Over the decades, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has lavished Oscars and nominations on actresses who have played the “good” mother.
Helen Hayes earned her first Oscar for the 1931 melodrama “The Sin of Madelon Claudet” as a mother who is wrongly imprisoned and turns to prostitution and theft to provide for her son.
And then there was Jane Darwell’s memorable best supporting actress turn as the strong and noble Ma Joad in 1940’s “The Grapes of Wrath” and of course, who didn’t weep at Meryl Streep’s haunting best actress winning performance in 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice” as a mother forced to make an unthinkable decision regarding the fate of her two children.
But the academy has also gone to the dark side and celebrated the toxic mother; the difficult mother, the demanding mother.
This year is no exception with Allison Janney’s Golden Globe, Spirit Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominated performance as LaVona Golden, Tonya Harding’s spitfire dragon of a mother who tells her daughter why she is so mean: “I made you a champion, knowing you’d hate me for it. That’s the sacrifice a mother makes.”
Far less a monster is Laurie Metcalf’s Golden Globe, Spirit and SAG award turn as Marion, the exasperated mother of a bright and rather unconventional teenage daughter in “Lady Bird.” Their squabbles and fights are familiar to most mothers and daughters. Unlike LaVona, Marion truly loves her daughter, though, doesn’t always know how to express it.
But just who were the biggest “monster moms” among the roles nominated for, or won, Academy Awards? Here’s our Top 10 list. Join the discussion in our forums to see more candidates to consider, including Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Anjelica Huston (“The Grifters”), Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”) and …