Sunday, August 26, 2007

Supporting Oscar Hierarchy and Dianne Wiest

Today is the last Sunday in the month. Which means StinkyLulu is holding another "supporting actress smackdown" (this time it's for 1971: Ann-Margret displays her Carnal Knolwedge, Burstyn & Leachman attend The Last Picture Show, Margaret Leighton Gos Between and the 70s awesomeness sometimes referred to as "Barbara Harris" round out the pack. I just finished reading it. Yum Yum.

I'm sure that Stinky didn't like that the last post was Lead Actresses only --no edges allowed! So, for comparisons sake, here's your top 7 All Time Oscar Supporting Actress Favorites.


o1. Thelma Ritter (50, 51, 52, 53, 59, 62) six nominations and she never won :(
02. There's a six-way tie beneath her, all @ 4 nominations each. You have to start with...
Maggie Smith (65, 78, 86, 01) Could this double winner topple Ritter's supporting nomination record? She's 72 years-old but still makes a movie each year. She's keeping company with...
Ethel Barrymore (44, 46, 47, 49) Drew's Great Aunt
Lee Grant (51, 70, 75, 76)
Agnes Moorehead (42, 44, 48, 64)
Geraldine Page (53, 66, 72, 84) more on Page soon
Maureen Stapleton (58, 70, 78, 81)

Beyond that top tier, 11 women are tied including four who are still working: Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, and Frances McDormand. The latter two both still get baity roles, the former is charging towards another Emmy on Damages...

A Question/Rant of Utmost Importance
...which brings me to Dianne Wiest. I'm completely nutso for the best squinty-eyed actress ever. I just don't understand why all the high profile supporting roles have escaped her since she won her second Oscar. Think on this for a moment: Has any other double Oscar winner (male or female) won for performances as diverse as the ones she served up in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994)? Aside from the fact that they're both Woody Allen projects, what connects those women? To underline her range even further let's also point out that they're very different women than Wiest's standard typecast role 'the concerned mom' which she's played dozens of times, Parenthood (1989, Oscar nominated) and Edward Scissorhands (1990) being the most famous variations and they're also very different than the women she played in other Woody Allen pictures.

Please to explain. Someone? Anyone? I don't think it's hyperbole to say that she's one of the best actors on the planet. Why is nobody giving her anything interesting to act? Where is Woody? Dump Scarlett and write something for Dianne again already. Shouldn't this woman be considered for meaty stuff like what Dench, Burstyn, Blethyn, McDormand or Bates occassionally get? Argh!

39 comments:

Kamikaze Camel said...

The Page thing annoys me. If they had given her the prize for Interiors instead of giving Fonda a second prize then they could have given Whoopi the prize for Color Purple and the 1991 supporting prize could have gone to Annette Bening for The Grifters and that would solve so much. Right?

Poor Agnes Moorehead. Her perf in The Magnificent Ambersons is one of my all time favourites. Stunning.

Do we know if Weist wants to work? She took that role on Law and Order in which all she was required to do was sit around and impart wisdom.

NATHANIEL R said...

yeah, Moorehead in Ambersons. Top five ever I'd say... though i guess it's a fine line as to whether it's supporting or not. I guess in the lost-forever cut of the film it's more of a lead.

and yeah, that "we owe you" switcheroo would solve a lot. But I assume that Page just wasn't in enough of Interiors for them to really go there. It's very low on the screentime, that performance.

NATHANIEL R said...

don't speak of that role on Law & Order.

DON'T SPEAK

StinkyLulu said...

KC - Your "domino theory/butterfyl effect" of Oscar wins is 'ilarious.

And that, Nat, is perhaps my favorite supporting actress tagline evah!

Nick Davis said...

It's horrible, but let's think like Hollywood: "Dianne Wiest only works with Woody Allen, and she's gotten too big." Just like the only other two-time Supporting Actress winner, Shelley Winters, Wiest got typecast despite every indication of range (though I think she's a much better actress than Winters), and people kind of stopped calling once she got heavier. I liked what she did in a few scenes of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints last year, but she looked occasionally like an actress out of practice for the screen: a little mannered and stiff, which is weird for her. But I've always got a candle burning for her to return to the screen. Come back to the AMC/Loews, Dianne Wiest, Dianne Wiest!

John T said...

I'd also like to see Weist return, but I just don't see it happening-she's been out of commission for so long on the awards circuit, I just can't imagine her returning.

As for who may make a play for Ritter's title, I'd think that McDormand would be the best contender. Dame Maggie will probably net one more nod in her career (perhaps Julian Fellowes will weave some more magic with her with From Time to Time), but the McDormand love seems to also be constant, and I think they'll give her at least another shot or two at Oscars (she seems to be honored every five or so years). In a perfect world, Patricia Clarkson would be in striking distance of Thelma, but I don't know if the Academy just doesn't pay attention or doesn't care for her all that much, or what, but the fact that she's only received one nod in the last decade or so is one of the more appalling Academy snubs.

And, is that picture of Thelma & Maggie super-imposed, or were they actually in a film together? Cuz if they were, I need to be Netflixing that now.

adam k. said...

YES I love Dianne Wiest, too! One of my many problems with Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was that it gave her nothing to do other than be yet another concerned mom, this time a really boring one, and to an actor who was obviously not her son. Ugh.

I actually love her Parenthood perf best. Typecasting or not, I think she's never shined brighter than there. I just wanted to hug her the whole time, and then at the end, to take her home and adopt her as my mom. "DON'T SPEAK!", to me, seems a little strained and needlessly quirky by comparison (but still great).

Sorry, I always forget that character's name, I always just think of her as "DON'T SPEAK!"

re: the chain of correction, don't forget that if Whoopi had won for Purple (that would've been GREAT), not only could Annette Bening have won for Grifters, but Halle Berry could've lost for Monster's Ball, allowing Nicole Kidman to win for Moulin Rouge!, which means either:

A) Julianne Moore could finally have won for FFH (I honestly think that, with a globe win, she would've built momentum toward the oscar), or

B) She Who Must Not Be Named would've won for Chicago which wouldn't be that great except that then she wouldn't have had to win for Cold Mountain which would've been INFINITELY PREFERABLE to how it actually went down.

amir_uk said...

Adam, I don't get how Whoopi winning in '85 not '90 would make any difference to Berry's Oscar.

Kidman wouldn't have got it anyway - it was a close-call between Berry and Spacek that year.

(Am I completely insane to say that I've still to see a film performance by a female as great as Berry's in Monster's Ball? And I've seen a lot of films, or so I like to think.)

amir_uk said...

Oh and Streep, McDormand and Blanchett will make it a Top 14 soon enough. Close's next nom (it will happen) will be in leading. I can't see anyone get near Ritter's tally, except for Blanchett perhaps, way into the future.

Arkaan said...

amir_uk, the implication of Goldburg winning the leading actress oscar is that Berry won more because of her skin color than performance. If Goldburg had won, there wouldn't be a need to honor another black actress (ie - make a first).

I don't know how much I agree with it. First off, Page is considerably better than Goldburg (imo) in 1985. I prefer Goldburg to Bening in 1990. And I doubt that Kidman was winning in 2001. If Berry had lost, it would've gone to Spacek.

That said, if Kidman happened to have won, I think the oscar could easily have gone to Lane before Moore.

NATHANIEL R said...

John T -- i just superimposed them. That's Thelma in Pillow Talk only it's Maggie behind the counter instead a Doris Day

Amir --i think the implication is that if Whoopi won in '85 there would have been no "make history!" momentum happening with Berry in '01. she would've just had to win on the performance itself. And she might have still dont get me wrong... but you never know. The 'make history!' thing factors in obviously --there was no member of AMPAS that could have been unaware of it given the press.

Nick --you have a point with the 'got fat' thing. Hollywood obviously does care about that issue even in older women who are past the point where they're going to be held up as beauty standards. Notice Kathleen Turner's career. I can adamantly assure that she's still a f***ing awesome actress --having witnessed her in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf --but she doesn't get good film roles.

jimmy said...

poor kathleen turner - she kind of got tossed aside. she was terrific. same w/ debra winger. turner / winger from the 80's...marsha mason / jill clayburgh from the 70's....they just seem to fade away. i dont think any of them do even do tv movies, if at all.

Nicole said...

I like your blog Nat, but it is really Oscar heavy.


Are there any film sites that are not as focused on the Oscars?

NATHANIEL R said...

there are a ton of film sites that aren't oscar heavy. enjoy...

(when things are slow interesting movie wise, i talk Oscar. can't be helped)

John T said...

Also, your mention of Brenda Blethyn begs the question-when, if ever, is she going to return to the Kodak? She seemed to be on her way to a whole slew of nods, but that sort of disappeared in the last decade.

And this, like Best Actress, also has several actors who have retired or retired from prestige pics, at least, who could conceivably come out of the woodwork and add one more film to their already fairly impressive count: Celeste Holm and Diane Ladd, both currently sitting on three nods, both come to mind.

Anonymous said...

i know 2 of these are dead but these all received 3 noms in support anne revere 43,45 & 47,gladys cooper in 42,43 & 64 plus angela lasbury in 44,45 & 62,just thought you'd like to know

Anonymous said...

Ilove heavy Oscar talk... In the Suppoting Actress Category, it almost seems a curse to your career if you win it... look back on the winners and most of them just faded away.

Anonymous said...

I think McDormand will def. get some more supporting noms. I think Marcia Gay Harden could add more to her two as well, as could Kate Winslet.

I love and miss Dianne Wiest.

JA said...

Wow, it's weird to pop on here and hear all this Dianne Wiest talk after just catching her this afternoon in Dedication; pretty small role and not a whole heckuva lot for her to do but - as always - she was delightful and gave it her all and was one of the highlights of the film. It'd never catch Oscar's eye, but a really bright little performance.

adam k. said...

I'm POSITIVE that a lot of Berry's momentum was based on the "make history" factor. Come on. Not that her performance wasn't good (I was really happy for her at the time), but yes, the press for the history making was everywhere. It was also about Spacek fatigue setting in, and oscar preferring younger princess-y beauties, but a lot of it was the history making factor.

The fact is, they didn't have a reason to give Spacek an oscar. They DID have a reason to give it to Berry. It's quite simple. I do think also that Kidman may even have been second. And if Berry hadn't been there, the Spacek fatigue would've benefited Kidman.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

Matt said...

At least for 14 year old straight males in 1971, Ann Margret in Carnal Knowledge really was the stuff dreams were made of. Ahem.

Today, I'd give it all up for Dianne Wiest.

Kamikaze Camel said...

And if you listen to conjecture, Kidman won for The Hours because, despite being in it less than the other women, the Academy just really wanted to give a statue to Kidman. They would've given it to her for anything.

Adam, I totally worked that whole domino-effect thing out ages ago right up to the Julianne winning for Far From Heaven thing. I always thought I was weird for doing so...

Oh, and Marcia Gay Harden won't be getting any more Oscar noms if she keeps giving performances like American Dreamz, American Gun, Mona Lisa Smile, etc. Harden is one of those ladies who are sometimes AMAZING and other times DREADFUL. I wish she was amazing all the time.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

I love me some Diane Wiest, in fact, her performance in Bullets Over Broadway is one of my very favourites!

amir_uk said...

Re: Berry - my mistake. Haven't seen The Color Purple and assumed Whoopi's nom for it was in supporting. I get the train of thought now that I know she was a lead.

And yes, Diane Ladd needs to win an Oscar! Hello, Wild at Heart!

amir_uk said...

And arkaan, a world where Diane Lane has an Oscar for Unfaithful is one in which I'd like to live; Thanks for the thought!

John T said...

Yeah, Harden needs to stop going on a Jon Voight-style career: making utter crap for years, and then coming out with a great perf just when her fans are ready to give up on her.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty obnoxious Adam. Yeah, get Whoopi's win out of the way in 1985 so another blackie isn't recognized again by the Academy. Better luck next time, Halle.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Anon, were you around the Oscar-watching arena in 2001? There was so much "Give Halle The Oscar Because She's African-American" talk that it was crazy. And because Denzel was also favoured to win it was like that ceremony was going to become "the black Oscars" to coin a phrase used back then.

I hated Monster's Ball and didn't particularly think Berry was all that good at all so I would've much rather someone else. It's not about giving Whoopi the Oscar so that another "blackie" wouldn't, but because Whoopi totally 100% deserved it and Halle did not.

Was there that size of a campaign for Angela Bassett in What's Love Got To Do With It? Has Alfre Woodard ever had the chance?

Anonymous said...

Halle Berry was brilliant in "Monster's Ball" and fully deserved her Oscar win. She didn't simply win it b/c she was black. It could have actually been the case of the Academy simply liked her performance better than the other four nominees. Shocking thought, but a strong possibility.

Anonymous said...

Halle Berry wasn't good at all in Monster's Ball. It's been said a thousand times, but I still think Naomi Watts deserved it. Also, I'm glad to see all the Diane Lane love! I loved Julianne Moore and Renee Zellweger that year but Diane was so overlooked, which especially sucked because she was easily better than both of them.

NATHANIEL R said...

oh dear. i don't like the direction this conversation has turned to.

re: Berry's win.

Can we all agree that in this case perspective is needed so it doesn't become a 'racism is bad' vs. 'Berry sucked' argument.

ALL Oscar wins are influenced by things outside of the quality of performance ... they just are. there are past years of history with the performers who are nominated, there are issues regarding how many voters have seen each film --they're not required to see them to vote in the acting categories, feelings about the movies that the nominees are in, campaign tactics, media bandwagon hopping and, yes, historical considerations (AMPAS voters are on record and often about using this yardstick when judging work... even if they sometimes have terrible judgment about what will be important historically and what won't... notice the "important topic" films doing well even importance of subject does not necessarily equate with importance of one piece of art about that subject)

anyway. 2001. it always gets people riled up doesn't it (see also: 2005)

Let's talk about SUPPORTING ACTRESSES instead.

Anonymous said...

i think we need to stop using the word blackie,i think it was time,sjhe was de glamming and while not the best of the best that year her perf was v good and so was the film she was in,the oscar clip scene was the perfect wat to show to the world this is an academy award winning perf,berry was not my choice spacek was,nat is right sometimes other factors come in to consideration,like kidman in 02 they were desp to give it to her same with roberts though she waited a long time,sarandon in 95 was not the best but was due,hunt in 97 was the lone american and acting with jack always helps see shirley maclaine,anjelica huston,louise fletcher,maureen stapleton all wom when co starring with him,it has to do with other stuff despite the perf,i feel the one time in the last few years when it wasn't is frances mcdormand in fargo.

Anonymous said...

We get Oscar politics just fine without needing your needlessly condesceding lecturing Nat. The point is that Halle Berry's win shouldn't be reduced to one single thing (her race), when many actually thought it was the best performance of the five nominees. Did it play a factor? Yes, how could it not. But it wasn't the only thing the Academy considered, and reducing her win to simple race politics is trite and offensive.

NATHANIEL R said...

i never reduced it to just that

people are free to share their own opinions herein and many do

Anonymous said...

I personally think that this decade the Academy has yet to choose a bad winner in Best Actress...thing is, they seem to end up giving the Oscar to the weakest link in the bunch, even in years when the competition outshines Best Actor.

Halle Berry's performance, for me, was the least revelatory and demanding. She also failed to pick-up a single major precursor award outside of SAG, which is indicative that the controversy loving actor's branch was largely responsible for her win. If Halle had never been nominated, Denzel would have still won the Oscar. The same cannot be said for Halle. Race played a BIG factor in her win, but that said, it was far from a bad performance.

Anonymous said...

In my head, I wish 'What's Love Got to Do with It" would have come out in '94, instead of '93. This way Angela Bassett could have won her Oscar. Either that, or move 'Leaving Las Vegas' up a year, so Elizabeth Shue could have won in a weak year. (Although her performance was anything but weak.)

But I digress...

Marco

Kamikaze Camel said...

Race was far from the only reason Berry won, but there was definitely a mentality of "She's good enough, so let's give it to her" I think. It's not like people voted for her because she's black and they didn't even like her performance.

But, you know what, people talk these days about how influential Roger Ebert is in getting trophies won (Theron/Berry/Crash) and I know it was a completely different time for movies, oscars and film critics, but he also said something along the lines of "You're looking at the next Best Actress". And then she lost to an old nice white lady.

Marshall said...

Isn't Dianne Weist running for President these days? I keep hearing about the "DA from L&O" jumping into the race. They can't possibly mean Fred Thompson. They... can't... possibly...

Anonymous said...

Kamikaze, who are you talking about?

The idea that if only Whoopie had won for the Color Purple then it would not have been necessary to hand the statuette to another woman of color ten years later really staggers the mind, although I like to think that the racist implications of that were entirely unintentional.

Thinking over the matter - I hate to say this, but I think age and looks had as much to do with it or more. Whatever the judgement of Berry's performance - it was fine, of course, but there was a moment when I was thinking "here's the Oscar-winning scene, folks" - it probably didn't hurt that Berry is young and, more to the point very beatiful, according to the general consensus of such things.

RedSatinDoll