Blog Archives

A Film in Images: Persona

The All-Time Favourites #15: Cries and Whispers (1972)

Scenes from a Marriage (1973) ★★★★★

I Love Ya Frances McDormand, but EMILY WATSON WAS ROBBED! And Five Other Best Actress Travesties

A recent re-watch of Lars von Trier’s fantastic Breaking the Waves starring Emily Watson in a lifechanging, career-best role prompted the question, “How the Hell did Frances McDormand win the Oscar over her?” Don’t get me wrong, I love Fargo, and I thought McDormand was brilliant in her role, but when you compare it to Watson, it’s nothing. So, before I write a list of five other Best Actress choices that IMO were completely wrong, I invite you to vote in a poll, the second poll I’ve posted in two days. If you haven’t seen both films, don’t vote. Watch them. Particularly Breaking the Waves, which I’m planning to make the next Weekly Movie Challenge movie which I’ll post in a few days. But if you’ve seen ’em both, then tell me, who was better? McDormand, or Watson?

Thanks for voting, and if you didn’t, go watch both movies!

Now, for five Best Actress Oscars awarded to the wrong person:

1960: Elizabeth Taylor (Butterfield Eight) over Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment):

Okay, we all know Liz Taylor was a fantastic actress, and I’m not denying it, but in this particular instance MacLaine played her respective role in Billy Wilder’s masterpiece a million times better than Taylor ever could. She carried the right mood of sadness, regret and melancholy. Terrific when contrasted against Jack Lemmon’s infinitely optimistic lead role.

1976: Faye Dunaway (Network) over Liv Ullmann (Face to Face):

First of all: Network is one of my favourite movies of all time, and talking of Lumet, I prefer it to 12 Angry Men. But Dunaway was merely a supporting role in comparison to the huge, lumbering force that was Peter Finch. Not insulting Dunaway at all. And Ullmann was so deserving of an Oscar ever since Persona, so it was great to see her nominated, and she was fantastic in Face to Face, and giving her the Oscar for that might’ve been a decent atonement for the Persona, Shame and Cries and Whispers snubs.

1980: Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter) over Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People):

I’m sorry to say it, but I can’t stand either of these actresses. Moore is annoying, and Spacek has struck me as freaky ever since Carrie, but you’ve got to admit Moore’s turn as the ignorant, possibly uncaring, self-occupied mother in Ordinary People, a brilliant film is much more powerful, is a fantastic example of talent in Hollywood, a performance no-one expected.

1987: Cher (Moonstruck) over all the other nominees:

Just kidding. This one doesn’t count. Or does it?

2000: Julia Roberts (Erin Brock0vich) over Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream):

This is probably the one I feel most strongly about. Burstyn was fantastic; at the top of her game in a role that was MADE for her. She went through Hell to make the movie, and sacrificed a lot of sanity by really sinking her teeth into a heartbreaking role, and all Julia Roberts did was promote feminism and sue a lot of people (not that that’s bad, it’s just not as good as what Burstyn did.)

2001: Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball) over Naomi Watts (Mulholland Dr.) [not nominated]

I don’t know if this one counts because Watts was never actually nominated, but her performance as the angelic Betty (whose darker side is revealed in the film’s powerhouse finale, one of the best twists of all time) is one of my favourites of the decade. It’s nothing short of fantastic, and why she wasn’t even nominated is beyond me?

Agree? Disagree? What other actresses do you think were snubbed/ignored, or wrongly chosen for the Oscar? Let me know down below in the comments. Thanks for reading.