Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1980

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Ellen Burstyn (Resurrection)
Goldie Hawn (Private Benjamin)
Gena Rowlands (Gloria)
Sissy Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People)

Biggest Snub:

Jane Fonda – 9 To 5

My Overall Thoughts:

This is another year with 5 pretty good performances and any of them would have been worthy of winning since none are spectacular.

My Rankings:


5. Ellen Burstyn
4. Mary Tyler Moore
3. Goldie Hawn
2. Sissy Spacek
1. Gena Rowlands


5. Private BenjaminNot such a great movie. Hawn has a few good moments here, but overall, just a mediocre movie that doesn’t stand the test of time.
4. ResurrectionInteresting idea that just doesn’t manage to stay enjoyable for a two hour run time. Burstyn is pretty good in the lead and allows the viewer to see how such an event could affect someone so much that they can become to believe in things that they easily rejected beforehand. Eva Le Gallienne was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Burstyn’s grandmother, but she unfortunately isn’t as much of a standout as one could hope for. The rest of the supporting cast is also quite good here and I especially liked seeing DeMunn in a small yet significant role.
3. Coal Miner’s DaughterVery good biopic. First half is stronger than the second. Great performances by Spacek and by Jones.
2. GloriaVery interesting premise that works quite well because of the way that Rowlands plays this character. She is tough, yet very sympathetic which helps us care more about her and the paths that she chooses as the story moves along. This film is able to present things in a gripping fashion and allows the mismatched chemistry between the two main characters to help keep things moving at a thrilling and gripping pave. Rowlands was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here and she does a great job with this role.  The twists and turns in the story work well in adding so much suspense to things while at the same time shows us how a character can wrestle with their own conscience as they debate how to act in certain situations.
1. Ordinary PeopleGreat directorial debut of Redford. Excellent story that really delves into how tragedy can affect ordinary people’s lives. Amazing cast.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – I guess so!  SS does a nice job here with her performance but GR was slightly better even if her role was much grittier.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1980

  1. Five “pretty good” performances? Tough critic. Sissy was excellent as Loretta Lynn and deserved the award. That being said – the role was in her considerable wheelhouse. Mary Tyler Moore on the other hand – went 180 degrees opposite anything she had ever done to play the mother in Ordinary People giving a superb performance that made me hate her guts (on screen).Right up until the envelope was opened – I thought she was going to win. Kudos to Robert Redford (who did win) for seeing something in her that led him to believe she could play that part.


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