Monday, April 17, 2006

Oscar in Retrospect: 1988 - Best Actress In A Leading Role

Inspired by StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Sundays, an Oscar category that has had plenty to query in the last few years (Rachel and Catherine excluded), I've decided to look back on random oscar categories from the past that I've found particularly interesting. First up is 1988's quality line-up in the 'Actress In a Leading Role' category. If you don't have a photographic Oscar memory, here were the contenders and their awards, listed in my order of preference:

Glenn Close (Dangerous Liaisons)

- The Devious Marquise de Merteuil, who schemes with her ex-lover to seduce and destroy various victims in 18th Century France.
Other Awards - BAFTA (Nominee)
Performance - Superbly cunning. Gloriously bitchy. Adds so much underlying history and intention to the character, and uses the mood of the piece to her own benefit.
Result - Lost

Meryl Streep (A Cry In the Dark)

Role -
Lindy Chamberlain, accused of the murder of her own baby after claiming it was taken by a dingo in the Australian outback.
Other Awards - AFI, Cannes, NYFCC (Winner), Globe (Nominee)
Performance - Very close to Close ;) Streep's genius is in creating this cold and distant character, while remaining distinctly acknowledgeable as a mother.
Result - Lost

Jodie Foster (The Accused)

Role -
A rape victim, who takes on her attackers in the courtroom, with the help of a female prosecutor.
Other Awards - Globe, NBR, KCFCC (Winner), BAFTA (Nominee)
Performance - Excellent as a strong and desperate woman. A baity role that has become familiar (I'm thinking Theron in North Country here), but this is the finest attempt, and the most original. Even though she's not my favourite, this is a very good Best Actress winner.
Result - Won

Melanie Griffith (Working Girl)

- An ambitious secretary who sets her sights on big business after her dynamic boss has to go into hospital for two weeks.
Other Awards - Globe (Winner), BAFTA (Nominee)
Performance - Drives the film with her excellent tone and timing. A convincing ditzy blonde that knows her place in life, much like La Witherspoon's divine example in Legally Blonde.
Result - Lost

Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist)

Role -
Dian Fossey, a scientist visiting Africa to study mountain gorillas, develops a bond with them, and later fights for their protection.
Other Awards - Globe (Nominee)
Performance - Very good for a fifth spot. A touching performance, but just lacks the range and punch of the other four. She should have won the supporting category.
Result - Lost

Other Contenders I've Seen:

Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham)

Role -
A baseball groupie, whose affair with two minor-league players creates a comic love triangle.
Other Awards - Globe (Nominee)
Performance - Excellent and worthy of a nomination. A charming and infectious example in comedy acting.

Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda)

Role -
A devious thief who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Other Awards - BAFTA, Globe (Nominee)
Performance - Hilarious. Does the ultimate best with her role, but perhaps gets outshone by other actors, particularly Kevin Kline.

OK. So that's 1988 done. What a great year. Let me know if you agree, or vehemently don't.

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