for her work in The Miracle Worker. It’s so adorable how Jessica mouths the winner just before Abraham and how Geraldine has to put her shoes on to come up to the podium – it’s as if she didn’t think she was going to win. This video is just lovely.
Other than newbie Whoopi, celebrating her first nod, the argument could have been that any of the four was the “greatest” actress. Meryl and Jessica had both won Oscars three years earlier and were doing quite well in the eighties, and Anne is a fine actress. Really, I can’t say I’ve got any problems with Geraldine’s win. I remember the entire batch fondly, and I don’t see Whoopi as the clear frontrunner most seem to remember has. And, it’s a shame Kathleen Turner (Prizzi’s Honor), Mia Farrow (The Purple Rose of Cairo and Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman) lucked out. Although I have no idea who I’d chuck out for them... Still, I’m waiting to see what Alex has to say.
How appropriate was Abraham’s preamble? Who would you have Oscared in 1985? I’d say Geraldine was and is the finest of the five – who’d you pick?


Fritz said...

I think Geraldine was the most deserving of the nominees! She was perfect!

I really like Abraham's words - I mean, Page was a living legend and this was her eight nominations and first win, she was the first Best Actress winner to get a standing ovation, so some words of praise are surely allowed. And since Whoopi was just beginning and the others already has Oscars at home, nobody had reason to be mad at him.

TomS said...

I think Abraham's heart was in the right place, although it did seem a wee bit of an unintentional slap in the face to the other nominees. Come to think of it, he never had a major critical- or popular-hit film after that. Hmmm....

I think "Agnes of God" was a little underrated as a movie...maybe it WAS a bit too "Hollywood" compared to the stark power of the play (for example, the young nun's sudden stigmata was truly shocking on a bare stage). Still, Anne Bancroft was truly smashing here....and would have received my vote.

Page was a sentimental favorite, pure and simple, but fortunately her performance here was worthy of the accolade.

Whoopi Goldberg was heartbreaking, but stymied (imho) by some directorial missteps. Streep is WONDERFUL in Out of Africa, and could have claimed the top prize in any other year. Lange was hampered by the memory of Beverly DeAngelo's awesome supporting role as Patsy Cline 5 years earlier in "Coal Miner's Daughter."

Alex in Movieland said...

Yes, I love this Oscar clip.

I actually believe Bancroft really thought SHE was the finest actress in English language... but she quickly realized it couldn't be her, because she had 0% chance of winning that year. and I think she knew it.

I think Whoopi really was the runner-up. And Meryl could've won it had it now been for the 2 Oscars.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

fritz i haven't seen all in the row recently, but i really can't argue with her win. i remember like lange a whole lot, though. but i think the entire line-up is ace.

tom abraham seems regal to the extent of being condescending.i don't think he is, he just sort of comes off that way.

alex i'm not that big on anne. she's a fine actor, but she doesn't really thrill me. as i said above, though, they're all good to me.