Supporting Actress Pros and Cons
Brooke from The Performance Review is asking bloggers both near and far to name their top five favorite and least-favorite Supporting Actress Oscar winners.
My top five favorite wins (in order of preference):
1) Dorothy Malone in Written on the Wind- It may not be the greatest work to win a Supporting Actress Oscar, but I once called Malone’s Marylee Hadley my favorite supporting performance, and I haven’t seen anyone who’s changed my opinion.
2) Rita Moreno in West Side Story- Moreno knocks it out of the park; her work as Anita is not close to perfection, it’s beyond it.
3) Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost- I can forgive any missteps in Whoopi’s career just for the scene wherein Oda Mae makes it clear she really doesn’t want to give away that money. She’s hilarious all-around, too.
4) Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower- Additional proof that work in a comedy can be as Oscar-worthy as any other kind of acting. The film’s not great, but Hawn is on-the-mark in sensational fashion.
5) Sandy Dennis in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?- I don’t know what the hell Dennis thinks she’s doing, but I can’t keep my eyes off her (very entertaining, and frequently inspired) neurotic ticking. An unmatched performance, whether one views Dennis' work in a good or bad sense.
My least-favorite (from worst to bad. Coming up with this list was tricky, as after the first couple choices, there’s not a lot of Supporting Actress Oscar performances I dislike):
1) Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain- It’s an awesome performance all right, but not in a good way. If only the concept behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was real, so I could erase this one from memory. I’m convinced an evil, untalented twin locked Renee in a closet and took her place just before Mountain commenced filming, as I refuse to believe this is the same girl we all fell in love with in Jerry Maguire.
2) Helen Hayes in Airport- Somewhere in Heaven, Hayes is thanking Renee for achieving the impossible by being even worse in Mountain than she was in Airport. Give Hayes credit, though: in her autobiography she states she kept far, far away from the movie, until she was on a cruise wherein some (supposed) friends tried to force her to finally watch the 1970 blockbuster onboard. Hayes told them she had to go back to her cabin and throw up instead. Smart lady.
3) Jane Darwell in The Grapes of Wrath- She has some touching scenes that helped her nab the Big One, but her Ma Joad largely consists of a lot of cloying, one-dimensional acting.
4) Gale Sondergaard in Anthony Adverse- The Supporting Actress category’s list of winners got off to a fairly undistinguished start, as Sondergaard also does a lot of showy one-note acting as the adverse villainess, Faith Paleologus.
5) Miyoshi Umeki in Sayonara- I can remember her name, but her performance escapes me, as I don’t recall anything about her work in Sayonara, while all four of her co-nominees gave distinctive, impressive performances- love Umeki in Flower Drum Song, though.