May 31, 2017

Bette Davis • All About Eve

as Margo Channing
Bette Davis, All About Eve
Won: New York Film Critics Circle - Best Actress • Cannes Film Festival - Best Actress

At long last, we’ve come to Bette Davis. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this performance and have attempted this write-up 3+ times, only to give up and shelve it away for a later time.

Why? Because this is a performance that has been praised to the high heavens, and yet…it’s played in quite a straightforward manner. It's executed in such a way that is potent but far from what one might deem as “mind blowing” or “revelatory.” Unlike the likes of Gloria Swanson and Judy Holliday, Davis isn’t projecting a character with eyesore and ear sore idiosyncrasies. She is playing Margo Channing forthright. Simply put, Davis does not transform into “Margo Channing” - she instead takes the character and shape-shifts it to fit a “Bette Davis” mold. The beauty of it all is that the character is a perfect fit to the actress - Davis may very well be playing herself, but this is an instance in which both character and actress persona fuse together seamlessly.

May 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Oscargasms!

Happy 4th Birthday to Oscargasms!

I'll keep it brief: my apologies for the infrequent posts in the last few months (in tandem with my very lagging coverage of 1950!) I have no excuses - I've been lazy with the free time that I have, and have used it going out, catching up on shows, and laying around doing a whole lot of nothing. Rest assured that I have started the Bette Davis post and hope to queue it up shortly before segueing into 1951, and I will try to cover that year at a more speedier pace. In any case, thank you for your patience and thank you thank you for the continued readership!* It really does means a lot.

*I also seem to be unable to produce comments, not sure why? Hope to get that sorted out soon as well. 

April 29, 2017

Anne Baxter • All About Eve

as Eve Harrington
Anne Baxter, All About Eve
Within the time-honored tale of 1950's Best Actress race, a question presents itself: in demanding that she be campaigned in the lead actress category for her work in All About Eve, did Anne Baxter inadvertently create a vote-splitting scenario against co-star and co-nominee Bette Davis, thereby contributing to the latter's loss to Judy Holliday?

The myth of the vote-split so heavily looms around the lexicon of the Academy Awards and its ensuing awards campaigns such that we've not seen multiple stars of one film in the lead actress category since 1991 (Julia Roberts in August: Osage County and Rooney Mara in Carol be damned). I'm of the belief that the concept of vote splitting in relation to double-nominees from the same film is an inflated myth. As victories from Shirley MacLaine, F. Murray Abraham, and Peter Finch demonstrate, there are external factors that come into play for one's Oscar glory. You can't argue that Debra Winger, Tom Hulce, and William Holden could have realistically won when their counterparts were either more acclaimed or perceived as more "overdue". Such is the case for Baxter - if you eliminated Davis from the equation, would she really have stood a chance against Holliday and Swanson?