The Home Stretch!

Well, here we are!  The final twenty-five nominees.  They’re a motley crowd, spanning 67 of the Academy’s 85 years and ranging from multiple nominees & major category winners (four Best Picture nominees, and one winner) to films that earned but a single nomination for their actress.  Among the twenty-two women represented here, some are multiple-nominees and winners, and others have but the single nomination, three of whom (Diana Wynyard, Grace Moore, and Maggie McNamara) I’ll be encountering for the first time in any film at all!

They’ve been held for last for a variety of reasons: from the ones I deliberately saved for last (Bonnie and Clyde, The African Queen) to the ones from the VHS era that didn’t make the leap to DVD (Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams; Only When I Laugh) to the ones that didn’t get a home video at all (White Banners, Private Worlds), to ones I deliberately held out on, hoping for a better viewing condition that never came to be (Cavalcade, which I wanted to see in a theater, and The Emigrants, which I wanted to see subtitled and not dubbed).  Some have reputations that precede them: Holiday was famously remade in 1938 with Katharine Hepburn in Ann Harding’s role, and The Moon Is Blue played a key role in the end of an era of Hollywood censorship when it was released without the Production Code’s Seal of Approval and became a hit regardless.  Others come to me as complete unknown quantities: I’ve got nothing on Testament except for its cryptic title and the fact that it stars Jane Alexander in her last of four acting nominations; same deal with Julie Christie’s Afterglow.  But for whatever reason, some group had to come last, so here they are:

  1. Ann Harding in Holiday (1931)
  2. Marie Dressler in Emma (1932)
  3. Diana Wynyard in Cavalcade (1933)
  4. Grace Moore in One Night of Love (1934)
  5. Claudette Colbert in Private Worlds (1935)
  6. Merle Oberon in The Dark Angel (1935)
  7. Fay Bainter in White Banners (1938)
  8. Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc (1948)
  9. Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen (1951)
  10. Maggie McNamara in The Moon Is Blue (1953)
  11. Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
  12. Kim Stanley in Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
  13. Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  14. Liv Ullmann in The Emigrants (1972)
  15. Joanne Woodward in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973)
  16. Marie-Christine Barrault in Cousin, cousine (1976)
  17. Marsha Mason in Chapter Two (1979)
  18. Gena Rowlands in Gloria (1980)
  19. Marsha Mason in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  20. Jane Alexander in Testament (1983)
  21. Jessica Lange in Country (1984)
  22. Anne Bancroft in Agnes of God (1985)
  23. Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field (1992)
  24. Jessica Lange in Blue Sky (1994)
  25. Julie Christie in Afterglow (1997)

6 thoughts on “The Home Stretch!

  1. Mr Jerome says:

    Hey Cliff-
    I’ve seen quite a few of these 25. I think #1 is probably #1. I love Ann Harding in the 1931 Holiday. I prefer it to the Hepburn version. First, as a movie I prefer it. In the hepburn version, there’s no doubt that HEpburn is going to get the guy, why would he want Julia/ Doris Nolan (nolan? who? exactly). IN this version, the choice is between Harding who has a quiet beauty, and Mary Astor who was still hot nd pre George kauffman. We don’t see that Astor is a bitch until very late whereas Nolan is a lox from minute one. Harding has more tones in her performance – her quietness is a good contrast. Hepburn’s very physically active, fun, no contrast. And Harding is amazin gin the earlier version of WHen Ladies Meet (she priemeired the US version on stage of Shaw’s St JOan I believe).
    Edward Everett Horton is oin both films, smae part. Ayres is always great – giving a point to the 38, although Douglas Montgomery is probably the gayest actor I’ve ever seen on film (his Waterloo Bridge early version at Universal is stunning in the way the audience suspends disbelief – you’ll see … Mystery of Edwin Drood with him is fun because it’s got my fave David Manner sin it)…
    Frankly – the boys Grant and Ayres are better than Amers and Montgomvery, but Harding and Astor outclass Hepburn and Nolan.
    I’ve seen EMMA and Dressler makes the melodrama as good as it can be. She’s better in Min and Bill but then – she’s always good even in physical comedy. her take at the end of Diner at Eight is without peer.
    Cavalcade – it’s a tour de force performance mosty because of the ages and the reactions. Never blew me away, as far as performance.
    Grace Moore showed at the Academy a few years back, i coudln’t make it (great to be mnomianted series). Still regret it somewhat, although an opera film from 1934 doesn’t really excite me (and I like opera just ine).
    Haven’t seen 5-7. Seen 8 in clips.
    I know Moon is BLue is important because of “pregnant” and being released without AAMP seal, but could never getmyself to watch it. Preminger can be good, but not my fave. Like his wife.
    I’ve seen Marsha Mason’s two films – her performance wins puzzled me then and now Goodbye Girl was a very popular film, Dreyfuss came out a mainstream star, even more than American Graffiti or Jaws.

  2. Mr Jerome says:

    AND… Anne Bancroft in Agnes of God – never felt like the lead although it was… Meg Tilly’s performance was very, very strong, AND YES THESE ARE JUST NOMINEES.
    SO I’ve seen 1,2,3,9,.13, 17 18 19 20,21 22, 24
    I don’t remember if I saw Cousin Cousine, (which was EVERYWHERE), Love Field or The Emigrants. Because there were two: The Emigrants and THE New Land. And they were released very close to each other. Also, I’d have been too young to have seen the emigrants on its first release. Both were nominated for foreign film.
    There are definitely a few on this list i really want to see. But I am content to have seen 48% of your bottom of the barrel (at least in terms of time) films. African Queen is a lot of fun. Blue Sky performance is amazing. She won.

    Testament – is – HORRIBLE (i thought at the time, and can’t imagine it standing up, Lynn whatever who directed it came to USC and she was just awful). Just looked it up, Lynne Littman. ukh Film has a very young Lukas Haas who is always good and this is from the pre drug crazy Lukas Haas years.
    Had to have been from then… – he’s in Lincoln as a relatively young character and testament is 30 years ago.

    BTW 1984 is very weird in that 3 of the women are basically playing the same part – Lange, Spacek and Sally F. I remember seeing The River at school, and Mark Rydell is so sincere & nice & just a great guy but really not liking the film that much… and seeing the scene where the deer walks into the factory, and leaning over to my friend (i think it was Nick Roth) and saying, “Look what just walked into our factory, Nick, a metaphor.”
    Rydell is so charming with comedy like Harry and Walter Go to New York, which he admitted was his fave film. There was some story about the deer in THE RIVER, either it really just walked onto the set, or the author had recounted how a deer really had walked into the factory. (if i remember the shot clearly). But real life doesn’t always work on the screen, sometimes real life will look too symbolic and be heavy handed…

    Still my fave non-nominated performance that was lobbied – they were pushing it – Tilda Swinton in THE DEEP END. And fave submitted film that wasn’t nominated for best foreign language picture… Swedish film by Bille August (good pedigree) JERUSALEM.

  3. […] once knew that Testament was a post-apocalyptic drama, embarrassingly enough, since I claimed yesterday not to know a thing about the film.  Sure enough, I’d forgotten by the time I started watching, […]

  4. […] The Home Stretch! ( […]

  5. […] directors remain, spread across nine decades of Academy history. As with last year’s final Best Actress countdown, it’s a disparate crowd that made it to the end of my list. Films like The Mission and The […]

  6. […] directors remain, spread across nine decades of Academy history. As with last year’s final Best Actress countdown, it’s a disparate crowd that made it to the end of my list. Films like The Mission and The […]

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