My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Best Actress 2004: Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby"

Hilary Swank received the second Oscar of her career for her role as Maggie Fitzgerald, a woman who aspires to become a professional boxer in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby.

Hilary Swank is certainly not among the greatest actresses ever, but she has the ability to sink her teeth into a certain type of role: an underdog who has to fight for her dreams and gets beaten down more than once.

So it is nor surprise that she is magnificent as Maggie who seems to be too old to be a boxer but too young to give up. She is already doing some boxing and she is winning, but she wants more – she wants to get to the top and she is determined to get Frankie Dunne as her trainer. She openly tells him “If I’m too old for this, then I got nothing” – and this is right. She knows that she is ‘white trash’ and life will never change for her unless she actively tries to change it herself. And boxing is the only thing in her life that makes her feel good.

The first appearances of Maggie make her seem like a rather strange character. Frankie is unwilling to train her, openly rejects her over and over again but she keeps training in his gym, trying to make him change his mind. She calls him “boss” even though he doesn’t want it and she refuses to be trained by anyone else but him. It is never told why Maggie is so interested in having Frankie in her life – because she doesn’t only want a trainer, but also a friend, maybe even a father. It’s not clear why she chose Frankie for this but what does becomes clear is why this woman is so desperate to be loved and accepted – her own family looks down on her for her profession and never show Maggie anything but disinterest. Hilary Swank wonderfully shows how hurt Maggie is when her family rejects her – this strong woman who can beat anyone in the ring grew emotionally lonely. Hilary successfully shows a woman who is desperate to be loved and who tries to reject but also accept her own roots.

Hilary Swank could easily be accused of trying to get the audience’s sympathy by constantly smiling and showing no complaints even when her character is at its lowest. But she wonderfully shows how Maggie’s past in an unloving family turned her into a rather needy character who is looking for acceptance and affection. She throws herself at Frankie’s feet, hoping not only to find a trainer but also a friend. She tries to please everyone but at the same time she also wants her own way as she tells Frankie when she shouts “Don’t you say that if it ain’t true!”

Hilary Swank is able to show both the weakness and the strength of Maggie’s character without jumping back and forth between these two extremes but rather merges them most effectively. From the first moment she appears out of the dark to her last shot, she creates a strong-willed, determinant, but also insecure and uncertain character. Maggie knows what she is worth and what she can achieve but she not sure what life will give her.

Hilary Swank also has a wonderful chemistry with Clint Eastwood. Both lonely in their own way, both comfortable around each other. It’s a relationship that never becomes romantic but they both develop a loving, relaxed and open connection.

The performance by Hilary Swank contrasts of two parts, as far apart from each other as possible. In the first half, she does a lot of physical work while the second part of her performance is completely done by her face. Hilary is able to make both parts of her performance as effective as possible and shows how Maggie never loses her spirits even when her willpower weakens.

The highlight of Hilary’s performance is her final plea to Frankie which is an unforgettable moment. Hilary Swank shows so much with her eyes and delivers every line perfectly. Maggie may have lost her independence but she still wants to decide her life for herself. A wonderful portrayal of a fighter who is ready to stop fighting – and who is not afraid to ask for help.

Hilary is able to make Maggie both a dreamer and a worn-out character at the same time. She combines her hopes and dreams, her fears and disappointments in the greatest way and gets


YOUR Best Actress of 1965!

Here are the poll results:

1. Julie Christie - Darling (20 votes)

2. Julia Andrews - The Sound of Music (9 votes)

3. Simone Signoret - Ship of Fools (3 votes)

4. Elizabeth Hartman - A Patch of Blue (2 votes)

5. Samantha  Eggar - The Collector (0 votes)

Thanks to everyone for voting!


Best Actress 2004

The next year will be 2004 and the nominees were

Annette Bening in Being Julia

Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full of Grace

Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake

Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby

Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Best Actress 1978 - the resolution!

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

5. Jane Fonda in Coming Home

Jane’s performance never fights against the weakness of the script that reduces Sally to a boring love interest but rather even emphasizes it by also investing Sally with nothing else but a simple-mindedness that does nothing to make her the least bit interesting.

Ellen Burstyn’s performance is charming and lovely, sometimes amusing, sometimes touching, but her acting stays mostly on the surface and she is never able to create a full-flesh human being out of her paper-thin character.

Even though her screen time is limited, Geraldine Page still dominates the whole movie with a convincing, shocking, frightening and sad portrayal of a woman who loses control and is not able to deal with the failure of her own marriage.

2. Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman

Jill Clayburgh is smart, funny, sexy, strong, weak and, most of all, very natural and always confident while she creates a very relaxed and self-assured character with a wonderful mix of strength and humor.


Ingrid Bergman gives a devastating performance as a woman who lives a live of pretending, who can associate with everyone but her own daughters and who finally has to look into her own past and her own soul to see who she really is.

Best Actress 1978: Geraldine Page in "Interiors"

Geraldine Page’s role as interior decorator Eve in Interior, Woody Allen’s homage to Ingmar Bergman, is another of those borderline cases where both the Supporting and the Leading category would have made sense. Had Geraldine Page entered the Supporting category, she probably might have won (just as she did at the BAFTAs) but so she had to settle for a nomination.

Geraldine Page is very famous for being an actress full of tics and manners and these features worked very well in her performance as Eve who is a neurotic mess. Eve is a woman who is just as sterile and cold as the designs she uses to decorate other people’s homes. Even though the role of Eve is not very large, she is still a very overpowering presence in the movie since almost all the talk and conversations of all the other characters (mainly Eve’s two daughters) is about her. That way the viewer learns more about Eve by other characters than by Eve herself.

At the beginning the viewer sees Eve for the first time when she is visiting her daughter and her son-in-law whose apartment she decorates. Eve seems very stressed, uneasy and tense. It seems that she can’t make up her own mind about what she wants. And it becomes very clear that she is a woman who needs control over everything. When she finds out that her son-in-law moved a lamp that she bought for the bedroom and put it in the living room, the idea seems unbearable for her. Eve is a woman who needs control, who must be in charge and who can’t stand the thought of being unable to influence any situations.

By flashbacks the story tells the viewer that Eve’s world collapsed when her husband suddenly left her. Eve takes this news with a combination of denial and rejection. When her own daughter describes her mother as ‘a sick woman’, the viewer begins to see her in a different light. Suddenly it becomes clear that her cold emotions and her obsessions show a woman always on the edge of a nervous breakdown. She actually already tried to kill herself once and she prepared her flat to fill it with gas just with the same precision as she would think of interior designs. But even after her suicide attempt, she did not change herself and thinks that her husband will return to her in the end. Geraldine Page’s acting when she receives a get-well-card and flowers from her husband is magnificent and shows a woman who is unable to show any emotion while she is filled with false hope at the same time .

Geraldine Page’s acting effectively points out all of Eve’s characteristics. Her major decision was to play Eve with a constant masque-like face that perfectly underlines her distance and coldness to everyone around her. Geraldine shows Eve as a woman who is unable to be emotional and whose mind breaks when her own world, which she wants to be as perfect and organized as her own designs, falls apart. The highlight of her performance is certainly the scene in the church when her husband tells her that he wants to finalize their separation with a divorce. Geraldine Page’s face shows terror and devastation while showing nothing at all. Her face is again like a masque but Geraldine Page expresses an enormous amount of feelings at the same time. Slowly, her masque begins to drop until Eve finally shouts out her anger and desolation. Geraldine Page’s tics and manners are all visible and her performance constantly feels very calculated but it all works for the character of Eve.

Geraldine Page as Eve also succeeds in making her character the exact opposite of Pearl, her husband’s second wife. Pearl, played by the wonderful Maureen Stapleton, is full of life, open and a real fresh of breath air in a family that is forever influenced by an overbearing and unstable mother.

Even though her screen time is limited, Geraldine Page still dominates the whole movie as a woman who loses control and is not able to deal with the failure of her own marriage, who is terrified of a new life alone. It’s a convincing, shocking, frightening and sad portrayal that gets


Best Actress 1978: Jill Clayburgh in "An Unmarried Woman"

Jill Clayburgh received the Best Actress award in Cannes, critical praise and an Oscar nomination for her performance as Erica, a woman whose world is suddenly turned upside down when her husband divorces her.

The character of Erica must certainly have been a revelation in 1978. A woman beyond her 30s with a teenage daughter who learns that her live doesn’t end without a man. A woman who speaks about her first period with her psychiatrist. A woman who is confident enough to rediscover her own sexuality without having to defend herself.

In the role of Erica, Jill Clayburgh is smart, funny, sexy, strong, weak and most of all – very natural and always confident. Jill Clayburgh does not only play Erica with a lot of confidence but she also invests Erica with a very relaxed self-assuredness that is thrilling to watch. She never lets Erica be pushed around in any way but instead always shows her strength and her humorous nature even in the most serious situations. She is such a bubbly presence on the screen that everything besides her seems to fall into darkness.

Jill Clayburgh visible portrays that Erica is more than satisfied with her life. She is married to a seemingly great guy with whom she still has exciting sex but she also constantly holds her own against him and never lets him reduce her to a little wife. She also regularly meets with her girlfriends who always talk about love and relationships and Erica’s steady marriage seems to be one-of-a-kind among the group.

Already in the early scenes of An Unmarried Woman, Jill Clayburgh shows all the facets of Erica and establishes her as a self-assured woman who later must redefine her life. But Jill Clayburgh never ever makes Erica arrogant or dominant in her self-assuredness but instead shows that she is a woman who enjoys life and who knows who she is, what she can do and what she want.

Her most outstanding moment comes when all these believes are put to test when her husband walks with her along a street and suddenly stops and breaks into tears before he admits that he has an affair and wants to leave Erica. The look on her face while her husband is crying and saying how sorry he is (in a very unlikable way because it makes him look like he wants to tell her “Hey, I know, I am a bad guy and I feel terrible about it – so forgive me!”) is unforgettable – this confident woman who always believed in her marriage suddenly faces the ruins of her life. In this moment, Jill Clayburgh is incredibly powerful and incredibly subtle at the same time as only her eyes really show the devastation inside of her.

From that moment on, Erica is a different woman who is trying to go on with her life and see what else it has to offer. Jill Clayburgh certainly gives an amazing performance in an unlikely role. On paper, Erica is an interesting character but never outstanding enough to justify awards attention. But Jill Clayburgh turns her into one of the most fascinating female characters from the 70s. After her life has changed forever, Erica does not retreat but she finds herself again and also experiences a new sexuality with new partners.

In her scenes with her psychiatrist, Jill Clayburgh wonderfully shows Erica’s fears, her doubts, her drams and her hopes in a very captivating way. Her performance always remains as natural as it is impressive. And also when Erica starts a new relationship, Jill Clayburgh’s performance never stops to show Erica as a witty, independent woman who always knows what she wants even if she sometimes loses her way.

Not a lot of actresses could have turned Erica into such a rich and complex character and make An Unmarried Woman a very strong and absorbing movie. Jill Clayburgh’s performance is the only real strong ingredient An Unmarried Woman has but it so strong that it turns the movie into gold. Jill Clayburgh is able to make Erica’s journey so captivating because her character is so easy to recognize but at the same time she always shows new layers and a constant development in Erica. At the end of the movie, Erica is still the smart and funny woman she always was but she also is a new person and Jill Clayburgh is able to portray this without over- or underplaying it.

It’s a very unique performance of an ordinary, but also extra-ordinary woman that gets


Best Actress 1978: Ingrid Bergman in "Höstsonaten"

Ingrid Bergman received her final Oscar nomination for what was also her final movie performance in the Swedish movie Höstsonaten. Ingrid played Charlotte Angergast, a famous pianist who visits her estranged daughter and her husband.

This was the first time that Ingrid Bergman worked with the famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman who more than once has led actresses to give compelling and outstanding performances and Ingrid Bergman is no difference. What probably also helped Ingrid in her work was the fact that she acted in her native language which resulted in a very relaxed, but also outstanding performance.

When Charlotte first arrives at her daughter's house, she and Eva (played by the always amazing Liv Ullman) seem very happy about their meeting. Both are very polite and behave in the expected way but it seems that there is something beneath their friendliness – some unspoken truth that really defines their relationship.

Charlotte very soon starts to talk about Leonardo – a man who was very close to her and who recently died of cancer. The looks on Ingrid Bergman’s face when she tells how she was always with Leonardo in the hospital until he died is an overwhelming moment – the mix of grief, fear and relieve over her friend’s release is unforgettable.

While the movie goes on, the viewer learns more and more about Charlotte and her connection to her daughter. This visit is apparently the first time that they have seen each other in years – even when Eva’s little son died, Charlotte did not come. It becomes clear very soon that her career was always the most important thing for her. Charlotte toured the world while Eva was always of secondary importance – now and also years ago, when Eva was a little girl.

The tension between Eva and Charlotte can be felt at every moment of the movie. Charlotte is a rather cold and distant woman who tries to keep an emotional distance from Eva. Whenever they talk and chat, it always seems superficial and Charlotte seems to try her best to prevent any real closeness between her and her daughter. Whenever Eva opens up, talks about her dead son or other personal feelings, Charlotte obviously becomes uneasy.

The viewer also learns that Eva is not Charlotte’s only daughter – there is also Helena who is paralyzed and seemingly also suffers from a mental disease that prevents her from speaking or communicating in any way. It is obvious that Charlotte is not happy to see Helena – she would like to avoid meeting her but as a mother, she has no other choice. Ingrid Bergman wonderfully shows the conflict in Charlotte as she sits at Helena’s bedside. She again acts nicely and friendly as if nothing had happened, but from time to time we see how uncomfortable she is around her own daughter, maybe she is even ashamed. Eva herself later says that her mother gave a great performance in Helena’s bedroom.

Ingrid Bergman in no way tries to hide the fact that Charlotte is a woman who never cared about her daughters and who also doesn’t care about them now. But she is not a cold-hearted woman – instead, she never thought that she would harm her children in any way. In her own eyes, she did the best she could and as much as she could even if she always kept her daughters at a distance. For Charlotte, her live as a pianist was always more important than her life as a mother even if she maybe never admitted that to herself. But her distant nature has damaged her daughters more then she ever expected. The thin line between love and hate is constantly visible between Charlotte and Eva.

Finally, late a night, Eva lets her feelings overcome her and begins to talk about her hate, about the past and everything that was always a burden on her soul. Ingrid Bergman’s teary-eyed face in this night is probably the greatest close-up of her career. She doesn’t look glamorous, she doesn’t look like a star, but she looks real – a woman who finally has to answer for everything she has done.

Even though Ingrid Bergman doesn’t give the best performance of the movie (that honor goes to Liv Ullman who is just riveting as Eva), her magnetic movie star personality combined with her undeniable talent as an actress make her a dominating force.

Ingrid Bergman is wonderfully able to constantly show Charlotte’s emotional distance and her own justification for everything she did but she is able to mix it with a certain regret and fear. Her facial expressions when she watches her daughter play the piano is one of the greatest moments of Ingrid’s career. She shows that Charlotte is a woman who lives a live of pretending, who can associate with everyone but her own daughters and who finally has to look into her own past and her own soul to see who she really is.

This is surely one of Ingrid Bergman’s greatest performances. Her distant, emotionally unavailable mother is a timeless creation for which she gets


Best Actress 1978: Ellen Burstyn in "Same Time, Next Year"

When Ellen Burstyn won the Oscar for Alice doesn’t live here anymore, she wasn’t at the ceremony because she was appearing in a play called Same Time, Next Year in New York. In the same year she won the Oscar, she also won a Tony for her performance in this play and later she received another Oscar nomination for her performance in the movie version. Considering all this praise for her performance, the final result is a bit disappointing.

From the first moment to the last one, it is very obvious that Same Time, Next Year was born on the stage. The whole plot happens in a little guest house in California, where Doris and George, played by Alan Alda, meet once a year for a secret affair. Of course, the movie version also gave us some shots outside the house and shows us the Pacific Ocean, but overall, the whole movie sometimes seems like a taped play.

Thankfully, Ellen Burstyn knew the difference between these two mediums and her performance is able to entertain the audience without ever making its theatrical roots visible. But even though Ellen Burstyn is able to fill her part with life and her usual charming self, Doris is a paper-thin character who exists in a paper-thin, clichéd story without any real highlights.

The movie begins incredibly cheesy with George and Doris meeting in a little restaurant while a schmaltzy song is playing in the background. A little later, the two of them wake up in bed together and even though they are both married, they take a very relaxed attitude about their time together and soon they agree to meet again at the same time, next year.

The biggest problem of the movie is that it is simply not very good. It has some entertaining moments but overall it is a boring and overlong story about two not very interesting people. The movie follows their romance/affair over a time span of 25 years and during their talks we also get to know more about their “normal” life. Unfortunately, Ellen Burstyn is never given the same quality material as Alan Alda. Ellen Burstyn may be the better performer, but Alan Alda gets a very dominant and moving back story that develops over the course of the movie. While he gets to use this material very effectively, Ellen Burstyn often has nothing else to do than react to Alan Alda. Almost all the good moments in the story come from him while Ellen Burstyn is never able to create a full-flesh human being out of Doris which is more the fault of the script than Ellen Burstyn. She shows that Doris is a little naïve, but also smart but she never makes her really interesting.

Both the script and the performances of the leading actors underline that they never feel bad in any way about their adultery. Since this is supposed to be a light comedy, it makes sense that there are no scenes of remorse or guilty feelings but it deprives the actors from playing three dimensional characters. Ellen Burstyn’s joyful and optimistic performance may be charming and easy to like but it seems the actress decided to play her part mostly on the surface.

The real highlight of the movie is the chemistry between Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda who believably show how their characters age and the relationship between them becomes closer and more mature.

The main concept of the movie is that the viewer only sees the two lovers meet every five years and each time, the big question are how they look like and what is new with their life. While George basically remains a rather conservative business man his entire life, Doris goes through various phases in hers. She starts as a little wife, later she gets to do some comedy when she is pregnant (here, Ellen Burstyn gets to make her only really funny line of the whole movie about pregnancy and Butterfly McQueen), later she becomes a hippie and finally a successful business woman. Ellen Burstyn portrays all these stages well and never loses the core of the character, but the scenes never really connect and apart from the obvious change on the surface, the script never really gives Doris and Ellen Burstyn much to do.

But even though the part of Doris is no Blanche DuBois, Ellen Burstyn is still able to make the most out of it. Her performance is charming and lovely, sometimes amusing, sometimes touching and her interaction with Alan Alda helps to keep everything going smoothly. She is very natural in her part and handles the various stations of Doris’s life with ease and grace. This is especially remarkable because in some way a lot of humor in the movie comes at Doris’s expanse since it is easy to laugh at her for her constant changes in life but Ellen Burstyn always prevents her character from losing her dignity in the process.

Overall, it’s a nice and harmless performance that gets


Best Actress 1978: Jane Fonda in "Coming Home"

Jane Fonda received her second Oscar for her performance as Sally Hyde, an army-wife who starts an affair with a paraplegic soldier and begins to doubt the American war in Vietnam.

This performance is very frustrating because it is hard to ignore that the character of Sally had a lot of potential but both the script and Jane Fonda’s performance reduced her to a thin, underwritten woman that is invincible for most of the time. Sally is never allowed to become a real, three-dimensional person. Everything she does is because of suggestions by others. She only works in the hospital because a friend does it, too. She only starts to see things differently because Luke inspires her to do so. And even when her character goes through a change, it is done in such a rushed, uninteresting way that in the end, Sally hasn’t changed one bit except the fact that she has began an affair. This way, the character of Sally is reduced to nothing else but a boring love interest and Jane’s performance never fights against the weakness of the script but rather even emphasizes it by also investing Sally with nothing else but a seemingly simple-mindedness that does nothing to make her the least bit interesting.

The viewer is supposed to follow Sally’s journey from a loyal housewife to a free-spirited woman but Jane Fonda’s acting always remains the same and she never shows any development in her character. The only thing that changes is her hair. One the one hand, Jane Fonda does a smart choice by staying true to the character and not turning her a 180 degree around the first moment she met Luke which would probably have resulted in an unconvincing characterization. Instead, she always keeps the core of the character but on the other hand, Jane Fonda never allows Sally to develop herself and it seems that everything that could be said and shown about Sally was done in the first 5 minutes and after that, Jane shows us nothing new anymore.

This is also visible in the fact that Jane Fonda keeps the same face and the same line-reading for almost the entire time. When Luke tells her that her husband will probably not come back alive and she follows him to confront him, she plays her anger and her fear in such a sleepy way that you are wondering if she is angry of bored. Again, it actually makes sense because Sally is a very introverted character who wouldn't make a big scene in front of other people but if this is a moving moment, then only because of the situation and not of Jane's acting. It seems that the hollowness of the character prevents Jane Fonda from doing even just one interesting acting choice. Instead, her performance never leaves the unchallenging comfort zone of the script.

Jane Fonda is also completely overshadowed by the two male actors in the movie, Bruce Dern and especially Jon Voight. The main reason is simple: these two actors have interesting, three-dimensional characters. They both have to face their inner demons, they have to make important choices in their own life while Jane Fonda’s only choice is between these two men. Oh, and a different hair cut.

What works about this performance is Jane’s chemistry with Jon Voight. Her shy behavior when she meets him in the hospital, her nervousness when she invites him home for dinner, her passion for him, these parts are all demonstrated well.

The most exciting scene involving Jane Fonda comes almost at the end when her husband threatens her and Luke with a gun. The way she freezes opposite him with her arms hold out to him is the only interesting thing Jane Fonda does in the entire movie. Her complete inability to move or say something underlines the tension of the situation and shows how she is torn between her loyalty to her husband (something that wasn’t shown so far in the movie and again seems like a wasted opportunity to make Sally more interesting) and the fear she is feeling at the same time. Most people would hold up their arms and don’t move when they are threatened like this, but she holds her arms and hands in his direction, to reach him, to comfort him and then she freezes. For one moment, Jane Fonda steps into the foreground and holds her own against Bruce Dern and Jon Voight but only because the script finally offers her something more to do than play Luke’s object of affection.

So, Jane Fonda suffers from the same problem like Dorothy McGuire in Gentleman’s Agreement: she gives an uninteresting performance of an uninteresting character but in Jane Fonda’s case it seems like she didn’t even try to do anything to illuminate Sally at least a little bit. It’s a serviceable performance that serves the scrip well but that could have been much better. For this, Jane Fonda gets


Best Actress 1978

The next year will be 1978 and the nominees were

Ingrid Bergman in Höstsonaten

Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year

Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman

Jane Fonda in Coming Home

Geraldine Page in Interiors

Best Actress 1965 - The resolution!

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

5. Simone Signoret in Ship of Fools

Simone adds a lot of dignity to her part but apart from suffering for 20 minutes, she barely gets anything to do. She is the female part of a very romantic, hopeless and tragic storyline but her presence is too limited and her character too underdeveloped to really shine.

Samantha Eggar’s character never really lets her go beyond the tasks of the script but it is nevertheless a very effective and absorbing portrayal of a frightened woman. She shows Miranda's struggle and hope to escape and how she goes through various psychological states of minds from refusal to acceptance to sympathy for her kidnapper and pure fear of death. Besides that, she is also able to prevent her character from stepping too much into the background next to the diabolical work from Terrence Stamp.

Everything in this movie is too sugarcoated and sweetish but Julie is magically able to be believable in an unbelievable part. She took cheesy, underdeveloped material and turned it into something much deeper and more mature than expected and that way gives a warm, humorous and touching performance that helps to keep the movie going.

2. Julie Christie in Darling

Julie Christie totally inhabits the character of Diana to the point that she doesn’t seem to be acting anymore. She is completely natural at everything she is doing in this performance is able to deliver a firework of emotions without ever making it seem unreal or overdone. She finds exactly the right tone for her character to fit her performance to the style of the movie.      

Elizabeth Hartman gives a wonderfully simple performance that illuminates the simple character she is playing at every second. She avoids any grand gestures and emotions and instead gives an honest and emotionally captivating performance that turns Selina into one of the most tragic and at the same time uplifting characters of all time which is a remarkable feat.

Best Actress 1965: Samantha Eggar in "The Collector"

After having won Best Actress in Cannes, Samantha Eggar received the only Oscar nomination of her career for her role in The Collector in which she played Miranda, a young woman who is kidnapped by an obsessed stalker.

The Collector is a two-character-piece (except some scenes when a neighbor appears) with an almost claustrophobic feeling because everything happens in the cellar room where Miranda is held or in the house where Freddie, her kidnapper, lives. So, it’s up to Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp to carry this movie and grab the viewer’s attention for two hours. And both actors remarkably succeed in this.

The first time we see Miranda is through the eyes of her kidnapper. He follows her in his car and in these early scenes, Samantha Eggar shows Miranda as an apparently carefree and joyful young woman who studies art and whose pretty face seems to be a sure sign that she is also a very popular girl. At some moments, Miss Eggar seems to try to show something going on behind that cheerful face when she suddenly looks worried but this is never developed and everything about Miranda’s day-to-day life soon becomes unimportant when Freddie kidnaps her in his van and takes her to his lonely house in the English countryside. From now on, Samantha Eggar’s role demands from her to be the viewer’s eye and object of attention at the same time. The viewer is always on her side and experiences everything with her while at the same time wants to know what will happen to her.

Sometimes, Samantha Eggar suffers from the screenplay. In some ways, The Collector reminds one of those horror movies from the 90s where the viewer more than once wants to scream at the screen why the victim is behaving so stupidly. Of course, this is not the fault of the actress but Samantha Eggar is not always able to rise above the material.

But even though, there is no denying that Miss Eggar is incredibly effective in her part. She convincingly shows all the fear and terror on her face as she slowly starts to realize her own situation. At the beginning, Miranda realizes that she is kidnapped but it seems that she doesn’t really understand the seriousness of the situation yet which is only natural – the shock and the surprise of what has happened to her has paralyzed her. Only slowly, she begins to see that Freddie will probably not hold to his promise to let her go again. Samantha Eggar’s performance effectively shows how Miranda slowly changes in her prison cellar and how she starts to become a panicked and frightened soul.

So, while her performance begins rather average, it later helps to develop an always growing tension between her and Terence Stamp. Just like the viewer, Miranda slowly starts to learn more and more about her kidnapper – about his collection of butterflies, about his obsessions and she begins to realize that he will want to keep her, just like these dead butterflies. She sees that she is more like a trophy that he wants to own. When she says, more to herself than to him, that she won’t get out of this alive, it’s a shocking moment and Samantha Eggar’s surprised and at the same time hopeless line delivery is amazing.

But while Samantha Eggar portrays all the states of fear and desperation very convincingly, her character unfortunately never gets a chance to develop and for almost the entire running time, she has to step back and let Terence Stamp steal the show with his effortless and captivating performance of an evil, but enchanting man. I read that about one half of the book was cut for the movie version – the half that explored Miranda’s character and her back story. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know if it’s true but it is obvious that, in the movie, Miranda clearly misses a back story or something to deepen her character more. Unfortunately, she is mostly reduced to fear and desperation. As I said, Samantha Eggar plays this very well but it doesn’t allow her to ever widen the character. The Collector is a clear story with two opposite characters and it’s the task of the actors to show these differences and struggles of the characters. This roll allocation doesn’t allow any real development.

So, Samantha Eggar’s character never really lets her go beyond the tasks of the script but it is nevertheless a very effective and absorbing portrayal of a frightened woman. Like an animal in a cage, we watch how she tries to escape, we see how she goes through various psychological states of minds from refusal to acceptance to sympathy for her kidnapper and pure fear of death and she is also able to prevent her character from stepping too much into the background next to the diabolical work from Terrence Stamp.

For this, she gets


Best Actress 1965: Elizabeth Hartman in "A Patch of Blue"

Elizabeth Hartman received her only Oscar nomination for her film debut in A Patch of Blue. In this modern fairly tale, she plays a young, innocent and uneducated blind girl who is tortured by her abusive mother but finds love and happiness with a man she meets in the park – not knowing that he is black.

As I said, this movie is like a fairy tale with Shelley Winters as the evil mother, Sidney Poitier as the knight in shining armor and Elizabeth Hartman as the innocent princess who must be rescued.

A Patch of Blue is a very moving and unforgettable story which couldn’t succeed without the central performance from Elizabeth Hartman. In the role of Selina, her biggest challenge is to actually make the audience believe that a character like her could really exist. Selina is a girl who was never taught much, who has to live with an abusive mother who beats her every day but at the same time there is something optimistic and joyful about her. She doesn’t know any other world than her own – she has no idea what life outside of the little apartment she lives in has to offer and so he has adjusted herself to her life.

Elizabeth Hartman gives a wonderfully simple performance that illuminates the simple character she is playing at every second. She avoids any grand gestures and emotions and instead gives an honest and emotionally captivating performance that turns Selina into one of the most tragic and at the same time uplifting characters of all time which is a remarkable feat.

The core of the movie is the relationship between Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Hartman. Both actors share a wonderful chemistry that is an innocent love and deep understanding. Selina doesn’t know that Gordon is black, she only knows that he is a good man and that she can trust him. She is such a childlike character that she simply needs someone to guide her, to show her the way since her own family will never do that. The way Elizabeth Hartman instinctively touches her hair when she thinks that Gordon is coming is a wonderfully honest moment that is impossible to forget.

Elizabeth Hartman has so much to do in this movie and she does it without ever overdoing it. It’s an incredibly subtle performance and the biggest miracle is how believable she is in this almost unbelievable part. In the hands of a lesser actress, a lot of moments could have made the viewer roll their eyes because Selina is so impossible naïve sometimes but Elizabeth Hartman is so honest and real in her interpretation that Selina becomes incredibly captivating.
The scene when she is telling Gordon that she was raped by a friend of a mother in a total matter-of-fact way and later her regret that she can’t be a virgin for Gordon is another moment that is incredibly shocking but not only because of the situation itself but also because Selina doesn’t even seem to understand what she is saying. Elizabeth Hartman is heartbreaking in these moments without ever emphasizing the situation.

Besides giving a wonderful performance of a difficult character, Elizabeth Hartman also plays various difficult and also hard to pull off-scenes amazingly. Her fear when she is alone in the park and a thunderstorm comes, her breakdown in the apartment when all her anger and frustration are let out or the first time when she dares to speak against her mother – this is all done wonderfully and Elizabeth Hartman turns Selina into a character that’s impossible not to root for.

Also the technical aspects of the performance are done very convincingly and naturally. At every moment of the movie, Elizabeth Hartman is convincing as a blind girl. But she never draws any attention to Selina’s blindness – instead, she shows that this is a simple part of her character that Selina has gotten used to a long time ago. She has arranged herself with the situation and accepts it.

It’s a performance that takes the viewer on an emotional roller coaster ride – Elizabeth Hartman is able to break and warm your heart almost at the same time and she gives an incredibly effective and realistic performance in this modern fairy tale. For this, she gets


YOUR Best Actress of 1947

Here are the results of the poll:

1. Rosalind Russell - Mournng Becomes Electra (19 votes)

2. Susan Hayward - Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (7 votes)

3. Joan Crawford - Possessed (4 votes)

4. Loretta Young - The Farmer's Daughter (2 votes)

5. Dorothy McGuire - Gentleman's Agreement (0 votes)

Thanks to everyone for voting!


Best Actress 1965: Julie Christie in "Darling"

1965 was the year of Julie Christie. She starred in the successful epic Doctor Zhivago and in the stylish satire Darling for which she took home the Best Actress Oscar.

In Darling, Julie played Diana Scott, an immoral model who sleeps her way to the top.

What is simple astonishing about this performance is how perfect Julie Christie is – she totally inhabits the character of Diana to the point that she doesn’t seem to be acting anymore. She is completely natural at everything she is doing in this performance and that is a lot. Basically, the role of Diana is one big Oscar clip – she cries, she laughs, she screams, she loves, she hates, she is subtle, she is over-the-top. And Julie Christie is able to deliver this firework of emotions without ever making it seem unreal or overdone. She finds exactly the right tone for her character to fit her performance to the style of the movie.

Essentially, Diana is an awful human being – she may be charming and captivating in a way that it’s impossible to hold any grudge against her, but at the same time it’s apparent that she has no morals and doesn’t care the slightest bit about other people. She always starts something new until she gets bored with it, leaves everyone and everything behind and starts something new again until she gets bored with that, too. But finally she does something new that she can’t get out again – she marries an Italian prince. And when she gets bored again, there is no way out for her anymore.

Julie Christie flawlessly shows that Diana is not evil. She never hurts anyone on purpose – she just doesn’t know any better. In her world, only her interests count. She is rather childlike in this perspective – when she wants something, then she won’t rest until she has it. But suddenly she finds something or someone else and from now on, this is the most important thing for her. And in her views, she never really hurts anyone because what’s best for her must also be best for everyone else. Because Diana is such a fascinating, exotic and stunningly beautiful woman, she tends to get away with everything which only encourages her in her behavior. She simply never wastes a thought about other people, she is simple the kind of person who is only looking after her own interests.

When something doesn’t go the way she planned it, then Diana seems to become confused, surprised and takes the way that most children would take – she cries. These tears are wonderfully fake and real at the same time. Real because Diana is crying but also fake because she is only doing it to get what she wants. Julie Christie balances this wonderfully.

She also handles all the more dramatic and exhausting scenes perfectly. Her long walk of desperation through her empty castle is a very impressive moment, just as her big fight scenes with Dirk Bogarde which are just as convincing as her more joyful moments.

Julie Christie certainly inhabits the character of Diana like nobody else could have.

But even though the role of Diana is a real showcase on any level, it never really goes beyond the big emotions and grand gestures. Julie Christie perfectly understands who Diana is and is so able to fill her with much more depth and complexity than the screenplay demands but at the same time this works against her because the screenplay never allows her character to grow. Instead it is the world around her that is changing. Because of that, Julie’s performance tends to repeat itself - she is charming and lovely, then gets bored, then angry, she starts to scream and to cry, then she is charming and lovely again, then she gets bored, then she acts angry and then starts to scream and to cry. It’s all done very impressively but the viewer has basically seen everything after 30 minutes while the movie keeps going for another 2 hours.

Still, Julie Christie wonderfully carries this story and brings a very memorable character to life. For this, she gets