Lynn Redgrave: Georgy Girl
Anouk Aimee: A Man and a Woman
Vanessa Redgrave: Morgan—A Suitable Case for Treatment
Ida Kaminska: The Shop on Main Street
Elizabeth Taylor: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (winner)
There are some interesting nominations for Best Actress in 1966, including a pair for non-English language performances. As usual, I’m going to offer a few suggestions, because, while I like a few of these, a few others seem ridiculous to me. We already have a couple of non-English performances, but I’d love to see both Jitka Cerhova and Ivana Karbanova here for Daisies, and yes, I know they are both controversial picks. Another non-English duo would be Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann for Persona. To round out the non-English possibilities, we can include Anne Wiazemsky in Au Hasard Balthazar. Vanessa Redgrave is already here, but she could just as easily be her for Blow-Up. I’d love to include Claudia Cardinale for The Professionals, but she’s almost certainly supporting. While Fahrenheit 451 is a weird adaptation, I love Julie Christie in it. Finally, I offer up Salome Jens in Seconds, a film that flew under everyone’s radar come award time.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. I would so much rather have Vanessa Redgrave here for Blow-Up than for Morgan, a film where she clearly doesn’t deserve the nomination. Honestly, the only person worth mentioning for Morgan is David Warner, who is great in it. Regrave being brought up for this so depressing considering the other performances from this year. On top of that, it’s a performance that feels much closer to supporting than lead, so it’s not just a bad nomination, it’s category fraud.
4. The Shop on Main Street is one of those movies that everyone should see at least once for the power of the story. I don’t hate that Ida Kaminska was nominated for her performance, but I can’t help but feel that she’s never the most interesting person on the screen. This film is so dominated by the performance of Jozef Kroner that it’s amazing to me that she was nominated and he wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong—Kaminska is good and even great in this, but Kroner is so towering that it’s almost impossible to see her.
3. It’s perhaps unfair to the other Redgrave that I’m penalizing her for my general dislike of Georgy Girl. This is a film that could have been good but simply isn’t. The shame is that it’s such a good performance in a film that doesn’t deserve it. Lynn Redgrave gives everything she can to this role, and while I don’t hate the nomination, I so wish it could have been in a better film. Redgrave’s honest performance deserved a better fate and a better vehicle. The film isn’t worth seeing, but if it were, it would be for her.
2. It’s near criminal that A Man and a Woman is the only Oscar nomination for Anouk Aimee and that she didn’t win. As one of the true darlings of the French New Wave, Aimee should be better known to movie fans both serious and casual. Here, paired with the always-excellent Jean-Louis Trintignant, Aimee not only holds her own but manages to charm in every frame that she is in. In a year with a less dominant performance, I would give her the Oscar without question, and I would happily listen to arguments for this year as well. She’s just off the top tier of the dais for me, though.
1. It was probably inevitable that Elizabeth Taylor would win a couple of Oscars. Her win for BUtterfield 8 was likely compensation for a few years when she could have and didn’t win (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof comes to mind). For Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Liz could proudly stand up and claim that she won on her own merits and the merits of the performance. She’s as good as she ever was here, and while you could never really know what you were going to get when Liz stepped in front of the camera, when she was good, there was no one like here. Oscar got this one right.
I still haven't seen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? though I don't have a problem with Liz Taylor winning the Oscar. I personally would've gone with Anouk Aimee for A Man and a Woman while there is no question that the year itself is filled with great performances such as Persona and Daisies from the women in the film. Anne Wiazemsky for Au Hasard Balthazar, Anna Karina for Made in U.S.A., Maya Bulgakova for Wings, and Mbissine Therese Diop for Black Girl would've been some nice consideration as it was a great year for foreign films.ReplyDelete
It's a good year all around. Liz's performance is probably the best in her career, or at least one that ranks.Delete
That said, I wouldn't have pitched a fit had Anouk Aimee walked off with this.
I don't really like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? much at all and most of the acting didn't work for me but Elizabeth Taylor tore the joint up and was rightly rewarded.ReplyDelete
Aside from Vanessa Redgrave, LOVE her but not this performance, I'm not unhappy with the rest of the line-up and while Anouk Aimee is vibrant and compelling in A Man and a Woman Ida Kaminska's deeply felt work in Shop on Main Street would be my runner-up. I whole-heartedly agree that Jozef Kroner not receiving a nomination for his performance is crazy and just wrong.
I like the other suggestions that you've made that I've seen. I love this version of Fahrenheit 451-it is a bit weird but has such a distinctive look and feel and I love Julie Christie's dual performance too.
My major blind spot of those you mentioned is Persona but I'll be taking care of that in a couple of weeks, Liv Ullman has her own day during TCM's Summer Under the Stars this month so there are several of hers that I'll finally be able to catch up with.
By the way Susan Hayward is also going to have a tribute day and they'll be showing The Lusty Men, although unfortunately not Deadline at Dawn, and a few others that are worth checking out. Avoid I Thank a Fool though, despite the fact that it costars Peter Finch and Diane Cilento alongside Susan its not a very good film. It was apparently hell to make, she described it as the worst experience of her career and that comes through on screen.
And here we are, having just turned off cable. My wife and I sat down and looked seriously at what we were spending on media. It made more sense to keep a couple of services and dump the cable, which we almost never watched.Delete
Isn't that always the way.Delete
Well depending on the services you kept you might be able to find some of Hayward's pictures. I'd recommend Lusty Men, Deadline at Dawn and The President's Lady as essentials but any of her others, excepting I Thank a Fool, White Witch Doctor and The Conqueror (EGODS that's a horrible film!!), are worth seeing if only for her presence alone.
I have connections to a couple of surprisingly robust library systems. I can get a good percentage of what I want, so that's the route I tend to go these days.Delete
For a movie with four potential Oscar winners it is only right that Liz Taylor won this one. I would have liked to see Vanessa Redgrave nominated for Blow Up too, but maybe her role was more supporting here.ReplyDelete
That's probably true. I can't recommend Morgan at all.Delete
Oscar certainly got it right! If Bibi Andersson and/or Liv Ullman had been nominated, I'd have been hard pressed to vote for Taylor. But Liz proved she could do anything!ReplyDelete
I agree--but this was Liz's Oscar. It's such a dominant performance.Delete
For added variety, I would also recommend the performances of Natalie Wood in This Property Is Condemned and Joanne Woodward in A Big Hand For The Little Lady as worth checking out.ReplyDelete
Neither of which I know--I'll take them under advisement. I'm never shy to watch Natalie Wood.Delete
Random thoughts: Good call on Salome Jens. I wouldn't have thought about her, but she's certainly worthy. Elizabeth Taylor deserved it for this...I believe she only got the award for Butterfield 8 because her serious illness at the time. Richard Burton was so perfectly cast for Virigna Woolf, but Liz was out of her comfort zone and did great with it. I loved Morgan! when I saw it decades ago, it may not date so well...Yes, and the duo from Persona would have been good nominees as well...And as always, thanks for your good word about libraries.ReplyDelete
I am a huge supporter of the library system. It remains one of the few public spaces where people are allowed to spend time without being forced to spend money.Delete
I realize that my dislike of Morgan might just be me, but so much of it just felt mean to me. It felt cruel.
I agree on Liz. This wasn't her normal role, and she nailed it. It's the sort of histrionic performancthe Burton was made for, though, and when he got a good one, he was tough to top.