Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment)
Elizabeth Taylor (BUtterfield 8)
Jean Simmons – Elmer Gantry
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with some very good performances, but none of the 5 nominees was a clear front runner.
5. Deborah Kerr
4. Elizabeth Taylor
3. Shirley MacLaine
2. Melina Mercouri
1. Greer Garson
5. BUtterfield 8 – Not as interesting as the hype makes it out to be. Taylor is fine in the lead, but I’m still unconvinced that this was a performance worthy of a Best Actress Oscar. The story meanders along too much and this kind of story has been done so much better numerous times since the overall theme is quite timeless. A number of themes in the film are not discussed outright and are mentioned in code which makes sense for the time this film was made, but that also takes away from things because they are left in a very ambiguous way instead of clear cut for the audience to know things as they should.
4. The Sundowners – Mitchum, Kerr and Ustinov are all fine here, but none of them give a breakout performance here. The story is bland and not much happens in order to try and keep things interesting the whole time. Not quite sure how this film got nominated for Best Picture that year.
3. Sunrise at Campobello – Very well written story about the future President. This is a great way to learn about his life and early political career and most importantly how he used pure will power in order to find a way back to living his life. Excellent cast helps here and Garson and Bellamy are both sensational as the future first couple. Dialogue is superb and I learned a lot about the U.S. political system of the 1920’s.
2. Never on Sunday – Interesting premise that works despite it being a bit unusual. The cast is quite good with both Mercouri and (writer/director/actor) Dassin managing to make their characters come alive and seem quite realistic. The dialogue is great and the character have discussions in a range of topics in their quest to prove one another wrong in their theories. Fun film that probably would never have been made at that time in America and managed to get 5 Oscar nominations (Actress, Director, Writing, Original song (which it managed to win making history at the time) and Costume Design.
1. The Apartment – Excellent movie, has the perfect blend of drama and comedy, written extremely well by Billy Wilder. Very deserving of it’s Best Picture Win at the Oscars.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not Really! ET is a great actress, but her performance in B8 isn’t as strong as some of the other nominees and it’s somewhat shocking to see that she won.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!