Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1986

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Jane Fonda (The Morning After)
Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God)
Sissy Spacek (Crimes of the Heart)
Kathleen Turner (Peggy Sue Got Married)
Sigourney Weaver (Aliens)

Biggest Snub:

Meryl Streep – Heartburn

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year with some fine performances but two of them were very powerful and amazing and were the two frontrunners.

My Rankings:


5. Jane Fonda 
4. Kathleen Turner
3. Sissy Spacek
2. Sigourney Weaver
1. Marlee Matlin


5. Peggy Sue Got MarriedInteresting idea that just doesn’t work very well here. Turner does a fine job here and was deserving of her Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance, but she has and costar Nicholas Cage have terrible chemistry together which makes so much of this story seem unrealistic.  This feels too much like a female version of Back to the Future (1985) and doesn’t seem as original as it might have been. Great seeing Helen Hunt in an early role here as Turner and cage’s daughter in the “future” scenes.  The plot remains too cloudy even after the film ends which leaves things much too ambiguous which makes things even more confusing than it should be.
4. The Morning AfterMediocre thriller, very 80’s. Not great, not terrible.
3. Crimes of the HeartThis is a film that is a nice character study because we get to see how each of these women brought up under the same roof and with the same childhood influences deal with the various surprises that life thrown at them. The cast is superb with Keaton, Lange and Spacek all doing nice jobs as the trio of siblings. The supporting cast is also fun to watch with Shepard and Harper helping to move the story along. Harper was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this film. The dialogue is super fast and works quite well as we learn about the lives of these women. Unfortunately tho, the story drags a bit too much and although many of the conversations between the sisters are fascinating to listen to, things meander along a bit too much which takes a lot away from the intimacy and poignancy of it all.
2. Children of a Lesser GodMatlin is amazing here and deserved her Best actress Oscar. Hurt is mediocre as usual. Interesting story but I think it would have been better if a more sincere feeling actor played Hurt’s role.
1. AliensBy far the best of the series, because Cameron knows how to make a great movie. Loved the way this was made and there are so many memorable characters and quotes from this movie. I think it actually helped motivate other film makers into realizing the potential of this genre. Weaver became a household name as a strong female action lead with this film.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely!  MM was spectacular in CoaLG and clearly gave the most powerful performance of the nominees even though SW was also amazing in her role that changed the way we all look at action heroines ever since.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1986

  1. Agree with you here on all but your “snub” of Streep. With 20 nominations in her illustrious acting career – she’s still not automatic – and does not deserve a nomination every time she appears in a film. So no – she was not snubbed for Heartburn.


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