After having watched and reviewed all five nominated performances, it's time to pick the winner!
5. Geraldine Page in Summer and Smoke
It seems that the word ‘confusing’ does describe this performance best because it is one of the most affected and ‘obvious’ performances this category has ever seen but at the same time there is something incredibly fascinating and heartbreaking about Geraldine Page’s portrayal that so beautifully catches so many nuances of Alma and is able, despite all the obstacles, to rise to the occasion of this demanding role.
Piper Laurie created Sarah as a mysterious and pathetic presence that both doesn’t and does fit into the environment of The Hustler. She may not be the driving force of the story and is mostly reacting to Paul Newman’s Eddie but her moving performance which effectively shows her character’s fate and tragedy evokes some unforgettable images.
Audrey Hepburn portrays this character with an acting style that combines her usual openness and relaxedness in front of the camera with a distinct closeness that seems to come from a sadness and maybe even a depression inside. Her grandest achievement is not only to look like the part but actually bringing it to life in a manner that is very natural considering the eccentric and stylized nature of the character.
2. Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass
Natalie Wood is usually not among the most celebrated actresses of her area but her here she gives an absolutely luminous and daring performance in which she handles the difficulties of the character with astonishing ease and earnestness. Even though her character goes from one extreme to the other in a world she doesn’t understand, Natalie Wood always played her with a strong combination of subtle emotions and shocking realism.
It’s obvious in every frame of La Ciociara that Sophia Loren felt a very strong connection to her character and that her ‘home field advantage’ helped her to give a very natural and stupendous performance. She created a character that is both simple and complex and she thankfully always kept its directness as she seemed to get lost in the feelings of Cesira and gave a performance that is neither studied nor overly spontaneous but rather a thought-out collection of emotional and intuitive gestures.