11.15.2007

To Dos Day

___ Item 1: FORGIVE...
...StinkyLulu for being such a slacker this week. Between doing my first bit of theatre directing in more than a decade, and pinch-hitting for ModFab, and traveling to yet another academented gathering, and honoring MrStinky's birthday -- this week has been just a bit busier than normal, which has had an impact on posting. Apologies...

___ Item 2: PREPARE...
...your post for the Queer Film Blogathon over at Queering the Apparatus...

___ Item 3: START...
...making your Christmas shopping list, noting this item for StinkyLulu...

___ Item 4: CHOOSE...
...your friends wisely, as per this cautionary tale.

___ Item 5: REVIEW...
...the excellent work at two recent blogathons StinkyLulu was forced to skip: The Fosse Blogathon and Faith + Film Blogathon...

___ Item 6: NOMINATE...
...your choice for the "worst" Supporting Actress nomination. Even though, as a general rule, StinkyLulu tries to keep it all about sharing the love, Smackdowner Matt Landig writes to query: "Who do you think has given the worst performance to have ever garnered a Best Supporting Actress nomination (or award)?" A compelling premise. Whaddaya think? StinkyLulu'll have to sit on this a bit, but I am curious to hear your thoughts in comments.



Have at it, lovelies...

18 comments:

RBurton said...

First, some dishonorable mentions:
Joan Cusack for Working Girl
Joan Hackett for Only When I Laugh
Glynis Johns for The Sundowners

And the ultimate worst Supporting Actress nominee ever...
Carol Channing for Thoroughly Modern Millie

James Henry said...

Now, before I started keeping track of the nominations I had seen, I had apparently seen a ton of nominees that were so unmemorable I have no recollection of their performances at all. Here are some of those:
~Margaret Wycherly in Sergeant York
~Sara Allgood in How Green Was My Valley
~Susan Peters in Random Harvest
~Joan Lorring in The Corn is Green
~Mildred Dunnock in Baby Doll
~Vivien Merchant in Alfie
I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.

But the ultimate in bad is Ellen Corby in I Remember Mama. I watched this last May and I couldn't believe such a shrilly, whiny, inconsequential performance was nominated (and won a Golden Globe!). Ugh.

Jimmy said...

OMG - this is so incredibly easy. Ever see Helen Hayes as the stow-away in "Airport." Have you ever tried to sit through "Airport"? She has got to be the worst acting nominee and then for some amazing reason - she won!!!!

CanadianKen said...

Your respondents have certainly unearthed the prime offenders pdq. Helen Hayes' "Airport" win is doubly galling because she'd already stolen a Best Actress Oscar decades earlier for her lousy work in "The Sin of Madelon Claudet". I'm right on board with Ellen Corby's candidacy. But, in the end, Carol Channing probably has no competition. Sometimes great actresses have been nominated for performances that were clearly mistakes(Flora Robson in "Saratoga Trunk"). The Smackdown has already recognized Ingrid Bergman's achievements in this category by declaring her winner (for "Murder on the Orient Express") of the "Stinktress" award, honoring conspicuous over-compensation for aggressively undistinguished actressing. Her 1974 Oscar winning turn brought her a unanimous and unprecedented 1 out of 5 hearts across the board from a scowling Smackdown panel.

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Of the ones I've seen, Helen Hayes is the first that came to mind for me, too (and "Rasberries!!" all around to Channing's dissenters, even if they're right). At least (according to her autobiography) Hayes had the good taste to never actually watch herself in Airport.

I think you need to really stand out to get "worst" honors, which means the performance can still be entertaining, ala Hayes or maybe Kim Stanley in Frances. I'd exclude a few names from the "blah" list of nominees James Henry mentions (specifically Lorring, Dunnock and Merchant, who IMO were all memorable), but I'd also add an unlikely one: take away the makeup and Mercedes McCambridge's creepy vocal work, then ask how much actual performing is left for Linda Blair to do in The Exorcist? I think she only has a few scenes before the s*** hits the fan and the special effects and McCambridge take over. I'll never watch the film again to find out for sure, but it's hard to forget much about this one, even with a single viewing. Blair's okay in these early scenes, but she didn't get the nomination for playing Regan in "normal" mode.

RBurton said...

james henry,

Wycherly, Allgood, Peters, and Dunnock are all totally deserving of their nominations. They're definitely worth a rewatch.

Ian said...

Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain, Frances McDormand in North Country (perhaps to make up for the inexplicable Almost Famous loss?)

Matt said...

RBurton, I'm with you wholeheartedly on Joan Cusack's "Working Girl" nomination. Although I don't think her performance was bad, it certainly didn't warrant a nod. (And I think that Joan Hackett was miscast in "Only When I Laugh.")

I've seen a lot of Supporting Actress nominees, both wonderful and awful; I've culled five actresses from my memory for my "worst of the best." This list reflects lack of quality, rather than lack of quantity. Chronologically, the offenders are:

Andrea Leeds, "Stage Door"
The only weak link in an otherwise marvellous film. Least convincing breakdown scene ever, and an utterly ridiculous denouement.

Collette Marchand, "Moulin Rogue"
Bizarre facial expressions and tedious transitions. Never heard from again after this movie.

Shirley Jones, "Elmer Gantry"
Hyper, hyper, shrill, shrill.

Carol Channing, "Thoroughly Modern Millie"
Just typing her name is painful. Now I need a drink.

Beatrice Straight, "Network"
She's onscreen for approximately seven minutes--not one of them believable.

StinkyLulu said...

I really liked Susan Peters('42) and Joan Cusack ('88), so I disagree to an extent there.

I do think the cornball work of Zellwegger, Hayes and Bergman gets all the worse due to the fact of their winning. And with VP's provocative reassessment of Linda Blair, well -- I'm reminded of some of the other kiddies (Quinn Cummings especially).

jakey said...

Minnie Driver in "Good Will Hunting." I think there are some instances when voters just love a movie so much that they want to nominate it any way they can, and while I don't remember it as a bad performance, it was an underwhelming token love interest role. It didn't help that the other four nominees (Basinger, Cusack, Moore and Stuart) had better material.

John T said...

I have to agree as well with Bergman and Hayes, both truly bland & uninspired perfs from two truly great actresses. To throw a couple of new names in the bunch, I have to mention the abysmal Lee Grant in The Landlord and Mary McDonnell in Dances with Wolves.

JS said...

Well, Zellweger (and several others) aside, one of mine is Estelle Parsons for Bonnie & Clyde. A one dimensional shriek of a performance. Seriously woman, say thank you to the director and cinematographer for making your last scene.

Oh and it just might be me, but Mercedes McCambridge in All The King's Men. I'm not saying it's a worst anything but it had such a freakshow aspect to it, as if she just didn't belong in the entire movie. @_@

Scott said...

I find it really odd ya'll are hitting Cusack's Working Girl nomination and not her nomination for In & Out. I tend to love her (and liked her quite a bit in Working Girl - I thought she was far better than Geena Davis that year), but even I have nothing good to say about her work in In & Out.

The hits on Hayes seem weird too. Maybe not great acting, but it strikes me as a rather harmless performance - though I get that maybe her winning makes it worse.

As to those that've been listed and I've seen, I'd agree with any and all slams of the Parsons and Zellweger nominations. Especially the Zellweger nomination.

Bob said...

Well, I'm not an awards maven, so I can't keep track of who was nominated what year, so I won't offer any "worst" nomination, however, I must speak up for Joan Cusack, who to mind deserves to be nominated pretty much every time she appears on screen, even in a crappy film like "Working Girl." And for Beatrice Straight in "Network" -- it's quality, not quantity, and the dialogue is Chayefskian-arch, and I think she finds the emotional truth even as she utters the kind of dialogue that no real cheated-on spouse would ever utter. But would you really want to see her utter, "Get out of my house, dickhead!" while throwing his clothes on the door way?

Oh and thanks for the nice words about the Fossethon, oh pseudonomynous Stinky Lulu.

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

The performance that immediately comes to mind, for a win, no less is Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain. I don't think there's any contest for a worst win.

Nominees that come to mind are:

Judi Dench in Chocolat; who is really just setting the dial to 'grumpy old woman' and going with it.

Lauren Bacall in The Mirror Has Two Faces; which is just a tagged on nomination for a career of good, but apparently not Oscar-worthy performances.

Joan Plowright in Enchanted April; an actress who never wowed me in the slightest and this performance is as full of little tics and inconsistencies as any other.

Those nominees are the only ones that come to mind immediately, for me. If I looked at a list, I'm sure I could pick a lot more out.

Vertigo's Psycho said...

Helen Hayes deserves to be in the running, as she laid on the cutesy-pie granny act as thick as Ms. Zellweger did with her country-bumpkin antics in Cold Mountain. I'd forgotten about Renee, but I'd agree she could challenge all comers, old and new, for 1st place.

Matt said...

Bob, in response to your comments about Beatrice Straight's performance in "Network": I don't really see any "emotional truth" in the performance--and a good part of the reason is, in fact, the "archness" of the dialogue (which you've aptly pointed out). I'm not sure why, however, you'd think that I'd prefer her to say "Get out of my house, dickhead!" since that would be no more emotionally honest than the awful dialogue she's already been given. Furthermore, she reconciles with William Holden seven minutes after her outburst about the affair--I don't buy that either, since I don't know anyone who can resolve something like that over that short a time period.

The lack of believability was one of the main reasons I put her on my "worst" list; it wasn't because of her limited screen time. As you can see from my post, my choices were based on lack of "quality, not quantity."

Bob said...

Matt -- I wasn't imputing any desire by you to rewrite "Network."

I personally kind of like "arch" dialogue, when it's well done and I really was trying to say was that realism is overrated because, "get out of my house, dickhead" is closer to what she would actually say. As for whether or not her performance rang true, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on that. It's always worked for me.

I did get the impression from what you wrote that you thought Ms. Straight's lack of screentime was a factor in it being a poor choice, but if you say it wasn't, that's cool. Not that that's such an awful reason -- there is obviously some threshold at which it really would be silly to give someone an award.

And did she really get back together with Holden's character? I've lost track of the number of times I've seen "Network" and, as I recall, Holden tells Dunaway that he's going to beg for his wife to take him back, but he seemed pretty uncertain that she would agree and I don't remember that we ever see them together after that.

Certainly, the implication is that, even if they stay married, the marriage will never be the same.