I've hinted at it before but we're going to try "Introducing..." as a series, since we love contemplating how actors and filmmakers introduce us to key characters in the movies. There's a real specific art to it if you want the character to stick. So herewith, as prelude to Wednesday's Smackdown, is how the five Supporting Actress nominees of 1968 are introduced in their films. In future non-Smackdown episodes we'll just concentrate on one entrance. But for our purposes here, quintuplets!
I've listed the nominees by how soon they show up in their respective films.
8 minutes in... Estelle Parsons as "Calla" in Rachel Rachel
This entrance is smartly staged by first-time director Paul Newman. It has the clarity of a theatrical entrance albeit without any heightening or glamour. As Rachel (Joanne Woodard) leads her schoolchildren downstage right with some silly arm wavings, an atypically 'light' gesture from this uptight teacher, Calla descends stage left from a higher floor into view, with her own flock, as if conjured by that sudden shift in tone. You immediately sense that they're very different women but as Calla gets closer to the camera, her shift from screechy schoolmarm to close co-worker chum is complete; the women lean in together co-conspiratorially.