Tuesday, May 4, 2010

10 Best Actresses I'm Excited For, 10 Not So Much

With Nick Davis winding up his immaculate Best Actress Project with a profile of a Best Actress nominee every day for the past week and a half or so, I've become re-immersed in my own progress with the category. After watching Ship of Fools a couple of days ago (and I was fighting the whole way not to turn that piece of crap off), I am now down to 80 nominees left to see. Not too shabby, me thinks. Of course, there are a few films which are either obscure as hell in America (Marriage- Italian Style, The Constant Nymph), not available in any format besides the film (The Barker, The Trespasser) or outright banned because of copyright issues (The Blue Veil), but, for the most part, a lot of the remaining ladies shouldn't be too difficult to find. So, in order to commence this re-immersion, here are ten ladies I'm eagerly anticipating...

Diahann Carroll,
Claudine I'm usually fascinated by stories about African American families struggling to overcome racism and a vicious cycle of poverty. Bonus points: Nick Davis is ecstatic about Carroll's work here.
Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation I always enjoy Stockard Channing. Seriously one of the most underrated actresses around.
Joan Crawford, Sudden Fear Joan's last nomination. Apparently Oscar saved the best for last. I'm optimistic, but it will be hard to top Possessed.
Jessica Lange, Frances Lange plays a mad actress from the 1940's in a highly emotional and excessive way. Sign me up, sign me up!
Carrie Snodgress, Diary of a Mad Housewife I love a good film about a despondent, lonely housewife. Plus, the film was directed by Frank Perry (aka the man who brought us Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest).
Kim Stanley, Séance on a Wet Afternoon Director Bryan Forbes has been 2 for 2 with me in terms of Best Actress nominees he has directed (Caron in The L-Shaped Room, Edith Evans in The Whisperers). Can Stanley make it 3?
Meryl Streep, Ironweed I've heard this is one of Streep's more underrated efforts. Let's see if she can match the quiet hype.
Gloria Swanson, Sadie Thompson Completely fascinated by the 1932 version with Joan Crawford (one of her best performances ever). Interested in what Swanson will be able to do in this silent version.
Liv Ullmann, Face to Face According to many who have been fortunate enough to see it, this is Ullmann's best work. And that's truly saying something about the woman who gave us Persona, Cries and Whispers and Autumn Sonata. Criterion, release this shit soon, please.
Sigourney Weaver, Aliens LOVED her kick-ass Ripley in Alien. Apparently, she's even better here.

...and, on the flip side, here are ten ladies I'm gonna have to be tied down Clockwork Orange-style in order to get through:

Geneviève Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days A studio-made historical epic from the mid-60's designed purely for Oscar consideration. Shoot me now.
Ava Gardner, Mogambo I've never been particularly fond of Gardner. Combined with Grace Kelly and post-Lombard Clark Gable in a John Ford film sounds like pure torture.
Jennifer Jones, Love Letters The epitome of an actress who slept her way to the top. All of her other nominations have been close to insufferable.
Sarah Miles, Ryan's Daughter A 3.5 hour David Lean epic that's not even as good as the middling The Bridge on the River Kwai. Oscar truly is a sadistic bastard sometimes.
Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field Not a huge Pfeiffer fan and this sounds like Movie of the Week stuff to me.
Debbie Reynolds, The Unsinkable Molly Brown I normally adore Debbie Reynolds, but I've heard nothing but bad things about this one.
Janet Suzman, Nicholas and Alexandra See Bujold above.
Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven I simply don't get the big deal about her. One man's acting goddess truly is another's vacant dummy.
Kathleen Turner, Peggy Sue Got Married I saw the first twenty minutes a few years ago and was hardly impressed. It's going to take a lot to get me to try this one again.
Loretta Young, Come to the Stable One of the worst Best Actress winners ever is back as a kind and gracious nun. Just...no.


J.D. said...

I adored Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven? I wish the film was as good as her (or on the same playing field, since she was the only part of it going for the OMGWTF aspects of the story), though, but it deserved its Cinematography win.

Dame James said...

I'm not saying you're wrong for liking Tierney. For all I know, she could be absolutely stellar in Leave Her to Heaven. I'm just not exactly excited about it since I haven't liked her in either of her of most famous performances: Laura and Whirlpool.

RJ said...

Ryan's Daughter isn't ... I mean, it's not good, really, but there are some great parts. And Miles is terrific.

Dame James said...

Even if Miles gives the best performance ever committed to celluloid, it's still trapped in a 3.5 hour David Lean epic. I find him to be one of the most overrated directors ever.

RJ said...


I love David Lean .... but, yeah, if you don't really like Lawrence of Arabia or Doctor Zhivago, then Ryan's Daughter is REALLY not for you.

See Brief Encounter if you haven't.

Adam M. said...

Geneviève Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days A studio-made historical epic from the mid-60's designed purely for Oscar consideration. Shoot me now.

You have no idea... At least she gets her head chopped off in the end!

And did you finally see Ms. Paltrow in 'Shakespeare in Love'? Or was that not you who still hadn't seen it?

david said...

The Unsinkable Molly Brown has terrific songs and dances, including He's My Friend which features Debbie Reynolds, Gus Trikonis and Grover Dale dancing themselves to a fare thee well.

Janice said...

What's interesting is that this list gives me a very clear and pure distillation of what your likes and dislikes are (well, at least as far as Oscar-nommed leading actresses is concerned.)

Given that, I'm amazed you haven't seen Frances yet. I have a feeling it will be right up your alley. (Then again, there are a few significant titles here I haven't seen either, but Frances jumped out at me in particular as actressexual heaven.)