Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Bette Midler (The Rose)
Diane Keaton – Manhattan
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with a pretty weak group of nominees that include two very good performances and 3 so-so ones.
5. Bette Midler
4. Jill Clayburgh
3. Marsha Mason
2. Jane Fonda
1. Sally Field
5. The Rose – Good music, but the storyline itself feels lost and without direction. Midler is a really good singer, but not necessarily an amazing actress. The concert scenes were enjoyable to watch, but everything in between just rambled on and on.
4. Starting Over – Love the idea here especially because I’ve gone through some of the things described here personally. The problem here is that the story feel a bit too choppy and as much as I wanted to identify more with the characters, they felt too distant. Reynolds is great here because this role is so very different from most of the roles he played over the years. Clayburgh and Bergen are both fine here, but I’m a bit perplexed as to how they both managed to get Oscar nominations for their roles.
3. Chapter Two – Simon once again is able to create some great characters that are quite enjoyable to watch. The fact that the story is semi-autobiographical helps make the situations work quite well. Caan and Mason are pretty good together despite not having the perfect kind of chemistry for a story like this. The issues that this film brings up are quite familiar to me personally and that added connection made the film even more interesting to follow.
2. Norma Rae – Pretty good story that is overshadowed by Sally Fields spectacular performance. Seems to appropriately portray the difficulties that union workers faced before they were able to start unionizing.
1. The China Syndrome – Very interesting idea that actually seemed somewhat prophetic in the ideas that it presents (see Trivia section below). Fonda, Douglas and Lemmon all play their parts quite well and the fact that all three are also known as social advocates outside of their Hollywood personas helps them with these performances. The storyline itself still feels relevant even after nearly 4 decades because unfortunately not much has changed in the bureaucracy of the world since then.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yep! Of this pretty weak crop, SF was obviously the best and was the most deserving of this win.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!