Best Supporting Actress 1978

1927/28 through 1997

Best Supporting Actress 1978

Dyan Cannon - Heaven Can Wait
1
3%
Penelope Milford - Coming Home
2
5%
Maggie Smith - Claifornia Suite
17
44%
Maureen Stapleton - Interiors
8
21%
Meryl Streep - The Deer Hunter
11
28%
 
Total votes: 39

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Postby flipp525 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:58 pm

Bruce_Lavigne wrote:Page (who I seem to be alone in agreeing with the Oscars belongs in the lead category).

You’re not alone, Bruce. Geraldine Page’s Eve haunts every facet of the film and, in my opinion, is very much a lead. It's a phenomenal performance, etched with nuance, heartbreak and icy distance and longing at every turn.

Sometimes it's not about screentime or who has more scenes or whatever else. If one character so clearly resonates throughout the entire film, they can be considered a lead. I'd support Nicole Kidman's nomination in the lead category in The Hours for much the same reason. There are no hard and fast rules about these things.

It's an unpopular opinion around these parts, but I love Interiors. I don't think it's "lesser" Woody Allen, nor do I think it should be judged as Ingmar Bergman-lite. Its screenplay sounds pretentious because these are pretentious characters. If you don't find something heartfelt and beautiful in Joey's closing monologue to Eve, I suggest you go back and watch it again. That scene, in particular, is a tour-de-force marriage of writing and acting.

Maureen Stapleton gets points for coming to that depressing party of a family so late and injecting much needed life into the proceedings. She is so good during the wedding reception scene.

Penelope who? Milford gives a boring, spastic performance that is pretty forgettable. It's not hard to see why she faded into an oblivion (although I did love her in Heathers).

It sure is easy to take Meryl Streep for granted as I'm going to do here. Her performance in The Deer Hunter is a portent of great things to come. But it's not the best of this lineup.

Dyan Cannon I'll just have to re-watch. I've always found her a pleasure (especially in her later role as a judge on "Ally McBeal"), but I honestly can't throw a vote to her for this pretty pointless remake. Wasn't her last role in that "Old People-palooza movie" that Big Magilla was pushing before it even came out?

My vote goes to Maggie Smith who, as has been stated by quite a few, approaches the tired Simon material with a fresh perspective and transforms it into something so much grander. And how could they pass up the irony of giving an Oscar to a woman playing an actress losing an Oscar (in a performance that's actually good)? The criminally ignored Michael Caine really does match her every step of the way. How exactly was he passed over for the likes of Jack Warden's goofy performance in Heaven Can Wait (which is pretty much a carbon copy of the one he gave in Shampoo)?




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Postby Snick's Guy » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:20 pm

I remember being a high school senior and seeing Meryl Streep for the first time in The Deerhunter and being blown away. She is simply mesmerizing in every scene. (Note: I really had seen her for the first time a year earlier in Julia, but it was a blink and you miss her kind of role.)

I am guessing some are holding back and not voting for Streep here, knowing she is back again next year in Kramer vs Kramer.

Smith is ok, and her nomination is earned, though Streep outshines her in my opinion.

Angela Lansbury is the one who should have been included in this list for her excellent and comedic appearance in Death On The Nile.




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Postby Bruce_Lavigne » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:14 pm

I voted for Stapleton, for a much more enthusiastic version of the reasons Italiano has already cited. I admire Interiors as a change-of-pace for Woody Allen; if he's trying too hard to ape Bergman and "betraying" the comedic sensibilities that made him so popular in the first place, he's at least pulling it off competently, and he gets the standard good work out of his cast -- great work in the cases of Stapleton and Page (who I seem to be alone in agreeing with the Oscars belongs in the lead category).

Heaven Can Wait, by the way, is another movie I seem to like more than most here; maybe that's because I saw it before Here Comes Mr. Jordan.




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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:01 pm

Mona Washbourne was indeed impressive in Stevie, but, outside of the LA critics, the film didn't exist, so the Academy passed it by. The film did, of course, come to some prominence three years later, when Jackson and Washbourne ruled the NY voting. But that attention -- esp. Jackson's prize, which drove it -- sprang largely from the utter void of leading actresses that year ('81), plus a relentless push by Times critic Vincent Canby. Had the film been given a full release initially in '78, my guess is it probably would have fallen through the cracks anyway.

I see Precious has already cited Linda Manz, the deadpan narrator of Days of Heaven, and, among other might-have-beens, I'd throw in Lisa Lucas, who played Jill Clayburgh's awkward daughter in An Unmarried Woman.

Penelope Milford just didn't make a big impression on me in Coming Home. I had no problem with her; just couldn't recall much about her. And I wasn't wild about the film.

Maureen Stapleton was viewed as a potential winner going into Academy night, but I always doubted the Academy would vote for a film so lugubrious. I didn't hate Interiors, but I did consider it something of a betrayal by the Woody Allen I knew and loved -- it was as if he himself viewed the great comic work he had done as automatically lesser art than this ersatz Bergman. (I'd say his later career suffered from this misimpression) Stapleton was certainly the life of the movie -- when she appeared and cracked a few jokes, the audience was almost visibly relieved. But she wouldn't get my vote.

I'm with Magilla (and was at the time) that Heaven Can Wait was an utterly unnecessary remake. Apart from Beatty's boardroom scene, there wasn't a memorable thing in the movie that didn't have a direct equivalent in Here Comes Mr. Jordan -- which, of course, I'd seen, so where was the thrill? That said, the performances were generally good, and it played well enough. I actually thought Cannon might win, simply because the film was so broadly popular. (It wasn't till the ceremony was nearly over that it was clear the 9 nominations were not indicative of true Academy enthusiasm; the film even lost what I viewed as a slam-dunk screenplay win to Midnight Express). And I think Cannon is funny, though not on a par with her Bob & Carol work. Jsut not funny enough to get my vote.

Incidentally, I've often proposed Heaven Can Wait as the epitome of Hollywood's warped playing field. This is a film where Dyan Cannon -- an object of deep lust at that point in my life -- was what the LOSER got. (Granted, I'd pick Julie Christie myself in a contest -- but, oh, to have that as my options!)

Maggie Smith and Michael Caine are the only actors to emerge unscathed from a mostly unfunny California Suite. Damien, did you really like Fonda in it? I was second to none in my adoration of her at the time, but I thought she made the fatal mistake of trying to play the material at some human level, when there was no such content to be found. Caine/Smith seemed to recognize the level of their material -- road-company Coward -- and they played it like two old pros who knew how to keep audiences happy without pretending to depth. As I said in a previous thread, someone at our party that year greeted Smith's win with "Well, she made it bearable". But that's not enough to get my vote. (Though she does appear to be winning here. The post-menopausal caucus has been called to order again)

I thought Meryl Streep gave the most impressive performance, and I don't think the fact I'm going to vote for her several times subsequently should get in the way of affirming that. I'd been less than impressed with her work in the TV Holocaust earlier that year, but here I thought she was incredibly moving -- as well as the only female to make an impression in Cimino's rugged male universe. The fact that I viewed The Deer Hunter as the best (even if mightily flawed) American film of that year probably helped my decision along some. Streep for the win.

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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:48 am

I should probably see Coming Home again, because honestly I remember Penelope Milford as a rather bland screen presence - not of a Leslie Browne-level blandness, but not much more impressive either.

Heaven Can Wait is another movie I only saw many years ago. Back then, I found Dyan Cannon very funny in it, and it's possible that even today I'd find her nomination-worthy.

With Meryl Streep, the young, beautiful Meryl Streep of The Deer Hunter, we already have a possible winner: interesting character and beautifully executed performance. The talent was obviously, undeniably already there - but we have honored it often by now in the Leading category, and we might honor it again soon in this one.

So we can focus without too many guilty feelings on the two older nominees - both great actresses on the stage even before being great film actresses. Of course, they come from different schools and traditions, but for both of them the result, in this case, is excellent and, I'd say, better than the movies they are in,

Stapleton or Smith could both get my vote - as others have said, Stapleton is probably the best thing about Interiors, which I don't dislike as much as some do by the way; the character helps, of course, and provides a much-needed contrast to the others around her, but the performance itself is intelligent and subtle, and, in the context of the movie, even very enjoyable.

But I'm voting for Maggie Smith - mainly because while I know that I'll have another chance to pick Stapleton, I'm not sure about Smith. And yes, it's Neil Simon, but Smith & Caine (he as good as she is, and definitely worthy of a Supporting Actor nomination) do it as if it's Noel Coward, and at times really succeed in bringing the material to a much higher level. Of course her role doesn't have the complexity of Meryl Streep's or even Maureen Stapleton's, but Smith deals with it with all her professionism and skills, and the result is solid work from one of the best actresses of the English-speaking world.

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:18 am

In the old days major films were given lavish premieres with the stars traveling by train to appear at major openings in major cities so it made sense to stagger release dates.

Sometimes there were other considerations.

The African Queen, for example, was barely ready to be shown in L.A. in 1951, let alone be duplicated for additional release.

Days of Wine and Roses and To Kill a Mockingbird were booked into Radio City Music Hall in early 1963 and could be expected to bring in more money for Warner Bros. and Universal respectively than had they opened in smaller venues in late 1962.

Sometimes as with a film like The Star, Fox was pushing for a 1952 Oscar nod for Bette Davis, which it got, but didn't think she had much of a chance at a critics' prize so there was no need to release the film in New York until 1953.

Beginning with the wide release of Jaws in 1975, however, the movie distribution business has changed. These staggered dates are almost non-existent even for limited releases which are generally booked into both New York and Los Angeles on the same date.




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Postby Reza » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:48 am

Big Magilla wrote:
Reza wrote:The 6th spot: Mona Washbourne in Stevie. Strangely enough this film played in L.A. in '78 but won the New York Film Critics awards for both Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne in '81.

Yes, one of he many strange things about awards handicapping. The film wasn't shown anywhere in the U.S. except L.A. in 1978. It wasn't shown in New York until 1981.

I have recently revamped my Oscar Shouldabeens (again!) to reflect New York release dates because they are the only accurately verifiable release dates thanks to the excellent New York Times database which which now has original reviews of most films going back to the beginning of the Oscars posted on the site.

In most cases New York got major films before L.A., though both cities usually received the film in the same year. There were some major films, however, that did not open in L.A. until the next year - A Tale of Two Cities in 1935, Casablanca in 1942, National Velvet, The Keys of the Kingdom and To Have Not in 1944, Adam's Rib in 1949, The Mudlark in 1950, Rashomon in 1951, A Christmas Carol in 1951 (which may not have played L.A. at all), Forbidden Games in 1952 (two years before L.A. got it), Limelilight in 1952 (twenty years before L.A. got it), Umberto D. in 1955, Cries and Whispers in 1972, Day for Night in 1973, Amarcord in 1974 and so on, but there were also a number of films that were given Oscar qualifying runs in L.A. that did not play New York until the next year - the three year wait for Stevie was a rare exception matched only as I can find by La Ronde which was held up until 1954 due to censorship.

Some famous L.A. to N.Y. delays which have wreaked havoc on my awards: Ball of Fire to 1942, The Song of Bernadette to 1944, The Yearling to 1947, Portrait of Jennie to 1949, Twelve O'Clock High and The Hasty Heart to 1950, The African Queen to 1952, Moulin Rouge and The Bad and the Beautiful to 1953, Witness for the Prosecution to 1958, The Children's Hour to 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird and Days of Wine and Roses to 1963, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte to 1965, (The Loves of) Isadora to 1969, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore to 1975 and Stevie to 1981, after which exceptions became rare. The Lives of Others (2006 in L.A., 2007 in N.Y.) is a rare recent hold-up.

One country and different release dates in two of the most important cities......New York & L.A......can't understand why this happens. Find it very strange. And why should the Academy insist on a film playing in the L.A. region to qualify for an Oscar?




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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:53 am

Reza wrote:The 6th spot: Mona Washbourne in Stevie. Strangely enough this film played in L.A. in '78 but won the New York Film Critics awards for both Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne in '81.

Yes, one of he many strange things about awards handicapping. The film wasn't shown anywhere in the U.S. except L.A. in 1978. It wasn't shown in New York until 1981.

I have recently revamped my Oscar Shouldabeens (again!) to reflect New York release dates because they are the only accurately verifiable release dates thanks to the excellent New York Times database which which now has original reviews of most films going back to the beginning of the Oscars posted on the site.

In most cases New York got major films before L.A., though both cities usually received the film in the same year. There were some major films, however, that did not open in L.A. until the next year - A Tale of Two Cities in 1935, Casablanca in 1942, National Velvet, The Keys of the Kingdom and To Have Not in 1944, Adam's Rib in 1949, The Mudlark in 1950, Rashomon in 1951, A Christmas Carol in 1951 (which may not have played L.A. at all), Forbidden Games in 1952 (two years before L.A. got it), Limelilight in 1952 (twenty years before L.A. got it), Umberto D. in 1955, Cries and Whispers in 1972, Day for Night in 1973, Amarcord in 1974 and so on, but there were also a number of films that were given Oscar qualifying runs in L.A. that did not play New York until the next year - the three year wait for Stevie was a rare exception matched only as I can find by La Ronde which was held up until 1954 due to censorship.

Some famous L.A. to N.Y. delays which have wreaked havoc on my awards: Ball of Fire to 1942, The Song of Bernadette to 1944, The Yearling to 1947, Portrait of Jennie to 1949, Twelve O'Clock High and The Hasty Heart to 1950, The African Queen to 1952, Moulin Rouge and The Bad and the Beautiful to 1953, Witness for the Prosecution to 1958, The Children's Hour to 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird and Days of Wine and Roses to 1963, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte to 1965, (The Loves of) Isadora to 1969, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore to 1975 and Stevie to 1981, after which exceptions became rare. The Lives of Others (2006 in L.A., 2007 in N.Y.) is a rare recent hold-up.
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Postby Reza » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:01 am

I have the reverse view to Damien about the two comedic performances on the list. I found Dyan Cannon to be totally unfunny, giving a shrill overacted performance in Heaven Can Wait. Maggie Smith, on the other hand, spent two decades honing her comedic skills on stage and in film and for the first time appeared in an all out comedic role on screen delivering a witty performance in California Suite. She had Neil Simon's best lines and gave it her all.

Penelope Milford is good as Jane Fonda's friend in Coming Home but she is overshadowed by the two leads.

Streep more than holds her own opposite De Niro in The Deerhunter and makes her presence felt in her first important role on screen.

Maureen Stapleton is excellent (and annoying) as the woman in red and the only happy person amongst the bleak lot in Woody Allen's Interiors.

My top 5 of 1978:

Maggie Smith, California Suite
Geraldine Page, Interiors
Stockard Channing, Grease
Meryl Streep, The Deer Hunter
Maureen Stapleton, Interiors

The 6th spot: Mona Washbourne in Stevie. Strangely enough this film played in L.A. in '78 but won the New York Film Critics awards for both Glenda Jackson and Mona Washbourne in '81.

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Postby Precious Doll » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:51 am

A very respectable line up, though a very affecting Penelope Milford, who more then holds her own against Voight and Fonda in Coming Home, is the only performance that deserves Oscar consideration.

I agree with Big Magilla that the best supporting performance by an actress was Geraldine Page in Interiors, but Penny Milford is a close second for me.

My choices:

1. Geraldine Page for Interiors
2. Penelope Milford for Coming Home
3. Ellen Burstyn for A Dream of Passion
4. Linda Manz for Days of Heaven
5. Carol Burnett for A Wedding

Also very deserving was Mona Washbourne for Stevie.




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Postby Damien » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:51 am

I've never understood the acclaim for Maggie Smith's performance in California Suite. Yes, she has a nice, tart delivery of her lines, but so what? -- that segment belongs to the non-nominated Michael Caine. Smith -- perfectly fine but, ehhh, nothing special.

Her win was especially foolish since, if the Academy was in the mood to honor a comedy performance in this category, Dyan Cannon was pitch-perfect just stopping short of playing overly broad in Heaven Can Wait. She's uproarious and fearless. And she had a second wonderful comic performance this year as Peter Sellers's leading lady in Revenge Of The Pink Panther.

Maureen Stapleton brought some life to Interiors, but couldn't save the film from being the hilariously self-important somber nonsense that it is.

Meryl Streep is excellent in The Deer Hunter. We weren't used to her mannerisms back then, and she seemed such a natural completely convincing actess that you kust knew she was bound for a major career. It's a moving and lovely performance.

But for me Penelope Milford epitomizes what the Supporting category is all about. Hers is a secondary character, but her verve, charisma, intelligence,and controlled emotionalism serve to illuminate the film and the other characters. I loved this performance from the moment I saw it, and always wondered why Milford didn't have a major career. She whole-heartedly gets my vote.

My Own Top 5:
1. Penelope Milford in Coming Home
2. Jane Fonda in California Suite
3. Mona Washbourne in Stevie
4. Dyan Cannon in Heaven Can Wait
5. Françoise Lugagne in Dossier 51




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Postby Big Magilla » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:06 pm

After all these years I still don't get what was so great about Heaven Can Wait. It was a good remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, but the thing is Here Comes Mr. Jordan didn't need a remake.

There was nothing about the film that warranted nine Oscar nominations, six of them in major categories. That said, Dyan Cannon was funny as the duplicitous wife played in the original by Rita Johnson, but Angela Lansbury was funnier in Death on the Nile.

Penelope Milford didn't add anything to Coming Home, a film that was basically about its two lead characters. I would have preferred to see Geraldine Page nominated here in her stead for Interiors, with the sublime Simone Signoret taking Page's lead actress slot in Madame Rosa.

Maureen Stapleton finally deserved the nod she got for Interiors as did Meryl Streep for the one she got in her first major screen role in The Deer Hunter, but both were also-rans as far as I was concerned.

For me there were two deserving winners in this category this year - Geraldine Page, who wasn't nominated and Maggie Smith, who was.

Smith's uproarious portrayal of the Oscar losing actress in California Suite is a marvelous creation. Her perfect comedic timing has never been more evident than in her sparring scenes with Michael Caine. With Page out of the competition this one's a no-brainer for me.
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