Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Verdict -- Best Supporting Actress 1953

#5. Marjorie Rambeau in Torch Song: Such a waste of a nomination. In a film that's so overflowing with Joan Crawford's diva attitude, it's bizarre that such a wisp of a performance got the recognition. She's in the movie for such a brief amount of time, and doesn't do anything memorable with that time. Her mannerisms are off putting and   exaggerated, and she doesn't register on any level other than bad.

#4. Grace Kelly in Mogambo: The hardest performance for me to write about, because I just find myself completely ambivalent towards everything about Grace Kelly in Mogambo. I'll admit that she has a pretty thankless role and Clark Gable is terrible, but her inexperience doesn't help. She has moments good, bad, and in between that leads to an uneven performance. She's quite beautiful, though, and that is what I assume helped her get the nomination (along with the gossip columns).

#3. Donna Reed in From Here to Eternity: In the outstanding ensemble cast like of From Here to Eternity, Donna Reed comes off as the clear weak link. It's not that she's terrible, but rather that she is a little too average in a role that should have a lot more vivacity. She starts off strong with a clear eroticism, and descends into mediocrity, and finally ends up horribly awkward. It's tough to see an actress squander such a juicy role with a perfectly okay performance that could go much, much farther than she takes it. Not the worst winner, but perhaps one of the most disappointing in terms of potential.

#2. Geraldine Page in Hondo: The most grounded and natural performance of the bunch, Geraldine Page gives a warm and balanced performance as Angie Lowe. She's given a somewhat unbelievable romance and a ham of a romantic interest, but Page handles it all as best she could. Angie's interest in Hondo grows as each scenes goes by, which Page shows through a series of calculated lingering stares and smiles. It's those scenes where she is allowed to express her interest where Angie really shines in the film. Page's onscreen charisma and grace is on full display, and you can see where this actress could grow to be one of Oscar's favorites. Nothing extraordinary, but solid work.

#1. Thelma Ritter in Pickup on South Street: An easy winner in this weak year, Thelma Ritter's touching performance as Moe would be wonderful in any year. Her character is one that could easily fall into stereotype or gimmickry, but Thelma does an amazing job at creating a complete character that has real emotional moments and every scene is superbly calculated. Her final speech is one of the best scene I've seen in any movie, and sealed the deal for Thelma's win.

The Year in Review: The most agonizing year yet, only because so many of these performances just weren't that good. I apologize that the quality of this 'Verdict' isn't quite up to par, it's just that I haven't felt up to writing about these women for weeks now and just would like to move on. Geraldine and Thelma are proficient enough, but Grace and Marjorie really put a damper on this field. My next year is still to be determined, but I'm hoping that I'll be doing a more recent year to jolt this blog back to life.

All Supporting Actress Nominees Ranking:
  1. Patty Duke in "The Miracle Worker" (1962)
  2. Dorothy Malone in "Written on the Wind" (1956)
  3. Thelma Ritter in "Pickup on South Street" (1953)
  4. Linda Hunt in "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1983)
  5. Anna Paquin in "The Piano" (1993)
  6. Cher in "Silkwood" (1983)
  7. Eileen Heckart in "The Bad Seed" (1956)
  8. Emma Thompson in "In the Name of the Father" (1993)
  9. Patty McCormack in "The Bad Seed"(1956)
  10. Claire Trevor in "Dead End" (1937)
  11. May Whitty in "Night Must Fall" (1937)
  12. Mildred Dunnock in "Baby Doll"(1956)
  13. Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate"(1962)
  14. Geraldine Page in "Hondo" (1953)
  15. Alfre Woodard in "Cross Creek" (1983)
  16. Anne Shirley in "Stella Dallas" (1937)
  17. Amy Irving in "Yentl"(1983)
  18. Shirley Knight in "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962)
  19. Rosie Perez in "Fearless" (1993)
  20. Donna Reed in "From Here to Eternity" (1953)
  21. Glenn Close in "The Big Chill"(1983)
  22. Alice Brady in "In Old Chicago" (1937)
  23. Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962)
  24. Holly Hunter in "The Firm" (1993)
  25. Thelma Ritter in "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962)
  26. Winona Ryder in "The Age of Innocence" (1993)
  27. Grace Kelly in "Mogambo" (1953)
  28. Mercedes McCambridge in "Giant"(1956)
  29. Marjorie Rambeau in "Torch Song" (1953)
  30. Andrea Leeds in  "Stage Door"(1937)

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