8.14.2007

To Dos Day

___ Item 1: TRY TO CONTAIN YOURSELF...
...after the inevitable surge of giddy awe caused by this bit of actress rebellion at the 1968 Oscars. (Via As Little As Possible).

___ Item 2: READ...
...this or that or this other essential commentary about the current crop of presidential wannabes.

___ Item 3: CONFIRM...
...your suspicions about the cause of all the world's problems. (via all sorts of folks)

___ Item 4: CONSIDER...
...joining Actressexuals Anonymous (Facebook account required). The first step is admitting that you share the obsession...

___ Item 5: VOTE...
...for the September roster of Supporting Actress Sundays in the column at top right...

___ Item 6: HELP...
...StinkyLulu build a list of Supporting Actress Slapstick in preparation for the upcoming Slapstick Blogathon over at Film Of The Year. What's your favorite slapstick performances by actresses at the edges? I've been thinking that Joan Cusack's pre-nomination performance in Broadcast News, which I suspect laid the groundwork for her Working Girl nomination, along with her nominated performance in In and Out might make Cusack the most nominated Supporting Slapsticktress. Do you agree? Is Whoopi's Ghost win the only slapstick performance to have taken the Supporting Actress tiara? And what are the best non-nominated, slapstick performances by actresses at the edges? I'm not sure what I'll post about on the day of the blogathon but your input in comments will be greatly helpful...

Have at it, lovelies...

12 comments:

John T said...

Oscar sure has had a rather limited affair with slapstick in this category. There's always Marjorie Main in The Egg and I (which has always been one of the oddest nominations for me Oscar ever dished up), but I think that perf has sentimental value for me, as I loved Ma & Pa Kettle growing up, but I'm not sure how they'd hold up on rewatch. Madeline Kahn's lovely in Blazing Saddles, of course, and Teri Garr is slapsticky in Tootsie.

As for unnominated performances, the ensemble of Clue (though really, are any of them properly supporting, or properly leading? Tis the curse of the ensemble), and the supporting ladies of Young Frankenstein (which include the aforementioned Kahn and Garr, as well as Cloris Leachman, one of this month's Supporting Actress ladies) scream out as the best. In fact, Kahn's in all three, so she may be my favorite slapsticktress of all.

criticlasm said...

Kahn was the first that sprang to mind for me, for Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles back to back.
In fact, I think even though Tatum O'Neal was extraordinary in Paper Moon, that was a best actress perf, and Kahn should've taken it home. If nothing else for the brilliant sad funny soul piercing delivery of the line "Let Miss Trixie sit up front with her big tits", which by all accounts should not be a summation of an entire character's inner life, but manages to with her.

JS said...

Madeline Khan in her film debut, "What's Up, Doc?"

I still believe that she should have had four straight supporting actress nominations:

What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Paper Moon (1973)
Blazing Saddles (1974)

and if only Mel Brooks had waited to release it in 1975 instead,

Young Frankenstein (1974)

But alas.

(On a side note, the joke had to be answered one way or another: what to do afterwards with Hedley Lamar/Harvey Korman after he said "which will surely cost me a best supporting actor nomination.")

StinkyLulu said...

But I'm not sure that I'd agree that Kahn, as brilliant as she is, is slapstick...

Slapstick, as a genre/style, is most often used to describe a kind of broad physical comedy, often involving crazy chases, crashing stunts and physical pain or discomfort. The cruder, grosser and more violent the better.

Mean Girls has lots of great slapstick (getting hit by a bus, letting the girl fall in the trust exercise, etc). But critically acclaimed women tend to do the broad character-based comedy, like Kahn, which I wouldn't categorize as slapstick.

For example, I would suggest that Cusack is all slapstick in Sixteen Candles, has some slapstick scenes in Broadcast News and In and Out, and nearly no slapstick at all in Working Girl (where Sigourney Weaver has the bigger slapstickish bits).

criticlasm said...

You're right, but Madeline definitely is in the top of the supporting actress heap in the comedy genre. And she was even great in that last film with Edie Falco that I'm forgetting the name of. I think she'd be up for me in the top supporting actresses of all time, but that wasn't really your question. :)

Honestly, I think Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley take the cake on this one, but this a much stronger tradition of women doing slapstick in television--Lucy, Carol Burnett, etc. Who knows why? Women in movies have been relegated to the sidelines in that respect.

Cusack's perf in Sixteeen Candles is just one giant lazzi of the braces and headgear, and it's brilliant.

JS said...

Maybe they see slapstick more as a sustained gimmick rather than a contained performance thus it works better on TV rather than the big screen?

StinkyLulu said...

Yeah, the difference between TV & cinema here is stark. Women have much greater success with slapstickish physical comedy on tv (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Cindy Williams & Penny Marshall, Molly Shannon, Gilda Radner, Suzanne Sommers opposite John Ritter...) It's just so much easier to build a bigger list for tv than film. I suspect it has something to do with Lucy being a continuous character that allowed Lucille Ball to do different crazy things each week...

Aaron said...

Oh my god! That clip from the '68 awards! It's stunning, really. I can't believe that happened. I wonder who wrote the copy.

John T said...

You're right about slapstick on television-while the list of great slapstick (for women) in my head is rather limited, the list in television is an embarassment of riches. It has to do with the pioneering Lucy (how many, if any, of the early slapstickers in film were women?). I think possibly the best slapstick performance by a woman in a movie, though it's a lead, would be Kate Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, but even then it's Cary Grant who gets most of the pratfalls. And even so, nobody thinks of Kate Hepburn as a slapstick actress, not like they do Abbott & Costello, The Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, or Harold Lloyd.

On a related note (as actressing on the edges is always a related topic here), I saw Room at the Top yesterday, and I can't wait for the dissection of the vintage of 1959. I clocked the performance of Hermione Baddeley, and I had it at approximately 151 seconds, a minute and a half shorter than what is supposedly the shortest supporting performance, Sylvia Miles in Midnight Cowboy.

goatdog said...

If you can find it, watch Murder, He Says (1945). Both Marjorie Main and Jean Heather give excellent performances, and there's plenty of physical comedy and comedic violence, but Main might not be at the edges enough for your purposes.

StinkyLulu said...

All this Marjorie Main talk makes me wonder...

Maybe, for the blogathon, I should do a treatment of the varieties of slapstick women in The Women. Hmm...

And, John T? Email me.

CanadianKen said...

I love Judy Canova. Especially in "Sis Hopkins" from '41.And why aren't all HER movies on DVD? But her best performances were at the centre of her films rather than the edges. Also, I've always had a soft spot for Edie Adams' quietly hilarious -and very physical -contribution to "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World". But if Madeline Kahn's wonderful work in "What's Up Doc?" and "Young Frankenstein" doesn't qualify, then maybe Adams is ineligible too.