The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1983
I like 1983. I don’t necessarily agree with the Best Picture choice, but it’s not terrible. Terms of Endearment wins Best Picture, and, while I’d have gone with The Right Stuff, I’m cool with it winning. Either way, it’s a pretty weak year for Best Picture (though, admittedly, amongst the other winners of the 80s, this is actually one of the better ones). James L. Brooks wins Best Director for the film, which is very acceptable, since for some reason Philip Kaufman wasn’t nominated for The Right Stuff. Jack Nicholson also won Best Supporting Actor for the film, which, as I said here, I don’t particularly like, since, Jack didn’t need it, and Sam Shepard was badass as Chuck Yeager.
Best Actor this year was Robert Duvall for Tender Mercies. I don’t particularly love the performance, but Duvall was terribly overdue by this point, and the category wasn’t that strong. So he was a good decision. And Best Supporting Actress was Linda Hunt for The Year of Living Dangerously (talked about here), which is a great decision, especially since she played a man in her film! And nobody noticed!
So in all, not a terrible year, 1983. In fact, really strong, in context. And this category — this is a stacked year for Best Actress. All five of these performances are really fucking good. It’s rare to have a year where all five performances were good enough to be at worst a #3 for most years.
BEST ACTRESS – 1983
And the nominees were…
Jane Alexander, Testament
Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment
Meryl Streep, Silkwood
Julie Walters, Educating Rita
Debra Winger, Terms of Endearment (more…)