My current Top 5

My current Top 5

7/12/2011

Number 45: Dianne Wiest as Holly in "Hannah and her Sisters" (Best Supporting Actress Ranking)

I used to dislike this performance for a very long time and never got all the praise it received – but this time, I am more on the pro-side and will admit that Dianne Wiest gives a great and memorable performance in Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sister (but I will forever stand by my opinion that Barbara Hershey was the true stand-out in the cast and should have won that Oscar).

In the part of Holly, a neurotic wanna-be actress with some drug problems in her past, Dianne Wiest gets a chance to display all her qualities for being neurotic, a little crazy, unusual. All these tics combined with her talent for comedy and drama work very well and create maybe not the most interesting character in the movie but one who constantly develops new shades and characteristics.

Dianne Wiest’s Holly is pretty much an extremely unhappy character, something she likes to blame others for even though the truth is that she owes a lot of her unhappiness to herself. She doesn’t get ahead as an actress, the man she likes dates her friend, nobody seems to see her as a serious person but rather as a never-ending cause of trouble and problems. So it’s actually nice to see how Dianne Wiest lets Holly slowly find new self-respect and a new meaning in life – at the end of Hannah and her Sister, all characters have changed but no other change came as unexpected and at the same time gladly welcomed as that of Holly.

Dianne Wiest’s talent for comedy and drama works in great harmony with Woody Allen’s script and work as a director – she constantly finds some surprising ways to make the viewer laugh even in a serious situation while she can quickly bring a certain sadness and hopelessness into more funny moments. Her most memorable moment is easily her date with Woody Allen ('The room is alive with constant vibration!’ or ‘I love songs about extra-terrestrial live, don’t you?’ and ‘I was so bored!!!’ or the way she is always moving while sitting in the restaurant) but she also works very well with Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey. During their dinner in a restaurant, it becomes clear how extremely difficult Holly is but at the same time it’s obvious that she never acts with the intention to hurt or harm anybody – she simply doesn’t know any better.

Holly’s little self-esteem is also shown when she tells Hannah about an audition for a Broadway musical and lets one remark from her confuse her completely. All these moments are a nice contrasts to later moments when she dares to ask Mickey if he would like to read her script and when she begins to get her life together. Everything that was so annoying and difficult about Holly in the beginning suddenly becomes rather charming and captivating. And her final scene with Woody Allen is, of course, absolutely delightful (and I think that every actress who has to kiss Woody Allen and makes it look voluntarily deserves some kind of award…).

So, it took me some time to really appreciate this performance (but I still probably don’t appreciate it nearly as much as her countless fans) but by now I truly enjoy her work and respect her for all the details and thoughts that went into this performance and made it look completely fresh and original.

8 comments:

Louis Morgan said...

She certainly is very good, I also found that she improved on repeated viewings. Considering her competition though, it is very odd that Hershey was not also nominated.

Anonymous said...

And i will forever stand by my opinion that Wiest is one of the true stand-outs in this category and best in movie by far.:)Everyone has different taste and opinion,but is she really weaker than Beatrice Straight?

Fritz said...

Well, only one position weaker...

mrripley said...

Can i ask where hershey should have been placed etc.

dinasztie said...

I love her. Wonderful winner.

Fritz said...

@mrripley: mmh, not sure but surely in the Top 30.

mrripley said...

Hi,i meant lead or supp?

Fritz said...

Ah, sorry. Mmh, I always considered her supporting. I think the movie is an ensemble without a real lead.