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?