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Q&A: Best 'Best Actress' Decade? Gay for Play as Actorly Rite of Passage?

Four more reader questions to kick off the weekend. Wheeee. As ever, I'd love to hear your answers to these questions thrown my way.

MATT ST CLAIR: Is there an unseen awards contender this year that you are hoping doesn't fail?

NATHANIEL: My "please let this be successful" hopes reside with Blade Runner 2049 (because the original's reputation being tarnished would be such a pity), The Greatest Showman (because musicals MUST continue to thrive) and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (because it's infinitely annoying that Annette Bening doesn't have an Oscar yet and didn't even get nominated for such gorgeous work in 20th Century Women)While we're well- wishing please let Wonderstruck, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and The Florida Project could be bigger hits than usual for Todd Haynes, John Cameron Mitchell, and Sean Baker, since they're three of our most distinctive American auteurs. I could go on but I'll stop as no genie grants unlimited wishes.

CATBASKETS: I've been thinking a lot about straight actors getting their starts or big breaks playing gay roles--Hugh Grant in Maurice, Guy Pierce in Priscilla, DDL in Beautiful Launderette, Charlie Hunnam in Queer as Folk, Eddie Redmayne in Savage Grace, etc. etc. Do you think this was/is a major rite of passage for actors? Do you think this will slow down now that there's more awareness/active demand for gay actors to play these roles?

On one hand there is more pressure now to cast "authentically" but on the other hand that pressure is not exerted when it comes to sexual orientation. That particular conversation has been almost entirely focused on race, disability, and gender identity.

I don't actually want there to be a world where straights can't play gays and vice versa (it's an actors job to become characters different from themselves) and I outright cherish half of those performances you've mentioned. But, that said, a little balance in casting would be wonderful. Or, at the very least, a little more praise for gay actors who do get cast in gay roles and excel in them.

No exaggeration: "Titus Andromeddon" is one of the greatest comic creations of the past 25 years

How, for example, does Titus Burgess not have an Emmy for his bonafide genius on Kimmy Schmidt when far lesser performances by straight or then-closeted actors playing flamboyant characters have won!?! Why does no one want to credit the amazing soulfulness of Jonathan Groff's work on Looking? How on earth did Ian McKellen lose the Oscar for Gods and Monsters? Out gay actors almost never win awards for playing gay characters, even the ones lucky enough to get nominated. It's abundantly evident that there is just no knee jerk desire to honor gay actors in the way there is to praise straight actors pretending to be gay which is a complicated form of unacknowledged homophobia, full stop.

Yes I'm still bitter about the Oscar fiasco of 1997 in which the Academy had an absolutely worthy, widely seen, and celebrated gay-playing-gay option right in front of them (Rupert Everett in My Best Friend's Wedding) and instead honored the significantly less worthy straight-playing-gay option instead (Gregg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets

EUROCHEESE: What was your favorite decade of Actress winners, and will the Teens be in the running?

NATHANIEL: This is a tough question as the Academy has a habit of being all 'one for you, one for me' with only half the winners being awesome. Every single decade has a major "HUH?" moment. Sadly the Teens already don't qualify (I might have felt differently had Isabelle Huppert managed the upset in February even though I liked Emma Stone's work a lot) unless there are 3 consecutive Blue Jasmine level winners coming up which... well, what are the chances?) But all told, it's a toss up for me between the 1960s or the 1970s. Most of the winners for 20 years straight there were pretty great even if some of them weren't the single best from their nominated sisterhoods.

Which is the Greatest Decade for Best Actress winners? 
1 9 6 0 s 1 9 7 0 s
60 LIZ TAYLOR, BUtterfield 8
70 GLENDA JACKSON, Women in Love
Yes, Maclaine should've won but Liz is way more fab here than people claim I think I was too young to get this performance when I first saw it.
61 SOPHIA LOREN, Two Women  71 JANE FONDA, Klute
My ♥︎ belongs to Natalie but Sophia is ravishing Fonda's greatest. And that's saying a helluva lot
62 ANNE BANCROFT, The Miracle Worker
Great but Bette's Baby Jane is a true miracle Divinely decadent 
63 PATRICIA NEAL, Hud   73 GLENDA JACKSON, A Touch of Class
Perfection in such a singular way 100% a Streisand voter this year
64 JULIE ANDREWS, Mary Poppins 
74 ELLEN BURSTYN, Alice Doesn't Live Here...
Practically Perfect in every way Such an amazing shortlist that year
65 JULIE CHRISTIE, Darling 75 LOUISE FLETCHER, Cuckoo's...
Sensational but I *might* have handed Andrews two in a row Iconic but overrated. My vote to madwoman Adjani hands down
66 LIZ TAYLOR, Who's Afraid of...
76 FAYE DUNAWAY, Network
Stupendous. Liz & Dick forever Head says Dunaway. Heart says Spacek. TIE!
67 KATHARINE HEPBURN, Guess Who's...
77 DIANE KEATON, Annie Hall
"WTF?" choice of the 60s as the least of an astonishing shortlist Can she have two '77 Oscars though since Mr Goodbar was also that year?
68 [TIE] STREISAND, Funny Girl AND HEPBURN, Lion in Winter
78 JANE FONDA, Coming Home
"Hello Gorgeous!" Babs giving all time great debut Fonda's work is lovely but Geraldine Page in Interiors is A+ indelible
69 MAGGIE SMITH, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie   79 SALLY FIELD, Norma Rae
LOVE... but *maybe* would've voted Fonda F*** the haters. Field is a fine actor


What's your favorite decade for Best Actress winners?

CASH: What do you think is most important in labeling an actor as great? Is it the ability to successfully navigate different mediums? Is it producing credible works across multiple genres? Is it the ability to disappear into divergent roles? Or is it enough to offer just a few small but iconic roles/performances that really resonate?

NATHANIEL: Such difficult questions this time, guys. I like it. Torture me! Everytime I was going to choose one of these in your astute multiple choices, I thought of an exception to the rule, or got distracted by brilliant examples arguing for the next choice instead. We must admit that there is no correct answer and what constitutes greatness can differ tremendously based on the actor themselves. Some actors would actually be less great if they disappeared into characters; I have no desire or need to not see Cary Grant when I'm watching a Cary Grant performance. So Grant is Grant, thank god, but it doesn't work for every movie star. Tom Cruise is an example of a superstar who is far more fascinating when he lets the character have friction with his persona (Magnolia, Born on the Fourth of July) and you can see both character and actor simultaneously. I'd argue that just maybe Jimmy Stewart is the same way. Actors who have tremendous ease at genre hopping are neat but it doesn't make Meryl Streep any less great that she doesn't feel adept at thriller acting (or at least didn't back when she made Still of Night) and Daniel Day-Lewis is all wrong for musicals but just because he didn't work in Nine doesn't negate his often genius work in dramas.

YOUR TURN READERS. Sound off on these intriguing topics, won't you?

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Reader Comments (45)

The 70s is my favorite decade for Best Actress winners (the 70s is my favorite decade for pretty much everything). I feel like this is when idiosyncratic, offbeat, non-Hollywood type actresses were recognized with the most regularity, and the wins were mostly for pretty great performances.

I do, however, think Isabelle Adjani was totally robbed in 75 and that there was nothing special about Jane Fonda in 'Coming Home.' Clayburgh, Bergman, or Page would have been far better winners that year.

These days the only ladies who can win Best Actress are young It Girl stars or mainstream veteran actresses. Sigh...

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Yay, love that detailed answer on Actress! Mine is the 60s but the Teens definitely could come close - lesser JLaw and Streep (they've been better elsewhere) doesn't discount Portman's best, Blanchett's best in years, Moore's crowning achievement and well deserved ingenue love for Larson and Stone. If nothing else, the actresses themselves this decade are quite a list.

But for now, yeah, the 60s. Hope you loved Hepburn's Lion in Winter, which is my favorite, but Neal, Taylor (Woolf) and Streisand are also among the all time greats, with Andrews not far behind. I also really love the 50s, despite three years I'd love to ignore in a row (ending with Hayward, the worst winner ever in the category); and the 90s hold up pretty well with career best turns from Bates, Foster, Hunter, Sarandon, McDormand and Swank, despite a few missteps.

So: 60s, Teens for now, 50s. 90s, 70s, 80s, Aughts, 40s, 30s for me.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I like mannered neurotic scenery chewing from actresses. The fussiness character performers have with underwritten roles made the Best Supporting Actress segment of the Oscar telecast so nail biting from the highlighted clips.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I would say the 1970's or soon to be the 2010's, since the actresses are all similarly likable (at least to me anyway):

Portman, Streep, Lawrence, Blanchett, Moore, Larson, Stone, TBD, TBD, TBD

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJono

The 60s are an oddity in the sense that both Taylor and Hepburn won twice and for both ladies the first win was largely sentimental (tracheotomy/widowing) and the second one was absurdly well deserved for two of the best performances of all time.

I disagree Louise Fletcher was overrated and her winning speech is one of my favorites. She lands some pretty funny jokes and closes in sign language in a heartfelt tribute to her parents. She comes across as such a dignified and sweet lady and it just highlights exactly how impressive and transformative her Nurse Ratched is.

The Accademy can't handle Ian McKellen. The two occasuoms he was nominated they completely lost their marbles and went for some of the worst winners ever. In 1998, one of the worst years in Academy history, they botched best picture, all four acting categories (with Benigni, Dench and Paltrow being the worst nominees in their respective categories), original screenplay, foreign film and even song. Then, in 2001, they also botched picture, director, 3 acting categories and adapted screenplay. Also, Halle Berry's virtue signaling oscar win (she actually gave a terrific performance and a genuine acceptance speech, but they gave it to her to fend off accusations of raciam) set up the chain of make up Oscars (Kidman given for The Hours the Oscar she had won for Moulin Rouge; Zellweger given for Cold Mountain the Oscar she had won for Chicago) that denied Holly Hunter her deserved second win (and that would have made her one of the best double winners of all time with The Piano and Thirteen). Plus, it may have also denied Viola Davis her lead Oscar for The Help.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Jono, Louise Fletcher was charged with driving into a cop in the 90s, and was reportedly less-than-concerned about the officer she injured. The story goes that her first response after the accident was to call her attorney, and she waited two days to inquire about his condition. Doesn't sound too sweet to me.

Acting-wise, I wouldn't mind so much if Fletcher had won in supporting, but the category fraud cost Isabelle Adjani (one of the finest actresses in film history) her shot at the Oscar. I'll always resent Fletcher, her campaigners, and the Academy for that.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

*Post above should have been addressed to Carmen Sandiego, not Jono. My bad!

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I have always loved the '70s lineup, even when there are two double winners in that decade!
But in '74, the winner should have been GENA ROWLANDS in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE. Period.
Hoping Glenn Close's THE WIFE to be a major player with her finally winning the Oscar if the film is released this year.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Already double-thinking myself. Aughts > 80s. :)

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

'Great' Oscar acceptance speeches should'nt have any influence on the most-deserving performance.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Mike: She might have been sweet in the 70s but deeply embittered by Nurse Ratched becoming her type casting. Not everyone comes out of the other side of the typecasting issue like Adam West or Leonard Nimoy did.
I'm just hoping for at least one Oscar nomination (in any category) for Baby Driver. Edgar Wright is the ONLY director anyone views as one of the greats currently working with a flat zero nomination record, and that's pretty gross. (Flat zero: Zero Oscar nominations for any of their films in ANY category.) I dare everyone here to name any other director with a flat zero record who isn't a hack.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

The actress question is a great thought provoking one!

At first I thought that’s a snap-the 40’s since that’s my favorite film decade but then I looked at the winners! Ginger Rogers in the glug fest Kitty Foyle instead of Bette Davis in The Letter or Kate Hepburn in Philadelphia Story. Joan Fontaine’s make-up Oscar over Davis again in Little Foxes or Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire. Or worse of all Loretta Young against any of the other actresses in her category for The Farmer’s Daughter!

So while I think the 60’s & 70’s lineups are very solid I’d go with the 50’s where except for the egregious Grace Kelly win over Judy Garland in A Star is Born the winners, though they might not be my choices, are excellent (Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday & Ingrid Bergman in Anastasia) to iconic (Vivien Leigh in Streetcar & Simone Signoret in Room at the Top).

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

The 90's

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Do you really think Nurse Ratched is overrated?

You know Nathaniel, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Potential awards contenders I am rooting for include Mother!, Mudbound, Call Me By Your Name and Blade runner. I would love if it these were all Best picture nominees.

I don't mind straight people playing gay people and vice versa. But I feel like people contradict themselves on this issue. They will fancast hot straight actors who I feel definitely wouldn't take on the role and then declare that a certain person isn't 'worthy' of taking on a gay role. Even I have contradicted myself on this issue as it inexplicably bothered me this season that nearly everyone involved in Moonlight was straight, which I know is ridiculous.

Some of the performances mentioned in the question are my favorite performances by these actors. I know Nathaniel is down on Kinnear in As Good as It Gets but I honestly feel like that is his best role - it was the first thing I saw him in and I think he was great in it. He just plays straight assholes now. I want to see him handle sensitivity and genuine emotion again - the character does not have to necessarily be gay for this to happen. He was good in Little Men though.

I think my favorite Best Actress decades are the 70s and the 90s. - Swank, Thompson, Mcdormand, Foster, Hunter, Keaton, Dunaway, Fonda , Burstyn, Minnelli - these are some of the best performances I've ever seen in a lot of my all time favorite movies. I was surprised to find that most of the performances that won in the 00s make no sense to me now - Roberts and Theron were the best of that decade for me. I also didn't think that I would love nearly all of the performances that have won this decade so far, but I really do. Blanchett, Moore, Stone, and Larson are all fantastic. I know people have an issue with the ingenues that have won in this decade so far but I don't mind them and I think their breakout 'look at me, I have arrived' roles (Short Term 12, Easy A and Winter's Bone) would have been great winners as well.

I totally agree with the answer to the last question. What works for one actor will not work for another. But I feel that people are only accepting the 'chameleons' as the great actors these days - those who trade on their persona consistently are still great actors if they keep it interesting. Simply, all I ask for from an actor is this - a variety of interesting line readings and reactions in a film. That's enough for me. It might not seem that hard but most of the Hollywood Chrises can't seem to manage it. Pine is excluded from this.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAbel

I'm sorry, guys, but I still don't get what's so impressive about Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. I just see Diane Keaton being her kooky self. To me, she's much more fun to watch in Something's Gotta Give. I'm open to hearing others' opinions, though.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I too think Louise Fletcher is great but overrated. She should have nominated in supporting instead. Same goes with Patricia Neal.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Wasn't there some controversy that Streisand became an Academy member BEFORE her win for Funny Girl, and essentially ensured that she cast the 1 vote that tied her with Hepburn? Fishy.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMads

Plenty of actresses have suffered under the weight of their own perceived "greatness." Glenn Close, Meryl Streep and Bette Midler grade icons are sort of straightjacketed in their own personas through no fault of their own.

On the other hand, it stinks to be an actress who constantly has to prove herself: Kidman, Thurman and Sally Field all spring to mind.

My favorites are the Benings and Linneys and Clarksons of the world who wear their greatness as a loose garment.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Mads -- that has always sounded like a conspiracy theory to me to discredit Babs. Regardless. With thousands of people voting, any one vote (including any single vote for Hepburn) could have been the one that made it a tie ;)

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You are so so so incredibly right about Page in Interiors. An amazing performance. She should have won.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

When will we get a Best Actress winner of color...

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

@beyaccount Most people who comment on this site don't stan for black or brown actresses. They want you to let them worship their white queens in peace.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterYMCA

Nathaniel, you haven't seen the Lion in Winter?

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLord

beyaccount -- it will definitely help us get one if leading actresses like Viola Davis will quit pretending that they're supporting :) I still feel she would have won BEST ACTRESS full stop last season (sorry Emma) if she'd gone lead.

June 16, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Lord -- yes, I have. Just dont remember it well. A lot of older classics i saw when i was a little kid so need to revisit.

June 16, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm hoping for The Breadwinner to be really good and potentially overcome Pixar/Disney's domination over the Oscars. I think indie animation studios need to be supported.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

Best Actress is designated for white women with one token fluke winner in Berry. You can blame Hollywood for their lack of leading roles for nonwhite actresses–but the Academy has given leading prizes to performers who had no future leading Hollywood movies before. Usually foreigners and some character performers.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Maybe Nathaniel, but if she had not been made a member and voted for herself then she would have lost, yes? 😀

I do think Streep will win again, just like Hepburn did.

Hollywood is clueless about the minority issue. They are not even minorities if you consider the whole planet.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMads

Abel- I really enjoyed your comment. Well-written, interesting opinions, my friend. I love Nathaniel, but I dare say, I found your opinions on these questions nearly as entertaining (he edges you out with that Best Actress graphic, though).

In other news, if Blade Runner isn't good, I'll be devestated; I really prefer the best actor for a role be hired, gay or straight (I am not gay and, therefore, have not had to deal with any judgment or persecution from that standpoint, so I can understand dissimilar opinions)- also, I love Kinnear, sue me; I'm voting 90's on the actresses, and it's mostly because of McDormand and Swank (though her Million Dollar Baby win is ridiculous); and you will never convince me that Tracy wasn't just as good as Olivier, or that Ledger in Brokeback Mountain wasn't as monumental as Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Look at my 90's actresses - McDormand, soulful, funny, lovely, and Swank, electric, chameleonic, brilliant. Great is great.

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJake

Favorite decades of best actresses: 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Have a crush on gorgeous actresses who can act(some brilliantly), specially if they’re well dressed with an amazing scenery and beautiful music around. Not that I have problems with gorgeous actresses with weak acting like Hedy Lamarr or Kim Novak– even these, with a good direction and script, can have a satisfactory/good performance. Love black & white movies and the saturation of the technicolor. Fake scenery, painted backgrounds, the outdated technique of back projections. All that open naturalistic irrealism they used to make the movies then. Ironic lines said with seriousness and serious lines said with irony. And the diversity of gender: Comedies, musicals, noirs, dramas, melodramas, westerns, biblical epics, etc... Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind(39), Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard(50) and Bette Davis in All About Eve(50) are to me the best works of actresses in movies and are certainly some of the best roles for actresses ever created. Some of the best winner actresses: Marie Dressler(Min and Bill, 30), Claudette Colbert(It Happened One Night, 1934), Jennifer Jones(The Song of Bernadette, 43), Vivien Leigh(A Streetcar Named Desire, 51), Anna Magnani(The Rose Tatoo, 55), etc...

June 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Samuel -- I agree that the 30s and 40s were totally amazing with actressing... but the question was about BEST ACTRESS WINNERS so i think the 60s and 70s were best in that specific regard because the Academy often seemed to make odd choices... especially in the 40s which is pretty weak sauce as actual winners go.

June 16, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Samuel, ITA about Jennifer Jones. That performance is one of the Top Ten winners for me.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nathaniel, two or three best winners of 1930s, 1940s or 1950s(including nominees) are better than the whole 1960s and 1970s. Anyway, the best/worst lists are always a little arbitraries. Obviously the 1970s to now look more familiar to the general public... But surely there are wonderful actresses. Always will. What goes with the 1960s and 1970s is that the level of the nominees is unequal, while the 1950s, for example, is more approximate. Some winners and nominees of 1960s and 1970s are laughable(not in a good way), you have to admit. Look at 1950 and 1951. All the nominees are incredible and deserve to win. Doesn't happen always. But, again, it's a matter of taste. Thank you for your blog. I'm addicted.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

It's so strange to me that Glenda Jackson is a two-time best actress winner. Not only because she prematurely cut her acting career short by pursuing a 25 year career in Parliament, but because she's such an atypical actress that Oscar usually ignores.

Her Women in Love performance is such a weird, brave, prickly, cerebral performance...miles away from anything the Academy usually touches. In a Ken Russell film, no less. And her Touch of Class performance is one of the rare comedic performances to win best actress. The 70s really were an adventurous time for filmmaking, and it reflected in some of Oscar's offbeat choices.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Why not have a poll that picks the best actress winners from each decades fr 30s to 10s?

I'll pick Leigh for GWTW (30s), de Havilland for The Heiress (40s), Leigh again for Streetcar (50s), Bancroft for the Miracle Workker (60s), Minnelli for Cabaret (70s) Streep for Sophie's Choice (80s), Swank for Boys Dun Cry (90s), Theron for Monster (00s) & Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (10s, thus far)

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Claran-LOVE that idea! Though it should really start in the 20's since the award did.

Mine would be:

20's-Janet Gaynor-Sunrise (she's very good in her other two films that were awarded but this is the best)
30's-Vivien Leigh-Gone with the Wind
40's-Olivia de Havilland-The Heiress
50's-Simone Signoret-Room at the Top
60's-Katharine Hepburn-The Lion in Winter
70's-Jane Fonda-Klute
80's-Meryl Streep-Sophie's Choice
90's-Emma Thompson-Howard's End
00's-Charlize Theron-Monster
10's-Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Ooh, I'll play!

20s - Gaynor, Sunrise
30s - Leigh, Gone With the Wind
40s - De Havilland, The Heiress
50s - Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire
60s - Hepburn, The Lion in Winter (Nathaniel, you need to rewatch!)
70s - Minnelli, Cabaret
80s - Page, Trip To Bountiful
90s - Sarandon, Dead Man Walking
00s - Roberts, Erin Brockovich
10s - Portman, Black Swan

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Thanks for thinking through the question with me. Loved your shout-out to McKellan and Everett--the latter is really the gold standard of comedy sidekick performances.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets


"My favorites are the Benings and Linneys and Clarksons of the world who wear their greatness as a loose garment."

Brilliantly put, yes! Your examples are so perfect, too.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Do you all really think Fletcher is supporting? It's a straight leading role, just like Annette Bening in American Beauty, Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day, Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking or Jane Fonda in Coming Home.

Repeat with me: sometimes movies have two leads, and not only love stories.

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Hmm, okay

2010's: Not bad. Not bad at all.

2000's: Pretty poor. Berry, Swank, Witherspoon, Cotillard, Winslet and Bullock all rank in the bottom third, if not bottom quarter.

1990s: Schizoprenic at best. It starts out super strong with Bates, Foster, Thompson and Hunter. Lange's an odd flukey win in a weird year. Sarandon is amazing. But McDormand and Hunt underwhelm and Paltrow irritates. Swank's amazing

1980s: Mostly mediocre

1970s: Strong

1960s: Not as good as I would like to imagine. Hepburn #1 and Taylor #1 are not great at all. I don't even care for Hepburn #2 that much

1950s: Nope. Too many disappointing choices. But at it's peak - Signoret, Hayward, Leigh... pretty divine

1940: Another schizophrenic one.

1930s: It's all right

June 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

I was going to say the 40s are the best, considering Olivia de Havilland's 2 wonderful wins-performances. But then I realized that, in most years, the winning performances are much weaker than the nominated ones.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAAA

The 2010s would be a decent decade of winners if it weren't for Jennifer Lawrence. She has to be the worst actress to ever win an Oscar, and so unlikable.

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLee

My vote is for the 90s. The only one that I don't love is Lange (one of the worst winners ever, though) and Foster, Hunter, McDormand, and Swank are some of the greatest winning performances ever.

My picks per decade:
2010s: Cate Blanchett (runner up: Julianne Moore)
2000s: Charlize Theron (Marion Cotillard)
1990s: Holly Hunter (Jodie Foster)
1980s: Meryl Streep (Sissy Spacek)
1970s: Sally Field (Faye Dunaway)
1960s: Katharine Hepburn [2] (Maggie Smith)
1950s: Vivien Leigh (Shirley Booth)
1940s: de Havilland [2] (Jane Wyman)
1930s: Vivien Leigh (Marie Dressler)
1920s: unseen

June 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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