Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1961

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
Piper Laurie (The Hustler)
Sophia Loren (Two Women)
Geraldine Page (Summer and Smoke)
Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass)

Biggest Snub:

Shirley MacLaine – The Children’s Hour

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 5 great performances but one of them resonates as being more powerful than the others.

My Rankings:


5. Piper Laurie
4. Geraldine Page
3. Natalie Wood
2. Audrey Hepburn
1. Sophia Loren


5. The HustlerSome interesting themes are explored here, but the movie drags on too much to be effective enough. Newman, Scott and Gleason are great as usual, but I just wasn’t very impressed with the final product. Just seemed very mediocre since it moves a bit too slow IMHO despite the fact that the characters are constantly trying to outmaneuver one another at the pool table.
4. Summer and SmokeInteresting look at the different ways men and women look at relationships at different stages in their lives. The issues dealt with here are quite timeless and were relevant back when this film was made (1960’s), at the time when this story takes place (turn of the 20th century) and even now over a Century after the time this takes place. The story works really well within the context of how it is presented. The cast is extremely talented and they all shine in these very down-to-Earth kind of roles. Merkel and Page were both deservingly nominated for Oscars as Supporting Actress and Actress for their performances here.
3. Breakfast at Tiffany’sNot as spectacular as the hype would make it seem, but it was still a very interesting tale. Loved the way that 1960’s movies sugarcoated things and used a lot of innuendo to try and explain what really is happening. Hepburn and Peppard have an interesting kind of chemistry between them which works but isn’t perfect. Not my favorite of Hepburn’s films, but still fun to watch. Excellent theme song that is quite hard to get out of one’s head. Was quite disappointed that the song by Deep Blue Something has nothing to do with this movie despite sharing a title.
2. Splendor in the GrassWood and Beatty are both great here because we can easily feel the difficulties they both face here and can also understand their choices based on the time and place they lived in. The rest of the cast is quite good and we get a story filled with so much detail about quiet lives that people tried to live back then and what everyone was willing to do in order to keep things secret. Not a very upbeat film, yet it definitely touches upon so many important ideas for us to learn about.
1. Two WomenGreat film that is enhanced by the very emotional performance of Loren. The story is told so well and we get a clear idea of the kind of life that people needed to deal with during this very turbulent time where they never knew who they could trust.  The story works quite well and I really liked the way that the characters are constantly on the move since it allows them to encounter various people and events along the way that help shape the atmosphere of this powerful story. Loren became the very first actress to win an Oscar for a role spoken in a foreign language and it is so very deserving since it’s the kind of performance that stays with you for a long while even after the credits role.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  SL is superb in TW and was a very deserving inaugural winner for an acting award by an actor not in the English language.  The other nominees are all quite good, but none come close anywhere close to her performance here.

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

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