...Margaret Avery in The Color Purple (1985).
approximately 36 minutes and 25 seconds
roughly 25% of film's total running time
For StinkyLulu (& for Celie I'd propose) Shug Avery represents a kind of illicit abundance. Shug probably shouldn't doing some of the things she's doing, but while she's doing them, she's going to do right by them & enjoy them to the fullest. No nihilist, though, Shug's got a heart, and it's a heart Shug comes to know better by coming to know Celie. Shug's also that absent beloved, the one who blows into town every so often making everything a lot more alive... Indeed, the character of Shug's got it all -- highs, lows, scenes of her own, scenes to steal, plus a few songs -- it's the kind of role (not unlike Effie White) that seems almost guaranteed a nomination, if not the win.
@ 1985 seconds - "...fo the next aay or ten month Olvuh was the victim of a sisstem metack corss of teachry..."
Margaret Avery was, like most of the principal female performers in the cast, a little known actress when she snagged the role that garnered a Supporting Actress nomination. A charismatic, elegant performer, the teenaged StinkyLulu found Avery all wrong for Shug. (Developing something of a grudge against the actress as a result.) The space of a few decades forces StinkyLulu to acknowledge that, while not perfect, Margaret Avery's performance is very good. Not perfect. But very good. And even though she doesn't do her own singing, Avery's still often quite effective in the role.
The essential piece to Shug is that, on the one hand, she's a rural preacher's daughter while, on the other, she's a free-living, free-loving blues diva living in the big city on the big river. Part street cat, part barn cat. The character's arc follows Shug as she reconciles both halves of herself, a journey galvanized by Celie's doting worship.
Variety while humping for an acting trophy -- were in poor taste.) (PS: If anyone has a scan of one of those ads, I'd love to publish/link it here.) So it's hard to know what Avery's gifts are beyond what's on display here. But, after all these years, StinkyLulu's force to admit that Margaret Avery brings a great deal to Shug Avery.
Attentive readers will note that The 1985 Smackdown was yesterday... And, with this profile, 'tis now complete. So just keep a'scrollin' for all that SmackDowning fun...