Supporting Actress Sundays for SEPTEMBER '09: 1993

Hear ye, hear ye -- September's month of Supporting Actress Sundays will devote its attention to

Oscar's Supporting Actresses for 1993 are:

Holly Hunter in The Firm
Anna Paquin in The Piano
Rosie Perez in Fearless
Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence
Emma Thompson in In the Name of the Father

Supporting Actress Smackdown for 1993:
Sunday, September 27.
Featuring a Smackdown panel of 6 or 7 Smackdowners TBA.
(Contact StinkyLulu via email
to express interest/availability for Smackdowner service.)

So we've got a brave tart, a precocious tot, a grieving mother, a sweet young thing, and a steely dame. Sounds like a fairly standard roster of Supporting Actressness to me, but we'll see what shakes out as the profiling begins (if not next Sunday, then soon thereafter).


Hopelessly Devoted - StinkyLulu's List of 20 Adored Actors

As you well know, lovely reader, I tend to reserve this space for actresses. But every so often an opportunity arrives that instigates me to a serious contemplation of their male counterparts (aka "actors"). This week, Nathaniel of The Film Experience posed just such a challenge. So, in no particular order, please enjoy the actors to whom I remain forever devoted, pictured in the roles that carved their special place in my actressexual heart.
Can YOU name the actor?
Can you name the ROLE?

Can YOU name the actor?
Can you name the ROLE?


VOTE: SEPTEMBER's Supporting Actress Sundays!

As you may have noticed, lovely reader, Supporting Actress Sundays has been experiencing a case of the summer blues. But this month, I'll do what I can to kick it back into gear. So, I offer y'all this chance to pick a roster for September's month of Supporting Actress Sundays. I've stacked the voting roster with years that each have at least one film I have never seen and which have found myself wondering about in the last month or two. (I'll let you guess which titles I'm thinking of.) I've also intentionally dodged those years which include the variously haunting and thrilling nominated performances that we'll consider for for the StinkyLulu October tradition of "scary" Supporting Actressness an annual StinkyLulu/Halloween tradition. But, for now, in anticipation of a delightful autumnal bloom, I ask...

What year deserves the focus
for SEPTEMBER'S month of
Supporting Actress Sundays?

1938: Fay Bainter in Jezebel, Beulah Bondi in Of Human Hearts, Billie Burke in Merrily We Live, Spring Byington in You Can't Take it With You, Miliza Korjus in The Great Waltz.
1947: Ethel Barrymore in The Paradine Case, Gloria Grahame in Crossfire, Celeste Holm in Gentleman's Agreement, Marjorie Main in The Egg and I, Anne Revere in Gentleman's Agreement.
1952: Gloria Grahame in The Bad and the Beautiful, Jean Hagen in Singin' In The Rain, Colette Marchand in Moulin Rouge, Terry Moore in Come Back, Little Sheba, Thelma Ritter in With a Song in My Heart.
1965: Ruth Gordon in Inside Daisy Clover, Joyce Redman in Othello, Maggie Smith in Othello, Shelley Winters in A Patch of Blue, Peggy Wood in The Sound of Music.
1977: Leslie Browne in The Turning Point, Quinn Cummings in The Goodbye Girl, Melinda Dillon in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Vanessa Redgrave in Julia, Tuesday Weld in Looking for Mr. Goodbar.
1981: Melinda Dillon in Absence of Malice, Jane Fonda in On Golden Pond, Joan Hackett in Only When I Laugh, Elizabeth McGovern in Ragtime, Maureen Stapleton in Reds.
1993: Holly Hunter in The Firm, Anna Paquin in The Piano, Rosie Perez in Fearless, Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence, Emma Thompson in In the Name of the Father.

Let your voice be heard by voting fairly in the column at right or by clicking HERE.


Amy Irving in Yentl (1983) - Supporting Actress Sunday

Again, it's been a while... Look this week for some clarification about the upcoming months Supporting Actress Sunday routine. But, as some of you have been careful to note, I've not yet dispatched all my 1983 duties. So without further ado: perhaps the most contentious and most maligned Supporting Actress nomination of 1983...

...Amy Irving in Yentl (1983)
approximately 26 minutes and 18 seconds
13 scenes
roughly 20% of film's total running time
Amy Irving plays Haddass -- a nice, attractive and marriageable Jewish girl -- who unwittingly finds herself at the center of an unlikely romantic triangle when she becomes betrothed to the bookish and shy Anshel (whose actual name is Yentl and who's played [with few surprises] by Barbra Streisand).
The film tells two main stories. The first, which has little to do with Hadass, depicts the story of the intellectually ambitious Yentl who, having been surreptitiously schooled in the study of Talmud by her rabbi father since girlhood, decides to continue her studies after his death. In order to do so, however, Yentl must cut her hair and pretend to be a boy: Anshel. The second main story, which involves Hadass centrally, depicts the many ways Yentl bridles against the pressures her community places upon women to conform to exacting ideals of domesticated, subservient femininity. When Yentl dons the identity of Anshel, she is doing so both to pursue her dream of intellectual study and to flee the confinements of gender expectation.
Irving's Haddass happens also to be betrothed to Avigdor (Mandy Patinkin, a moody and charismatic romantic hero). Streisand -- as Anshel -- depends upon Patinkin's Avigdor as a friend and intellectual mentor even as Streisand -- as Yentl -- falls ever more in love with him.
Irving's Haddass becomes the model of femininity -- one Streisand's Anshel observes studiously and one against which Streisand's Yentl inevitably compares herself.
Irving's Haddass is, of course, completely oblivious to all of this. Yet hers is not a blissful ignorance. In the character's earlier scenes (when she's mostly waiting on "the men"), Irving crafts a portrait of an anxious young woman terrified that she might disappoint those ("men") whose approval she craves.
Streisand's character observes Haddass's anxiety with a fascinated empathy. Yentl is stunned to see that even the beautiful and obedient Haddass struggles mightily to meet the exacting patriarchal expectations of femininity.
As the narrative proceeds, and (due to plot machinations I won't go into here) as Streisand's character comes to know and appreciate Haddass more intimately, Irving's performance shows Haddass blossoming under Ansel/Yentl's complicated scrutiny.
With carefully measured shifts in affect, Irving marks how Haddass's affections shift from an infatuation with Avigdor's charismatic masculinity to a more surprising delight in Anshel's thoughtful attention.
Somehow, Irving's performance makes it a "no-brainer" that Haddass would ultimately fall in love with Anshel and, as such, Irving's Haddass introduces a second level of risk to the Streisand character's self-concealment: Yentl/Anshel's secret threatens to devastate Haddass.
There's something really interesting in this aspect of Streisand's treatment of the Yentl story. Indeed, as Anshel/Yentl begins to mentor Haddass to stand up for herself and to assert her right to sexual consent, something unexpected happens: Anshel/Yentl begins to care about Haddass.
It's not necessarily a romantic love, but it does emerge as a genuine emotional connection shared between the two, and its integrity impels Anshel/Yentl to abandon the ruse, lest it hurt Haddass even more unnecessarily. It's a subtle, surprising shift: Streisand's character has heretofore been driven exclusively by more selfish impulses (the consuming love of learning, a driving passion for Avigdor), yet here Anshel/Yentl acts out of empathy for another, out of love for Irving's Haddass.
Throughout the role, Irving embodies the idealized, deferential Hadass with ethereal warmth and formidable feeling. The actress aptly conveys the character’s shifting (and largely concealed) conflicts as she is transformed by her encounter with Streisand’s Anshel.
Streisand's film is entirely anchored in the emotional point-of-view of her central, bifurcated character. Streisand's performance is the thrilling stunt that impels the film, yet Irving's characterization of Haddass stealthily amplifies the deeper emotional stakes of the narrative.
Indeed, saddled with a character who's utterly clueless about the actual story she's a part of, Amy Irving -- steadily, subtly, startlingly -- delivers an indelible, enduring performance of one of the category's most enduring stock characters: the girl who inspires great action.