December 13, 2014

Round-Up: Actress 1941

5. Olivia de Havilland, Hold Back the Dawn

4. Joan Fontaine, Suspicion

3. Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust

2. Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire


IN CONCLUSION: A pretty average actressing year statistically speaking (as together the five ladies average a 3), but if you ask me I'd say it's slightly below average, just because I'm not very passionate about my #1 or #2 (meaning I'm confident in their scores but neither performance gets me excited). Davis takes the win pretty easily for me over Stanwyck, but I'll be damned if I say I'm as in love with her Regina as others are. But I guess it's time to congratulate Bette for finally writhing her way to an (Oscargasms) Oscar win after several tries (and still several more to come)! Garson is safely in the middle, though I fluctuate between whether or not I want to bump up her score by a statue (but time will tell if I can fathom sitting through Blossoms in the Dust again). As for the marquee highlight of '41--the de Havilland vs. Fontaine SISTER SHOWDOWN FOR OSCAR'S LOVE--I wasn't really impressed with either sister. Ultimately I liked Fontaine a little bit more than I did de Havilland just because Fontaine has more to do (even if she doesn't quite do that much and even if Suspicion kind of sucked). As for other also-rans of the year...I'll just start off with the obvious: Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve is an atrocious snub (handily my win had she been nom'd for that one), and shame on Oscar for nominating Stanwyck for a lesser offering of that year. There's also Barbara Stanwyck in Meet John Doe (which I didn't bother to watch because I really didn't want to have to sit through a third film with Gary Cooper), Vivien Leigh for That Hamilton Woman, Wendy Hiller for Major BarbaraMary Astor in Best Picture nominee The Maltese Falcon (though I guess her Best Supporting Actress win was enough), Jean Arthur in The Devil and Miss Jones, Martha Scott in my main man's One Foot in Heaven, Carole Lombard for Mr. and Mrs. Smith (charming as per usual!), and Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade (whom I would nominate as I thought she was swell!)

Well that wraps up a rather underwhelming year (just as I suspected too...shame there weren't any surprises). On to the next and let's hope the offerings are more interesting!


  1. We really disagree about this year. I can't believe de Havilland is last, such a beautiful performance. :(

    Did you watch That Hamilton Woman? Leigh is good in it?

    Curiously, I am more excited about you reviewing Agnes Moorehead NYFCC win than the Oscar nominees. The opinions about this performance are very divisive.

    1. Sorry :( I know how much you liked it. I have much higher hopes for her other nominations, particularly Snake Pit and Heiress.

      And I haven't yet seen That Hamilton Woman, but am looking forward to!

      You caught on to my NYFCC posts! Just saw Magnificent Ambersons,'s a very interesting performance indeed.

  2. "I understand we're getting a larger share, why is that...?"
    "Because I did a little bargaining for you, and to convince my brothers they're not the only Hubbards with a business sense."
    "Did you have to convince them of that? How little people know each other. You'll know better about Regina next time, Ben..."

    Davis herself, once on the Carson program, listed her Oscar regrets and Foxes wasn't one of them in her own statement. She seemed to understand that her Judith Traherne like every other lady character of 1939, was sure to be steamrolled by Scarlett. Margo Channing stung more, but she no longer was a contract studio player, and had 20th Century Fox lobbied for her, they'd also have no more certain call on her services either. Jane Hudson, she liked to blame on Crawford's disinclination to lobby for the film, and saw as open betrayal Crawford's public offer to pick up the 1962 Oscar for any nominee not present (which she did on Anne Bancroft's behalf).

    Even if she doesn't earn your top five here, I'm grateful she's pushed up so far. "You were perfectly safe while Horace lived to say he lent you the bonds. But Horace is no longer alive. I've already said I want 75 percent of the business in exchange for the bonds. This I haven't said: if I don't get what I want, I'll put all of you in jail." The sister from hell - I love it. :)

    1. P.S. While I'm lauding this film, and since Fredric March is so prized here, a shout out to the Foxes prequel, "Another Part of the Forest," released in 1948, with Ann Blyth and Edmond O'Brien as twenty-somethings Regina and Ben, the stunt casting of Dan Duryea as young Oscar, Betsy Blair as Birdie, and March and Florence Eldridge as the Hubbard parents. It's not Foxes but it's quite good, and the amorality didn't skip any generations.

    2. Much thanks on the Another Part of the Forest intel! I was not aware of there being a Foxes prequel, never mind one starring Freddie boy. I will definitely take a look into it when I have the time!

    3. While it lasts, here's the entire "Another Part Of The Forest" on YouTube.

  3. Yaaaay, Bette won! :P

    About a decade ago I saw either Waterloo Bridge or Hamilton Woman. I don't remember which :)) #similar I think it was Hamilton Woman. Not much to it, if I remember correctly.

    1. Yay finally!!! ;P After scoring Bette for Foxes, part of me was worried I'd never like a Bette Davis perf enough to give her a win...which would be a shame. I know you'd be the first to bring up All About Eve and Baby Jane, but given that I wasn't as keen on Bette in Foxes and everyone else raves her makes me wonder...

      and I've seen Waterloo Bridge and thought Leigh was really good, so perhaps it was Hamilton you saw and it wasn't too great :)

  4. 1950 is such a feast, I could totally see you going for one of the other 2 big contenders. So no, I wouldn't expect Bette to win 1950 for you. :) Same goes for 1962, I guess.
    So this might just be the only win (I have stayed away from Skeffington which I heard is a nightmare, and The Star is too low key I guess - haven't seen).

    which leaves us with Now, Voyager, which if I remember correctly, just like Foxes, it shows a bit of a different side of Bette's acting (far from the Dark Victory faces), but this time on the softer side. I hope you like it, even if you end up choosing Kate.

    For some reason I thought both starred Olivier. But no, upon further research, I saw Hamilton Woman, and more than a decade ago I gave it a 7/10. :)