Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1989

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Isabelle Adjani (Camille Claudel)
Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine)

Jessica Lange (Music Box)
Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys)
Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy)

Biggest Snub:

Meg Ryan – When Harry Met Sally

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where there are 3 powerful nominees, and two pretty good ones.  Any of the top three could have won, but one of them gives a slightly better performance.

My Rankings:


5. Isabelle Adjani
4. Pauline Collins
3. Michelle Pfeiffer 
2. Jessica Lange
1. Jessica Tandy


5. Camille ClaudelReally slow and boring biopic that is accentuated by some nice performances. Adjani and Depardieu are great together even through it’s quiet a chore getting through this slow churning story. The way that they depict the change in the way women are perceived as artists is done well. The story moves at a really slow pace and it feels as if it doesn’t really go anywhere even though this film is over two and a half hours. It was quite a tedious story and didn’t work for me at all. I can understand how and why Adjani could get an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her work here, but I’m quite glad that she didn’t win because as difficult a performance as this was, there were must better ones that year.
4. Shirley ValentinePretty mediocre film that is accentuated by a great performance by Collins. The character is developed really well and the way that she constantly breaks the fourth wall helps endear her to the viewer. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work in this film. The story itself tho unfortunately plays out quite predictably and they fail to find ways to make things feels fresh and original in any way. The rest of the cast is fine and even Conti and Hill are both not given enough to work with since the story focuses solely on the main character with little care for the rest of the supporting characters.
3. The Fabulous Baker BoysGreat cast helps make this film seem quite realistic. The Bridges brothers work quite well together and I’m surprised that this was the first time that they would have that opportunity to act side by side. Pfeiffer is also great here and she gets to play a pretty complex character that is trying to find herself. It isn’t surprising that she was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for this role. The story works quite well and they do a great job of giving us a character study of the life of members of a lounge act as they try to stay afloat in life. The music is quite enjoyable to listen to and Pfeiffer definitely has a voice that works really well for the character she plays.
2. Driving Miss DaisySlow, but captivating movie. Great social message. Surprising yet deserving Best Picture Winner.
1. Music BoxGreat psychological drama that asks the question of whether it is even possible to trust and believe everything we are told by our parents.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yep!  JT does a great job with this role and proved that even at her age, she was still able to give such a powerful performance.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1989

  1. IMO – your top 3 were interchangeable. All were splendid. Lange was very good in what could have been a cookie cutter role. Tandy was dandy – but if i had a vote – Pfeiffer’s chanteuse would’ve won. She was spectacular – and sang – beautifully.


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