My current Top 5

My current Top 5

4/25/2015

Best Actress Ranking - Update

Here is a new update. The newly added performance is highlighted in bold. 

1. Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind (1939)
2. Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
3. Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress (1949)
4. Anne Bancroft in The Graduate (1967)
5. Janet Gaynor in Seventh Heaven (1927-1928)   
6. Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
7. Edith Evans in The Whisperers (1967)
8. Greta Garbo in Ninotchka (1939)
9. Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
10. Bette Davis in The Little Foxes (1941)

11. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965)
12. Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire (1941)
13. Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun (1951)
14. Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
15. Meryl Streep in One True Thing (1998)
16. Katharine Hepburn in Guess who’s coming to dinner (1967)
17. Teresa Wright in The Pride of the Yankees (1942) 
18. Jennifer Jones in Love Letters (1945)
19. Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year (1978)
20. Loretta Young in Come to the Stable (1949)  

21. Shirley MacLaine in The Turning Point (1977)
22. Irene Dunne in Cimarron (1930-1931)
23. Diana Wynyard in Cavalcade (1932-1933)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I'm kind of surprised by this Fritz :D MacLaine is below Loretta Young so it means she's a 2 for The Turning Point! I personally thought she was quite good, nothing amazing and the movie is mediocre (how terrible was Leslie Brown?!), but I liked her well enough. I'd definitely put her above Jennifer Jones in Love Letters.

Fritz said...

I thought for a very long time if I put her above and below Young but in the end I decided for this position because MacLaine commits one of the worst sins for me when it comes to acting: she is completely uninteresting. I can forgive bad moments if they are compensated by anything that keeps me interested by MacLaine gives a totally uninspired and one-note performance. She is not able to make me care about Deedee in any way, her interpretation of the character is too focused on her bitchiness. Look at Anne Bancroft who gives so much more layers to her work. At the end of the movie, I know nothing about Deedee. Everything in MacLaine's performance happens on the surface, she just speaks her lines and leaves again, she never creates any depth. None of the big moments create any emotional punch - her final scene with her husband comes and go without leaving any impression, in her scenes with Bancroft she is constantly overshadowed and her one big scene with Leslie Browne is ruined by her own acting and the awfulness of her screen partner. Yes, Leslie Browne is truly horrendous and maybe the worst nominee ever for Supporting Actress. It's certainly not MacLaine's fault that Brown is so bad but she seems absolutely helpless in her teary monologue and the screenplay also doesn't help her as Deedee basically justifies her cheating on her husband with the words "Yes, other people cheat too, maybe even you father". It's a horrible scene and MacLaine is to blame for that, too.

The thing is, she is not bad when you watch the movie. Her performance fits nicely in it and she doesn't do any harm but when you focus on her work exclusively it becomes obvious how little she actually does. I think she is more miscast than anything - an actress with more ability to find layers in this character and make her regrest more three-dimentionsal (MacLaine's Deedeed only seems to regret everything and she finds no connection at all to the cast members who play her familiy - does she love them, does she wish they wouldn't exist???) might have done much, much, much more with this role. When you look at the awards run of The Turning Point, it also becomes obvious that MacLaine simply got swept along with the movie - she wasn't nominated for anything apart from the Oscar while Bancroft got all the important pre-Oscar nominations and also got some critics wins.

The thing if also, of course, that the position of MacLaine does not mean she is bad per se - when you rank Oscar-nominated performances, some of them just have to be at the bottom. And there are still many more performances to come, so who knows where she ends up in the end.

I hope this explains my reason for my ranking. :)

Anonymous said...

You explained your thoughts perfectly :) I mean it's not like I totally disagree with you - I agree that she's not a very interesting presence and I too preferred Bancroft (easily), but I have to admit that MacLaine impressed me in a few scenes during the last act of the movie (I actually liked her monologue). I think I'd give her a 3 or, if generous, a 3.5: she wasn't really great, but I thought that she still gave a nice performance that made that movie a little more bearable to me. Anyway, we totally agree on one thing: Leslie Brown. God she's awful... In most of her scenes she's dull and awkwardly stilted and in her drunk scene she's just terrible... Michail Baryšnikov wasn't quite as bad, but he gave quite a charmless performance with many odd line readings. I really don't care for the movie except for the two leading actresses, and I have a feeling that a rewatch could actually make me like them both a bit less.

Fritz said...

Brown is an amazing dancer but truly a horrible actress. She has the same kind of vague and (sorry) dumb expression on her face the entire time of the movie.

Fisti said...

LOL, The Turning Point in general is just severely uninteresting.

Allen said...

^^Fritz I think your above comment is as close to a review as it can get ;) I miss your reviews. Know I've said this before, but I figured I'd tell you again anyways.

Fritz said...

Thanks a lot, Allen! :) Love reading your reviews and look forward to your thoughts on 1944 (especially Bette Davis). If you guys like, I can put my thoughts into a short comment below the ranking - it's not a real review but maybe helps to understand my reasoning. :)

Anonymous said...

That would be amazing Fritz!

joe burns said...

The Turning Point is a "WTF Were They Thinking?" kind of movie when it comes to the Oscars. Didn't like Shirley that much either. Bancroft is better, but her part is so limited.