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Wednesday
Oct302013

Supporting Smackdown '68: Lynn, Sondra, Kay, Estelle and Ruth

The revival of "StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Smackdown" now in its new home at The Film Experience continues. The year is... [cue: time travelling music] 1968.  Oscar skipped the Globe nominees in this category from For the Love of Ivy, The Lion in Winter and Finian's Rainbow and despite their love of Oliver! AND of women in musicals AND of prostitutes with hearts of gold they also skipped newcomer Shani Wallis. Instead they went with these five...

Tony Curtis presented the 1968 Best Supporting Actress Oscar

THE NOMINEES

Estelle Parsons, the previous year's winner in this category for Bonnie & Clyde returned for a victory lap (though she skipped the ceremony). She was joined by two showbiz veterans: Ruth Gordon, a three time nominee for screenwriting who was in the middle of a surprising golden years reinvention as a beloved character actress, and Kay Medford, who had previously experienced her greatest successes on stage. Filling out the shortlist were two fresh faces nominated for their film debuts: Sondra Locke (who would later partner up with Clint Eastwood both on and offscreen for 14 years) & Lynn Carlin (who would later vanish into a series of guest spots on television).

Who will win the Smackdown? Read on 

Carlin, Locke, Medford, and Gordon wait as the envelope is opened

1968
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS: Angelo Muredda, Brad Griffith, Manuel Muñoz, Nathaniel R, StinkyLulu and You (in the "Reader Write-In" section where we tabulated your votes)

 

LYNN CARLIN as "Maria Forst" in Faces
Synopsis: an abandoned wife takes up with a young man she meets at a bar but sinks into despair.
Stats: 30 yrs old. Debut film! 51 minutes of screen time (or 39% of running time). 

Angelo: Faces has more than its share of male peacocking, so credit Lynn Carlin for cutting through all the chest-puffing theatrics with a single dismissive eye roll. Carlin’s post-nightclub flirtation with a hip-shaking Seymour Cassel is a masterclass in held tension, but consider the brilliant moment after, where Carlin ushers her friend out the door, a placid smile on her face as the woman natters away. ♥♥♥♥

Brad: I loved her stillness. I understand the importance of the film, but it’s difficult to watch. Watching her watching is fascinating. She spends a good chunk of the role in silence and draws us into her, wondering what she’s thinking. The struggle between the character’s propriety and her unhappiness is evident, and she telegraphs that discomfort in stillness, which is a feat. Challenging work in a challenging film.  ♥♥♥♥

Manuel: A lead performance?  I suspect she’ll get hosannas for the carnal display of her third act, which borders on cliché, but it’s really her wordless presence at the club where the glory of her performance comes through.  Vulnerable, empowered, lonely, and competitive, her face is a marvel of contradictory impulses.  It’s here where the role demands dimension—and she delivers ♥♥♥♥

Nathaniel: With scenes this long (whole acts!) actors can get stuck in emotional cul de sacs. Not Carlin, who quietly tests these interiors, looking for exits, bridges to the next. Act 1: giggling companion but her ease with hubby illuminates…; Act 2: shellshocked dumpee which blends brilliantly with… Act 3: curious horny single…; Act 4: CRISIS. It’s too much for Maria...(but maybe for Carlin, too, in the deflating finale) ♥♥♥♥

Reader Write-ins: "loose and flexible, she proves herself a bewitching performer. But Cassavetes’ faults as a filmmaker—interminable pacing and lack of convincing transitions in his script—sabotage her. A promising performer who deserved to be at the hands of a less indulgent director" - Matt L. (reader avg: ♥♥♥⅓

StinkyLulu: Lynn Carlin’s captivating vulnerability permits sometimes startling glimpses into the pain of Maria’s circumstance yet Carlin’s Maria remains a vividly human enigma. True, Carlin’s great in the moment — by turns ferocious then raw, timid then charismatic. But the taut work offered by the women playing Maria’s randy lady companions underscores how Carlin’s Maria lacks the connective tissue of characterization. An often compelling, sometimes stirring, but ultimately underwhelming performance, ♥♥

Carlin earns 21.3 ❤s

 


RUTH GORDON as "Minnie Castevet" in Rosemary's Baby
Synopsis: A childless old busybody and her husband plot to trick a new tenant into bearing Satan's son
Stats: 72 yrs old. 22 minutes of screen time (or 16% of running time). 5th career nomination (second for acting).

Angelo: Midway through Rosemary’s Baby, poor Mia Farrow tells Ruth Gordon’s old fusspot that she can’t possibly accept her gift of a foul pendant. “You already have,” Minnie shoots back, a little more curtly than we expect. Offhand as it is, that moment might be the crux of the performance -- a show of steely reserve, always just an inch beneath the facade of Old World civility and neighbourly concern ♥♥♥♥

Brad: What’s that line about the banality of evil?  She’s a steamroller: hysterical, menacing, ridiculous. I love this performance. She’s always got a point, is always moving, and always wants something while never saying what she means. Her eating and serving cake is a master class. So many little touches that you can see something new each viewing, finding more little things she’s thrown in. One of the best. ♥♥♥♥♥

Manuel: I quibble with her “only living son” line delivery (she’s too in on the joke), but her stony stare at the finale shatters the innocent impulses of Minnie’s pushiness.  She was all business all along.  Her comic, chance run-ins with Rosemary emerge, especially on repeated viewings, as single-minded ruthlessness—she’s physically intrusive, right down to her jangling, extended arm.  Indelible. ♥♥♥♥♥

Nathaniel: This is a wicked potion she’s mixing, stirring physical eccentricity and slurry lines together with an almost ecstatic surrender to (and thus conquering of) the intrusive neighbor / crazy old lady tropes. She gives the film both its comic kick and its chillingly nasty aftertaste: note how seldom she really looks at Rosemary– never in an inscrutable dishwashing scene -- who is nothing to her beyond a vessel. ♥♥♥♥♥

Reader Write-Ins: "The part doesn't require a lot of range but damn if she isn't fun to watch. The effusive energy she brings to the part is the perfect counter to Farrow's frailness" - Jordan (reader avg: ♥♥♥♥

StinkyLulu: No real arc. No emotional outbursts. No nuanced moments of character revelation. None of the usual trappings of nominated Supporting Actressness. Nothing except for the fact that Gordon’s just plain good. In a high-style movie that can’t seem to pick a style, Gordon’s Minnie invests a peculiarly ominous reality to the hammiest coven this side of Hocus Pocus. Which makes her the scariest witch of them all ♥♥♥♥

Gordon earns 27 ❤s

 

SONDRA LOCKE as "Mick" in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter 
Synopsis: A music-loving teenager befriends a deaf-mute man while struggling with a dead-end future
Stats: 24 yrs old. Debut film. 54 minutes of screen time (or 44% of the running time)

Angelo: Tilda Swinton meets Judy Greer meets an eerie porcelain doll, Locke’s body is a drab melodrama’s lone special effect -- and a good one, too. All saucer eyes and spindly legs as she’s propped up on her porch in her oversized shirt, Locke’s Mick is hard to place: a self-possessed hipster ahead of her time? A delicate southern belle? Damned if the film knows, but the image lingers. ♥♥♥

Brad: This feels like a lead role nominated in supporting. Locke feels fresh and young,with an underlying intelligence that makes the role believable.  She does great newcomer work here in a demanding, rangy role. I loved that she allowed herself to look awful. The character is not likeable all the time, and she doesn’t shy away from those aspects. It’s believable work that roots the film with Arkin. ♥♥♥

Manuel: Mercurial adolescence, especially with an undercurrent of budding desire, is a tough sell.  Her scenes with Arkin could have used more subtext, especially with her physical demeanor and awareness, if only to add a layer of complication to the boyfriend moments.  A solid presence scene by scene, by turns impetuous and guarded, but uneven and too restrained when strung together ♥♥♥

Nathaniel:This (lead) role of a mercurial teen, whose inner life has endless potential but whose actual life fulfills none of it, is a doozy. Locke’s inexperience shows when she’s merely hitting marks or overplaying (the film rarely helps her, frankly) but occasionally she impresses. When Mick tries to describe music to her deaf friend it’s perfectly meta: that’s as much of a struggle as nailing this difficult role.  ♥♥

Reader Write-Ins*: "It's always hard to judge a beginner, but her rapport with Arkin is so effective that she wins my vote by a hair. It also doesn't hurt that her subsequent career showed signs of real talent that was only partially realized… " - Gary (reader avg: ♥♥♥)

*the most divisive performance among readers ranging from "can I give her negative hearts" to 5 hearts!

 StinkyLulu: Not especially consistent or coherent. Not much depth of presence or immediate mystery. Locke’s Mick just is. A vivid portrait of a formidable girl bridling at the limits of her life. Emotions burst to the surface with powerful clarity (and she’s especially captivating when throwing some tantrum or another) but Locke’s measured handling of Mick’s more delicate scenes lend a thoughtful gravitas. A good performance and worthy nomination. ♥♥♥

Locke earns 17 ❤s



KAY MEDFORD as "Rose Brice" in Funny Girl
Synopsis: A saloon owner on Henry Street watches as her daughter rises to fame and fortune and marries a suave gambler
Stats: 54 yrs old. 16th film. 10 minutes of screentime (or 6% of the running time) First and only Oscar nomination. 

Angelo: A one-liner delivery system -- “Nothing aches; you’re built like a horse” -- Kay Medford is a supporting actress in the purest sense, there to swell a progress and start a scene or two, as J. Alfred Prufrock would say. It’s a thankless role, the kindly photo negative of Mama Rose, but Medford cinches it with poker-faced pride, and the most enticing beer invite in the medium’s history ♥♥♥

Brad: Though sentimentally one of my favorite performances, there is not much for her to do here. What she does do, she does beautifully, and it would have been wonderful to see her in the larger role the character had in the stage version.  She’s funny, sweet, caring, and the love she has for her daughter is evident and motivates everything she does, and all executed with perfect timing. ♥♥♥♥

Manuel: There’s certainly nothing wrong with her proud, suspicious, protective mother, but the film’s staging (and its focus) leaves her little room to shine.  As great as her flat, tough lines are, the film hardly needs that single comic register to fill itself out.  Just when she gets to interact with Streisand, she’s swallowed up.  Supporting and sturdy, but not essential. ♥♥

Nathaniel: We could praise her unforced delivery of funny quotable lines or those lived-in ornery relationships but there’s so little of her… even in scenes she’s in! This ‘Mama Rose’ never demands her turn. That gift of a line reading in her intro “so she looks a bit off balance, she possesses golden talents…” hands the whole film lovingly to Babs (who would take it by force anyway) ♥♥

Reader Write-Ins: "Warm and wise and the one person who lays it on the line with Fanny. Those who dismiss her performance need only to look at Funny Lady and take note of Babs ability to wipe everybody else off the screen something she couldn't do with Kay" - Joel  (reader avg: ♥ ⅘

StinkyLulu: Although I live for Mae Questel as Mrs. Strakosh, you gotta give a worldly wink to Kay Medford too. (I’d happily watch a whole movie about that poker game.) Medford performs her plot-expediting duties with warm wit and acerbic aplomb and, without missing a breath, she tosses in a few captivating glimpses into who this Rose Brice woman actually is. Truly an expert, clarifying bit of actressing. ♥♥♥

Medford earns 15.8 ❤s



ESTELLE PARSONS as "Calla Mackie" in Rachel, Rachel
Synopsis: A born again teacher struggles to maintain her closest friendship after emotions run a little wild and sapphic at a church service. 
Stats: 41 yrs old. 3rd film, 2nd nomination. 17.5 minutes of screen time (or 17% of running time). 

Angelo: “I’m always pushing things out of their cages,” Estelle Parsons beams like a vain Mother Teresa in her last scene. Calla’s simultaneously repressed and outré town lesbian is an impossible part, but Parsons gives it her game best, embodying a hearty woman with a dainty name. Parsons strikes a nice balance between matronly and girlish, her voice too sonorous and worldly for a schoolteacher’s, which is the point. ♥♥♥

Brad: The performance ranges from loopy to hysterical to naturalistic. Parsons is always interesting to watch as it seems she might come completely unhinged at any moment, and this role is no exception. I found it hard to connect to the character, though, and I don’t know whether it’s the role, the performance, or the film. She felt like a different person in different scenes, lending to the disconnection. ♥♥

Manuel: Quoth Hilary Swank, “We have come a long way.”  The script can’t decide if she’s a loony free spirit, an entranced religious zealot, or a concerned (and desexualized) therapist/confidante.  That shakiness makes a key moment more implausible than awkward.  Credit to Parsons for sidestepping the tragic suggestion of her last—and better—scenes, imbuing Calla with much-needed hope and confidence. ♥♥♥

Nathaniel: Sure, Parsons is a total ham but she grounds the showboating in character truth. It’s Calla, not the actress, that’s overcompensating; she roars to fill the spaces where her mousy friend squeaks. You can feel the yearning, sexual and altruistic, to rub some life into her. She’s often not-so casually watching for tremors because this friendship has major fault lines. “That’s the second time you’ve been bitchy today!” ♥♥♥♥

Reader Write-Ins: "Thankfully, she never crosses that line from overstating to coarsening and, in allowing us to see Rachel through the same lens of rueful adoration and carefully hinted-at anger as Calla does, is frequently an advantage to her film, unexpectedly becoming its sad-eyed, self-deprecating voice of reason" - Matthew (reader avg: ♥♥♥

StinkyLulu: As the protagonist’s brave-faced compatriot in schoolteacherly spinsterhood, Parson’s Calla is a jangly bundle of fervent nerves, a character whose oddly directed devotions fail to mask her deeply felt longings. Yet, because of Parsons’ deft and humanizing performance, by the movie’s end, I long for Calla’s happiness almost more than I hope for Rachel’s — which, in its way, is what actressing at the edges is all about.  ♥♥♥♥

Actress earns 19 ❤s

 

And The Oscar AND Smackdown Go To... Ruth Gordon

You have no idea how encouraging a thing like this is."


Ruth took that rarest of acting prizes: an Oscar for a horror film. It would be another 22 years until that happened again with Kathy Bates in Misery!

The Smackdowners wholeheartedly agree with Oscar's historic decision and give Ruth another prize. And, get this, we've done that deed on Devil's Night which also happens to be Ruth Gordon's birthday!!! Perhaps it was meant to be...

Or perhaps you think we all stink of tanas root!?!

 

Thank you for attending the Smackdown! 
If you enjoyed it, share it. If you're new to the Smackdown here is September's warm actressy hug, and August's pie-throwing brawl plus the old archives @ StinkyLulu. Previously this month in the 1968 party we covered The Best Actress tie, the abundance of Exclamatory Titles, the Born in '68 Wonders, and Oliver!'s snubbee

Final Smackdown of the Year!
Sat Nov 30th ~ Supporting Actresses of 2003 
A 10th Anniversary Party for Cold Mountain, Mystic River, Pieces of April, thirteen, and The House of Sand and Fog.

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Reader Comments (49)

Glad to see the Gordon love. The character arc is each scene is bigger than the one before. She knows her plan can't fail and she's practically taking a victory lap a few scenes before the finale.

I don't know why the Funny Girl film shed so many of Mrs. Brice's scenes. She's such a funny character and more important to the story than 10 minutes of screentime would suggest.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Ruth Gordon deserves bonus points for her acceptance speech.

Note: "5th of 6 Oscar career nominations (second for acting)" Sadly there was no sixth nomination, no matter how much she deserved one for Maude.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

I love the pastel tones of the whole broadcast.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

par -- ugh. it was wishful thinking convincing me. fixed.

robert g -- HA. that's so true. that explains the line reading Manuel quibbles with i think.

October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yay, Ruth Gordon! Definitely one of my favorite Supporting Actress winners. That cake eating scene is brilliant, but my favorite moment in the movie comes in the climactic scene - shocked by the baby and the party at the Castevets', Rosemary drops the knife she is carrying, point first, into Minnie's wood floor, and Minnie, less concerned by Rosemary's reaction than keeping house, rushes over to remove the knife, spits on her finger and furiously tries rub out any mark on the floor.

Poor Sondra Locke.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Not that anyone has the right to quibble with Gordon's win, but I was hoping against hope that Carlin might win this. Partly because I genuinely consider it a richer, grander, more hypnotic performance. But also because Gordon's character and career are now iconic, whereas next to no one knows who Carlin is (if you mentioned her name out of context, even I'd have to look it up).

Otherwise - even if, god forbid, I were tempted to dismiss Gordon's performance as merely an old pro chomping down on a stock role with aplomb... I need only look at Medford. Watching those two performances back to back will teach anyone the difference between an old pro in a stock role hitting her marks with skill and efficiency, and an old pro in a stock role searing her face and voice into the world's nightmares for a half century.

I'm a big Parsons fan (why would that make you assume I'm gay?!!). And the fact that we don't have more late60s/early70s movies with her in a meaty role upsets me greatly. I'm actually much more interested in her Calla than I am in Woodward's Rachel. In fact Calla was the only part of that whole weirdly muted movie I found interesting, and even she is weirdly sketchy. But Parsons acquits herself well, and Nathaniel makes a great point that her actressy loudness is thoroughly motivated and in fact adds layers to the character.

As for Locke -- let's just say that I was the one demanding that negative hearts be permitted in the reader write-in votes. Part of my problem admittedly stems from the way her character was adapted from the book. I actually find the book madly overrated and largely insubstantial. But nonetheless - I can just picture a Hollywood exec taking a look at the novel and musing: "This here gruff tomboy. Mick, or whatever her name is. I was thinkin' blonde and titty, yeah?"

But all of that would be beside the point if Locke could deliver anything beyond spouting lines with high-school-drama-class we're-putting-on-a-play-y'all! maximum wholesome conviction. It's a terrible film, for sure, but she struck me as one of the most grating things about it.

Shocked as I was to discover she was nominated, I'm downright amazed anyone today could find things to admire about that performance. But then the Smackdown often leaves me amazed. Because it's amazing.

(Ditto all the 1968 coverage in general. It's been loads of fun!)

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I found Locke's performance to be such a weird but shockingly winning debut in that she never seems to settle into any one performance style or even vocal register, which actually, against all odds, really became a boon to her character. I think she's crucially ambivalent and painfully uneven a lot of the time, just like her movie, and she over-pitches nearly every scene with her family, aside from that beautifully conflicted scene about dropping out of school. Her conversations with her brother? Yikes. But the stuff with her boyfriend, all that politely-stilted awkwardness with Adam Arkin, and her gawky, loose-limbed physicality are all pretty terrific. And I believed at every moment that she was a credibly and continually-evolving teenage girl, no mean feat by any measure.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Eng

Goran & Matthew -- so there you have it. SO DIVISIVE.

everyone -- can i get a a shout out for this line from Angelo...
“I’m always pushing things out of their cages,” Estelle Parsons beams like a vain Mother Teresa in her last scene." so amazing. so true.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

I always look forward to these and - as usual - there was lots to enjoy. I especially liked some of the observations about Ruth Gordon's singular tour de force.
From Manuel: "...she was all business all along."
From Nathaniel: "...an almost ecstatic surrender to (and thus conquering of) the intrusive neighbor/crazy old lady tropes."
and
"note how seldom she really looks at Rosemary ... who is nothing to her beyond a vessel"
And cheers to reader Suzanne for amplifying that point by reminding me of the quick bee-sting of a moment when Minnie tries to rehabilitate her floor.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Nothing important to add but i'm totally feeling Sondra Locke's look at the Oscars.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Not surprised by Ruth Gordon's win (Happy Birthday Ruth!) although she wouldn't have been mine. I favored Kay Medford followed by Lynn Carlin and speaking of those two, I watched the clip of Ruth's winning speech several times but never noticed until the picture at the top of the post that they seemed to have gone to the same hairdresser & colorist for the big night!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Cold Mountain, House of Sand and Fog? Ten years ago. I feel so old..............

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

For those who screened "Rachel, Rachel," I'm hoping for some support in hailing Kate Harrington, who played Joanne Woodward's domineering mother so deftly. Yes, another stock role, but her lightning-fast confrontation with Rachel at the end of the film was a real surprise to me, and I instantly added her to a list of should-woulda nominees. Alas, poor Mia heads that list...

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzig

I should be rooting for Carlin, but Gordon is so iconic and powerful that I've even had dreams with Minnie! As a character in Downton Abbey!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Derreck -- i was too. wow she looks sexy there... which was so unexpected after watching her performance. But that's what you should do when you're a rising starlet in a sometimes unflattering role and you get invited to the big show: look nothing like your character!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I love the kinda chola look that Ruth is rocking. She looks like my aunties on wedding days.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

BSA 2003 is all "MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA! FOR ME.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

I always forget that Ruth Gordon won for Rosemary's Baby and not Harold and Maude.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

Hayden -- i always forget (obviously given my original typo) that she wasn't even nominated for Harold & Maude. craziness.

October 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am so freakin' pumped for the 2003 best supporting actress smackdown, as I have several opinions, and they're all feverishly strong.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

2003 is not complete imo without Love Actually's Emma Thompson great performance in a bad film,I know people say it's her bedroom crying that wins it but for me it's the presents scene wonderful emotions on her face.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Ruth Gordon was amazing as Minnie because we all know an old lady just like her.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

TB, I love you. You're so right!!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzig

What a great smackdown!

Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby, for all the flouncy, open-armed self-possession of her theatricality, it will always be that voice that I'll remember. Her satanic burlesque is anchored by those far from dulcet tones that are much more disturbing than any devil worshiper's incantations. Representing the banality of pushiness, I'm nearly certain that singlehandedly she created the trend in America of not getting to know your neighbors.

I have always lamented the short film career of Estelle Parsons. Idiosyncratic performances are common with supporting Oscars, as that is how you stand out--which defies the meaning of "supporting". But that's another topic. Even with that Academy fondness for appealing strangeness, I found it fascinating that Parsons won her AA the year after Sandy Dennis' crazy unique brilliance was rewarded. Estelle deserved a lot better fate than ending up in For Pete's Sake.

Locke's awkward tentativeness worked for me--a teenager's emotional arc is mostly about finding oneself, so I read this as characterization. But the panel's insightful comments have given me a lot to think about regarding this divisive performance.

Faces has eluded me. I really need to track it down, because the way our cool panel has described Ms. Carlin, I feel I would be mesmerized by this character. And nobody recognizes the desperately murmuring heart better than Cassavetes.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy -- yay. love your notes. agree that Parsons deserved a longer film career... though it's weird that i like her so much when she's my least favorite part of Bonnie & Clyde

faces is worht checking out but just be warned that it improves considerably after the interminable opening 20 minutes... actually roughly right before Carlin shows up it gets interesting. But god that first 15 is a true slog.

mark -- i still have never seen that (gulp)

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel R - Cassavetes' career as a director after Faces only improves too. How can we get you to see A Woman Under the Influence, Opening Night and Love Streams?

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I didn't want to comment on a post in this series without having something deep to say but now I do: John Cassavetes is so hot in Rosemary's Baby!
Yup, that's my excuse to comment and say how much I love the rebirth of this series.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

LOL at James T!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nathan, I've heard that a lot about Faces--you gotta gird your loins for the first act LOL. I think many Cassevetes fans have ended up with hernias.

I know that Estelle's SA win has not held up particularly well among historians--who would have been your pick in 67?

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

On a (barely) semi-related note, if anyone can track down Sondra Locke's performance as Rosemary Cloonedy, I'd love to see it. Never have and I'm a big Rosemary fan.

Ruth Gordon deserved this award for the role, and also for her career. Occasionally Oscar get's it right!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

James T: Word! 100% agree.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

James T-could not agree more. I kept thinking that, then "ooh, Ruth Gordon," then back to Cassavetes, then "ooh, Ruth Gordon," and so on and so forth and suddenly "The End."

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

No love for Chuck Grodin?

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Oooh, 2003! I guess it's finally time to watch the only one I haven't seen: the Oscar winner.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercash

James T -- totally. In fact, this time through I experienced what could only be called a 100% inappropriate response to the devil rape sequence. this time I was like "aw, damn. she didn't even get to have sex with John Cassavettes because it was actually the devil doing it to her!"

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@ Everyone, regarding Cassavetes: Agreed, but then he completely undermines it by being, with only slight exaggeration, the most deplorable character ever... Okay, so it's only somewhat undermined, but still he's pretty abominable, through and through.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Eng

My nominees

Coral Browne – The Killing of Sister George
Ruth Gordon - Rosemary’s Baby
Estelle Parsons – Rachel, Rachel
*Vanessa Redgrave – The Sea Gull*
Susannah York – The Killing of Sister George

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManos

So glad I'm not alone in this.

@Nathaniel - I know! But she did get to have some fun with him (though on the floor with no carpet). It was also crazy how casual he was about explaining the scratches. I mean, who does that? Other than...

@Matthew The movie does a great job at keeping us angry with him all time with all the things he says to Rosemary. Whether you see it for the first time or you know what's happening, you keep feeling she can't rely on anyone, even her spouse. But in the end he seems to be the only loser, or at least non-winner. A nasty character might make an actor look sexier but this character is just getting on our nerves.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Has anyone ever been to a public screening of Rosemary's Baby? Did the audience erupt into wild, uncontainable applause when Rosemary spits in Guy's face, as I am always tempted to do?

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Eng

@Matthew - I'm not into humiliating the bad guy (I find it cheap) but in this case it's perfect and we totally need to experience it! ("Think of how much we get in return" - the epitome of a morally dead person who also knows nothing about timing)

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Manos -- ugh. i so meant to get to The Killing of Sister George this month. I've never seen it.

October 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

John Cassavettes reminds me a lot of Don Draper in Rosemary's Baby - interesting that Matt Weiner went with so many Rosemary's Baby references last season on Mad Men.

@mark, I am with you on Marcia for 2003! More Marcia every year!

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Suzanne -- i'd so deliver her if she made more movies!

October 31, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"Oscar skipped the Globe nominees in this category..."

Long gone are the times when the Academy thought for itself.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannibal Lester

Wait, did I miss something? Nathaniel has never seen A Woman Under the Influence? That can't be! (Can that be?)

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzig

zig -- it's true (i feel deep shame). But this smackdown prompted me to buy the Cassavettes box set from Criterion so now I own it so it shouldn't be too long.

November 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I loved Lynn Carlin in Faces. I thought I was going to have a tough time with this movie and almost didn't make it past 10 minutes in. Then I realized it wasn't the film I disliked, just drunk, loud, misogynistic assholes and bad sound mixing, and I'm glad I stuck it out. Lynn Carlin was fantastic as poor Maria who just wanted to go to a damn movie (a sentiment I can identify with). Heartbreaking realism that really took me by surprise, but I'll never take good sound for granted again. She may have benefited from borderline category fraud too...

November 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Travis -- i wondered that about category too... but at least it's not a grossly fraudulent thing (like Locke's placement)

also hear hear about not taking sound for granted. It's so much more important than people think. I think it's almost the #1 problem in indie films that they don't even seem to realize is a problem. If you have to spend your money somewhere spending it on sound is a surprisingly solid investment

November 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Thanks Nathaniel for putting in a plug for my favorite Shani Wallis. And Oliver! has only improved with age, actually one of the few spot-on Oscar wins. Comparison with its recent equivalent, the dreadful Les Miserables, only emphasizes how far we've sunk (ironically it did win a supporting actress award for a shrilly overemphatic version of Wallis' role, hitting all the sentimental cliches she so tastefully avoids). There is something sad about these retrospective looks - so many promising careers thwarted by Hollywood's lack of interest in the variety of women's experience.

November 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary Dodson

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