Bette Davis (The Star)
Susan Hayward (With a Song in My Heart)
Grace Kelly – High Noon
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 very fine performances but none of them stand out so it was truly anyone’s win come Oscar night.
5. Julie Harris
4. Joan Crawford
3. Bette Davis
2. Shirley Booth
1. Susan Hayward
5. The Member of the Wedding – Intriguing idea that just doesn’t work well enough to stay engaging The characters are developed fine but the way that things play out fails to come across as being genuine enough. Harris was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance here which is impressive just by the fact that she was well into her 20’s when she played the role of a 12 year old. The story touches upon some nice themes yet fails to explore them in a more thorough and interesting manner which makes this story lose much of its momentum along the way.
4. Come Back, Little Sheba – Interesting idea that works because it allows for the characters to develop before our eyes while also given us a clear sense of what they have gone through in their lives. Lancaster is great in the lead but it slightly outshone by Booth as his wife. She was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance here. Moore was also Oscar nominated for her work as Best Supporting Actress. The story deals with issues that are quite relatable to everyone as we grow older and yearn for things from the past to return since we will always have the incorrect notion in our minds that things were better at one time and that they can easily return.
3. Sudden Fear – Great premise that works quite well the whole way through. The cast is great and they allow us to really feel for the various ways that the characters act. Crawford is superb in the lead and we can easily understand her paranoia especially once she begins to see things in a different light. Palance is also great as her husband and he is able to play the character as both the lovable husband and the scary one. The story moves at a nice pace but a few scenes drag along a bit too much and would have worked better if they were shorter. Palance and Crawford were both nominated for Oscars as Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress for their performances.
2. The Star – Davis is perfectly cast in this film and shows how great an actress she can be with this role that might have hit too close to home. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here and that has a lot to do with the fact that she shows so much range and maturity with this character. Her chemistry with Hayden is great and we can see the way that each feel about one another on both the inside and outside. The film also finds a way to give us insight into the way that actors view their careers and how despite the fact that they get older, they don’t necessarily wish to play parts of characters that are of similar age to themselves. The story works well and establishes that Davis was still a formidable actress at the time.
1. With a Song in My Heart – Quite an enjoyable biographical film that gives us a great viewpoint of Froman’s rise to fame. We get a clear understanding as to why she became so loved by her audience. Hayward is great in the lead role and helps make this character come to life before out eyes. The way that her relationships are portrayed are done in a very realistic fashion which helps make us believe them even more. The music is quite fun and helps keep the momentum of the film moving along at a great pace. Ritter was deservingly nominated for her 3rd Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (of 6 career nominations).
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – I guess so! There is no real reason to be enthusiastic about any of the nominees, and SB was as good of a choice as any to win.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!