Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1980

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Eileen Brennan (Private Benjamin)
Eva Le Gallienne (Resurrection)
Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull)
Diana Scarwid (Inside Moves)
Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard)

Biggest Snub:

Barbara Hershey – The Stunt Man

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 5 pretty lack luster nominees. None of them gives a stand out performance here and any of them could have won.

My Rankings:

Supporting Actress

5. Eva Le Gallienne
4. Mary Steenburgen
3. Cathy Moriarty
2. Eileen Brennan
1. Diana Scarwid


5. Melvin and HowardPretty boring film that doesn’t work well at all. The story meanders along too much and feels like it’s way too choppy and is missing integral parts to the story itself. Robards was nominated for an Oscar for his brief supporting role but it feels more like a nomination solely because he is a great actor and not necessarily due to his performance in this film itself.
4. Private BenjaminNot such a great movie. Hawn has a few good moments here, but overall, just a mediocre movie that doesn’t stand the test of time.
3. ResurrectionInteresting idea that just doesn’t manage to stay enjoyable for a two hour run time. Burstyn is pretty good in the lead and allows the viewer to see how such an event could affect someone so much that they can become to believe in things that they easily rejected beforehand. Eva Le Gallienne was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Burstyn’s grandmother, but she unfortunately isn’t as much of a standout as one could hope for.  The rest of the supporting cast is also quite good here and I especially liked seeing DeMunn in a small yet significant role.
2. Inside MovesGreat film that really gets to the heart of the idea of what are true friends really like. The characters are all developed quite well and the way that they are all presented shows how deep their friendship and camaraderie is.  The various handicaps of each of the characters helps each of them form a bond with the group as they all become quite close while trying to help one another.  The cast is great with Savage and Morse both doing splendid jobs with their somewhat difficult roles. Great seeing Russell in this film and he adds a very poignant feeling to the group of disabled friends. Scarwid was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role and we get to see how vulnerable a person can be in certain situations. Her character arc is among the best in the film and is easy to relate to because it’s so grounded.
1. Raging BullThis is a great movie largely due to the amazing transformative performance by De Niro. The story itself is quite brutal and dark and shows sometimes how life can imitate art depending on the personalities involved. The boxing scenes are well choreographed and you quite often feel as if you are in the ring right there with them. There are many scenes are feel like roadside accident but despite the blood, we all can’t stop trying to catch a glimpse of what happens.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – I guess so!  None of these nominees are more memorable or powerful than any of the others so any could have won here, so MS was as good a choice as any.  I personally think that Scarwid did the best job with the role she takes on in IM.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

2 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1980

  1. I agree with Michael Caine when he says that if you are going to remake a movie, remake the bad ones. Private Benjamin is a perfect example, because this could have been a great film had it been made by somebody who know how the military actually works. I also think that for today, you’d have to make a few serious tweaks (the rich widow joining the army thing was never credible)…but it could be done.


  2. Disagree about “lackluster”. Didn’t see LaGalliene – but the other 4 were terrific. Brennan was very good – although tough to win in a comedy (less so in supporting). Scarwid excellent – as were Steenbergen and Moriarty (in what I think was her first role – and holding her own opposite DeNiro in a titanic performance was no mean feat). And Pesci. I’m good with any of the 3 – probably would’ve leaned toward CM.


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