Friday, June 19, 2009

Streep Nom #3, 1981

Streep at 60: Let's talk each Streep nomination and its competition.

Meryl Streep won the BAFTA, Golden Globe and the LAFCA prize for her two part role in The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) but she lost the Oscar anyway. The nominees were:

  • Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond
  • Diane Keaton, Reds
  • Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh
  • Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City
  • Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant's Woman

<-- Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep in September, 1981 when The French Lieutenant's Woman opened.

On Golden Pond made Katharine Hepburn a four-time Oscar winner. She's still far out in front of everyone in the acting Oscar derby save Jack Nicholson who has three and could conceivably join her. He is 72 and still works far more often than Hepburn was working in her 70s when she won this.

The snubbed in '81? Sissy Spacek in Raggedy Man and Sally Field in Absence of Malice were Globe Drama nominees and Bernadette Peters was the Musical/Comedy Globe winner for Pennies From Heaven. update: And then there's Kathleen Turner in Body Heat who I am deeply ashamed I forgot when originally typing this, since she's probably be my winner for the year. What was up with awards bodies neglecting her? What's your ideal lineup in 1981 and who do you think deserved the win?


DL said...

Although hers is the only performance of these five that I have seen, I maintain that Diane Keaton deserved her second Oscar statue in 1981. Boy do I wish she would get attached to an interesting and dynamic project/role like in Reds again. I've had enough Because I Said Sos and I feel as if people are starting to forget what that really *special* Diane Keaton magic feels like.

DL said...
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adri said...

Reds and Atlantic City to me seem to be top of the class that year. Burt Lancaster was wonderful, yet again, such a fascinating actor. Susan Sarandon gave one of her best performances. And Reds was beautifully acted - I don't think the actors got enough credit for the superb work they did. Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill gave one of my favorite performances by him, Beatty and Keaton were completely believable, sympathetic, and larger than life (NOT easy to do) and Maureen Stapleton, again, showed why she was a legendary actress.

Andrew David said...

Really? Meryl won all those awards for The French Lieutenant's Woman? I thought that film was just awful.

Cinesnatch said...

Ah, the 80's, when the Lead Actress category was filled with woman who were making a return visit or if they were celebrating their first lead nominee, they certainly weren't experiencing their last.

Cinesnatch said...
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Cinesnatch said...

My last post got me thinking ...
1977 - 1982 was an interesting time for repeat Oscar nom's for female leads. With the exception of film year 1980, every actress in the lead category had been nominated for lead before, or would be nominated in the future.

Here's a rough breakdown that I just drummed up from memory (it's not completely accurate) and some help from imdb, starting with 1969. The number following the year is the number of actresses in the category who would only enjoy one lead nomination in their entire career. Obviously, this list is subject to change, especially towards the more recent years. I put an asterick by the years that is likely with the names of the actresses who would likely be responsible for the change.

What I found interesting also is that most years outside of that 1977 - 82 span contain 2 actresses who would be enjoying their only lead nomination.

69 2 70 3 71 1 72 2 73 0 74 2 75 3 76 2
77 0 78 0 79 0 80 2 81 0 82 0 83 1 84 1
85 1 86 2 87 2 88 1 89 2 90 2 91 2 92 2
93 2 94 2 95 2 96 3 97 2 98 2 99 1 00 2
01 1 02 2
03 3 *Naomi Watts/Samantha Morton
04 2
05 3 *Keira Knightley
06 2 *Helen Mirren
07 2
08 3 *Anne Hathaway

In case you're wondering why I went through all this trouble, I was trying to watch Valkerie ... I think my lack of appreciation for the film goes without saying.

Sam Brooks said...

I still consider Faye Dunaway's performance in Mommie Dearest to be a genuine achievement, and not just something to say to be ironic or funny or camp.

Wayne B. said...

I haven't seen any of the nominated performances so I'd have to agree with Brooke that I'd give it to Faye Dunaway for "Mommie Dearest." Watched it long ago, before I'd ever heard of Joan Crawford, and always found it more tragic than camp. Out of what I've viewed my shortlist would have to be:
Karen Allen - Raiders of the Lost Ark
Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween II
Faye Dunaway - Mommie Dearest
Sally Field - Absence of Malice
Helen Mirren - Excalibur (I know, its more of a supporting perf, but I needed one more and I, for sure, wasn't about to pick Margot Kidder.)

Film Knower said...

Kathleen Turner was robbed of a nomination for Body Heat!!!

par3182 said...

diane keaton - reds
bernadette peters - pennies from heaven
susan sarandon - atlantic city
meryl streep - the french lieutenant's woman
kathleen turner - body heat (winner)

supporting actress:
karen allen - raiders of the lost ark (winner)
nancy allen – blow out
melinda dillion - absence of malice
jessica harper - pennies from heaven
maureen stapleton - reds

Anonymous said...

this is one of meryls absolute best performances

the unforgettable image of her turning into the wind at lyme regis pier is still one of cinema's iconic images

BAFTA and LA awarded her appropriately

all the rest are good except
Hepburn on golden pond
absolutely stinking

croaky and misty eyed disguised as intense

Meryl was myserious, sexy, dangerous, moody, dark
she was playing film noir in a classical victorian setting

cal roth said...

Love the Streep here, specially that rehearsal scene, when she just shifts from the actress to the victorian lady without any cut.


Kathleen Turner should have been nominated for Body Heat. She should have won. She is just perfect, beyond any competition.

And why did Katharine Hepburn have won 4 Oscar for the wrong movies. I could award her 4 other times for brilliant and best-of-the-year performances. 2 comedies, a romance and a dramas (she's the best comedienne ever): Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story (so perfect, so flawless, so maddening, so genius - LOVE that performance), Summertime and Long Day's Journey Into Night.

But, I'm not fair here. She surely deserved that Lion in the Winter Oscar.

Andrew K. said...

Kate the Great did deserve the Oscar. I think she was neck and neck with Diane Keaton who had won recently... And I don't think her win for Morning Glory was undeserved...I have not seen the competition...but I don't think so. She deserved the win for The Lion in Winter and although Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is pretty lightweight as film, that doesn't make her performance any less interesting or good.

mripley said...

best actress top 5 1981 - winner*

jaqueline bissett - rich and famous
katharine hepburn - on golden pond
sissy spacek - raggedy man
marsha mason - only when i laugh
diane keaton - reds *

meryl is at 6 i just did not like her in it i could see the role as being nom worthy playing 2 people always gets traction but the modern stuff never worked for me it was a less interesting story although the imagery is lovely.

I am no ladys said...



my medalists at this writing would be

Keaton Reds (silver)
Sarandon Atlantic City (bronze)
Turner Body Heat (gold)

but i am as of yet undecided on the other two nominations. i haven't seen a few or haven't seen them in way too long

my supporting list would have to include: Allen Raiders (shame that biases against "fun" movies seemed to nix any traction there) but the year is really all about Stapleton in Reds who absolutely deserved that Oscar. But damn... everyone was fantastic in Reds. One of the few movies I'd give out 4 acting nominations to without any hesitation.

I agree with adri that REDS is one of Nicholson's best... i'd go so far as to say he's better in it than in two of his three Oscar win roles.

dl agreed that Keaton needs something juicy again. Her legend seems to have been rewritten to make her only a comedienne when she was often just as riveting in dramas (Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Reds, Mrs. Soffel) so i'd love for her to get a meaty dramatic part again.

I'm really starting to wish that about 20 different women could get the chance to tear into the mom role in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. whoever gets it (assumed by all to be Meryl) is going to win the Oscar but Meryl isn't the only actress who could make that role riveting/complex.

Arkaan said...


I like Hepburn in On Golden Pond, but really, it's the fact that we have two screen legends sharing the screen that makes that film work (which it doesn't mostly).

My lineup....

-Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant's Woman
-Bernadette Peters, Pennies from Heaven
-Isabelle Huppert, Coup de Torchon
-Kathleen Turner, Body Heat
-Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City

Victor S said...

Kathleen Turner was totally robbed of a nomination (and win - this is one of those amazing film debuts that we rarelly see nowadays).
The same goes for John Barry's amazing score for Body Heat - seriously, how this man, already was an Oscar favorite (3 wins by that time) was snubed? That score is F%%$# AMAZING!!!!!


P.S. can we talk about how ridiculously young and happy Meryl & Jeremy look in that photo? They look 5 years younger than they did on screen easy.

Mason Mahoney said...

This is totally off topic, but I was reading a New York Times article about Bartlett Sherr and it said he is in the process of developing a musical version of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center.


Jim T said...

In terms of leading Oscars, Hepburn will stay undefeated perhaps... for at least another 100 years. The only actors that stand a chance are Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn and Jodie Foster who should really do something with her career.

I haven't seen any of that year's Picture nominees except for Raiders... Which one do you guys think I should see? I mean, which one won't seem dated?


I don't know Jim... I kind of think Nicholson might tie Hepburn before he passes on. He's still working and Hollywood l-o-v-e-s him. All he needs is probably another About Schmidt in a weaker competition year.

I really think the only people who have a shot at tying her are Nicholson or Streep and nobody is going to win 5. I think Foster could win a third if she'd do something fascinating / worthwhile with her career... but it seems highly unlikely at this point. She doesn't seem to have the love of acting that drives some stars to work/work/work long after others have given up.

par3182 said...

and don't forget hilary swank's only 35....

(runs for cover)

Kent said...

In terms of the leading prizes, I don't think any performer will match Katharine Hepburn's four Oscars -maybe Meryl Streep. Hepburn did win three Oscars late in her career. I'd say Streep probably has 20 or so years to tie Hepburn.

As of 1981, why all the Hepburn bashing? She shouldn't have won an Oscar but it's still an endearing performance.

I actually love Streep's work this year. So many moods and emotions she had to portray in her dual role -and nailed them.

I'm torn between Kathleen Turner and Diane Keaton for the win that year. They both delivered one of their best work.

My nominees:
Diane Keaton -Reds
Susan Sarandon -Atlantic City
Sissy Spacek -Raggedy Men
Meryl Streep -The French Lieutenant's Woman
Kathleen Turner -Body Heat

adelutza said...

I actually think that of these five nominees, Katherine Hepburn deserved to win. Haven't seen many of the movies of that year, but as I said somewhere else before, I didn't like too much the french lieutenant's woman. But really, I am sure that Meryl will win at least another Oscar before she retires and very soon. And if she really wants to have 4 all she needs to do is what she is doing now. Two films a year is not bad at all even for a younger actor.

John T said...

I think Oscar hit this year pretty solidly on the head. I'd also have included Hepburn, Streep, Sarandon, and Keaton, throwing in Spacek instead of another throwaway Marsha Mason nomination.

As far as the winner, I think I'd probably have to go with Keaton. Streep is magnificent, and certainly my second place, but at the end of the day, Warren Beatty was making, in my opinion, his best film (it sits, rather ungloriously, as film No. 101 on my Favorite films list, and consistently gets shoved back into the list every time I see it). That scene on the train-why doesn't someone give Keaton something extraordinary to do again? Next year will be 2010-it'll be another decade, so she'll need her once-a-decade Oscar nomination again...

Anonymous said...

1. Streep * (the film is a bit of a disappointment, especially since the brilliant novel is one of my all-time favourites, but Streep has some indelible scenes)
2. Sarandon (almost deserves the win)
3. Huppert
4. Turner
5. Hepburn (she squeaks into fifth spot but this is not in the top 10 of her best performances)

I usually like Keaton, but not so much in Reds.


Mike said...

I agree with the assertion that Faye Dunaway was fabulous in Mommie Dearest. Over the top in the best way possible.

And to think, she lost the NYFCC prize by an edge as thin as a wire hanger...

mrripley said...

no no no mason is no throw away nomination,she owns the film and joan hackett has a gem of a supporting role a bit patty clarkson.

mrripley said...

it is actually a shame that actresses like marsha mason and jill clayburgh are forgotten now when in the late 70's it was all about them

Marsha Mason said...

What do you mean things aren't about me anymore?!?!?!?! What about my herbal medicine shop and guest appearance on Lipstick Jungle?!?!!?

Agent69 said...

Kathleen Turner takes this year with ease:
"You aren't too smart, are you? I like that in a man."
Too bad The Academy wasn't that smart.


you tell 'em Marsha! Loved you in Chapter Two!

jimmy said...

"NAH-MON...the loons. YA gonna get up on that hoss and go, go go."

OMG - Katharine Hepburn wins an oscar for that. augh.

Great women's performances in the 80's....diane clearly should have won that year. Kathleen Turner should have won for Peggy Sue got married a few years later.

i really really hope someone other than streep get s the roll in "August:OC"...Keaton or Turner....maybe even a de-glamed Faye. or even a dark side of goldie hawn.

ctrout said...

Here are my 1981 choices:

1. Susan Sarandon - Atlantic City
2. Katharine Hepburn - On Golden Pond
3. Sally Field - Absence of Malice
4. Diane Keaton - Reds
5. Marsha Mason - Only When I Laugh

It's pretty close to the actual line up, minus the subject of this discussion.

Anonymous said...

marsha you need that august role or ms weaver to finally win her oscar.

rosengje said...

Speaking of Jodie Foster... in one of Evan Rachel Wood's promotional interviews for Whatever Works, she said that she is due to start trapeze lessons for Flora Plum in one month. Could it possibly be true?

Rick said...

I thought the lineup, with the exception of Hepburn, was Ok ... she was not good in the movie... I would have put Turner in her place.

I did not see Hepburn's Morning Glory --- first Oscar

She was dynamic and deserved her win in The Lion In Winter

Both On Golden Pond and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner , she was dreadful... she received the Oscars because both the leading men were dying!

mrripley said...

nat you need to do your top 5 for every year also.we love to know what you think,by the way stevie video still on offer.

Billy Held An Oscar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NicksFlickPicks said...

Streep is by far and away my least favorite of these five. I just don't get this woman - either of these women - and I'm not convinced she does either, despite all the "moody" posing. But the script isn't helping her at all; I don't blame her for looking kind of lost.

I'm for Keaton, Peters, and Mason, probably in that order. Sarandon and Spacek would probably get the other two spots, though I do love Hepburn in OGP despite its being a less demanding role, and Julie Christie is quite affecting in the bizarre Memoirs of a Survivor. Haven't seen Coup de torchon, though. I'm ambivalent about Dunaway and didn't care that much about Turner in Body Heat despite all the ballyhoo.

Alex said...

My nominees would've been...

Katharine Hepburn (On Golden Pond)
Diane Keaton (Reds)
Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City)
Meryl Streep (The French Lieutenant's Woman)
Kathleen Turner (Body Heat)

I, for some reason, went gagga for Liza Minnelli in "Arthur." Go figure. I'm so sad I couldn't squeeze her in. Any other year...

As for "August: Osage County," if Sigourney Weaver gets Violet Weston and Kathleen Turner gets Mattie Fay Aiken, two of the greatest overdue actresses of all time would finally get their due. And as for Jodie Foster rebooting her career, she needs to play Barbara Fordham. Those three attatched and I foresee Best Picture...


alex kathleen turner as mattie fae? Brilliant idea.

nick i'm leaning your way on French Lieutenant's Woman. Hoping to find time to write about it. It feels like a movie that should have been made by someone like Jane Campion ;)

Anonymous said...

My top five of the nominees:

1. Meryl Streep, "The French Lieutenant's Woman": The film is low in quality but she's magnificent
2. Susan Sarandon, "Atlantic City": Wonderful Surprise that Season. Runner-up
3. Bernadette Peters, "Pennies of Heaven": She deserved Mason's place
4. Marilia Pêra, "Pixote": I'm surprised that nobody metion her before...
5. Diane Keaton, "Reds": Good performance, especially because I don't like the film.

Honorable mention: Kathleen Turner, "Body heart".

I saw "On the Golden Pond" two times, and both I couldn't understand why this film got all that attention that year. What would happened if the film hadn't Hepburn and Fonda for leads?

Davey said...

Now I really feel bad. All I've seen here is Katharine Hepburn in "On Golden Pond," and I was bored stiff over that film and her performance in it. I've heard a lot of good things about "The French Lieutentant's Woman." I'll have to check that out one of these days. Well, all of them actually. Shameful. :(

Steolicious said...

"The French Lieutenant's Woman" is one of the rare movies of Meryls work who I didn´t see. So, I´m for Hepburn.

NicksFlickPicks said...

@Anon: Great call on Pixote.

Alfred Soto said...

Nathaniel is OTM about Sissy Spacek in Raggedy Man. Faye Dunaway belongs in the dubious category of actresses giving great perfs in awful films (Jessica Lange in '82 and Marion Cotillard in '07 join her).

Speaking of awful, Hepburn's work in OGP is an embarrassment -- the Academy was so besotted with her and the idea of giving her another unworthy Oscar that they couldn't see past "Look! The loons!" and "Coming, you old poop!" Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses, but, with the exception of The Lion in Winter, her Oscar wins are for mediocre or worse performances. Nothing for Holiday, Pat & Mike, Summertime, Long Day's Journey Into Night, etc.

Ryan X said...

*dunaway, mommie dearest
2] pera, pixote
3] keaton, reds
4] peters, pennies from heaven
5] sarandon, atlantic city