Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Verdict -- Best Supporting Actress 1962

#5. Thelma Ritter in Birdman of Alcatraz: A career recognition Oscar nomination if I've ever seen one. Ritter plays the character of Mrs. Stroud with a robotic proficiency that gives her character very little personality and and underwhelming sense of mediocrity. Yes, her final scene is a blockbuster and had she been allowed to expand on that, she just might have been able to deliver a better performance than this average one.

#4. Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird: Young Mary Badham just doesn't have the experience or acting talent to play the role of Scout in the American classic. She makes Scout loveable and relatable, but can't quite navigate the complex emotional journey that her character is supposed to go through in the course of the film. I can't fault the poor young actress too much, because she tries her best but just can't reach that deep. She's too happy and unlike the character.

#3. Shirley Knight in Sweet Bird of Youth: This rating was the most disappointing of all these five performances for me to give. It's because the potential in this performance following that first scene was just so great. In that first startling scene, she gives a completely different performance from the rest of the film. Heavenly goes from being intelligent, independent, and unexpectedly morbid to a simple minded prop that the rest of the characters manipulate with ease. It's not Shirley Knight's fault per se, but I can't reward her too amply.

#2. Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate: The most iconic performance in the bunch, but being iconic does not make the performance a great one. Lansbury does a great job at making Mrs. Iselin a memorable screen villain, but not one with a particular amount of depth. Instead, she just plays a really great caricature of a villain that can't rise about that status as a caricature. I don't want to sound too down on this performance, but I don't see what everybody else does. It's a one-note performance done quite well.

#1. Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker: Patty Duke's performance just could not be denied the win. This is a performance that just grabs a hold of you at the start of the film and continues to be startling and moving throughout the film. Duke doesn't just play Helen Keller, but channels her in every single way possible. Beautiful, haunting, and complex. None of the other nominees even comes close to touching her in terms of effectiveness. A one-note performance done brilliantly.

The Year in Review: By far the easiest verdict I've had to give to date. Patty is just heads above every other nominated lady. It wasn't a particularly fun year to do for me, as you can tell since it took me over two months to do it (Yikes!). I promise to speed the process up for my next year! Promise, promise, promise! Also, I choose all my years randomly, so as much as I love recommendations for years to do, I prefer to keeps this spontaneous and out of my own hands. But I may do a poll someday. =)

All Supporting Actress Nominee Ranking:
  1. Patty Duke in "The Miracle Worker"
  2. Anna Paquin in "The Piano"
  3. Emma Thompson in "In the Name of the Father"
  4. Claire Trevor in  "Dead End"
  5. May Whitty in "Night Must Fall"
  6. Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate"
  7. Anne Shirley in "Stella Dallas"
  8. Shirley Knight in "Sweet Bird of Youth"
  9. Rosie Perez in "Fearless"
  10. Alice Brady in "In Old Chicago"
  11. Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  12. Holly Hunter in "The Firm"
  13. Thelma Ritter in "Birdman of Alcatraz"
  14. Winona Ryder in "The Age of Innocence"
  15. Andrea Leeds in  "Stage Door"

No comments: