Vanessa Redgrave (Mary, Queen of Scots)
Ruth Gordon – Harold and Maude
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 great nominees that all gave deserving performances. Any of them could have theoretically taken home Gold for their work here.
5. Julie Christie
4. Janet Suzman
3. Glenda Jackson
2. Jane Fonda
1. Vanessa Redgrave
5. Sunday Bloody Sunday – Film that tries to show how people get caught up in their lives and are willing to settle for small amounts of love along the way without trying to find a reason to commit to a real relationship. Finch and Jackson are both quite good here, but the story itself moves along at such a slow pace that it too often reaches lulls where it is less interesting to watch what will happen as the story unfolds.
4. McCabe & Mrs. Miller – Interesting Western that looks at an aspect of the genre that is usually overlooked. The story set forth here is quite unique in its depiction of life in a mining town in the Old West where many opportunities are available to those who seek it. Beatty is quite good in the lead and is helped along by Christie who plays a complex character who isn’t as likeable as one might hope despite having a business mind that complements Beatty’s character so well. These characters get in a bit over their heads with everything that transpires and the story shows how timeless these kind of events truly are. Christie was nominated for an Oscar for her work here even though she doesn’t give as good a performance as Beatty does.
3. Klute – Fonda is superb in this film. She is able to show such a layered character who changes during the course of the film. She deservingly won an Oscar for her role here which is quiet complex. The plot itself moves along like a regular thriller and manages to throw out a few surprises along the way, yet still doesn’t feel unique enough from that perspective. Sutherland is also great as the detective who gets too involved in the mystery yet still tries to remain with as much integrity as he can as things move along. They do a great job concealing part of his personality by leaving a few things in the film very ambiguous which allows the viewer to decide what kind of man he truly is.
2. Mary, Queen of Scots – Great biopic that works so much better due to the great performances by Redgrave and Jackson as the two powerful monarchs. The story moves among at a great pace and allows us to see how much political intrigue there was between these women as they vied to rule England. The dialogue is great and allows us to get a very clear picture of how the events depicted end up moving forward. Redgrave was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here and was spectacular in this role.
1. Nicholas and Alexandra – Nice epic depiction of what possibly transpired behind closed doors right before the Russian Revolution in 1917. The royal family is seen as quite human, flaws and all and we can appreciate the way they lived their lives before the coming storm. A bit long despite needing to cover much ground.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! I can understand how Fonda could win here, but she wasn’t the best of the nominees and VR in particular gave a much more impactful performance.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!