Sunday, September 30, 2007

Supporting Actress Smackdown: 1990


My gradual return to the blogosphere has been selfishly occasioned, I'll admit – how else would I participate in Supporting Actress Sundays? Our host is the ever-redoubtable StinkyLulu, whose commitment to the cause of actressing at the edges ought to be world-renowned by now.

As my tally of hearts might suggest, I found 1990 an eye-catching but faintly disappointing year for the category, if only because there are so many other performances I'd love to have been arguing about instead. Stinky welcomes alternative lists of personal nominations and here's my first shot at one, though the struggle I'm having to whittle it down to five names only underlines the very middling quality of the eventual ballot. From Oscar's nominees, only Whoopi Goldberg, barging her way hilariously through the mush of Ghost, would have a shot at making my fantasy five, in a year of rich pickings for British actresses in particular.

Honourable runners-up for me include Glenn Close's must-have-been-nearly-nominated Sunny von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune, both sustaining the mystery and sneakily enriching it with her comatose narration, and, in a slightly more indulgent register, Frances Sternhagen's sardonic old coot of a local sheriff's wife in Misery. I love both Mai Zetterling's protective granny and Anjelica Huston's scary villainness in Nicolas Roeg's ace The Witches, though either performance could just about qualify as a lead, so that would be cheating.

My finalists are:

Laurie Metcalf in Mike Figgis's Internal Affairs – smashing, credible and sceptical as a tough lesbian cop
Lindsay Duncan, seductively ambiguous as a possibly-vampiric next-door neighbour in Philip Ridley's The Reflecting Skin
Billie Whitelaw as the controlling mother of two psychopaths in The Krays, from another Ridley script
Jennifer Jason Leigh's brilliantly fresh, un-actressy hooker in Miami Blues
and (edging out Whoopi) Harriet Walter as Michel Piccoli's flirty, bilingual sister-in-law in Louis Malle's marvellous Milou en mai

Any to add? Fire away!

2 comments:

Cinebeats said...

Great call on Lindsay Duncan in The Reflecting Skin!

If I had my way, that film would have took home best picture in 1990.

DANIEL TAN said...

Marcia Gay Harden in Miller's Crossing for the win...