1974. The Godfather Part II wins Best Picture. Francis Ford Coppola wins Best Director for it after not winning for the first one (which I talked about here). And Robert De Niro wins Best Supporting Actor for the film as well (talked about here). Art Carney wins Best Actor for Harry and Tonto, a decision I consider the single worst Best Actor decision of all time (which I bemoaned here). And Ingrid Bergman wins Best Supporting Actress for Murder on the Orient Express (talked about here). Which means two things. One, aside from one terrible decision and one poor one, this was a rather stellar year. And two, this is actually the last category from this year I’ve yet to discuss. This might be a first for me.
Anyway, this particular category is the most interesting of the bunch (even more so than the abortion that was Best Actor this year), mostly because there were three legit competitors this year. Like, legit contenders. You have Faye Dunaway, who pretty much cemented her overdue status with this performance. In a way, she was building toward her Network performance that eventually won her the award. But still, she was good enough to win here. Then there was Gena Rowlands, who delivered a tour de force performance in A Woman Under the Influence, which, even though she wasn’t due, she did deliver the strongest performance in the category. And then there was Ellen Burstyn, who delivers a very good performance and was overdue. You see, the year before this (talked about here), she probably should have won Best Actress for The Exorcist (it wouldn’t have been a sexy decision, but it was the right one, I feel). Her not winning there basically assured she’d win here. But for me — I have to choose between these three performances. I have my work cut out for me, don’t I?
BEST ACTRESS – 1974
And the nominees were…
Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Diahann Carroll, Claudine
Faye Dunaway, Chinatown
Valerie Perrine, Lenny
Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence (more…)