After having watched and reviewed all five nominated performances, it's time to pick the winner!
5. Bette Davis in Mr. Skeffington
In her attempt to turn Fanny into a charming and lovely socialite while also showing her many flaws, Bette Davis crafted a most unfortunate creation, rid of any appeal or logic and that way unable to carry such a long and character-driven story. She clearly saw the tasks she was given with this role but her way of bringing this character to live is often a failure and sometimes even unbearable.
Claudette Colbert gives an effective, charming, sometimes moving, sometimes humorous performance that isn’t necessarily a great achievement in acting but still a delightful and memorable pierce of work, especially considering how underwritten and underused the character of Anne Hilton actually is.
Greer Garson may not truly create something otherworldly in her performance but the sheer energy and naturalness she shows in this part is enough to praise her for having done so much with so little. There is warmth, wisdom and strength in her portrayal and she also combines the woman of the present-day scenes perfectly with the woman of the flashback scenes.
2. Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight
Ingrid Bergman found a wonderful way to use an acting style that is both modern and ‘old Hollywood’ to give a performance that remains constantly impressive because of both the technical outside and the emotional, three-dimensional inside. She turns Gaslight into a dark and suspenseful ride, fulfilling the tasks of the story while adding her own personality and screen presence to craft a powerful and lasting presence.
Barbara Stanwyck added the needed mysteriousness and eroticism to the role but she was not afraid to show a more vulgar and common side in her character which helped her to achieve a much more realistic and three-dimensional performance. She lies to the audience about Phyllis while telling them the truth at the same time. A very engaging, dangerous and spellbinding performance.