My current Top 5

My current Top 5


YOUR Best Actress of 1939!

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Here are the results of the poll for Best Actress 1939:

1. Vivien Leigh - Gone with the Wind (64 votes)

2. Greer Garson - Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2 votes)

3. Greta Garbo - Ninotchka (1 vote)

4. Bette Davis - Dark Victory & Irene Dunne - Love Affair (0 votes)


YOUR Best Actress of 1940

Thanks to everyone who voted!

Here are the results of the poll for Best Actress 1940:

1. Ginger Rogers - Kitty Foyle (15 votes)

2. Joan Fontaine - Rebecca (9 votes)

3. Katharine Hepburn - The Philadelphia Story (8 votes)

4. Bette Davis - The Letter (1 vote)

5. Martha Scott - Our Town (0 votes)


Best Actress 1939 - The resolution!

After having watched and reviewed all five nominated performances, it's time to pick the winner!

5. Irene Dunne in Love Affair

Irene Dunne gives an intelligent performance of a romantic character and her ability to combine drama with comedy turn Terry into a real human being but her chemistry with Charles Boyer is disappointing and the writing often lets her down.

Greer Garson is incredibly charming in the role of Kathy, the woman who gets Mr. Chipping out of his shell and turns him into a popular school master. Unfortunately, the part of Kathy is mostly a plot device and never turns into a three-dimensional character.

Greta Garbo's deadpan line deliveries and her stone-faced expression turn a stern Soviet Comrade into a hilarious character while her chemistry with Melvyn Douglas makes this movie a real classic.

Playing a rich, care-free young girl diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor, Bette Davis delivers one of the most moving performances ever put on the screen. All her talents are used to maximum effect in showing this strong-willed woman's acceptance of her own death.

Carrying the most famous movie of all time, Vivien Leigh delivers the best-known and most iconic performance in motion picture history that gets better with each viewing. She becomes one with Scarlett O'Hara, a character she was born to play and brings to life in the most unforgettable way.

Best Actress 1939: Greta Garbo in "Ninotchka"

Garbo laughs!

A slogan that is as fascinating today as it was 70 years ago.

In Ninotchka, the legendary Greta Garbo plays Nina Yakushova Ivanoff, a no-nonsense Russian Comrade doing Soviet business in Paris. But very soon, this stern and dutiful woman begins to be enchanted by Paris and a charming count played by Melvyn Douglas.

What amazes most when watching Ninotchka is how this could have been Greta Garbo’s first comedy. For years, she was Hollywood's queen of drama and suffering but here she shows that she was just as perfectly cast in a charming, light and romantic comedy.

The most hilarious parts of her performance are the early scenes when Nina is that humorless, grim and stone-faced Comrade, praising the Soviet Union and putting down the West.

Greta Garbo has such a perfect comedy timing that she can get laughs out of almost every line she is saying without even moving one muscle in her face. In fact, that static face is maybe the best thing about her.

She can deliver so many lines in the most amusing way without emphasizing the comedy but rather playing her part as natural as possible and that way making Nina totally funny. That’s the real talent of a great comedian! Garbo’s deadpan delivery of lines like “There are going to be fewer but better Russians” or “Who am I to cost the Russian people seven cows?” or that totally stone-faced expression on her face when she is watching Paris from the Eiffel Tower are just unforgettable.

Garbo also has wonderful chemistry with Melvyn Douglas and their first scenes together, when Nina is trying to resist him and asks him with her deep voice “Must you flirt?” are just as sweet as funny. The way Garbo keeps her strict behavior while kissing Douglas is wonderful and the ways she orders kim to kiss her with a decisive “Again!” is too good!

And who can forget the scene when she first meets Douglas’s butler and says “This man is very old. You shouldn’t make him work. Do you whip him?” and tells the butler “Go to bed, little father.” Garbo’s total seriousness in all these scenes turns them into comedy gold.

And the legendary “Garbo laughs!” scene doesn’t disappoint. It’s not just a laugh, it seems like something that has been inside of Nina for all her life and is finally allowed to get out. With this laugh, Nina becomes a new person.

Unfortunately, the movie now focuses more on the romantic part of the story and loses some of its comedy but romance (and later a little suffering) is nothing new to Garbo and so she also handles these scenes beautifully.

And all her later parts with Melvyn Douglas are just hopelessly romantic and it's a joy to watch these two together! Her process of “blossoming up” is played very naturally and very charmingly and makes Ninotchka one of the all-time classics.

Garbo laughs and so do we!

For this, she gets


Best Actress 1939: Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind"

What can there be said that hasn’t been said already?

Some performances are great. Some are fantastic. Some are considered to be the best of all time. Some are legendary.

And then there is Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind.

Scarlett O’Hara is easily the most iconic female character in motion picture history. And Vivien Leigh gives easily the most iconic female performance in motion picture history.

This is one of the cases when a performance isn’t even a performance anymore but turns into something so real and true that you don’t see an actress but only a character. Vivien Leigh and Scarlett O’Hara become one person.

Vivien Leigh’s acting is so modern that she gets better with each viewing. She is able to demonstrate all the layers of this rich and fascinating character. And of course the fact that she is stunningly beautiful helps, too…

What’s so flawless about this performance is that Vivien Leigh shows Scarlett as an always developing character. She is spoiled and manipulative and she will never lose these “qualities” but she grows during the war and the time after that. With the same determination she used to get every guy she wanted she fights her way back to Tara or runs a business. Scarlett is a force of nature.

But her determination and manipulations could also make her a very unlikable character but Vivien Leigh perfectly captures the Southern belle – she may be a bitch but she is so full of life and charme that we can understand why everyone is so fascinated by her, why everyone is drawn to her. Vivien makes us love and care about Scarlett despite the fact she is a woman who couldn't care less about her husband's death or anything else that doesn't have anything to do with her.

One also has to give Vivien credit for being the main reason why Gone with the Wind is the most famous movie ever. She is in 99% of this 3,5-hours epic, she has to carry this massive production on her shoulders. And boy, does she succeed!

Gone with the Wind is not only a story about love but also a woman fighting to survive, to get to the top. Vivien also captures all these parts of Scarlett.

She is such a dominant person that you can never take your eyes off her. All her scenes at Twelve Oaks, her flirting, her talk with Ashley and that wonderful moment when she is walking up the stairs while everyone else is celebrating the beginning of the war are so wonderful because Vivien is able to combine so many parts of Scarlett: her lying, her true feelings, her façade, her anger, her passion. Vivien inhabits this character like nobody else could have.

Sure, you can watch the old screen tests and see that Paulette Goddard would have been good, too, you can also see that she doesn’t bring that “something special” to the part like Vivien did. If anyone was ever born to play a role, it’s her.

Who can forget her "Oh yes, I will" when she decides to dance with Rhett Butler? Speaking of Rhett, Vivien's chemistry with Clark Gable is also wonderful. When they are married, they both perfectly show two people loving each other but both are too stubborn to admit their true feelings and their pride keeps them from real happiness.

But let's not forget Vivien's great chemistry with Olivia de Havilland which is also an important part of the movie. In fact, the relationship between Melanie and Scarlett may be the most interesting aspect of the whole movie and Vivien is perfect in showing her mixed feelings towards Melanie, her dislike and admiration at the same time.

Without any signs of overacting or theatrical posing, Vivien brings Scarlett to full life. Her devastating reaction to her mother's death, her burden of keeping Tara alive, her willingness to do anything to get money for the taxes - it's all unforgettable.

It is such a natural performance of a truly larger-than-life character that “Fidlee-dee-dee” seems to be the only word to describe it…I really give a damn!

So, for this most iconic performance, Vivien naturally gets