Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1956

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Mildred Dunnock (Baby Doll)
Eileen Heckart (The Bad Seed)
Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind) 
Mercedes McCambridge (Giant)
Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed)

Biggest Snub:

Natalie Wood – The Searchers

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 5 very powerful performances nominated in this category and any of them would truly have been a deserving winner.

My Rankings:

Supporting Actress

5. Mildred Dunnock
4. Mercedes McCambridge
3. Dorothy Malone
2. Patty McCormack
1. Eileen Heckart


4. Written on the WindMediocre, 50’s soap opera film that plays everything directly by the book. Great cast does a nice job, but things feels a bit too overdramatic than they should be especially given the fact that not much really happens here that is surprising in any way. Malone won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this role largely due to the way that her character evolves over the course of the story. This film tries to feel like an epic, yet falls flat because it doesn’t manage to hold on to the scope for too long.
3. Baby DollVery interesting film that looks at the relationship between business and love from a unique perspective. The story itself is quite gripping because neither of the two main rivals are that likeable and it hard to try and decide who should win out in the end. This film has a very small main cast, but all four of them do superb jobs here. Malden, Baker, Wallach and Dunnock are each able to create enjoyable and realistic characters. Baker and Dunnock were both nominated for Oscars for their work in this film as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. The story garnered much controversy when it came out yet seems quite tame based on today’s standards. The story has some great scenes that are written really well and manage to keep things interesting throughout especially since the plot features lots of ups and downs in the storyline because things change so rapidly along the way.
2. The Bad SeedGreat thriller because they are able to keep things quite ambiguous throughout most of the story. This allows for us to try and determine what we think really happened before it is revealed to the audience. The film does an excellent job of showing the kind of anxiety that a parent might have if they end up coming in contact with such a case of suspicions. The characters are fleshed out really well and they are all quite believable as real people dealing with these kind of situations. The cast is superb with Kelly, Heckart and McCormick all receiving Oscar nominations for their work her;, Kelly as Lead Actress and the other two as supporting. The film does a great job showing the fear that a parent would experience when suspicions about their child committing heinous acts might be verbalized. Love the way that they plead with the audience to keep the story a secret.
1. GiantSuch an amazing film that uses its epic scale to really show us so much about life on a ranch for a family during the early part of the 20th Century. Amazing cast helps make this story quite impactful whether they are dealing with changing the way Texicans look at the ways a man or a woman runs a ranch to the racial issues of Mexicans living nearby. Hudson and Taylor are able to play their parts quite well and their characters age realistically during the course of the film. Dean is great at the beginning, but the makeup used for when he gets older just doesn’t work very well eventhough he plays the character quite well. Was nominated for 10 Oscars, but only managed to win Best Director for George Stevens. As great as this movie is, I’m sure the book delves even deeper into the storylines and is even better.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  All 5 of these nominees are superb and any could have been a deserving winner.

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

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