Faye Dunaway: Bonnie and Clyde
Anne Bancroft: The Graduate
Katharine Hepburn: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (winner)
Audrey Hepburn: Wait Until Dark
Edith Evans: The Whisperers
There are plenty of excellent actress performances in 1967, and like many a year and set of nominations, what we have could use some pruning. Marina Vlady in Two or Three Things I Know about Her would have been an interesting choice, but Godard may simply have been too outré for the Academy in 1967. Catherine Deneuve’s performance in Belle de Jour is the biggest miss in my opinion. The other performances I’d like to mention here would have been much more likely as Supporting nominations: Angie Dickinson in Point Blank is the one that most quickly leaps to mind.
Weeding through the Nominees
5: For the second week in a row, I’m dumping the winner first. I have a great deal of love for the work and career of Katharine Hepburn, but not nearly as much for her work in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This was hardly a gift nomination or even a gift win—she won the following year and again more than a decade later. It feels to me more that this was a win for the subject matter of the film than for Hepburn, though. She won because the film was daring for its time, but daring in a way Hollywood approved of.
4: I like Anne Bancroft, too. While I complained above that the Academy may have rewarded Hepburn’s role more than Hepburn, I’m about to do the reverse here. I’m penalizing Anne Bancroft more than I should because I really dislike The Graduate a lot. Am I penalizing the role more than the actor here? Almost certainly, and that might well seem hypocritical. Tough. I’m just a guy sitting in his living room at the moment, not the Academy. I’m allowed to have petty vengeance on a movie I don’t like.
3: Wait Until Dark is a film I genuinely like, and I like Audrey Hepburn in it. This is the sort of film that doesn’t typically draw a nomination, and so I appreciate the nomination even more. In this case, what keeps Audrey Hepburn from the top is my own personal question about my reaction to the film. How much of my reaction to this film comes from my buy-in to Hepburn’s character and how much of it comes from the fact that I really like Audrey Hepburn? That, and Alan Arkin is the real reason to see it.
2: I was unfamiliar with Edith Evans when I saw The Whisperers and I still don’t know that much about her career. This is a very dark and upsetting film, and most of where that comes from is Evans’s performance. It’s not a film I’d relish watching again any time soon but if I did watch it again, it would be for Evans. It’s not often that someone so completely takes over a role, and Edith Evans was the real deal here.
1: I’m going with Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. As befits almost everything I’ve done for this particular year and this particular award, I may well be awarding the movie more than Dunaway. Still, it takes a special talent to play someone who is some completely willing to commit any crime she wants for nothing more than sport and excitement and still be someone we root for. The proof that Dunaway pulled this off is evidenced by the audience’s reaction to what happens at the end. I’m giving it to her.