The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1979
I love 1979 and hate 1979 at the same time. One of the greatest films ever made, Apocalypse Now, is nominated for Best Picture, as is one of my five favorite films of all time, All That Jazz. And neither wins Best Picture. Now, Kramer vs. Kramer — I think it’s a good film. I think it’s a great film, even. But I do not think this film should have won Best Picture at all. I think that was a terrible decision. And I might have been able to live with it had they not also given Best Director to Robert Benton. Did they see the directorial efforts of those other two films?
And then, Best Actor this year was Dustin Hoffman for Kramer, which is absolutely perfect. He was way overdue by this point, and gave the best performance of his career. It’s a shame he beat Roy Scheider and Peter Sellers, but it’s fine. Then Meryl Streep wins Best Supporting Actress as the other Kramer, which is one of the best decisions ever made in that category (whenever Meryl wins an Oscar, it’s pretty much automatically one of the best decisions in that category). Then, Best Supporting Actor was Melvyn Douglas for Being There, which, if you didn’t know, was the WORST DECISION OF ALL TIME IN THAT CATEGORY. Worst. Ever. Know why? He beat Robert Duvall for Apocalypse Now. I’ll ask you, dear reader — which performance do you remember? Charlie don’t surf, but it seems he votes in the Academy.
So that’s 1979. I love it, because great films are involved, and because, while I know they made the wrong decision, Kramer vs. Kramer is a better film than a lot of other films that have won Best Picture (looking at you, Ordinary People). And yet — I really only agree with three of the six decisions this year, and two of them I consider to be two of the worst all time. So this year is a big sore spot for me.
BEST ACTRESS – 1979
And the nominees were…
Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over
Sally Field, Norma Rae
Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome
Marsha Mason, Chapter Two
Bette Midler, The Rose (more…)