December 31, 2015

Round-Up: Actress 1946

5. Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

4. Rosalind Russell, Sister Kenny

3. Jane Wyman, The Yearling

2. Jennifer Jones, Duel in the Sun


IN CONCLUSION: Identical scores with the actors. Overall, I'm not that passionate about this bunch of ladies. Olivia de Havilland winning for the cliché baity performance that is otherwise a complete bore to watch? Rosalind Russell nominated for a cliché baity performance that's just a step up in the bore department over To Each his Own? Jane Wyman with a role that might be seen as supporting to some? Olivia comes in last because I was deadened by how dull her film was and how by-the-books her performance was. Jane edges out Roz because I felt as though the former does more with 'less' whereas the latter does just what she's supposed to do with 'more'. I had a moment where I was obsessing over Jones (as you could tell from my rather hefty write-up) and I was pondering whether or not such resonance on the mind would be deserving of five statues instead of four, even pondering whether such a performance might be worthy of a win given that I was spending so much time thinking about it. And then I watched Johnson...and it all made sense. As much as I loved Jones in my own obtuse way, there's no denying that Johnson is above and beyond all the others. In terms of who landed in at sixth place, I'm thinking:

Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, because girlfriend was coming off three consecutive nominations (and almost consecutive win) and was at peak popularity. You know that she was likely close to getting into this top five, though I'm not sure who she'd have knocked out. Probably Wyman? But she probably didn't get in because Wyman as a hardened, loving mother was probably more morally appealing to voters than a 'notorious' Bergman? But then again if that was the case, then what of Jones? I don't know. And I know I had cited her in Saratoga Trunk as being an also-ran for '45, but since Flora Robson got into Supporting Actress this year, I guess I'll cite her again.

I'm sure Myrna Loy and Gene Tierney were in contention for The Best Years of Our Lives and The Razor's Edge, for obvious reasons, with Myrna likely plopping in at around 6th or 7th place. In additional previous winner territory, we've got perennial fave Bette Davis in A Stolen Life and her arch-nemesis and last year's winner Joan Crawford for Humoresque. I'm sure they were a part of the conversation.

And had the Academy felt like opening up to more darker fare, there's Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Olivia de Havilland opted to campaign herself for the sequel to Madelon Claudet over The Dark Mirror. Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall and Ava Gardner may have been on the minds of voters for Gilda, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Big Sleep and The Killers. And soon-to-be-nominee Dorothy McGuire sounds juicy in The Spiral Staircase.

Might Judy Garland have been in contention for Till the Clouds Roll By? Or Irene Dunne for Anna and the King of Siam?

And in foreign contention, there's future-Oscar winner Anna Magnani for Rome, Open City and the very first winner for Best Actress out of Cannes Michele Morgan for La Symphonie Pastorale. Overall, looks like a stellar year for lady performances, and yet we ended up with the slate that we got.

That's that! This is my final post for 2015. Have a happy new year! I'm quite looking forward to finishing out this goddamn decade once and for all in the coming months. Here's to 2016's viewings being much better than 2015's.


  1. This was a pretty weak year for actresses. The only switch I'd make on your list is between Wyman and Jones. I rewatched "The Yearling" after your review and, while I do think her part was more of a supporting role, she's true to the character from start to finish and is more consistent than Jones.

    Of the others you mentioned, Loy's part is even smaller part than March's so I think that nixed her chances, but Bergman and Dunne were Academy favs so I'm surprised one of them didn't get in. Bergman played a "kept woman" as they used to say and the Academy may not have approved of her soiling her image, but Dunne played a feisty yet noble woman. What happened Academy? (Actually, I thought neither she nor her film were all that good.)

    Anyway, I'm glad you chose Johnson because she's the real jewel in this group. Good luck with the coming reviews in the New Year and keep in mind that the fifties is when Method Acting hit the screen, so when you finally get there at least your going to encounter some very interesting performances among the usual stuff.

    And thanks for all the hard work you do for this blog, Allen. It gives a lot of us classic film buffs so much enjoyment and so much to look forward to and reflect upon throughout the year. Happy New Year.

    1. Agreed on Wyman's consistency, though I guess I just have an unhealthy adoration for female characters who are a little more on the wilder side--anything that deviates from the usual mom/girlfriend/saint crap I'm fed so often.

      You don't even need to remind me about the method coming up click5, because I've been dreaming about getting to method acting since blogging about 1930s films--though with Montgomery Clift coming up in '48, looks like it will be starting up very soon!

      No need to thank me at all because I enjoy doing it! It actually really makes me happy to know that someone out there likes reading what I have to say. I appreciate you coming back and sharing your thoughts--and happy new year!!

    2. Your right, I totally forgot about Clift in "The Search", which I only got to see this year after years of trying to hunt it down.

      It wasn't what I expected and I mean that in a good way. That's all I'll say so that you can draw your own conclusions but, at the very least, I think there is something for you to look forward to this year!

  2. Haven't seen any of the 5 :-/

    Ingrid was probably one of the runner-ups. I haven't seen Notorious in more than a decade, but I remember not being that impressed by it, though I am aware it has its fan(atic)s. :)

    1. Agreed with Notorious - the first time I watched it I wasn't really sure what the fuss was about regarding her performance...though, upon my recent rewatch, I actually think it's quite great.

    2. A lot of films feel different from when watching them as a teen, so I put my opinion of it always in the context. :) But I will never argue against anything Ingrid. :)

    3. I think Bergman was quite good in this film and I like that she played against type (at least hers, at that time). I just don't think that the role itself warranted a nomination. Like many Hitchcock films, the focus was more on plot than on characterization. Actually, I liked Claude Rains more in this film, but I think he's always good.