November 3, 2014

Round-Up: Actress 1940

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5. Martha Scott, Our Town
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4. Bette Davis, The Letter
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3. Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle
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INTRODUCING...
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I've been cooking up this idea in the back of my head for awhile and had yet to get the opportunity to use it! So what better way than to introduce it now with my favorite category. Fives are a big deal for me, and I usually don't throw them out religiously because in actuality we are witness to more mediocre performances with the Oscars than we are to truly great ones that really have the power to wow. And so a BATTLE OF THE FIVES will be introduced whenever I give multiple nominees of the same category a five score. It's a playful little situation where I'll explain with a bit of detail my love for the chosen performances and walk through my thought process for crowning my eventual winner. And so for my first Battle of the Fives, we've got a newcomer in a gothic thriller and an established star in a comedy. Joan Fontaine's sweet fragility was a sight to see in Rebecca, whereas Katharine Hepburn totally dominates her comeback role in The Philadelphia Story. Kate truly does handle her performance with aplomb from the very beginning to the very end, whereas Joan dominates for much of the film before essentially disappearing in the last half hour--kind of a bummer, but Fontaine is so affecting at her best that I can't quite fault her. Kate's got a plethora of emotions going on in The Philadelphia Story--she's funny, insecure, bitchy, and poignant all at once. I had the toughest time deciding on a winner between the two...for about a week it was back and forth between Fontaine and Hepburn and for a hot minute I contemplated a tie, but then the thought of a tie annoys me because ~if~ I were a real Academy voter, it's not like I'd be allowed to jot down two names for my winner. So I proceeded to think some more about whom I liked more before finally settling on the final standings below. I can't say that I won't change my mind in the future, but this is how I feel at this very moment.

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2. Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story
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1. JOAN FONTAINE, REBECCA
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IN CONCLUSION: An overall strong year (as suspected)! We don't get too many strong groups of ladies during this era of Oscars so I'm pretty pleased. Martha Scott is the only nominee whose placing I was sure about. I debated for awhile over whom I liked the most between Bette Davis and Ginger Rogers, and ultimately settled on Ginger because her sweet warmth in Kitty Foyle does more for me than Bette's disconnect in The Letter. As mentioned, Joan Fontaine and Katharine Hepburn were neck-and-neck, each offering something different, and I'm still not 101% secure in this final placement as I adore both pretty equally. Ultimately I gave Fontaine the (slightest) edge due to how strongly she was able to make me feel for her character, even though she loses steam towards the end whereas Kate dominates the entirety of The Philadelphia Story. But my feels have gotten the best of me, and thus I crown Fontaine as my 1940 winner, albeit just barely. Other also-rans might have included Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge (who is great), Greer Garson in Pride and Prejudice (who is just whatever), Margaret Sullavan in The Shop Around the Corner (who was okay), and of course, Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (fantastic!). Davis also had All This, and Heaven Too and Barbara Stanwyck had Remember the Night. 1940 was rich with solid female performances, hurrah! That's a wrap on 1940.

6 comments:

  1. We have the same ranking o/ I hope Fontaine maintain her win.

    Loved the mention to Leigh, Sullavan and Russell, but I really dislike Garson in Pride and Prejudice.

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    1. I saw that we had the same ranking! Great minds think alike :D

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  2. Perfect ranking for this year! :)

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