Natalie Wood – Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 excellent performances and any of them could conceivably have had the upper hand on Oscar Night.
5. Liza Minnelli
4. Jane Fonda
3. Jean Simmons
2. Geneviève Bujold
1. Maggie Smith
5. The Sterile Cuckoo – Intriguing idea that largely works due to the very quirky chemistry between Minnelli and Burton. This film is able to show how a relationship can form quite quickly and allows us to see what happens when one of them is much more intense than the other. The character of Pookie as played by Minnelli is quite strange, yet she is developed well enough for the viewer to see her in a sympathetic role. Her attitude about things is always a bit off kilter, but that helps make here even more endearing to the viewer. Minnelli was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here.
4. The Happy Ending – Simmons really stands out in this film and does a wonderful job showing the complexities of a woman living during the 60’s that is seeking a way to have a happy life like she is used to seeing in the movies. The story does a nice job showing the reality of the situation during that time and doesn’t sugarcoat anything when trying to find a solution to these kind of scenarios. The rest of the cast is also great and Jones stands out because the role is quite different from the kind of roles we are familiar seeing her in.
3. Anne of the Thousand Days – Burton and Bujold are great here as the King and future Queen. We can really believe their characters. The dialogue is great and in some ways quite risque for its time. The movie is a bit overlong and might have been helped if it has been cut down a bit.
2. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Great story that is led by Smith’s very charismatic portrayal of this character who is able to influence both her pupils and the faculty around her. The film does an impressive job of aging these young characters over the course of the story and it’s mesmerizing to realize that they are all the same actresses playing the younger and older versions. The story moves along at a great pace an we get to see how people can have their lives affected both for better and for worst by influential authority figures. Smith does an amazing job here and was quite deserving of her Oscar for Best Actress for her work in this movie.
1. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? – Very interesting film that allows us to see people are they are slowly worn down due to exhaustion and fatigue due to this non-stop marathon. The cast is superb and obviously Fonda and Young both stand out the most between everyone. Young deservingly won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role. The film moves along quite slowly yet still lets us try and understand what every one of these characters is going through along the way and we slowly see how their personas begin to change as layer by layer things are peeled away.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely! MS is great in this role and stands out among these very fine nominees as being slightly more engaging.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!