Diane Keaton: Annie Hall (winner)
Marsha Mason: The Goodbye Girl
Jane Fonda: Julia
Anne Bancroft: The Turning Point
Shirley MacLaine: The Turning Point
Weeding through the Nominees
4: I have a hard time thinking of a character I’m supposed to like who I like less than Marsha Mason’s Paula McFadden. Again, this is not Marsha Mason’s fault, but it’s difficult for me to get past the fact that Paula is intensely unlikable and liking her is what a great deal of the film turns on. Hey, I’m only human here, and I find her difficult to judge because I continually judge the character instead. That’s probably not fair, but this is my website and my feature, and I’m putting Marsha Mason fourth.
3: For a wonder, I liked The Turning Point pretty well. And also for a wonder, Shirley MacLaine pulled off the role of an e-ballerina-turned-housewife extremely well. This is a film that plays entirely on emotions outside of the dance performances, and MacLaine manages to hit a sweet spot that combines her own frustrated career manifesting as jealousy with equal parts of pride seeing her own daughter fulfill the dreams she once had. I like where she takes this not because it’s dramatic but because it comes across as very real.
2: Anne Bancroft not only matches MacLaine in this film, she beats her by a touch. Bancroft had a different blend of emotions to portray as a prima ballerina coming to the end of her career and discovering that after a life on stage dedicated to her art, there’s nothing much left for her on the other side. There’s a great deal going on under the surface in Bancroft’s Emma, but it’s all very much readable. In a different year, I might consider her a lot more for the top position.