Best Supporting Actress 1980

1927/28 through 1997

Best Supporting Actress 1980

Eileen Brennan - Private Benjamin
9
24%
Eva Le Gallienne - Resurrection
9
24%
Cathy Moriarty - Raging Bull
4
11%
Diana Scarwid - Inside Moves
0
No votes
Mary Steenburgen - Melvin and Howard
16
42%
 
Total votes: 38

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Damien
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Postby Damien » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:43 pm

Eric wrote:I'm just projecting here, but I think what Damien means when he says Ebert's writing has improved is that he's stopped writing so much about movies and started focusing his attention on taking down wingnuts in his blog.

Eric, it was actually Magilla who wrte that, not I.

I've never actually read Ebert on a regular basis, so I can't comment on any change in his writing, although I have enjoyed some of his political pieces -- clear, concise, pointed and perceptive.
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Postby Hustler » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:34 pm

Uh! Tough decission. I always have found Steenburgen playing the same character which probably means herself.
Le Galienne is a legend which was nominated for being a legend in the past. I don´t consider her performance as remarkable.
The best three options here are Scarwid, Brennan and Moriarty.
Moriarty was a good promise and I think she was done with the nomination.
Scarwid was completely ignored because most of the people didn´t know much about the movie.
I´m going with Brennan




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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:54 pm

I guess it depends what you're looking for in film criticism.

Basically all I really want to know in a review of a new film is if it's worth seeing or not. More in-depth analysis should be left for discussion later, after people have had a chance to see it and can understand what's being discussed.

The best writing I've ever found in reviews are those of James Agee who wrote for The Nation and Time from 1941-1950. They were first published as a collection in 1958, most recently in 2000. Even when I completely disagreed with his opinion, which could be often, I loved the way he expressed himself. Great writing is great writing. Period.

Contrast that with Kael's smart-ass put-downs and what do you have? Nothing.

As Damien says it was basically Kael like - Good!, Kael no like - Bad!

Ebert's writign style is different than Kael's, true, but for a long time it was Roger like - Good!, Roger no like - Bad! He would champion films like Raging Bull and Apocalypse Now in ways that most critics came to agree with, but he could also champion anything that was filmed in Chicago.

I always took him with a grain of salt, but when he went ga-ga over Ferris Buller's Day Off, that was it for me. I never trusted his opinion again. If someone other than Siskel agreed with him, I might take him seriously, but not on his own.
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Postby ITALIANO » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:27 pm

I also wasn't impressed at all by D'Angelo's work in Coal Miner's Daughter - it's a very short role, by the way.

I find it interesting that in the US Raging Bull wasn't considered a masterpiece right when it came out - in Italy and more generally in Europe the critics were truly enthusiastic, and I remember that when Ordinary People won the Oscar most commentators pointed out how, "as usual", the really great work of art had lost to a more accessible though dignified effort. It was certainly considered one of the best American movies ever - and from the beginning.

I'm not an expert on American film criticism, but I used to find Pauline Kael a very entertaining read. I didnt agree with her, most of the times, and it's very true that her approach to movies was too subjective for me to consider her an "important" critic. (As some may remember, I believe in "objectiveness" - at least in the context of a structured theory). But this doesn't mean that she couldn't be brilliant at times - and insightful, too. She was also, at least to a foreigner like me,a typically American voice, so different from anything else on the same subject here in Europe - and for this reason quite interesting.

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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:25 pm

People who never liked Pauline Kael still don't like her. Film at 11!!!

I see no evidence Kael's reputation has declined any -- again, except among those disinclined to her to begin with. That she's not actively discussed every day...well, she's been dead ten years. Agee doesn't come up that often, either; I don't think that invalidates his work.

Actually, you'd think what these series of threads would tell us above all is, consensus opinion on anything related to film (whether critics, performers, or the movies themselves) is reasonably rare. And even where it does exist, it's not necessarily grass-roots generated, but the result of specialized pleading, often elevated to near campaign level.

To wit: Bruce Lavigne mentions that Raging Bull is considered one of the great films of all time in the "real" (his self-aware quotes) film buff world. This is probably true, today. But I've been around long enough to know a time when that wasn't the prevailing view of the cognoscenti -- check out the 1980 NY critics' vote for illustration.

A friend of mine, who did the student government thing in college, once said the key to prevailing in committees was to be the one willing to hang around after everyone else got tired and went home. To me, Roger Ebert is that one. He promoted Apocalypse Now and Raging Bull as the great movies of their years -- views far from universally held. But he got himself on TV and kept arguing these points until they eventually became Accepted Wisdom. I don't see any reason why I should view that with any less skepticism than I do the initial rally around Ordinary People and Melvin and Howard -- or Kramer vs. Kramer and Breaking Away.

Similarly, I've watched for years as people who never liked Terms of Endearment/The English Patient/American Beauty proclaimed that each of these films had seen their reputations "collapse" -- by which they usually mean, all the people they knew who also didn't like them have held to their opinions and they're no longer hearing from the people who feel otherwise. You can always find people who don'ty like a given film -- we had people here (myself included) unimpressed by The Hurt Locker, despite its seeming cosmic acclaim. Were we few to get into positions with loud megaphones, we might be able to revise historic consensus...but would it make the film anything less for those who loved it?

I always loved the scene in Reds where Keaton has returned from Russia and is explaining her zeal for Communism to Jack Nicholson. Nicholson's response is, "I hear all this, and I say to myself, Eugene -- another Irish Catholicism" -- having been raised under one stringent orthodoxy, he's resistant to any other. I'm the same way about film. I find interest in many critical approaches -- Agee, Kael, Sarris, Farber -- but don't worship any of them. Sue me, I like Kael's turns of phrase (far more than I do anything I ever read of Renata Adler's -- a long-winded pedant, in my view). But I agreed with her on a very hit-and-miss level (I especially recoiled from her love for dopey comedies, like Up in Smoke or Zorro the Gay Blade). You have bigger problems with her, fine -- feel free to ignore her. That doesn't appear to be enough for her opposition, however. For many, it's still Kael delenda est.

Incidentally, I don't know where anyone gets the idea Roger Ebert was a Kael-ite. There were friendly, I presume -- I once saw them dining at the Lion's Head. But I never found their approach to films or ways of speaking of them remotely similar. Denby and Edelstein, I can see the family resemblance, but Ebert, no (nor Gleiberman, by me -- I've never responded to his style at all).

As for D'Angelo/Lange -- maybe you guys saw a different cut of Coal Miner's Daughter where D'Angelo made more of an impression. My recollection is she disappeared from the story fairly quickly. In Sweet Dreams, Lange worked against an innate prejudice I have against performances where the original singer overdubs the actor's voice -- but I thought she was so full of life she overcame all my resistance. But, you know: different strokes.

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Postby Eric » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:41 pm

I'm just projecting here, but I think what Damien means when he says Ebert's writing has improved is that he's stopped writing so much about movies and started focusing his attention on taking down wingnuts in his blog.

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Postby Uri » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:25 pm

When I went through the names of the nominees and the alternate options people are bringing up I found out I haven't seen many of them and most of those I did see it was in later years, and for a split second I was wondering why, and then I remembered – November the 4th 1980 was the day I was inducted! Oh, happy days.

I haven't seen Resurrection or Inside Moves, and I only caught up with Raging Bull and Melvin and Howard years later – fittingly Private Benjamin was the only one I saw in real time. All three of the actresses I did see were worthy nominees. I went with Steenburgen – as Damien so accurately put it, she was just disarmingly captivating one just have to go with her.

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Postby Sabin » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:28 am

Big Magilla @ Sep. 07 2010,10:27
[Armond] White writes in the Kael manner of the know-it-all who comes across like he knows nothing and Glieberman doesn't really have a style but he and all the other Paulettes who quote Kael as though she were God's gift to film criticism drive me up a wall.

In terms of how and why he likes things, absolutely. As a writer, he is a maddening creature who writes in absurd declaratives, drawing baffling comparisons. He is a film historian who is sewing some kind of on-going narrative of the history of cinema one film at a time. But every sentence of his reviews seems designed to summate the entire review itself! It's so strange.

And yet while I think his reviews are just horrible, I listened to him on some radio show a month ago and he was incredibly lucid, persuasive, and interesting. He talks about his distaste for Christopher Nolan, why he likes Michael Bay, and more that I can't remember off the top of my head currently. If only he wrote reviews like he wasn't identifying as the last bastion of good taste backed against the wall, I think he might still be the voice of authority he was when he got A.I. Artificial Intelligence before the rest of the world.

Owen Gleiberman doesn't have a style. He's an anti-intellectual. He loves to call bullshit on anything that superficially resembles art. I don't have a huge problem with this. While I don't agree with his taste all the time, it's not like he comes across as a poseur. He just likes what he likes. I think there is a clearer barometer of Gleeb's taste than most. There are worse out there. Schwarzbaum is insufferable. She definitely has a style that compliments her taste!

I will say this for Ebert, though - opinions aside, his writing has improved greatly, especially since his cancer surgery.

So you mean his writing style has improved though he taste has not? I think that his taste has diminished considerably. In facing death (as he is), he has begun to take more pleasure in film, all but declaring this a new golden age in cinema, which I'm not even sure he believes. I don't care for his reviews anymore. They gush, gush, gush at the drop of a hat. It's like he's reviewing Almost Famous all the time. However, his presence on twitter is something interesting. He tweets every five minutes! He may not be a recluse but Roger Ebert's presence on the internet is dwarfing his public persona considerably, even as an advocate for cancer survival. Roger Ebert has gone from a Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper critic to an internet critic to more fanfare.
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Postby Damien » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:19 pm

Reza wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:And I'll continue to take the contrary position from others here: that Jessica Lange's Patsy five year later was as good or better.

I'm totally with you on this Tee.

That opinion is thoroughly dumbfounding to me. And I say that as someone who generally loves Jessica Lange. My heart actually went out to her while watching Sweet Dreams because she was so clearly inferior to Beverly D'Angelo's Patsy Cline.
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Postby Damien » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:11 pm

Eric wrote:
Damien wrote:A nice thing for all of us who knew during Kael's 70s and 80s heyday that the Empress Had No Clothes is the fact that she is pretty much already forgotten today.

By who, exactly? Certainly no one in this thread or anyone with any familiarity with film criticism. Inbred, cross-eyed yokels who have directed their mental faculties toward studying corn distillation in the Appalachians, perhaps, but not the film enthusiast subset.

I just almost never see her cited these days. Not surprising, since she never had any particular critical aesthetic, other than Pauline Like: Good! Pauline Not Like: Bad!

She was the quintessence of the Know-Nothing-Know It-All.

And in terms of writing, she was a lousy stylist.




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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:27 pm

I can't recall now whether I liked Harris better than Le Gallienne when I saw the production many years ago, or even when I re-watched it in recent years, but I do know that I preferred Henrietta Crosman's matriarch in the 1930 film to Le Gallienne and Harris' portrayal of the character patterned after Ethel Barrymore better than Ina Claire's in the film.

I have no idea who David Edelstein is. I haven't read the New Yorker in decades.

I will say this for Ebert, though - opinions aside, his writing has improved greatly, especially since his cancer surgery.

White writes in the Kael manner of the know-it-all who comes across like he knows nothing and Glieberman doesn't really have a style but he and all the other Paulettes who quote Kael as though she were God's gift to film criticism drive me up a wall.




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Postby Eric » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:21 pm

Damien wrote:A nice thing for all of us who knew during Kael's 70s and 80s heyday that the Empress Had No Clothes is the fact that she is pretty much already forgotten today.

By who, exactly? Certainly no one in this thread or anyone with any familiarity with film criticism. Inbred, cross-eyed yokels who have directed their mental faculties toward studying corn distillation in the Appalachians, perhaps, but not the film enthusiast subset.

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Postby Reza » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:21 pm

Mister Tee wrote:And I'll continue to take the contrary position from others here: that Jessica Lange's Patsy five year later was as good or better.

I'm totally with you on this Tee.

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Postby Damien » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:00 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Pauline Kael said at the time that LaGalliene spoke her lines as if she'd spent every minute of her life onstage. I never for a moment I was watching anything but An Actress, which took me out of the film entirely. I'm sorry I never saw her onstage, but this performance isn't much of a career highlight.

I think you know my opinion of Pauline and the Paulettes, Armond White, Roger Ebert and Owen Glieberman in particular. If not, let me quote her New Yorker colleague Renata Adler's dismissal of Kael's 1980 collection of reviews, When the Lights Go Down:

"(It's) jarringly, piece by piece, line by line, and without interruption, worthless." She went on to say that Kael's post-sixties work contained "nothing certainly of intelligence or sensibility," and faulted her "quirks and mannerisms," including Kael's repeated use of the "bullying" imperative and rhetorical question.

At any rate, you can more or less see LeGallienne on "stage" in the Broadway Archive production of The Royal Family as done for PBS. Netflix should have it.

Adler's critique is a good starting point at pointing out the bombastic vacuousness that was Pauline Kael. Of all her obnoxious characteristics, I'd say the worst was her peurility. And Magilla, more so than those you mentioned (I don't know if I'd call Armond White a Paulette), I think her most disreputable acolyte is David Edelstein of New York magazine.

A nice thing for all of us who knew during Kael's 70s and 80s heyday that the Empress Had No Clothes is the fact that she is pretty much already forgotten today.

By the way, I saw Eva La Gallienne on stage in The Royal Family in 1976. Very mannered in a very Grande Dame manner -- Rosemary Harris effortlessly acted rings around her.
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:33 pm

The Academy did the right thing, choosing the best in a not-too-exciting line-up. It's a pity that Steenburgen didn't really do much after the Oscar - even as a supporting actress. She certainly had the talent - if not, maybe, a big charisma.

Raging Bull is a wonderful movie, definitely better than Melvin and Howard, and I can't deny that Cathy Moriarty is perfectly cast in it - her lazy blonde beauty extremely well-used by Scorsese. I'm not sure that hers is a great performance, maybe because her part is too (intentionally) passive. Effective she certainly is. though.

The three others didn't even deserve to be nominated, though Eileen Brennan had been a good and reliable comedienne in many movies and for many years, so I can accept that she got this kind of career recognition. She's still better than Private Benjamin itself, but that's all I can say about her performance in it.

"Great legends of the stage" usually fails to impress much when we finally see them on the screen (unsurprisingly, as the two media are completely different), and Eva LeGallienne is no exception. Nothing she does in Resurrection really deserved a nomination - though her reputation, it seems, did.

I saw Inside Movies many years ago on television, and not even all of it, but enough to find Diana Scarwid an interesting young actress but not more impressive than countless other interesting young actresses you get to see any year in American movies (and who usually vanish from sight the year after). The movie is only one of three from the last thirty years, by the way, which despite getting a major Oscar nomination failed to be theatrically released in Italy - it went straigh to tv. (The two other movies? Hustle & Flow and The Blind Side).


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