Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1981

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Katharine Hepburn (On Golden Pond)
Diane Keaton (Reds)
Marsha Mason (Only When I Laugh)
Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City)
Meryl Streep (The French Lieutenant’s Woman)

Biggest Snub:

Liza Minelli – Arthur

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 5 great actresses, but the performances mostly have much to be desired.  One of them gave such a powerful performance tho that in retrospect, she might have been seen as a clear winner among this crowd.

My Rankings:


5. Meryl Streep
4. Diane Keaton
3. Susan Sarandon
2. Marsha Mason
1. Katharine Hepburn


5. The French Lieutenant’s WomanReally boring film that gets so convoluted because it fails to stay anchored in its story.  Irons and Streep are great actors but the way that they play these multiple characters just doesn’t work well enough to make this story enjoyable. The two of them have terrible chemistry together which hurts things even more. The film tries too hard to compare and contrast these two stories but in doing so makes it even more confusing.  Neither of these stories is satisfying enough to watch and that has much to do with the way that the film drags out and delivers things in such a slow pace. Streep was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here even if this is far from being among her best performances.
4. Atlantic CityNot sure why this movie is considered to be so great. Story is average and the characters are quirky but somewhat likable, but not much more than that. Was nominate for 5 Oscars, but didn’t manage to win any of them.
3. RedsGood epic biopic but it moves way too slowly. Its easy to see how much this was a labor of love for Beatty. Amazing cast helps a bit. I can understand how this film could garner 12 Oscar Nominations with 3 wins, but the story isn’t as engaging as one would hope. Really liked how they managed to intersperse real interviews with friends and compatriots of Reed and Bryant, but as epic as it may be, it feels too disjointed.
2. Only When I LaughInteresting idea that probably works much better on a stage than on screen. Mason is fine in the lead but she is constantly overshadowed by Coco, McNichol and Hackett. The story is told pretty well but they don’t manage to endear us enough to the lead character to care so much about what she has gone through and where she is headed. The dialogue is great (as with all Simon scripted plays/films) but something still feels missing that would have made this an even better and more engaging story.
1. On Golden PondExcellent movie, amazing acting based on a well written play.  Both Fonda and Hepburn were very deserving of their Oscars for their roles here.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  KH was quite deserving of her 4th Oscar for her work in OGP because it is such a powerful portrayal that works so well in tandem with the work of Fonda leaving all of her competition in the dust.

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

Let me Know what you think!!

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