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I love "All About Eve"--such a bitchy, bitchy movie! And Davis was amazing in it. Can't imagine anyone doing that role but her. Can't imagine what Claudette Colbert would have been like in it--would have changed the whole tone of the thing, I think.

BTW, who did get the Oscar that year? Can't remember...

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I think Davis gave a marvelous performance in ALL ABOUT EVE, one of her finest. But in this case, I think the Academy got it right in giving the Best Actress Award to the marvelous Judy Holliday for her wonderful characterization of "Billie Dawn" in BORN YESTERDAY. Davis's and Swanson's roles were cutting edge, even somewhat avant garde, but of the three Holliday is the only one who took a stock characterization (the dumb blonde broad with a heart of gold) and made it into a memorable, uniquely appealing characterization.


Holliday deserved that Oscar more than Davis, Swanson, and the others combined, in my opinion. It's odd that brilliant comedic performances like Holliday's are almost never considered as difficult, impressive or worthy of attention or respect as "dramatic" ones like Davis's and Swanson's, even by film buffs, especially as actors almost universally acknowledge that comedy is much more difficult to play than drama.


Birdie: "What a story. Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end!"

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As I remember things in 1951 (I was 9 years old), both Gloria and bette were gung ho to win the Oscar and word around town was that Gloria would finally win it...


But when Judy Holliday won, the reasoning was that Bette Davis and Anne Baxter had split the votes among the "All About Eve" camp -- lots of people didn't like Bette - Celeste Holm and George Sanders were two....


Also, the votes were split among the larger Hollywood crowd between Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson and that left Judy Holliday with the prize.


I can't say for sure if that's exactly what happened but that was the talk at the time.


BTW, did you know that Harry Cohn bought "Born Yesterday" for Rita Hayworth?

And, Claudette Colbert was supposed to be Margo Channing?

And still, either Mae Murray, Mary Pickford, Pola Negri or Mae West could have played Norma Desmond if they'd said yes when asked to do that film??????



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I'm with you on this one, Markus, though I love Davis' and Swanson's performances. In contrast to the dumb blonde she played in Born Yesterday (three-dimensional as Billie Dawn is), Judy Holliday was a very intelligent woman. She also was extremely generous to her colleagues and never behaved like a spoiled star.


I was watching Bells Are Ringing the other day, and though it's not one of the all-time greats, I never tire of watching Holliday in it. I wish she had had the chance to play more non-comedic characters, too.

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  • 3 months later...

The fifth best actress nominee was Eleanor Parker who gave an outstanding performance in the prison drama "Caged".

It certainly was a tough category to choose from, although I was hoping that Gloria Swanson would have won as the divine and decadent Norman Desmond.

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all about eve is an amazing film. concerning the oscar debate... 3 amazing performances given and though i am a huge fan of miss davis (have 100 of her 101 films, all but "seed") i have to say miss holiday definately deserved to win. a very close second to miss davis.

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