March 25, 2017

Judy Holliday • Born Yesterday

as Billie Dawn
Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday
Won: Academy Award - Best Actress • Golden Globe - Best Actress, Comedy or Musical

Within the time-honored tale of 1950's Best Actress race, two questions present themselves: how in the hell did newcomer Judy Holliday manage to beat out the career-defining work by legendary veterans Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis? Furthermore, was Holliday's victory an injustice?

When Holliday saunters through the first few minutes of Born Yesterday, she's just your usual gun moll...pretty, glammed-up, and bearing a gaze which reads as mostly unimpressed (or is it vacant? or both?) And then, out of the blue, you're hit with it: "WHAAAAAAAT?" It's a brief yet sharp, potent, Donald Duck quack-like sound with enough power to stimulate at least a smile on your face. My feelings towards that first exchange with Billie essentially summarizes how I feel about Holliday's entire performance.

March 12, 2017

Eleanor Parker • Caged

as Marie Allen
Eleanor Parker, Caged
Won: Volpi Cup for Best Actress

Within the time-honored tale of 1950's Best Actress race, an assertion presents itself: all of those nominated for leading actress had the goods to win the prize, including Eleanor Parker's work in Caged, whose excellence has been largely overshadowed by the drama surrounding the Gloria Swanson-Bette Davis-Judy Holliday triumvirate.

One of the earliest images you see in Caged is that of Parker, bearing a palpable sense of horror across her face just before she's led into prison. It's a brief, searing visual which sets the tone for much of Parker's performance - one that's deeply earnest and absorbent.