Oscar History

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Team Experience: Great Losers, Actress Edition (Pt. 2)

As long time readers know The Film Experience started out as a one-man show. That man being myself, Nathaniel R. (Remember in Ye Olden Times when posting two goodies a week made you a prolific must-read web star? I still remember David Poland's Hot Button which did just that!) Over the years the royal "We" has stopped being royal and become literal... both from necessity of content-need and desire of companionship - writing can be lonely! I still do the bulk of the posting but now there are a handful of regular columnists and a dozen more occasional voices. Seeking out perspectives other than one's own keeps you fresh and alert. 

So I love these Team perspectives (and I love Amir for dreaming them up / hosting them!) even when they cause me pain. Of course, I get to vote too but, being a Benevolent Dictator, my vote only counts once. DAMNIT. Which is to say that though I loved reading the "Team Top Ten: Oscar's Greatest Losers Best Actress Edition" I was more than a little freaked out not to see a picture of unravelling Deanie in her bathtub staring back at me needily.

the best performance of 1961: Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass

Where is Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass?!?" 

I bellowed internally.

Then I imagine this reaction was shared by many of you 'out there in the dark' albeit with a rotating snubbed actress /film causing the indignation. As it turns out Natalie Wood did make lists other than my own but not enough to secure her a top ten placement. Natalie and other divas who missed the list are after the jump...


My personal favorite Meryl Streep performanceTo qualify for the list, a performance had to have been nominated (and lost) the Best Actress. Wins for other performances did not affect your eligibility though perhaps it did subconsciously. I hesitated, for example, before including Meryl Streep in Silkwood on my list because she's already won three Oscars... which strikes me as just about right for that career even if the third statue wasn't for the right film. But then I remembered the challenge: the greatest performances that were nominated but didn't win (irregardless of how worthy that year's actual winner was) and on my list she went.

A quick refresher if you missed yesterday's top tenGarland (A Star is Born) won the poll by a significant margin with Davis (All About Eve) as runner-up. Both appeared on multiple ballots. Winslet (Eternal Sunshine) was a decisive but distant third and one of only two new-millenium performances to make the top ten. Then came a trinity of truly troubled women who were virtually tied in the middle of the pack: Stanwyck (Double Indemnity), Watson (Breaking the Waves) and Rowlands (A Woman Under the Influence) none of whom have ever won competitive Oscars! The top ten ended withSwanson (Sunset Boulevard), Moore (Far From Heaven) and two very surprising romantic comedy inclusions in Katharine Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story) and Holly Hunter (Broadcast News). In the case of the latter, I figured that if an 80s performance made the list it would come from the cult of Glenn Close. I figured wrong. Was it Albert Nobbs and years of furious woman repetition on Damages that damaged the reputation of her back-to-back runner up nominations? "She's not going to be ignored" And yet, yikes, she (mostly) was.

So who just missed? Let's count them down!

11 Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream, 2000)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1
Behind the Scenes Confession: I was the last member of Team Experience to vote and she was on my ballot... but it still wasn't enough of a jumpstart to bump Hunter from 10th position. Burstyn has been nominated several times but her pill-popping lonely widoe was her only performance to receive votes.

12 Emmanuelle Riva (Amour, 2012)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1
Last year's presumed runner up scored suprisingly high. I purposely did not allow myself to vote for anyone with a performance younger than ten years because for this sort of list, I need perspective. But not all of the contributors feel the same. Whether Riva's loss continues to look like a travesty of justice I suspect totally depends on what the future of Jennifer Lawrence's career holds. If she's just warming up and becomes one of the greats (a possibility) people won't mind but if she's already peaked (also a possibility) people will be even angrier about this one in ten year's time. 

13 Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!, 2001)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #2
Bright and Bubbly? Sparkling Diamond? Smoldering Temptress? Wilting Flower? However Ms Kidman plays it Team Experience loves her. (Note: she did not make my ballot but I'm not surprised by her high score.)

Is it a crime to look at Lange?

14 Jessica Lange (Frances, 1982)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1
A total of 80 performances received at least one vote from our 20 participants. After this top 25 that you're reading here there were many virtual ties and no true standouts. The ballots were weighted to preference higher placements, but appearing on multiple lists still got you further than one or two passionate fans. For instance, Jessica's take on Frances Farmer was only ever ranked at #1 on lists on which it appeared. But crazy Frances only appeared on two lists so Jessica had to settle for 14th place. Hey, that's better than a lobotomy! 

15 Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass, 1961)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #2
The highest ranked performance from the 1960s. And the actress that did more than anyone this side of Michelle Pfeiffer on a piano (curiously vote-less) to make wee Nathaniel the incurable actressexual he became.

16 Ingrid Bergman (Autumn Sonata )
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #4 
[GULP. I have not seen this movie.]

17 Shirley Maclaine (The Apartment, 1960)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #7
I'm pretty sure that had Maclaine won for the Apartment as many thought she should have she still would have won for Terms of Endearment despite the weird reputation that win has now as a "career" win despite coming from a certifiable blockbuster and despite it being a Hugely Entertaining Star Turn. Still I love playing 'what if' games with Oscar and I wonder in the absence of Terms in 83, would Meryl have been one of the rare back-to-back Oscar winners? Or did her trouble winning a third indicate that immediately after Sophie's Choice they thought two in the space of four years was plenty?

18 Bette Davis (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, 1962)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #5
Bette Davis wasn't the only actress to win multiple citations for different films (Hepburn, Kidman & Streep also did it) but she was the only actress to get two of them into the top 20. Interestingly in both of Bette's best-loved performances she played an actress! Or maybe that's not so unusual... 7 of the top 25 are actresses playing actresses. Hmmmm....  

19 Sissy Spacek (Carrie, 1976)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #2
I feel like we talk about this film a lot (too much?) and we need to give some other films some room here at TFE. But "Scary Carrie" is just so awesome. It's hard not to throw tampons love her way. 

Page lost the Sweet Bird Oscar. Maybe they thought sleeping with Paul Newman onscreen was as much Golden God as any actress needed?

20 Geraldine Page (Sweet Bird of Youth, 1962) 
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1 
I was thrilled that my vote for Page, who was also mentioned for Interiors, was not the only one. She's just perfect in both of those movies. If you haven't seen either get yourself a double feature immediately. Perhaps we need a Page retrospective sometime soon because people don't talk about her enough.

21 Anne Bancroft (The Graduate)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #4 
She seduced a couple of the members of the Team, but less than I was expecting actually. 

22 The Lovely Laura Linney (You Can Count On Me, 2000)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1
While she's often eclipsed in conversation by Burstyn's Requiem, 2000 had three deserving winners of the Best Actress statue. So depends on the luck of release dates.

23 Marlene Dietrich (Morocco, 1930)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #1 
The highest ranked performance of the 1930s - the only decade other than the 1960s that didn't produce a top ten finisher. The 30s seems to be a weak spot for Team Experience... either that or Oscar made better choices in the early days. 

24 Faye Dunaway (Bonnie & Clyde, 1967)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #2 
Still, isn't this a rare case of an actress that won for the right film. She's so A++ in Network.  Not that her Bonnie Parker isn't a marvel as well.

25 Meryl Streep (Silkwood, 1983)
Highest Placement on a Ballot: #4 
Meryl also received votes for The Bridges of Madison County, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and The Devil's Wears Prada but this was her only performance to show up on multiple ballots, three of them in total. 

The loneliest passions
Anjelica Huston, The Grifters (1990) made it to #1 on Craig's ballot but appeared on no other lists.
Greta Garbo, Ninotchka (1939) made it to #2 on Kurt's ballot but appeared on no other lists.
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake (2004) made it to #3 on Amir's ballot but appeared on no other lists. 

Most ballots without making the top 25
Barbra Streisand's idealistic woman in love in The Way We Were (1973) made her presence known on three separate ballots (including mine - I think it's a perfect model of How To Act in a Romantic Drama While Still Playing a Three-Dimensional Character) but always finished towards the end of those ballots.


What did you think of this Actress Extravaganza and 25 women later who are you still miffed hasn't been mentioned?

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Reader Comments (60)

I'll never let this one go: GLENN CLOSE "Dangerous Liaisons"!...

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

LOL, you call yourself an actressexual but still hasn't seen Autumn Sonata, with Legendary turns by Liv Ullmann, Lena Nyman and Ingrid Bergman (in this order)!

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

So Glenn didn't place at all? Wow.

Although, in all the 87/88 arguments, it saddens me that that Weaver's "Gorillas in the Mist" is hardly mentioned at all. Granted, I haven't seen it in a long time, but it stunned me when I saw it as a kid. I wonder how it holds up.

And no Goldberg or Midler (although that's not as surprising), my two earliest actressexual crushes. Oh well.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Nathan, many thanks for such an enthralling and witty piece. My very favorite of the many great ones you've done! Love the comment at the end of the La Lange entry! LOL

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Natalie Wood in 1961: Best of the nominees? Not quite, my vote from those would be for Piper Laurie, but she's second of those. ( Here's my actual ballot:

1. Marilyn Monroe, The Misfits
2. Deborah Kerr, The Innocents
3. Silvia Pinal, Viridiana (The ultimate innocent in what is, most likely, Bunuel's second best film, right after Los Olvidados.)
4. Piper Laurie, The Hustler (It doesn't quite hit the highs Natalie Wood's does, but it is also consistently far above that performances lows.)
5. Thelma Ritter, The Innocents
(6&7: Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass (Personally, I think it's some wildly uneven work, alternating from great moments to "what was the performer thinking" moments and I prefer Piper Laurie's even keel, sadly) and Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's (the film is beyond simple and was FAR from an actual challenge for her at this point (her peak, no question is the club scene in Funny Face), so I wouldn't nominate her even if someone decided to just edit out Mickey Rooney))

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

OMG! Volvagia, I love Silvia Pinal in Viridiana, so happy to know from someone else who does =D

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFernando Moss

Where is Mary Tyler Moore for Ordinary People?

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSebastian

Thank you so much for bringing up Geraldine Page!

Incredibly underrated as a film actress despite some stellar turns.

I recently watched Summer and Smoke and Sweet Bird of Youth back-to-back.
She's wonderful in both, but I love her Princess in Sweet Bird most of all.

It feels like such a project of multiple years inside the head of Tennessee Williams' heroines. Where in Alma, she's a woman in need of awakening and finally to Alexandra that feels like she's let everything go too far. Such a great double feature.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrew C

In case anyone's curious here's my ballot neatly divided into categories:

Votes which made the list:

1 Holly Hunter – Broadcast News
2 Gloria Swanson – Sunset Boulevard
3 Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
6 Barbara Stanwyck – Double Indemnity
9 Bette Davis – All About Eve

Votes which nearly made the list

4 Ellen Burstyn – Requiem for a Dream
7 Anne Bancroft – The Graduate

Votes which failed to break the top 25

5 Carole Lombard – My Man Godfrey
8 Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth
10 Judi Dench – Mrs. Brown

I spent a day rotating upwards of a dozen woman in the ten spot until I finally had to settle on Dench and submit the ballot in order to preserve my sanity. Other nominees I seriously considered included many of the ladies who made the top 25 as well as

Piper Laurie – The Hustler
Faye Dunaway – Chinatown
Celia Johnson – Brief Encounter

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

I don't get the love for Nicole Kidman, Shirley MacLaine, and Natalie Wood. Anne Bancroft, Sissy Spacek, and Jessica Lange should be higher.

Sins of omission: Kim Stanley for 'Seance on a Wet Afternoon,' Helena Bonham Carter for 'The Wings of the Dove,' and Cicely Tyson for 'Sounder.'

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

This list took me well over a week to finish, and even then I wasn't completely happy with it. My short-list was well over 30. It would have been more, but I decided just after making the first version of it that I must vote only on performances I have seen all the way through in one sitting, no matter how legendary or great in what I've seen, so adios Rowlands and Swanson (SHUT UP! I KNOW!) among others. Since no pairs were allowed - each actress had to have one slot to herself - my Honorable Mentions went to Bette Davis & Anne Baxter (All About Eve) and Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon, pairs in which I cannot possibly put one above the other.

1. Emmanuelle Riva, Amour (I never for one second thought what she was going through on that screen wasn't real)
2. Judy Garland, A Star is Born (All-Time Best Performance by Anyone Ever material)
3. Gabourey Sidibe, Precious (THIS was her DEBUT. Amazing performance under any circumstances, but THAT makes it ridiculously amazing.)
4. Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (It's already been said)
5. Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Davis pushes this as far as it can possibly go before the character stops feeling like a real person, far further than any other actress would have dared.)
6. Kate Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story (I was going to put Bringing Up Baby here, as it's an even better comic performance, but she wasn't nominated for that.)
7. Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! (COME ON, PEOPLE. It's right there in the greatest Oscar campaign ever: She sings. She dances. She dies. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!?)
8. Sissy Spacek, Carrie (Such an affecting performance. Even as she scares the living daylights out of you, you still want to cuddle her close and tell her that everything's going to be okay.)
9. Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music (For working just as well with the SEVEN children as with the adults, and for showing every side to Maria, sometimes even in the same shot.)
10. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married (Such a bundle of contradictions, this one. That we can understand exactly where Kym is coming from, what she's doing, and why she's doing it at any given moment, is a huge accomplishment with a character this complex.)

Runners-up: Stanwyck (Double Indemnity), Ellen Page (Juno), Laura Linney (The Savages), Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Sigourney Weaver (Aliens), Audrey Hepburn (The Nun's Story), Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys), Ingrid Bergman (Autumn Sonata), Kate Hepburn (Summertime), Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I expected no Kathleen, but honestly no Michelle and no Glenn?

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

PeggySue -- I KNOW RIGHT? But when you're dealing with 300+ performances from 80 decades....If I had to do it over again I would be more of a dictator and say that nothing post 2003 was eligible so as to preserve the "all time" component. Winslet, Riva, and more sucked up lots of votes!

Drew C -- i don't actually care for Page in Summer & Smoke -- to me her weakest performance (or maybe i just hate the character?)

May 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nat - I love what you said about Streisand. The ability to swoon and the ability to use intellect so rarely cohabitate in cinema.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCory Rivard

Annette Bening for "American Beauty" where are you u_u ?

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMauricio V.

I am glad now people know Glenn Close is far from being a great actress. She has great work (Ijust can't deny Alex), but her career is very uneven and she has been terrible a lot of times.

People will never give Jodie this, but she is AMAZING in Nell. I doubt she had any votes.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Cal -- i fully agree on Nell. I think it's Foster's best work. It's so openhearted that of course it's an easy target... but it feels so true to how that character would be.

Mauricio -- she's off selling houses.

May 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I see these votes for Burstyn and Linney and wonder people may think Roberts was a travesty. It wasn't! Julia was the best and earned her Oscar. Cher was the best too and deserved her Oscar.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I think you're SO right about the 10 years clause. Time changes everything and the absence of certain ladies just proves it.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

You've never seen Autumn Sonata? On the one hand, if you do see it, you'll see the greatest Ingrid performance if not arguably the greatest technical swan song ever. On the other hand, I find myself reciting one of Liv Ullmann's monologues and rocking back and forth on my couch. So I guess that evens out the pros and the cons.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

Interiors, is the only Page movie I've seen. Bountiful, is on my mind because of the play adaption.

The underrating of Glenn Close is horrible but, not impossible, see the Academy's treatment of Gary Oldman.

A cool followup to the injustice pow-wowing is unnominated Best Actress performances.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I was happy to see votes for Meryl in Silkwood. Truly, Meryl at her best.
It would have been fun to see Streep win the rare back-to-back Oscars for
Sophie & Silkwood but McLaine was undeniable in 1985...

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Typed the wrong thing for Ritter. Should be The Misfits. Bleep, can't believe I made that mistake.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

cal: Close isn't everyone's taste and most everyone doesn't have taste. Your satisfaction with peeing in a garden (Close) is worse than my screaming bloody-murder at a monument (Streep).

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Terrific articles with interesting choices. I'm with you Nathaniel about Natalie not making the top 10 for Splendor.

The missing:
Julie Christie-Away from Her
Kate Hepburn-Long Day's Journey Into Night
Bette Davis-Dark Victory
Susan Hayward-I'll Cry Tomorrow
Rosalind Russell-Auntie Mame
Anne Bancroft-The Pumpkin Eater
Jane Fonda-They Shoot Horses, Don't They?-shocked that this is missing
Ellen Burstyn-Resurrection
Helena Bonham Carter-Wings of the Dove
Diane Lane-Unfaithful

A Geraldine Page retrospective-YES PLEASE!!!

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I forgot Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasions.

You really should catch up with Autumn Sonata just for Ingrid's amazing work in it. I found the picture itself rather a slog but then I find all Ingmar Bergman films a trial to get through, but hey that's just me. She truly makes it worth viewing

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Please please please a Geraldine Page retrospective. I am almost done with viewing each and every one of her films and I am addicted. Arguments could be made for her winning each of her 4 leading Actress awards. Close on every one, but I still think Sweet Bird of Youth is her greatest. Golden Globe but no Oscar!!!

And of course I can't let a single comment go by without mentioning Dame Edith in The Whisperers. And Bryan Forbes, the director of 3 SUPERB Best Actress nominees, passed away today. RIP. (Edith Evans, Lesley Caron and Kim Stanley) I dare anyone to justify any one of them not deserving of the win.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk


WTF does your peeing close and screaming streep narrative mean ? Pls.
to explain as if I was a 5 year old.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

DJDeeJay - BLESS YOU. You make me feel not so odd and alone in my Bette Midler love, lol. I would've have definitely mentioned her for The Rose.

And I have to say I'm quite sad that not even one black actress made the list, especially considering pretty much every black actress nominated gave performances worthy of the Oscar since it's hard for them to get nominated if they aren't that good.

And I must chime in on the no Glenn Close shock.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I am shocked that all the news stories about Bryan Forbes passing away this afternoon are so quick to cite his direction of "The Stepford Wives," yet forget to cite his trilogy of British kitchen sink showcases 'The L Shaped Room", "Seance on a Wet Afternoon," or "The Whisperers." Now there are 3 of the reasons I am the actessexual I am today.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Again no Sigourney for Aliens, you people disappoint me. (looking VERY disapprovingly)

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAgent69

The final scene in Splendor in the Grass always breaks my heart. I love it so much.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

The Close omission on the first list is egregious; the omission on the second is unfathomable.

The only ameliorating factor is that I am not alone in feeling this.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Since it didn't show up in the "lonely passions" section, I can safely assume that I'm not the only person who voted for Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter? Not just one of my very favorite nominated performances, but top 5 or 10 of all time, irrespective of gender or awardage.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Amir/Nat was I the only person to choose Glenn Close? I'm truly shocked that she didn't make the top 25. For what it's worth this was my list:

#1: Geraldine Page in SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
#2: Katharine Hepburn in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
#4: Brenda Blethyn in SECRETS AND LIES
#5: Katharine Hepburn in LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
#6: Helena Bonham Carter in THE WINGS OF THE DOVE
#7: Katharine Hepburn in ALICE ADAMS
#8: Judy Garland in A STAR IS BORN
#9: Annette Bening in BEING JULIA
#10: Natalie Wood in SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS

I went wild with the Hepburn love but as everyone choosing has said, it's difficult narrowing the eons of performance down to ten. Lange in "Frances" was just outside my ten, but I was sure she'd make everyone else's list.

I love "The Graduate" but still am surprised Anne made the top 20.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Agree with Sebastian. It's pretty remarkable that Mary Tyler Moore doesn't even rate a mention (Spacek's one statue, an early career Oscar, was reward enough).

I think Riva should have won this year, but #12? She wasn't that good.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Tim -- yes, Celia had two votes.

matt -- i get it. i get it. if it means anything both of her big roles were in my top 20 but i had to make cuts somewhere.

May 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Julia Roberts' performance in Erin Brockovich was just as Oscar-worthy as Bjork, Linney, and Burstyn. I think whoever would've won that year would have gotten shit from the other losers' fans. I just think Roberts gets A LOT more shit — than say Linney or Burstyn would have received had they won — because she's doesn't have the respectable actress reputation that Linney or Burstyn have. Romcom actresses just don't get that much respect, despite how good they might be (just look at Meg Ryan, who's egregiously undervalued).

Anyway, I think I'm with you, Nathaniel, on how highly we regard Pfeiffer's work in The Fabulous Baker Boys. I'm sure she placed really high on your list.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Nat, when are you gonna post about SUMMERTIME in Hit me with your best shot???

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSelden

Seriously, no presence of Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don't They????????? I know, she has two Oscars but I swapped her win in Klute with another two-time winner Glenda Jackson. That aside, how does she not making everybody's top 5 for that final scene alone?

I guess I am also alone in still thinking that Jessica Chastain had one of the most misunderstood performances of a misunderstood character of one of the most misunderstood movies in recent memory. It is silently a groundbreaking, frustrating, fascinating character. It felt like the general reaction was, 'The movie does not really give the Oscar/awards moment for Chastain' or 'That performance, while good, winning the Oscar would be weird'. It would have been so weird. But I like when Oscar goes weird e.g. Silence of the Lambs clean sweep and The Hurt Locker winning.

And Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter is one of the definitive acting performances of the genre and of the period. Is it because their is this air of simplicity and ease in which she just inhibits the role?

And I want to return to my Bancroft-Crawford-Davis triangle of passive aggression. Oscar night, Bancroft was not present for the Oscars. Davis and Crawford are right next to each other. It was a big deal that only Davis was nominated for Baby Jane and Crawford was not. Joan secretly concocted a plan to except for anybody who was not there in the Best Actress category. Bancroft did leave Crawford a note just in case too, but seemed unaware of what was really happening. Bancroft won and guess who tells Bette Davis, "Step aside, I have an award to accept!" as she took the stage?

So I am forever grateful for Bancroft winning even if I prefer Davis (and Crawford) in performance, as her win is responsible for one of the best Oscar moments ever.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Suzanne -- I completely agree. I think Riva is just super fresh in peoples minds, that's why she ranked SO high.

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Also, can we PLEASE do this for supporting actress??? :D

May 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I cannot believe there's no place for Olivia de Havilland for The Snake Pit, biggest snub ever.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Ataucuri

A cool followup to the injustice pow-wowing is unnominated Best Actress performances.

I'd love to do this and if we do, we BETTER start with Bibi Andersson in Persona, Shelley Duvall in 3 Women, Jeon Do-yeon in Secret Sunshine and Tilda Swinton in Julia or imma cut someone! ALL T ALL SHADE. Those are four of the most magnificent performances ever committed to film -- male, female, Streep or otherwise.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

All T All Shade. What does this mean?

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Loved this , so many great performances that lost. The performances I expected to see on this list and didn't get mention:

- Audrey Hepburn for Breakfast At Tiffany's (same year as Wood) as that is such an iconic role.
- Michelle Pfeiffer for The Fabulous Baker Boys (this is SHOCKING)
- Susan Sarandon For Thelma and Louise (I loved Geena Davis that year too but this is my favourite Sarandon performance of all time)
- Kathleen Turner (Peggy Sue) and Sigoureny Weaver (Aliens) from 1986!

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

This is all super fun and super sad. Couldn't we all write pages and pages on the tears we have shed over losing Best Actress performances? Just add to the echos of support for Close, De Havilland, Blethyn, Duvall, Johnson, Swinton, Page (Interiors!), etc., etc., Jean Simmons is absolutely stunning in Elmer Gantry. How she was not even nominated is baffling.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Once again. Without Isabelle Adjani, there is no list.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergoran

1 Bette Davis - What Ever Happend To Baby Jane?
2 Whoopi Goldberg - The Color Purple
3 Bette Davis - All About Eve
4 Judi Dench - Notes On A Scandal
5 Jodie Foster - Nell
6 Felicity Huffman - Transamerica
7 Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
8 Brenda Blethyn - Secrets & Lies
9 Gloria Swanson - Sunset Blvd
10 Sigourney Weaver - Aliens
11 Meryl Streep - One True Thing
12 Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven
13 Glenn Close - Dangerous Liaisons
14 Diane Keaton - Marvin's Room
15 Ellen Burstyn - Requiem for a Dream
16 Laura Linney - The Savages
17 Emily Watson - Breaking the Waves
18 Susan Sarandon - Lorenzo´s Oil
19 Holly Hunter - Broadcast News
20 Kate Winslet - Little Children
21 Carey Mulligan - An Education
22 Bette Davis - Dark Victory
23 Michelle Pfeiffer - The Fabulous Baker Boys
24 Laura Linney - You Can Count On Me
25 Meryl Streep - Silkwood

Runners up:
Glenn Close - Fatal Attraction
Kate Winslet - Titanic
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth
Emily Watson - Hilary and Jackie
Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge!
Bette Davis - Of A Human Bondage
Sissy Spacek - Carrie
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
Keria Knightley - Pride & Prejudice
Toni Collette - Little Miss Sunshine
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Rooney Mara - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Katharine Hepburn - The Philadelphia Story

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersteolicious

My entire top six made the list, and seven all told - I'd be interested if any of the other contributors had a stronger hit rate? I feel so mainstream.

Those that didn't, if anyone's intrigued: #7, Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde (it this were ten years ago she'd probably have been my #1 - teenage crush!); #9, Audrey Hepburn, The Nun's Story; #10, Angela Bassett, What's Love Got to Do with It.

May 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

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