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Sunday
May122013

Posterized: How Many Hepburns Have You Seen?

We end our Katharine Hepburn theme week on The Great Kate's birthday, today! Katharine Hepburn made 43 motion pictures in her 62 years on the big screen. How many have you seen? I've collected the posters here of only her Oscar nominated roles, 12 of them in total, because 43 is too many for an episode of posterized. Let's get all the Hepburn/Oscar talk out of our systems. Starting now...

Two things are thrown into sharp focus when looking at that sprawling Oscar track record stretching from 1932 to 1981. First, that though only Meryl Streep has ever bested her for Most Lead Actress nomination (14 versus 12) at least a couple of Hepburn's nominated roles would probably have been considered "Supporting" by today's much looser non-definition of the category (i.e. anything goes). Second, though four Oscars is still the record for any actor, male or female, her reputation as an Oscar magnet is arguably over stated since AMPAS weirdly didn't become OBSESSED until after she'd passed the age by which they usually start ignoring great actresses! A full 2/3rds of her nominations came after she turned 40 and 75% of her wins were after the age of 60! This is rather shocking considering that only 8 Best Actress Oscars have been handed out to women over the age of 60. Three of those eight times the name being read out was "Katharine Hepburn".

10 more films and mucho Oscar history after the jump

1. Morning Glory (1933) 
The nominees... 

  • Diana Wynward, Cavalcade
  • Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory *winner*
  • May Robson, Lady for a Day 

2. Alice Adams (1935) 
The nominees...

  • Bette Davis, Dangerous *winner*
  • Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds
  • Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never
  • Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams
  • Merle Oberon, Dark Angel
  • Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp 

 

3. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
the nominees... 

  • Bette Davis, The Letter
  • Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle *winner*
  • Joan Fontaine, Rebecca
  • Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story (JUST DISCUSSED)
  • Martha Scott, Our Town

 

4. Woman of the Year (1942)
the nominees... 

  • Bette Davis, Now Voyager
  • Greer Garson, Mrs Miniver *winner*
  • Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year
  • Rosalind Russell, My Sister Eileen
  • Teresa Wright, Pride of the Yankees

 

5. The African Queen (1951) 
the nominees... 

  • Eleanor Parker, Detective Story
  • Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil
  • Katharine Hepburn, The African Queen
  • Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun
  • Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire *winner*

 

6. Summertime (1955) JUST DISCUSSED
the nominees... 

  • Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo *winner*
  • Eleanor Parker, Interrupted Melody
  • Jennifer Jones, Love is a Many Splendored Thing
  • Katharine Hepburn, Summertime
  • Susan Hayward, I'll Cry Tomorrow

7. The Rainmaker (1956) 
the nominees... 

  • Carroll Baker, Baby Doll
  • Deborah Kerr, The King and I
  • Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia *winner*
  • Katharine Hepburn, The Rainmaker
  • Nancy Kelly, The Bad Seed

 

8. Suddenly Last Summer (1959)
For sure this one would be considered "supporting" today since Elizabeth Taylor would not have been stepping down in "Lead". Back then stars would never cheat to essentially demote themselves from Star to Humble Ensemble Player. The nominees were...

  • Audrey Hepburn, The Nun's Story
  • Doris Day, Pillow Talk
  • Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly Last Summer
  • Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer
  • Simone Signoret, Room at the Top *winner* 


9 Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) 
This is the last of four times that Bette Davis, Hepburn's only true Oscar rival until the Streep rolled around, were pitted against each other. The nominees were... 

  • Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker *winner*
  • Bette Davis, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
  • Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth
  • Katharine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey Into Night
  • Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses

10 Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
This one might have gone supporting. But then again maybe not since Katharine Houghton was being "introduced". The nominees...

  • Anne Bancroft, The Graduate
  • Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark
  • Edith Evans, The Whisperers
  • Faye Dunaway, Bonnie & Clyde
  • Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner *winner*

11 The Lion in Winter (1968)
the nominees... and the only Best Actress tie in the history of the Oscars

  • Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl *winner*
  • Katharine Hepburn, Lion in Winter *winner* JUST DISCUSSED
  • Joanne Woodward, Rachel Rachel
  • Patricia Neal, The Subject Was Roses
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora  


12 On Golden Pond (1981) 
It's fascinating to me that Hepburn's last Best Actress winning year was also Meryl Streep's first nomination in the category (though she'd already won Supporting). Like a mystical magical miraculous passing of the torch since Meryl would win her first Best Actress the following year.

  • Diane Keaton, Reds
  • Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond *winner*
  • Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh
  • Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant's Woman
  • Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City 

 

What do you make of Katharine Hepburn's storied Oscar history?
Overvalued? Undervalued? Right number of wins but wrong films?
Which of those 12 contests would you have declared her the winner of?
And would you prefer her to keep the "most wins" record since Meryl Streep has taken all of her other ones?

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Reader Comments (50)

Why did I read number 2 as Amy Adams!

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful -- Oscar conditioning?

May 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Should of had an actress nomination for "Holiday"
and a supporting nomination for State of the Union

No problem with Hepburns nominations

Hepburns wins should have been for:

Alice Adams
brought determination, coyness, and tragic optimism to the social climbing heroine

Long Days Journey Into the Night
a mother playing coquette, dope fiend, groping for identity

The Philadelphia Story
a spoiled woman with sheer irresistibility

The Lion In Winter
verbal duels that are spellbinding

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterrobertL

i wonder if meryl will still be getting nominated in 2026 - 48 years after her first nomination?

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

Like we've also discussed this week, the one movie for which K. Hepburn really should have won the Oscar was The Philadelphia Story, though I don't begrudge her for The Lion in Winter or On Golden Pond. That said, I am not sure I like the idea of any actor/actress with 3+ statues. I'd rather they spread the wealth.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

Sorry to nitpick, but Meryl has 14 Best Actress nominations, not 13 :)

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Dusty, I feel the same way and there's very few actors I'd give more than two Oscars to. But I admit with Meryl, it'd be 4 for me (Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie's Choice, Silkwood, and The Devil Wears Prada) I think she's great in some other things but in those years she did the best work of anyone in those categories.

But Kate would be so mad at me for hijacking her thread! haha. I'm still educating myself on Hepburn. I DO begrudge her that On Golden Pond Oscar because it's not like they hadn't already rewarded her so they didn't need to give a career Oscar since she was hardly the best in the best in that category that year (not by a long shot). I like her a lot in Alice Adams but my favorite Kate that I've seen is probably BRINGING UP BABY.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

She was a treasure. Among American actresses only Barbara Stanwyck rivals her in my book.

Of these 12 The Philadelphia Story is far and away my favourite - both the film and the performance. And of the non-nominated ones - Susan Vance/Bringing Up Baby.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

In 81 who would you have given it too nat,my 81 nominees were

keaton - wins
spacek
hepburn
mason
streep.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

It's great that Streep and Hepburn are forever linked. I don't think a successor has arrived, but you often don't notice these things until later. Hepburn had so much electricity. The early comedies are great. And Suddenly Last Summer is gorgeous work.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonah

I've seen 18 of her films, and 11 of these 12. I've never seen On Golden Pond. She was exquisite in Morning Glory. She looked made for the camera and a new era.

She was great in these nominated films, and look at the competition! What roles, what actresses! I love the year of her tie with Barbra Streisand. With so many deserving performances, I wish there were more ties.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I've seen all of her nominated performances except for "the rainmaker", "woman of the year", "alice adams" and "morning glory".

biggest impact was "long day's journey into night", very powerful, but I have a soft spot for "suddenly last summer", if only for the descending elevator and her pronouncing dramatically 'cabeza de lobo' and 'las encantadas'.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

"The Philadelphia Story" is Kate at her ultimate Kate-ness--the "virgin goddess" being brought low by a man (in this case, a couple of them--a tough-talking Jimmy Stewart as the reporter, and Cary Grant as her ex). The entire story is a "humanization" of Hepburn to counteract her box-office poison years, her "uppity" reputation, etc.--"I'll promise to be yar!" she gushes at the climax. But she's KATHARINE HEPBURN. Spencer Tracy=immovable object, but she's the Irresistible Force. She would never again have a role so tailor-made for her, so letter-perfect.

Having said that, I ADORE "Lion In Winter," can rhapsodize for days about her scene praying while stranded in the rushes in "The African Queen," am gobsmacked by her outright villainy in "Suddenly Last Summer," and cheer when she fires her racist assistant in "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" with that long monologue. But if you want to see Hepburn at her most stunning, go back and watch Fred Macmurray fumblingly begin to break up with her in "Alice Adams," as Hepburn desperately tries to keep smiling while her eyes fill with tears and she says, "You know, I have the funniest feeling I'm only going to see you for about five more minutes for the rest of the my life." Then follow that with her shattering (there is no other word) monologue at the end of "Long Day's Journey," where the camera pulls back and back as Mary Tyrone, high on heroin, rambles on about her school days when she was young. She is gay and blithe and then...the camera cuts to a close up of her ruined face, the fog in her eyes, the utter desolation that her life is now, and she very gently speaks the final lines of the script, and your heart slowly crumbles to dust as the film ends. OMFG.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDback

I've seen Summertime, Suddenly, Las Summer, The Lion In Winter and big parts of Guess Who's... and On Golden Pond.

I'm looking forward to watching Long Day's Journey Into Night and Alice Adams.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Hepburn is, to me, the quintessential case of the right performer nominated for the wrong performances. I haven't seen The Rainmaker or Long Day's Journey, but a solid half of the other 10, and three of the wins, are among my least-favorite performances of her career.

I'd have kept the Lion in Winter win, added The Philadelphia Story, and thrown in nominations for Little Women (so much better than Morning Glory), Stage Door, Holiday (+win), and Adam's Rib. But that's just me. So disappointing that she couldn't get any real Oscar traction before the '50s, but I suppose she was box-office poison on and off till then.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Should have won for:

1) any of her comedic performances (The Philadelphia Story, Holiday, Bringing Up Baby, Adam's Rib)

2) her romantic against-type tour de force (Summertime, considering Doris Day wasn't nominated)

3) two fantastic stagey performances (Long Day's Journey Into NIght and The Lion in The Winter)

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I've seen them all except The Rainmaker. I love her in Summertime, but The Lion in Winter might be her best work and the fact that she tied with that Supernova was just great.

She should have been nominated for Bringing Up Baby and Stage Door and I agree with everyone that she was brilliant in The Philadelphia Story. Kate had the perfect comic timing and most of our beloved actresses today are the result of her legacy in that genre.

The fact that she gets easily looked down these days, makes me think that in 20 years Meryl can be in the same situation. If I'm still around it would be a fun fact to observe.

P.S. I love her in 81 and she gets my vote, and yes, I've seen Keaton and that moving scene at the train station. Only Sarandon and her lemons make me doubt.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Seen 9 of those in the list. I'm also of the opinion that no actor needs repeated Oscars, but I'm ok with her 4, right or wrong movies, I don't care.
I do feel the Internet (in general) doesn't treat her the way she deserves, it seems to be hip to take her down. But I guess that happens with anything that happened before the 1970s.

I didn't even notice it was Katharine Hepburn week, and she's my favourite actress. It was blink and you'll miss it. :(

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Iggy -- what? We did posts on Stage Door, Summertime, The Lion in Winter, Kate collecticbles and this Oscar History.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I've seen all of these except Morning Glory.

She should have won for:

-Alice Adams
-The Philadelphia Story
-Maybe Long Day's Journey

and..... either Brining Up Baby or Holiday (not nominated).

At one time she was my favorite actress, and I still think there is no one else quite like her.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen

The difference between Hepburn and Streep was that Kate always did things on her terms, or at least that is the illusion she created. She only appeared on the Oscars twice, once in a filmed segment in 1968, and live in 1974 to present the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to her friend, producer Lawrence Weingarten. I agree that 'Bringing Up Baby' is probably her best performance, I think she was better at comedy than drama, but 'Suddenly, Last Summer' proved she could give Bette Davis a run for her money as a screen bitch. It's true that the Academy didn't learn to love Kate until late in her career, Davis appeared to be their favourite, had they done so she would have equalled Meryl in the nominations department. Perhaps it's ironic that, according to A. Scott Berg, Hepburn didn't think much of Streep as an actress, preferring Meryl's recent co-star, Julia Roberts.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe UK

I've only seen 4 of them (On Golden Pond, Summertime, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner). All solid performances.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

I've seen 9 of these. I'd say she's overrated. I loved her when I was a teenager, but her performances seem quite affected to me now. There were any number of actresses in her generation who were more natural and, therefore, more to my taste - Davis, Bergman, the aforementioned Stanwyck, Taylor (quite a bit younger than Kate, but still "Old Hollywood").

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

21, with Holiday far and away being my favorite.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMythical Monkey

All hail the Great Kate!
I've seen 17 of her pictures, and am always trying to get my hands on a copy of Long Day's Journey Into Night. When it comes to her Oscar history, other than Lion in Winter (We all blissfully get reprieve from having make that choice Sophie. Yay ties!), I feel like she never really won for right films....

No Alice Adams or Philadelphia Story, but Morning Glory?
No Summertime, but Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
I'm a much bigger On Golden Pond apologist than most, but she's not my favorite part. Diane Keaton in Reds all the way.

I think she's valued absolutely correctly, but I just wish they were for different films. There's nuance and specificity in her arched dialect and mannerisms that no one notices (her body language and tone in her voice especially), and she plays with it often.

By the way, Nick Davis has an amazing theory about her performance in Summertime and her playing with her own persona that really makes you look at her a different way. Such a great read. http://blog.nicksflickpicks.com/2010/05/birthday-girls-katharine-hepburn.html

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrew C

I consider Kate my favorite movie actress and yet I've only seen a paltry three of her films! (I guess I just love those three performances?) I really need to get on that!

For me, Bringing Up Baby > On Golden Pond >>>> The Philadelphia Story. The first two are two of my favorite movies. The third is a film I could never get into. It seems like people here love it mightily though so I wonder what my deal was with it.

As Kate is my favorite movie actress and Lucille Ball my favorite TV actress, perhaps I will make "Stage Door" a priority... thanks for the inspiration, TFE.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Interesting Drew
Summertime is the only film she is not paired with another "A" actor.
Instead an Italian continental lover/aristocrat.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterrobertL

I have seen all but six. All but A Bill of Divorcement, would love to see this but very difficult to find, are from her later career: The Iron Petticoat, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Olly Olly Oxen Free, Grace Quigley, and Love Affair.

I have no problem with her having four Oscars but a large problem with most of the performances they were awarded for.

1933-I'd rip that first award right out of her hands for the fussy and affected work in Morning Glory and give it to the great May Robson in Lady for a Day.

1935-This is the performance that should have won her the first Oscar for Alice Adams but her recent win plus the consolation prize aspect for Bette was against her.

1940-The year of the mystifying win for Ginger Rogers. Bette Davis should have won for The Letter.

1942-A toss up between the winner Greer Garson and Bette Davis in Now, Voyager.

1951-Vivien Leigh-no question

1955-Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow, Anna Magnani was very good in Tattoo but this was Susan's career best performance.

1956-Not a terribly strong year and Ingrid was deserving.

1959-Again the right performance, Simone Signoret, won although Audrey Hepburn was equally deserving.

1962-One of the most competitive years in the category's history, all the nominees were deserving of the win. Anne Bancroft probably had the best backstory-respected actress wasted by Hollywood in her first go round in film returns in triumph but her performance is astounding so for once there is no stink of consolation to the prize.

1967-Consolation prize number one-I would give this to Faye Dunaway over Anne Bancroft by a hair although sadly I've never seen Edith Evans in The Whisperers.

1968-Another fiercely competitive year. I can't imagine either of the winners not being awarded for their work. All three of the other nominees were equally worthy. Voting must have been tight across the board.

1981-Consolation prize number two-Susan Sarandon was excellent in Atlantic City but it should have gone to Diane Keaton for Reds.

I think five of her performances were worthy of winning: Alice Adams, Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Lion in Winter among her noms. Holiday and Bringing Up Baby both of which went unrecognized, not really surprising since neither met with great success upon release only gaining in repute as the years pass.

I definitely hope she holds onto the title. I have nothing against Meryl Streep she's a very fine actress but having finally caught up with the dreadful The Iron Lady and watched in astonishment to think that she won for that, mostly because of all the ridiculous "she's due" nonsense-no one with two Oscars already is due for a third. I have to hope they don't just throw another prize at her like they did with Kate at the end.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

slut-shaming is alive and well on "smash". ugh.

(I had to vent)

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

I think she is amazing but sort of have mixed feelings on her third Oscar being a tie and the fourth one "just because"....I think Meryl has a greater range..
I honestly believe Meryl will get a fourth ( maybe or maybe not next year)... It may even be when she is 90. She shows no signs of retiring and she can easily move into a multitude of supporting roles (comic or dramatic)...
My guess is that by 2020 she may have 20 nominations ..I do not think that a third win has yet given Oscar streep fatigue.... Guess we will see if she is nominated for Osage..

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Help me out here........many people talk in generalities about Hepburn. What makes the particular performance Oscar worthy. I want to learn what others are thinking - maybe pick up something new and not stay intrenched in my views.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterrobertL

Robert -- i think there were a lot of interesting specifics in those Summertime, Monologue, and May Flowers posts earlier this week. i'm not feeling so specific this morning. lol

May 12, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Sorry Nathaniel - did think the question was about Hepburn's storied Oscar history.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterrobertL

.What can I say? When it comes to Hepburn I'm a completist, but it's true I missed the beginning of the week.
However, no Hepburn week can be complete without Bringing Up Baby (I think she truly excels at comedy, so I'm surprised by so much drama). :)

http://youtu.be/5Jm9EUvwFj4

It makes me laugh all the time.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I have seen 10 out of the 12 films

yet to watch "Summertime" and "The Rainmaker"

I think she was a fascinating actor, she somehow did what she wanted to do, always!

I am impressed by how unconcerned she was with money and fame and she took long breaks from work while Bette Davis constantly complained about everything yet ended up being in way way too many movies.

I easily give Katharine Hepburn Oscars for:

The Lion in Winter
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Alice Adams
Bringing Up Baby (not even nominated)

In fact, I think she is underrated because people seem to focus way too much on the persona (yes, she was incredibly specific), but the actress was fascinating, too.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

I proposed once that in order to change the outcome of the Best Actress race from ageist and racist practices that the nominating and voting were segregated by gender. Only the actors would get to vote for the acting awards. No one knows for sure how other actresses feel about Streep. I'm not assuming everyone hates her or are jealous of her public popularity but they certainly resent her being the default leader for which they are all judged.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

To her credit, Streep has been consistently generous to Hepburn, Davis, Stanwyck, and Lombard for being the movie icons that inspired her. Hepburn seems so much a reflection of movies from a different era, and Meryl will no doubt seem the same to future generations (assuming movies continue). At 18 nominations,Meryl will probably get at least 3 more nods and win at least one more. The two women could not have been more different, in terms of personality or acting styles. Both widely admired.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMay

The Philadelphia Story is the only film of hers I have seen. She and Grant was funny and very good.

There is O N E film I really want to see with Hepburn and that is Suddenly Last Summer

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I've seen all of these except Morning Glory (can't locate a copy) and The Rainmaker (which I've attempted to watch FIVE times now but have always fallen asleep to halfway through the picture; I've never been able to stand Burt Lancaster's ACTING! or accept Kate's character falling for such a douche, "Ah StAHBUCK!").

I too feel Kate has the right amount of wins and noms for the wrong movies but it just feels right to me that she bookended her Oscar history by winning her first and last nominations plus achieving a back to back win.

That win for The Lion in Winter is still my favorite. "Such, my angels, is the role of sex in history."

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSanty.C

Gosh I've only seen 23 of her movies (all the ones she was nomiated for except Alice Adams). I thought I would have seen more. Based on comments here I better go rent/watch Alice Adams soon!

I think it's fine that she's part of the pantheon of Hollywood actresses. She was unique and gave a good as she got. But I probably think Bette Davis was an even more exciting talent.

I think 2 would have been enough for Kate. People forget that still places an actress in a very special level of Oscar royalty. I would have preferred Kate not get the Oscar for GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. I actually LOVE the idea of her getting supporting that year and having 3 Oscars in that configuration. I would have liked to see Audrey Hepburn win that year for WAIT UNTIL DARK or Faye Dunaway for BONNIE & CLYDE.

As for her Oscar for ON GOLDEN POND - in hindsight I would have liked to see Marsha Mason get the award. I think she was wonderful in that movie and she had such a vulnerable way about her. God forbid I write this - but I think Ms. Mason had a tiny bit of the vulnerability that Judy Garland possessed on screen. Not that I think Mason was ever AS vulnerable and heart breaking in that magical way of Judy - but she was dear and appealing in her own real way.

No - I'm sorry - but I think Meryl Streep has shown more range than Katherine Hepburn ever thought of showing. Hepburn was a superstar with character and part of her magnificence was her indomitable spirit and guts showing through. I think that's why people responded to her so strongly as she got older. Here was this remarkable woman - full of spirit and so "chirce" - and yet age was softening her edges and reducing her physically but never spiritually. That's why I think her Eleanor in LION IN WINTER is one of the great performances on film of any era. It captured her fallen magnificence beautifully.

So Kate should have 3: Alice Adams - based on comments here; Lion In Winter for sure; and supporting for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Meryl should have 4: supporting for Kramer; Sophie's Choice, Silkwood and something really wonderful to come. God I hope she gets one more really perfect, really tremendous role on film where she can once again get the cover of TIME claiming her as the actress above them all.

(Yeah - if she'd already had her 3 I probably would have liked to see Viola get it last year). But I still go back and forth over her Julia Child - I really did think that was a more impressive, delightful accomplishment than her Margaret Thatcher. But I'm just glad she's got 3 and, I pray, a fourth to come.

And yes - I am HORRIBLY disappointed with the preview for OSAGE COUNTY. This does NOT look like the film that will give Streep her fourth and I am SOOO DISAPPOINTED. Maybe I'll be happily surprised.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Gosh I've only seen 23 of her movies (all the ones she was nomiated for except Alice Adams). I thought I would have seen more. Based on comments here I better go rent/watch Alice Adams soon!

I think it's fine that she's part of the pantheon of Hollywood actresses. She was unique and gave a good as she got. But I probably think Bette Davis was an even more exciting talent.

I think 2 would have been enough for Kate. People forget that still places an actress in a very special level of Oscar royalty. I would have preferred Kate not get the Oscar for GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. I actually LOVE the idea of her getting supporting that year and having 3 Oscars in that configuration. I would have liked to see Audrey Hepburn win that year for WAIT UNTIL DARK or Faye Dunaway for BONNIE & CLYDE.

As for her Oscar for ON GOLDEN POND - in hindsight I would have liked to see Marsha Mason get the award. I think she was wonderful in that movie and she had such a vulnerable way about her. God forbid I write this - but I think Ms. Mason had a tiny bit of the vulnerability that Judy Garland possessed on screen. Not that I think Mason was ever AS vulnerable and heart breaking in that magical way of Judy - but she was dear and appealing in her own real way.

No - I'm sorry - but I think Meryl Streep has shown more range than Katherine Hepburn ever thought of showing. Hepburn was a superstar with character and part of her magnificence was her indomitable spirit and guts showing through. I think that's why people responded to her so strongly as she got older. Here was this remarkable woman - full of spirit and so "chirce" - and yet age was softening her edges and reducing her physically but never spiritually. That's why I think her Eleanor in LION IN WINTER is one of the great performances on film of any era. It captured her fallen magnificence beautifully.

So Kate should have 3: Alice Adams - based on comments here; Lion In Winter for sure; and supporting for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Meryl should have 4: supporting for Kramer; Sophie's Choice, Silkwood and something really wonderful to come. God I hope she gets one more really perfect, really tremendous role on film where she can once again get the cover of TIME claiming her as the actress above them all.

(Yeah - if she'd already had her 3 I probably would have liked to see Viola get it last year). But I still go back and forth over her Julia Child - I really did think that was a more impressive, delightful accomplishment than her Margaret Thatcher. But I'm just glad she's got 3 and, I pray, a fourth to come.

And yes - I am HORRIBLY disappointed with the preview for OSAGE COUNTY. This does NOT look like the film that will give Streep her fourth and I am SOOO DISAPPOINTED. Maybe I'll be happily surprised.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

I would give Katharine Hepburn two awards--Best Actress of 1935 for 'Alice Adams,' and Best Actress of 1938 for 'Holliday.' I particularly dislike her '67 win, because it deprived the eminently deserving Anne Bancroft, Faye Dunaway, and Edith Evans.In 1981 the award should have gone to Diane Keaton for 'Reds.'

I'm not too keen on Meryl Streep. I would give her one win (for 'Silkwood') out of five nominations (Sophie's Choice,' 'Silkwood,' 'Ironweed,' 'The Bridges of Madison County,' and 'Adaptation.')

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

I'm so glad to read so many positive words about Kate since I know Nat is not completely fond of her. Although she's not #1 in 67 or 81 for me, I don't begrudge Kate any of her Oscars especially the 81 one because the only person who comes close then is Keaton and she'd just recently won and I love the symmetry of Kate and Henry winning in 81 when they'd both given two of their finest performances 41 years prior.

If I was in charge she'd have more than four Oscars so I'm content with the four.

Potential wins for for 1932 (but for Little Women, not Morning Glory), 1935 for Alice Adams, 1938 for Holiday or Bringing Up Baby - mind boggling that neither was a successful film then and then 1940, 1955, 1959, 1968 - which is seven statues and probably too much.

It's crazy that she never won an Oscar for her comedic, work, though. There are many Kates I love, but she's unparallelled I think in her comedic register (Tracy Lord is *THE* comedic heroine archetype so many performers are unable to completely succeed at). But, her legend will live on - Oscar record holder or no.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Dang, last night's entry got eaten. Very briefly: Kate at her most KATE (the haughty, imperious, uncompromising Hepburn) is in "The Philadelphia Story," where she is "tamed" by Stewart and Grant. ("I'll promise to be yar!")

My personal favorites of her performances besides the above include "The African Queen" (especially her praying while stranded amidst the rushes--a scene even Streep can't touch for its quiet simplicity and power), and her glorious turn in "The Lion In Winter" (an absolutely deserved tie with Streisand). Her role in "Guess Who's..." can largely be reduced to that one killer monologue where she fires her assistant.

If you want Hepburn at her pinnacle of acting, watch Fred Macmurray gently try to break up with her in "Alice Adams" as she desperately keeps smiling even as her eyes fill with tears and she says, "You know, I have the funniest feeling that I'm only going to see you for five more minutes for the rest of my life." And then contrast that with the shattering final moments of "Long Day's Journey Into Night," where heroin-addicted Mary Tyrone rambles on about her being a young girl being rebuked by the Sisters, and the camera pulls back, back, back...and then cuts to a devastating close-up as Hepburn delivers the script's final lines, and the movie comes to its heartbreaking finish. One of the all-time greatest performances ever put on film.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDback

Thank you for the great site, Nate. The comments are top shelf.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLola

Not sure how I missed this. The Great Kate! She was such an icon. In fact, more than any other actress to date, I think her personality sold her. Never has an actress been so comfortable in her own skin. That's the reason she could play off so many others - like Bette Davis, she was going to prove to us all that she was the smartest person in the room, with the swagger to boot.

It's really no surprise that she didn't care for Meryl's acting. They are two completely different schools. I don't know that we have movie stars in the same sense these days. Meryl is obsessed with digging in to a number of characters. I've heard the accusation that she always seems in her head, which is exactly right. Kate, the polar opposite, would breeze into the room with a taste of her character and run with it. Kate wouldn't be a movie star today. Meryl wouldn't have been noticed back then.

With all that said, I prefer Hepburn to Streep and Keaton in 81 (haven't seen the other two), and I'm happy she's the reigning Queen of Oscar Land. It'll be interesting to see if Meryl matches that record of four, though Hepburn won all of them in lead. One interesting point though: While Streep didn't really have lean years like I believe Hepburn did, it's interesting that they are hitting late career Oscar strides in their golden years. The initial awards were won at mid-20s (Hepburn) or early 30s (Streep), then they both won again in their 60s. Interesting gap.

May 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

My gut tells me that Hepburn was insecure, competitive and hated to think anyone was better than her. Her comments about Streep and Glenn Close always sounded like an old crank. And her adoration of Julia Roberts, well, that brings us all full circle in November.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSally

I've seen them all and here's who'd choose of the nominees from each year...:

1. The African Queen (1951) - gave the Oscar that year to Eleanour Parker in Detective Story
2. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - gave the Oscar that year to Audrey Hepburn for Wait Until Dark
3. On Golden Pond (1981) - gave the Oscar that year to Diane Keaton for Reds
4. The Philadelphia Story (1940) - this is the only Oscar I ever awarded Hepburn
5. The Lion in Winter (1968) - gave the Oscar that year to Patricia Neal for The Subject Was Roses
6. The Rainmaker (1956) - gave the Oscar that year to Ingrid Bergman for Anastasia
7. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) - gave the Oscar that year to Doris Day for Pillow Talk
8. Summertime (1955) - gave the Oscar that year to Anna Magnani
9. Alice Adams (1935) - gave the Oscar that year to Merle Oberon for The Dark Angel
10. Morning Glory (1933) - gave the Oscar that year to Diana Wynyard for Cavalcade
11. Woman of the Year (1942) - gave the Oscar that year to Greer Garson for Mrs. Miniver
12. Long Day's Journey into Night (1962) - gave the Oscar that year to Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Troutman

D-Back: I love your entire final paragraph, I want to go back and look at "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Alice Adams" after reading it.

Sally: What did she say about Glenn Close? The only thing I recall is the "big feet" thing which I always took for a joke. I do remember that glorious tribute Lauren Bacall, Angela Lansbury and Glenn paid to Katharine at the "Kennedy Center Honors".

Nonetheless, Kate adored Vanessa Redgrave who is truly one of the BEST actors ever so I won't say her taste in performers reeked of jealousy.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Berg quoted Hepburn as saying Glenn Close has big feet. Kate used to drive by Meryl's house in Connecticutt and honk the horn twelve times until she died in 2003. Kidding.

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSally

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