Monday, November 27, 2006

Supporting Actress Smackdown: 1974

A shout-out once again to StinkyLulu, the web hostess with the mostest and our monthly go-to-gal for debating the issues that really matter. In this case it's who deserved Best Supporting Actress in 1974, when by unanimous consensus Ingrid Bergman pulled a Zellweger and defeated four better rival performances than her own (in the stuffy and smug Murder on the Orient Express). By no one's reckoning was it a great year for the category — co-smackdowner Nick thinks it might even have been the worst ever — but I differ in having enjoyed the comic va-va-voom Madeline Kahn injects into the otherwise rancid Blazing Saddles, the blowzy vitality of Diane Ladd as a harassed diner waitress in Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and the touching, flavourful work of Valentina Cortese (the overall favourite) as a diva crumbling on set in Truffaut's faintly disappointing film-about-filming Day for Night. Plus, I was the only one who had much time for Talia Shire in The Godfather, Part II, debate about whom still rages in the comments below. Do you hate her or rate her? Post away. Mention has been made of the unnominated, as ever: Karen Black, who I dimly remember being marooned and miscast like almost everyone in The Great Gatsby, Kahn and the hysterical Cloris Leachman in Young Frankenstein, and, my personal picks, the even more memorable double-act of stay-at-home girlfriends Ann Prentiss and Gwen Welles in Altman's fantastic California Split. (Pic above, and a tip: Altmaniacs wanting to commemorate his passing in some way could do a lot worse than tracking down this underappreciated flick. I think it's one of his very best.) Next month: 1975, and another one.


Goran said...

As far as supporting turns in 1974 go, for me it's all about Madeline Kahn - both in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein but especially in Blazing Saddles. Otherwise I wasn't too big on the overall field, and I don't feel the miscast Karen Allen would have added much.

Off-topic: I'm very happy to see you enjoyed The Host, but what gives with the D for Gabrielle? Did you not think much of the stunning photography, performances and dialogue?

Also, I finally got around to seeing The Black Dahlia and I was deeply disappointed with how anaemic the whole thing was. I knew not to expect it to be any good in the traditional sense, but all these I-hate-it-I-hate-it-but-really-I-love-it reactions led me to expect several more (and rather choicer) choice bits than it delivered. If I wasn't already interested in the book and the case, I think I would have been profoundly bored (my boyfriend, I know, was fighting sleep).
Furthermore, here's hoping that Josh Hartnett never makes another movie. Lines like "People lie." are intrinsically rather insipid, but they come off as infinitely more so when read out by the very softboiled Hartnett in 'hardboiled' mode.

tim r said...

I really hated Gabrielle I'm afraid. I thought the whole approach was pointlessly Brechtian and seemed at loggerheads with the material. It was so ponderous and mannered! Huppert I had some time for, but Pascal Greggory was totally exasperating almost from minute one. It's a shame, as I usually like Chéreau's work and absolutely loved Son frère, but this goes down as one of the year's biggest disappointments, for me.