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1969 Best Actress

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  • RobertPius
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    #196002

    Anyone remember this. Was it competitive? Was Maggie Smith a shoo in? It is a pretty strong year. I just saw Anne of the Thousand Days and thought Bujold was really strong.Never seen Simmons but the rest are all good performances. 

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    ENGLAND
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    #196004

    Maggie Smith was truly outstanding and she was a well deserved winner.

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    benbraddock
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    #196005

    Lots of Jane Fonda talk that year. Praised performance but no way she was winning with anti war protests. Minnelli was cartoonish. Simmons took Streisands Hello Dolly spot. Bujold won the drama Globe and another critics award but Maggie’s film came out over a year earlier, February of 1969 and she was talked about all year. By Oscar night she was a shoo-in

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    RobertPius
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    #196006

    I agree Smith was fantastic. One of the best wins in the category ever IMO. 

    BenBraddock–how was Fonda’s war stance reaction this year compared to 2 years later when they did vote for her? Had they forgiven her or come to agree with her?

    That 1971 win is pretty riviting TV. There is a palable tension in the audience as to what she will say. 

     

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    benbraddock
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    #196007

    I agree Smith was fantastic. One of the best wins in the category ever IMO. 

    BenBraddock–how was Fonda’s war stance reaction this year compared to 2 years later when they did vote for her? Had they forgiven her or come to agree with her?

    That 1971 win is pretty riviting TV. There is a palable tension in the audience as to what she will say. 

     

    By 1971 Fonda’s stance seemed to resonate with enough academy members to give her the win. She also gave undoubtably the best performance and having 4 English actresses as her competition sure helped her. And she won almost all of the precursors. Her speech was chilling TV

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    RobertPius
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    #196008

    She sort of implies in the speech that not everyone claps for her. Was there a mixed responce? They don’t show the audience much but as she is walking up the most people seem to be applauding. 

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    Zooey the Dreamer
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    #196009

    Well, I checked and precursorwise it must have been a crazy year.

    NYFCC: Jane Fonda – They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
    NSFC: Vanessa Redgrave – Isadora
    NBR: Geraldine Page – Trilogy
    Kansas City Film Critics: Liza Minelli – The Sterile Cuckoo
    Golden Globe (drama): Geneviève Bujold – Anne of the Thousand Days
    Golden Globe (comedy/musical): Patty Duke – Me, Natalie

    All Maggie Smith won was a BAFTA and she most likely won it after the Oscars. How on Earth was she a foregone conclusion withouty any precursor attention at all? Her competition had at least one major award – Fonda the NYFCC, Redgrave had the NSFC (as well as Cannes), Minell had Kansas City and Bujold had the Globe. Not to mention that Smith was in a film with 2 nominations (actress and song) while Bujold was in a film that had the year’s most nominations (10), a best picture nomination and a Golden Globe victory both in drama and actress. And judging on the reation in the audience and the woman who accepted on Maggie’s behalf, the win was most definitely a surprise. 

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    benbraddock
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    #196010

    Burton was going to lose to Wayne so the academy was not going to crown Bujold. Taylor was furious at the academy for Burton’s loss in 1966 for Virginia Woolf. Imagine if Bujold was the acting winner!!! The wrath of Liz. Yikes!!! Smith was a foregone conclusion Oscar night. Back then you were lucky if 5 nominees out of 20 showed up so Alice Ghostly accepting for Maggie was totally normal.

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    Eddy Q
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    #196011

    I imagine this was a very close race, which was undoubtedly more common then than it is in the relentless “precursor” era we’re in now. This was one year after that infamous tie, after all.

    It’s interesting to wonder what would’ve happened had Vanessa Redgrave had played Jean Brodie in the film as she had on stage. I suspect she would have been more of a shoo-in to win, as she was fresh from two recent lead actress nominations, and it would have felt like her time. But apparently Redgrave disliked playing the role, as she found the character’s politics so repugnant and at odds with her own. Perhaps Smith was better suited to it in the end.

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    Zooey the Dreamer
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    #196012

    benbraddock, I don’t want to be cocky here, but you’re looking at the whole thing with the knowledge of what happened afterwards. I can’t know what happened in 1970. I was born 30 years later. But for one thing, I would never ever believe that the Academy cared that much about making Taylor furious. And of course, the Golden Globes didn’t care either – they honored Bujold and snubbed Burton. The thing is that even back then, precursors did matter in the leading categories. Not in the way they do today because they didn’t have a SAG victory back then, which would have been much closer to the Oscar choices but still:
    Streisand had the Golden Globe in 1968. 
    Elizabeth Taylor had the NYFCC, the NBR and the Kansas City Film Critics Circle in 1966.
    Julie Christie had the NYFCC and the NBR in 1965.
    Julie Andreas had the Golden Globe Award in 1964.
    Patricia Neal had the NYFCC and the NBR Award in 1963.
    Anne Bancroft had the NBR Award in 1962.
    Sophia Loren had the NYFCC Award in 1961.
    Yes, sometimes wins happen without precursors love (Hepburn’s Oscars in the 60’s) but weren’t both of her wins actually upsets? She most definitely could not have been considered a major factor in 1967 and from what I’ve read she expected Edith Evans to take home the Oscar (and how Banncroft didn’t win for what is a brilliant performance is beyond me; I actually consider Hepburn’s win in 1967 a really retrograde one; it’s a bad win; she’s the least deserving of the group). And Streisand was probably the talk of town the following year. 

    And in the case of Smith we have a rather young British actress – not even somebody beloved back then – in a role in a film that didn’t impress the Academy besides Smith (and the song). Smith didn’t have any best actress wins by the time the Oscars were presented. What was her narrative to be a foregone conclusion? When I look at old telecasts on youtube and check the winner, I can always spot the narrative when it’s a predictable win. What was Smith’s narrative? She faced the Globe winner in a film that could have received more Oscars than it did (a costume design Oscar is all the Bujold film got and this was the year’s most heavily nominated film and a rather typical Oscar film), Jane Fonda (who according to something I read but don’t know if I could trust, must have been the odds-on favorite). I just can’t imagine Smith being a foregone conclusion. It could make sense now, but I don’t see how it could have been the assumption before the Oscars. 

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    Zooey the Dreamer
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    #196013

    By the way, could you tell more about Hepburn’s wins in the 60’s? Especially the tie. And I’m curious about Neal and her supporting/leading classification uncertainty. 

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    tonorlo
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    #196014

    In 1969, Streisand was absolutely the talk of the town; “Funny Girl” was being acclaimed as being one of the most remarkable debut performances in film history at the time, and the fact that Streisand was so quickly extended voting privileges as an Academy member was also a major talking point at the time.

    Despite her win the year before, Hepburn had a great deal going for her when she was nominated for “The Lion in Winter.” One: during the 1960s, there was a subtle but definite cultural shift in the way Katharine Hepburn was viewed by the industry and the masses at large. After 30 years in the game, she was still going strong, and it was the glimmer of her beginning to be seen as icon as much as actor. Two: the critically acclaimed “The Lion in Winter” also stood an excellent chance to win Best Picture (it was the only Best Actress nominated-vehicle that year to get Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations), which further buoyed Hepburn’s chances, and her performance was seen as more deserving than her winning work in “Guess…” the year before.

    Not sure if you’re referring to the leading/supporting controversy over Patricia Neal’s work in 1963’s “Hud” or 1968’s “The Subject Was Roses.” Her nomination for “The Subject Was Roses” came on the heels of the fact that “Roses” was a much-publicized event at the time as her comeback vehicle after suffering a stroke.

    Redgrave (who is brilliant in “Isadora” and probably should have been the one to tie Hepburn) never had a prayer, despite being a previous nominee. Her politics at the time were far too polarizing for her own good as an Oscar nominee.

    Woodward’s vehicle got a Best Picture nomination, and there was certainly a scandal at the time that her director-husband Paul Newman was left off the Best Director ballot for “Rachel, Rachel.” But she, like Neal and Hepburn, already had an Oscar under her belt at the time, and that hampered her more than anything else when she was nominated for “Rachel, Rachel.”

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    tonorlo
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    #196015

    You could definitely see the Smith win coming at the time; not because she was so beloved or such a precursor favorite, but the other women all had x-factors that worked against them.

    Fonda was acclaimed, but as has been previously noted, her politics really worked against her at the time. There was also the scandal that “Horses” failed to get a Best Picture nomination, and there was a quiet but bemused undercurrent of “Is Henry Fonda’s daughter going to win before he does?” going around at the time, too.

    Bloodlines were definitely key in this year’s race in another respect. While Minnelli had some lukewarm reviews and some very positive ones for “The Sterile Cuckoo,” she also had a lot of industry sympathy on her side given the fact that her mother, Judy Garland, had died less than 10 months before the Oscar ceremony. That said, there was also a feeling at the time that if Minnelli did win, it would be chalked up to the sympathy over Garland’s death more than for her performance.

    Simmons was lucky to get nominated; a lot of industry cynics were indeed pinning Streisand to be consecutively nominated for “Hello, Dolly!” (Fox all but gave itself an anyeurism hyping the film for Oscar consideration; the Best Picture nomination provoked quite a bit of industry outrage at the time.) The nomination was Simmons’ reward.

    Despite the fact that Bujold won the Globe and that the film is ostensibly more about her character’s journey, “Anne” was definitely seen in the industry as “The Richard Burton Show,” and Burton was not going to win (John Wayne was a foregone conclusion). So that really did put the brakes on Bujold’s chances.

    Smith was critically acclaimed in a baity role, and while the Academy only bussed her vehicle on the cheek rather than showered it with nominations (ala the tech-nomination tornado that enveloped “Anne”), the fact is that Smith was seen as a strong contender from the get-go (and she was already an Oscar nominee for “Othello,” so she did have a pedigree). But, as I say, the fact that her win did make its own sense at the time was due less to any industry tidal wave of affection for her than the fact that she simply had less baggage to deal with than her co-nominees did. One of the few times when I really felt an Oscar outcome was derived due to the performance rather than the politics, and as such, hers was an expected and satisfying win for me.

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    dinasztie
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    #196016

    Maggie Smith was excellent in her role, but nothing close to the earth-shattering,devastating depression that Jane Fonda managed to portray in Horses. That’s a performance for the ages and even though Smith had the louder, more showcased and over-the-top role, Jane’s will stand the test of time much better. Liza was also heartbreaking (and a close second to Jane for me), Simmons was masterful, I’d say these three are all superior to Dame Maggie in my mind (whom I adore). The only one who didn’t really grab my attention was Bujold, her performance evaporated from my memory. 

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    OnTheAisle
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    #196017

    I always find casting stories interesting when looking at the Oscars. You can speculate on what might have been.

    Jane Fonda used They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? as her escape from light comedies. She gave a memorable performance. However, Fonda was not the first choice for the role. Barbra Streisand was first offered the part as a follow up to Funny Girl but declined, lured by the $1 million paycheck for Hello, Dolly! It was a monetary decision that continued to recur in many artistic decisions in her career. Streisand has often stated the biggest regret of her career was declining the opportunity to play Lillian Hellman in Julia, ironically another part that went to Fonda. Streisand chose to supervise post production work on her remake of A Star is Born instead – a lucrative decision that brought Streisand millions.

    As mentioned by Eddy Q, I too have read that Vanessa Redgrave chose not to recreate her stage triumph as Miss Jean Brodie due to the political underpinnings of the piece. More interesting was the second choice to play the morally bankrupt teacher. Julie Andrews has stated that her biggest regret in her career was declining the film role. She then mistakenly considered the part “another governess” and not a stretch after Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

    After Richard Burton was cast as Henry VIII, then wife Elizabeth Taylor made clear her desire to play Anne Boleyn. Burton was left with the undesirable task of telling Taylor she was too old for the role. Once relatively unknown Genevieve Bujold was cast, rumors circulated that Burton had a greater interest in Bujold than just the success of the film. Taylor joined the cast in an uncredited role as a masked woman at a party. Bujold reportedly was angered by Taylor’s on-going presence on set, and her best work in the film was fueled by Taylor’s off camera observation.

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