Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1990

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Kathy Bates (Misery)
Anjelica Huston (The Grifters)
Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman)
Meryl Streep (Postcards from the Edge)
Joanne Woodward (Mr. & Mrs. Bridge)

Biggest Snub:

Demi Moore – Ghost

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 4 fine performances and one breakout one that is much more powerful than the rest, giving her a slight edge on Oscar night.

My Rankings:


5. Anjelica Huston
4. Joanne Woodward
3. Meryl Streep
2. Julia Roberts
1. Kathy Bates


5. The GriftersVery dark thriller that doesn’t work as well as it could since the characters aren’t as likeable as one would expect from con artists. The cast is great and Cusack, Bening and Huston all do nice jobs with these characters as we learn to be as suspicious as they are about everything around them. The story moves in some very strange directions and doesn’t manage to thrill as much as this kind of story possibly has the potential to do. The twists and turns are interesting even if they probably don’t work as well upon repeated viewings.
4. Postcards from the EdgeFun film that might be hard to believe if it wasn’t for the fact that it was written by Fisher who based it on her own life. Streep and MacLaine are both great in the two main roles and are helped by a great supporting cast that includes Quaid, Dreyfuss and Hackman. This is a bit bittersweet rewatching now because parts are quite prophetic about Fisher’s future. Has a great balance between comedy and drama and it works quite well as a cautionary tale about fame and growing up in a famous family.
3. Mr. & Mrs. BridgeExcellent depiction of the way that the old world and new world began to clash in the days leading up to World War II. Newman and Woodward are superb together in these roles and allow us to feel both the closeness and distance between couple during those days. Woodward was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work in this film and showed that even a subtle performance like her can be award worthy. The story is paced quite slowly yet still stays interesting throughout as we get a really enjoyable depiction of the kind of lives these people led in the Midwest during those times.
2. Pretty WomanModern day Cinderella story that works in almost every way. Chemistry between Gere and Roberts is ok, but I can’t say its close to perfect. Amazing soundtrack that still resonates over 25 years later.
1. MiseryGreat performances by Bates and Caan as they try to outwit each other. More powerful during it’s first viewing, but still a taut thriller perfectly constructed by Goldman’s expert adaptation of King’s novel.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  KB is superb in Misery and gives the most powerful performance of these nominees.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1990

  1. Very good field this year, but Bates was deserving. On that we agree. As to Huston – she was also excellent and I disagree with your assessment of The Grifters. It DOES work very well. It IS verey dark and it ends that way in a shocker. And since when do CON ARTISTS have to be “likeable”. They are likeable to those they are conning – but have no need to continue the charade amongst themselves – when they’re trying to out-con each other. As to Pretty Woman – the chemistry between Gere and Roberts, if not palpable, clearly worked judging by the film’s box office results. And it should be noted – that this did not startr out as anything remotely approaching a “Cinderella story” as originally written by J.F. Lawton (the title was “3000” – the amount she charged him to spend a week with him). It changed when it became a Disney movie directed by Gary Marshall. Roberts’ character was oiriginally a hooker with AIDS.


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