After having watched and reviewed all five nominated performances, it's time to pick the winner!
Jane Wyman is believable in an almost unbelievable part and she thankfully avoided any over-the-top moments but at the same time the script and her character don’t allow her to give a performance that ever goes beyond the surface of Douglas Sirk’s kitschy images. The greater truth in Helen Philips is too often sacrificed for the sake of the melodrama and what remains overall is a performance that is both able to make you roll your eyes and break your heart.
Dorothy Dandridge sometimes may feel too forced in her attempts to appear un-forced but she also finds a lot of naturalism in everything she is doing. She fulfils the purpose of the character with ease and more often than once burns up the screen with fiery passion. She’s not as fascinating as the story suggests she is but it’s still a remarkable and passionate performance of a remarkable and passionate character.
Audrey Hepburn is her usual winning self and gives her part a strength and effectiveness other actress might have missed but the role still doesn’t allow her to explore her talents as other roles later in her career did. Sabrina only exists in her search for Mr. Right. This allows Audrey Hepburn to give her signature sparkle, wear beautiful dresses and show some tears but she’s not able to really leave the one-dimensionality that Sabrina represents behind.
2. Grace Kelly in The Country Girl
Georgie Elgin is a role that could be played and interpreted in many ways and Grace Kelly risked a lot by not going the easy route by showing Georgie as a helpless victim of her husband’s addiction – instead, she was not afraid to demonstrate how sick she seems to be of the man she shares a little flat with. It’s a very strong performance that realized all of the part’s possibilities and successfully showed new facets of Grace Kelly’s talents and personality.
Judy Garland tells the story of great success and personal tragedy in a larger-than-life way while putting her heart and soul into every scene she appears in. Esther Blodgett seems to be so easy for her while appearing as an incredible challenge at the same time – she was re-written and re-created from 1937 to give Judy Garland the chance to use every bit of her talents in the way that is most comfortable for her and allows her to demonstrate various dramatic and musical heights without ever having to struggle to reach them.