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Best Actress 1980: Sissy vs. Mary?

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  • Pavel Romanov
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    #147979

    1980 was a pretty good year in the Best Actress category.

     

    Sissy Spacek, on her second nomination, won for her magisterial
    portrayal of famed country music icon Loretta Lynn. Her performance as Lynn
    (besides her role in Carrie) is probably the highlight of her magnificent
    career. Although she only has a passing resemblance to Lynn, Spacek fully
    embodied the country music queen including nailing Lynn’s singing, accent and mannerisms. She didn’t impersonate Lynn so much as become Loretta Lynn! Sissy was also nominated for a Grammy for her work on the movie’s soundtrack. She swept the
    critic’s awards (NBR, NY, LA, and NSFC) something even Gold Derby fave Cate
    Blanchett failed to do this year. Sissy also snagged the Golden Globe in the
    Comedy/Musical category. She, however, lost the BAFTA to Meryl Streep who won
    for French Lieutenants Woman!

     

    Mary Tyler Moore was probably the runner up in the category
    this year. Her performance in Ordinary People, as the stern, repressed very
    WASPy Beth Jarrett, won Moore a great deal of acclaim and cemented her as a
    first rate dramatic actress after years of acclaim (and Emmys) for playing the
    perky Mary Richards on Moore’s eponymous 1970s sitcom. Moore won the Drama
    Golden Globe. And Ordinary People won Best Picture.

     

    Goldie Hawn secured her second (and so far final) nomination for one
    of her most cherished performances in Private Benjamin, which was a big box
    office smash in 1980. Goldie was probably the most bankable and recognizable of the actresses in the lineup. If the Oscars had shown more willingness to reward
    comedic performances, Goldie, one of the better comedic actresses of her
    generation, would certainly have pulled in more nominations.

     

    Gena Rowlands received a nomination for Gloria (which was
    remade several years ago as a vehicle for then declining superstar Sharon Stone).
    Gena’s husband the late, great John Cassavettes directed the film. Gloria,
    however, is generally considered one of the director’s lesser films, as it is
    mostly focused on Rowlands, as a hard nosed mob moll, running around a bleak,
    ugly New York City with one of the most annoying child actors to ever appear on
    celluloid. Rowlands might have had a shot to contend for a trophy a few years
    earlier if she had been nominated for her tour-de-force in Opening Night, but
    she wasn’t nominated.

     

    Finally,
    Ellen Burstyn was nominated for Resurrection, a little seen movie where
    Ellen’s character is transformed after a car crash. It is a wonderful
    performance from Burstyn, but probably too small for her to contend.

     

    So
    who would you have given the Oscar to this year? My choice is Spacek. I actually think this is one of the best wins ever in this category and the best win from the 1980s. Moore is
    wonderful in Ordinary People. Her line reading of “Buck would never have been
    the hospital” is one of the all time classics. But Moore was essentially
    playing a nicer version of herself. I’ve met her. She was Beth personified.

     

    Was
    Spacek the clear winner, as the critic’s awards suggest, or was it a real completion
    this year?  

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    Carmine
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    #147981

    Ellen Burstyn, the greatest American actress of all time, delivers a stunning, truthfully evocative performance in Resurrection. She deserved to win this Oscar, which would have been her third at the time (after winning in supporting for The Last Picture Show and in lead for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) out of an eventual four Oscars (she would win again for Requiem for a Dream).

    As much as it pains me to see the also great Gena Rowlands become the Annette Bening to Burstyn’s Hilary Swank, both of these wins are undeniable for me.

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    Anthony
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    #147982

    Burstyn, Hawn, and Rowlands all give very good performances but it all comes down to Spacek vs. Moore.

    Mary Tyler Moore was Laura Petrie & Mary Richards….two squeaky clean female characters that were very lovable…and then came Beth Jarrett, a cold hearted and very disillusioned mother and wife who couldn’t bear to give comfort to her youngest son because he survived a boat accident that took the life of his eldest brother and then she was ashamed when the youngest son, Conrad, attempted to commit suicide and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. It is such an intense performance because she holds every scene she is in and you never fully know what she is thinking. It is such a closed-in performance in the best way possible and then at the end when she starts to cry (finally) and yet forces it back in, it is almost painful to watch her force herself to not feel pain.

    Sissy Spacek did something extrodinary. She played Loretta Lynn from the age of 13(!) up to present day, and did her own singing! She really gave herself to this role and was extremely convincing at every respect.

    Despite the long write-up I gave about Moore, I do have to give this to Spacek.

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    Laactingnyc
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    #147983

    Mary Tyler Moore was supporting in that film. And theres nothing wrong with being supporting……its not like its a demotion. 

    sissy wins here 

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    Jason Travis
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    #147984

    Sissy Spacek was locked down, but my vote would have been for Mary Tyler Moore all the way!

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    Jason Travis
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    #147985

    Also Mary was not supporting. She was the LEAD female actress in the movie. 

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    Logan
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    #147986

    Haven’t seen either film in years (though Rowland’s never the wrong choice); I think MTM was the best thing about Ordinary People, but Spacek was convincing to me through pretty much all aspects of CMD (I think she “was” 12 (?!) at some point in the movie). 

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    endaugust
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    #147987

    MTM was very effective, but her role was limited and she was generally one-note, not to mention almost supporting.  Sissy gave a real tour-de-force performance in a terrific movie that was built around her.  There was no competition.  MTM was competitive because of her veteran status.  Thank God the Academy didn’t get suckered into that.

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    babypook
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    #147988

    Sissy. I recall at the time, being perplexed by MTM’s nomination; which in retrospect, was unfair. But, can anyone explain to me why Donald Sutherland has never been on the Oscar ballot? At least he has a Golden Globe and an Emmy for Citizen X.

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    ENGLAND
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    #147989

    Burstyn should have won imo.

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    JayDF
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    #147990

    1980 had a truly wonderful lineup and I am more than pleased with Spacek taking this.  However, Ellen Burstyn is my choice just shy of declaring a tie with Spacek.

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    Jason Travis
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    #147991

    I don’t think Mary Tyler Moore was helped by her veteran status at all. Her performance is outstanding. If you read Moore’s own autiobiography After All, she recalls shooting the film and having strong difficulties capturing Beth’s soul. She finally understood how to play her shallow yet tortured. It is one of the finest performances ever to be captured on film. Likewise, Donald Sutherland deserved a best actor nomination. When he failed to be nodded, he was quoted to have said something under the lines of “I’m not surprised; I know what type of people the academy are.” Perhaps he had some beef with some of the members?

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    Gabriel
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    #147992

    I always thought Mary Tyler Moore was nothing special in that film, dare I say even quite bad at times. And it was a supporting performance. No way did she deserve to win, imo.

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    Troy
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    #147993

    Just watched “Ordinary People” again not too long ago and can say that Mary Tyler Moore absolutely did NOT deserve to win for the performance.   Forget the liminted screentime; she really has nothing to do in the film except look pissed off.  She has one “good scene” but it really becomes a one note performance.   I truly wonder if she wasn’t known for being America’s Sweetheart from The Mary Tyler Moore show, if she would have even gotten a nomination?  People were surprised she could play a bitch.

    Spacek, IMO, completed deserved the Oscar for “Coal Minor’s Daughter.”  She became Loretta Lynn through and through, thought I truly wish Spacek would have won for “Carrie” AND “In the Bedroom.” 

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    Laactingnyc
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    #147994

    I love MTM and i think she is really talented but there is not way she should have beat Sissy Spacek. The Oscar went to the right person that year. 

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