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Best Actor versus Best Actress-- who's the best?


TopBilled
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10 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Okay I mentioned Hepburn & Streisand earlier. There was another tie...in 1931/32.

So who was the best out of these three:

Fredric March for DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931)

Screen Shot 2021-01-17 at 6.01.18 PM

Wallace Beery for THE CHAMP (1931)

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 3.05.51 PM.jpeg

Or Helen Hayes for THE SIN OF MADELON CLAUDET (1931)

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 5.28.14 PM.jpeg

I'd pick March, though Beery gives a fine performance. Hayes is quite good too. 

1931/32: Fredric March for DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931)

 

My choices: 1931: Peter Lorre, M

1932: Claudette Colbert, THE MAN FROM YESTERDAY

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12 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I am thinking direct competition between the genders isn't necessarily impossible, as modern culture seems to be largely eliminating the term "actress", and I believe the Oscar categories now refer to "Best Leading Performance by  a Male Actor" and "Best Leading Performance by a Female Actor" or their supporting category equivalents. it's certainly not impossible to assume in the near future gender distinctions will be irrelevant. I probably run the risk of speaking of "the Academy" in general as being stupid, observing JamesJazzGuitar's earlier post, but let's say "That portion of the Academy responsible for voting for the acting categories'> 

As for my personal picks, I will follow the lead of Det. Jim McLeod and go only with the years I've seen the performances of both.  In most instances, I must confess, I'm relying on the movie I'd rather watch again right now rather than on the merits of the individual performance, though those are often important contributors to a movie.

1941 - Boy, it's a relatively big yawn for either for me. Cooper's "aw, shucks" personality taken to its hillbilly extreme and Fontaine's passivity the same. I think the energy Fontaine carried over from Rebecca would make me give the slight preference to her. 

1943 - Hmmmm. This year is another head-scratcher. Jones' performance is earnest if a bit wearying in its sincerity. She was a new screen presence, and I can understand the Academy being overwhelmed with her charm, much like they were with Audrey Hepburn 10 years later. Lucas was a character actor suddenly thrust into a leading role, and somehow managed to get the winning vote over Humphrey Bogart's greatest performance of all time in CasablancaI think the injustice in the male category would tend to make me vote for Jones, though I find both movies hard watches, Vincent Price's delightful performance in Bernadette aside.

1948 - Wow, this is a hard one, given the very different nature of the movies. I saw Johnny Belinda for I think the second time ever earlier this year on TCM, and I've also seen Hamlet multiple times but probably not for 30 years. I think in the latter I probably admire Olivier the director more than the actor, and so, I will once again  cast my vote for the female performance. 

1952 - Oh, man, Shirley Booth is really a performer who grates on my nerves as I've mentioned in several previous threads. Extremely easy for me to see why Burt Lancaster was drawn to the idea of infidelity in this movie. High Noon is a great movie, though stone-face Cooper doesn't give my favorite performance of his in this one, either. But my intense dislike for the Booth performance makes me give the edge for the first time to the male actor in this one.

1956 - Another hard pick, since Yul Brynner was in both movies, and I think it was one of those years when an actor's win came for more performances than he/she was able to nominated for. But I find The King and I sort of long, drawn out and boring. Anastasia has more intrigue to it, and I love that long extended scene where we wait to see whether the two leads will end up in each other's rooms by the end of the night. Ingrid certainly deserved to win for something, so I'll go with her.

Okay, all I can do tonight. Perhaps I will pick this up tomorrow.

Re: your comment about Brynner, I agree that some actors who appear in two high profile films during a given year but only receive the nomination for one, tend to have an advantage over the other nominees.

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The best of 1989:

Daniel Day-Lewis for MY LEFT FOOT

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 7.30.11 AM.jpeg

Or Jessica Tandy for DRIVING MISS DAISY

Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 7.10.03 AM

I'd choose Tandy. Though Day-Lewis is highly impressive.

***

1990:

Jeremy Irons for REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.47.36 PM

Or Kathy Bates for MISERY

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 7.27.17 AM.jpeg

My pick is Irons. Bates is a bit over-the-top and you'd think she was related to Norman.

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I think that, in first case, they both deserved the Oscar.

If I had to choose between the bottom two, I'd probably chose Bates.

As I've said before, I remember performances.  Nicole Kidman puts on a fake nose to look like Virginia Woolf in The Hours (thought Streep and Moore were better).  I thought Anthony Hopkins was  horrible as Dr. Lechter - chewed the scenery as well as some people.

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Who knows, TOP.   I'm thinking "Best Performance" could be a THIRD category, and the one who gets THAT statuette could very well be NEITHER of the people nominated in the other two categories.  ;)   And these days, there might be some who clamor for the creation of a "Best BINARY performer" category and do away with the ACTOR and ACTRESS categories.

Sepiatone

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Just now, Sepiatone said:

Who knows, TOP.   I'm thinking "Best Performance" could be a THIRD category, and the one who gets THAT statuette could very well be NEITHER of the people nominated in the other two categories.  ;)   And these days, there might be some who clamor for the creation of a "Best BINARY performer" category and do away with the ACTOR and ACTRESS categories.

Sepiatone

I think you mean non-binary...people whose gender doesn't fit comfortably with man or woman.

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This is not meant to be a political thread by the way.

My thought process was that sometimes the Best Actor category or the Best Actress category has a weak batch of nominees and a fairly undeserving winner...while the nominees in the category for the other gender are much stronger.

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There's also an issue about the genre of film:  I've seen the TCM clip of Virginia Mayo mentioning that James Cagney was never gonna be nominated as 'Best Actor' for a gangster picture in reference to WHITE HEAT and "Cody Jarrett". 

Or actors who offer up outstanding performances in films that aren't very good; someone stickin' out like a sore thumb of excellence in a sea of mediocrity.  Hope that makes sense why sometimes a great performance in not nominated isn't nominated for an Oscar.

 

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I'll do all the ones I can....

1927-1928: Abstain (NS Jannings)

1928-1929: Abstain (NS Pickford)

1929-1930: Shearer

1930-1931: Dressler

1931-1932: Beery

1932-1933: Hepburn

1934: Colbert

1935: Davis

1936: Muni

1937: Rainer

1938: Davis

1939: Could I call it a tie? Both Donat and Leigh are iconic. Leigh if I had to choose.

1940: Rogers

1941; Abstain (NS Cooper. I need to see Sergeant York in full)

1942: Garson

1943; Jones

1944; Bergman

1945: Crawford

1946; March

1947: Colman

1948: Wyman

1949: De Havilland

1950: Abstain (NS Ferrer)

1951: Leigh

1952; Booth

1953; Hepburn

1954; Brando

1955: Borgnine

1956: Brynner

1957: Woodward

1958: Hayward

1959: Heston

1960: Lancaster

1961: Schell

1962: Peck

1963: Poitier

1964: Andrews

1965; Christie

1966; Scofield

1967; Steiger

1968: Streisand

1969: Smith

1970: Abstain (NS Jackson)

1971: Fonda

1972; Minnelli

1973; Lemmon

1974: Carney

1975; Nicholson

1976: Dunaway

1977; Dreyfuss

1978; Fonda

1979: Field

1980: Spacek

1981; Fonda

1982: Kingsley

1983: Duvall

1984: Abraham

1985; Page

1986: Matlin

1987: Cher

1988; Foster

1989: Tandy

1990: Bates

1991; Foster

1992; Thompson

1993; Hunter

1994; Hanks

1995: Sarandon

1996: McDormand

1997: Hunt

1998: Paltrow

1999: Abstain (NS Swank)

2000: Roberts

2001: Washington

2002; Brody

2003: Abstain (NS Theron)

2004: Foxx

2005: Hoffman

2006: Mirren

2007; Day-Lewis

2008: Winslet

2009: Bridges

2010: Portman

2011: Dujardin (Streep was uncanny though)

2012: Day-Lewis

2013: Blanchett

2014: Moore

2015: Larson

2016: Affleck

2017: McDormand (Gary Oldman had the much better film, but McDormand had more heavy lifting to do with that script)

2018: Abstain (NS either one)

2019: Zellweger

2020: Abstain (NS Hopkins)

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1961 - Schell was certainly a surprise winner - or even nominee - in a film that also had Spencer Tracy and But Lancaster in leading roles. Besides that, he had a largely unsympathetic role as the guy defending all the Nazi murderers. My favorite moment of his is the scene where he talks to Lancaster privately and accords him the respect and deference due his prior standing. It's been a long time since I've seen Two Women. I found it largely unpleasant and grueling, unsentimental in a way that an American version probably couldn't have been - it would have starred Sally Field and had the protagonist being a lot more heroic. "Not without my daughter, you Nazi jerks!" I have admiration for Loren sinking her teeth into a frumpy and dramatic part after being the Italian Marilyn Monroe for quite some time. Both movies are overly long, and I usually don't sit all the way through either of them when they're on TCM, but I'll give the slight edge to Schell.

1966 - Two fantastic performances. Maybe LIz is a bit too showy, however, so I'll go with Scofield's restraint, dry wit and heroic adherence to his convictions, even as he's all too aware of where it will lead him.

More tomorrow!

 

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On 10/9/2021 at 12:11 PM, TopBilled said:

The Academy separates them by gender. But what if a Best Actor nominee competed against a Best Actress nominee?

***

Who really gave the best performance in...

Screen Shot 2021-10-09 at 10.26.31 AM

1941: Gary Cooper for SERGEANT YORK or Joan Fontaine for SUSPICION

1943: Paul Lukas for WATCH ON THE RHINE or Jennifer Jones for SONG OF BERNADETTE

1948: Laurence Olivier for HAMLET or Jane Wyman for JOHNNY BELINDA

1952: Gary Cooper for HIGH NOON or Shirley Booth for COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA

1956: Yul Brynner for THE KING AND I or Ingrid Bergman for ANASTASIA

1961: Maximilian Schell for JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG or Sophia Loren for TWO WOMEN

1966: Paul Scofield for A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS or Liz Taylor for WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? 

Of those which I've seen both:

 

1948: Olivier vs Wyman - Love Olivier and his performance here, but Wyman did it w/ no words

1952: Cooper vs Booth - I don't love Cooper, although nice job here. Booth wins

1956: Brynner vs Bergman - Love both stars and both performances. I like Yul here.

1961: Schell vs Loren - I remember very little about Two Women. That speaks enough for me to go w/ Schell who was great in Judgment

1966: Scofield vs Taylor - This is a tough one. Both were magnificent on their role (and Burton deserves every bit the mention Taylor gets), so maybe it come down to likability of the characters. I could watch Scofield do Thomas Moore many times over, he gets the nod

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In thinking about this issue (1) directors and screenwriters are mostly male, and for parts of the Oscar history almost entirely male, so it's not surprising that they focus more on male actors.  who, have for most or all of movie history have made up the majority of leading roles (2) As a consequence sometimes actors get nominated for lead acting oscars when they are clearly not the lead in the film.  Let's see.  I've seen all but five of the Best Actor winners, and all but ten of the Best Actress winners.  Of those I've seen Tracy I, Stewart, Niven, Schell, Brando II, Hopkins I, Whitaker are not the most important character. or even the most important male character.  As for actresses, Rainer I, Rainer II, Signoret, Neal, K. Hepburn II, Fletcher are clearly secondary to the male leads, while Kidman is hardly a leading role.

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17 hours ago, TopBilled said:

The best of 1989:

Daniel Day-Lewis for MY LEFT FOOT

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 7.30.11 AM.jpeg

Or Jessica Tandy for DRIVING MISS DAISY

Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 7.10.03 AM

I'd choose Tandy. Though Day-Lewis is highly impressive.

***

1990:

Jeremy Irons for REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 4.47.36 PM

Or Kathy Bates for MISERY

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 7.27.17 AM.jpeg

My pick is Irons. Bates is a bit over-the-top and you'd think she was related to Norman.

The best of 1989: Daniel Day-Lewis for MY LEFT FOOT

My choice: Daniel Day-Lewis for MY LEFT FOOT

 

The best of 1990: Jeremy Irons for REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

My choice: Gerard Depardieu, CYRANO DE BERGERAC

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16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Okay 1945 is an interesting year.

These two stars never worked together since they were under contract at different studios.

Ray Milland for THE LOST WEEKEND

Screen Shot 2021-10-10 at 10.00.38 AM

Or Joan Crawford for MILDRED PIERCE

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 8.01.00 AM.jpeg

I'd pick Crawford. Just a personal favorite.

The best of 1945:  Ray Milland, THE LOST WEEKEND

My choice: Celia Johnson, BRIEF ENCOUNTER

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On 10/9/2021 at 11:04 AM, lilypond said:

It's an interesting question as to why performances are divided by sex.   Why not just have a category for "best performance",  period?   But it makes it more fun to have two of each category,

And, I'm one of those who's so smitten with what Olivier does, in virtually anything, would have to hand him the award in almost any contest, including this one.  His 'Hamlet' was so good.

Yes, because if have another divine flood, they can get on the Ark. (Ouch, bad)

Refreshing that anyone so would praise Olivier. He was great, I agree ... but he gets a lot flack around here as well. He was better in Richard III, IMO.

 

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On 10/10/2021 at 11:52 AM, chaya bat woof woof said:

I think that, in first case, they both deserved the Oscar.

If I had to choose between the bottom two, I'd probably chose Bates.

As I've said before, I remember performances.  Nicole Kidman puts on a fake nose to look like Virginia Woolf in The Hours (thought Streep and Moore were better).  I thought Anthony Hopkins was  horrible as Dr. Lechter - chewed the scenery as well as some people.

Can't agree with you on Hopkins.....I thought he was GREAT as Dr. Lector in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and was worthy of an Oscar (though in all honesty he really belonged in the Supporting Actor Category rather than in the leading Actor Category). 

Kidman was adequate but I think Moore was more award-worthy in THE HOURS. 

Irons and Bates were both great the year of their Oscar wins, but I would choose Irons hands down. Having read MISERY, as great as Bates was, her Annie Wilkes was basically watered down way too much from the novel for my liking.

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1968's vote probably depends largely on how you feel about Robertson playing Charly the way he was at the films' beginning and - SPOILER ALERT! - end. It was probably considered subtle at the time but given 55 years of hindsight .... so, I'm moving over to the actresses. Kate was certainly a powerhouse in Lion in Winter, her sparring (and I think, psychologically, ultimately defeating) O'Toole (and hey, what was the age difference between those two? They made it work, though he was playing older), every bit as darkly humorous bordering on darkly tragic as Liz and Richard in Virginia Woolfe. She was really surprisingly ruthless. But I'm giving my vote to the newcomer who was definitely a "bagel on a plate of onion rolls". Babs runs the emotional gamut (and gauntlet) in this spin on the old A Star is Born story, adapted from real life. No, she didn't remind me at all of Fanny Brice, other than her Swan Lake bit, maybe, but she nevertheless created an impression, her bravura hiding a mass of insecurities and vulnerabilities. Effortlessly funny and dramatic. And when she breaks into the line "are the LUCCCKIEST PE-PEOPLE ....", well she had me at "luckiest".

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  • 4 weeks later...

I suppose the best way is to compare the performances year by year:

1927/1928  Emil Jannings isn't bad in The Last Command, but Janet Gaynor is more striking in Street Angel and Seventh Heaven

Winner:  Gaynor

My choice.  I chose James Murray in The Crowd, but Maria Falconnetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc is transcendental

Winner:  Falcontetti

1928/1929  I haven't seen In Old Arizona

My Choice:  Buster Keaton in The Cameraman is actually in one of my least favorite of his features.  Louise Brooks is so much better in Pandora's Box.

Winner:  Brooks

1929/1930  I don't really have a preference for George Arliss (Disraeli) or Norma Shearer (The Divorcee).  Likewise, I'd have to rewatch The Blue Angel (Jannings) and The Diary of a Lost Girl (Brooks) to see what was best.

1930/1931  Don't have a preference between Lionel Barrymore (A free Soul) and Marie Dressler (Min and Bill)  But Peter Lorre is a clear favorite (M) over Marlene Dietrich (Morocco). 

Winner:  Lorre

1931/1932  With two best actor winners, Wallace Berry is the clear winner over Helen Hayes' seduced and abandoned par and Fredric March's Jekyll and Hyde.

Winner:  Berry

With both of my choices from One Hour With You, Maurice Chevalier is the easy winner as the more important character

Winner:  Chevalier

So for the first five years of Oscar:  1 Woman, 1 Man, 3 Undecided

For my choices 2 Women, 2 Men, 1 Undecided.

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Interesting that this discussion is occurring.  The Lucille Lortel Awards, for off-Broadway, announced in the last week that they will have gender-blind awards going forward.   Their new acting categories are:

  • Outstanding Lead Performer in a Musical
  • Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Musical
  • Outstanding Lead Performer in a Play
  • Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Play
  • Outstanding Ensemble (completely new category)
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