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The Abridged Oscar Quest: Best Actress

I got the idea for this shortly after all the articles went up. (You can find the articles here.) I was thinking — “What would it be like if circumstances didn’t matter? If I just voted based solely on the category and what was nominated?” Naturally that led to, “Well that can become a nice series of articles.” So that’s what they’re becoming.

I’m calling it my Abridged Oscar Quest. I’m going to go through every year of every category, and simply pick winners based solely on the category. I will not take into account what won before, what is the “classy choice,” what never had a shot. Just — here are the nominees, here’s what I would vote for if I had a ballot. I’m taking into account nothing but the films.

I’m going to star (*) the film I’d vote for.

Today is Best Actress:

2011 – Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis, The Help

Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo *

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

2010 – Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman, Black Swan *

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

2009 – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education *

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Meryl Streep, Julia and Julia

2008 – Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married *

Angelina Jolie, Changeling

Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Meryl Streep, Doubt

Kate Winslet, The Reader

2007 – Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Julie Christie, Away from Her

Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose *

Laura Linney, The Savages

Ellen Page, Juno

2006 – Penèlope Cruz, Volver

Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal

Helen Mirren, The Queen

Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada

Kate Winslet, Little Children *

2005 – Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica *

Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice

Charlize Theron, North Country

Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

2004 – Annette Bening, Being Julia

Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace

Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake

Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind *

2003 – Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider

Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give

Samantha Morton, In America

Charlize Theron, Monster *

Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

2002 – Salma Hayek, Frida

Nicole Kidman, The Hours

Diane Lane, Unfaithful

Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven *

Renée Zellweger, Chicago

2001 – Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball

Judi Dench, Iris *

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!

Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom

Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones’s Diary

2000 – Joan Allen, The Contender

Juliette Binoche, Chocolat

Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream *

Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me *

Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

1999 – Annette Bening, American Beauty *

Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds

Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair

Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart

Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

1998 – Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth

Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station

Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love *

Meryl Streep, One True Thing

Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie

1997 – Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove

Julie Christie, Afterglow

Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown

Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets *

Kate Winslet, Titanic

1996 – Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies

Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room

Frances McDormand, Fargo

Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient

Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves *

1995 – Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking

Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas *

Sharon Stone, Casino

Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County

Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility

1994 – Jodie Foster, Nell *

Jessica Lange, Blue Sky

Miranda Richardson, Tom & Viv

Winona Ryder, Little Women

Susan Sarandon, The Client

1993 – Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It

Stockhard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation

Holly Hunter, The Piano

Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day *

Debra Winger, Shadowlands *

1992 – Catherine Deneuve, Indochine

Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish *

Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field

Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil

Emma Thompson, Howards End

1991 – Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise

Laura Dern, Rambling Rose

Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs *

Bette Midler, For the Boys

Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise

1990 – Kathy Bates, Misery *

Anjelica Huston, The Grifters

Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman

Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge

Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

1989 – Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy *

Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel

Pauline Collins, Shirley Valentine

Jessica Lange, Music Box

Michelle Pfeiffer, The Fabulous Baker Boys

1988 – Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons

Jodie Foster, The Accused *

Melanie Griffith, Working Girl

Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark

Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist

1987 – Cher, Moonstruck

Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction

Holly Hunter, Broadcast News *

Sally Kirkland, Anna

Meryl Streep, Ironweed

1986 – Jane Fonda, The Morning After

Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God *

Sissy Spacek, Crimes of the Heart

Kathleen Turner, Peggy Sue Got Married

Sigourney Weaver, Aliens

1985 – Anne Bancroft, Agnes of God

Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple *

Jessica Lange, Sweet Dreams

Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful

Meryl Streep, Out of Africa

1984 – Judy Davis, A Passage to India

Sally Field, Places in the Heart *

Jessica Lange, Country

Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians

Sissy Spacek, The River

1983 – Jane Alexander, Testament

Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment

Meryl Streep, Silkwood

Julie Walters, Educating Rita

Debra Winger, Terms of Endearment *

1982 – Julie Andrews, Victor Victoria

Jessica Lange, Frances

Sissy Spacek, Missing

Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice *

Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman

1981 – Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond

Diane Keaton, Reds

Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh *

Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City

Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman

1980 – Ellen Burstyn, Resurrection

Goldie Hawn, Private Benjamin

Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People

Gena Rowlands, Gloria

Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter *

1979 – Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over

Sally Field, Norma Rae *

Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome

Marsha Mason, Chapter Two

Bette Midler, The Rose

1978 – Ingrid Bergman, Autumn Sonata

Ellen Burstyn, Same Time, Next Year

Jill Clayburgh, An Unmarried Woman *

Jane Fonda, Coming Home

Geraldine Page, Interiors

1977 – Anne Bancroft, The Turning Point

Jane Fonda, Julia

Diane Keaton, Annie Hall *

Shirley MacLaine, The Turning Point

Marsha Mason, The Goodbye Girl

1976 – Marie-Christine Barrault, Cousin, cousine

Faye Dunaway, Network *

Talia Shire, Rocky

Sissy Spacek, Carrie

Liv Ullmann, Face to Face

1975 – Ann-Margret, Tommy

Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H.

Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest *

Glenda Jackson, Hedda

Carol Kane, Hester Street

1974 – Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Diahann Carroll, Claudine

Faye Dunaway, Chinatown

Valerie Perrine, Lenny

Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence *

1973 – Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist *

Glenda Jackson, A Touch of Class

Marsha Mason, Cinderella Liberty

Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were

Joanne Woodward, Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams

1972 – Liza Minnelli, Cabaret *

Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues

Maggie Smith, Travels with My Aunt

Cicely Tyson, Sounder

Liv Ullmann, The Emigrants

1971 – Julie Christie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Jane Fonda, Klute *

Glenda Jackson, Sunday Bloody Sunday

Vanessa Redgrave, Mary, Queen of Scots

Janet Suzman – Nicholas and Alexandra

1970 – Jane Alexander, The Great White Hope

Glenda Jackson, Women in Love

Ali MacGraw, Love Story *

Sarah Miles, Ryan’s Daughter

Carrie Snodgress, Diary of a Mad Housewife

1969 – Geneviève Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days *

Jane Fonda, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Liza Minnelli, The Sterile Cuckoo

Jean Simmons, The Happy Ending

Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

1968 – Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter

Patricia Neal, The Subject Was Roses

Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora

Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl *

Joanne Woodward, Rachel, Rachel

1967 – Anne Bancroft, The Graduate

Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde

Edith Evans, The Whisperers

Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark

Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner *

1966 – Anouk Aimée, A Man and a Woman

Ida Kaminska, The Shop on Main Street

Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl

Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan!

Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? *

1965 – Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music

Julie Christie, Darling *

Samantha Eggar, The Collector

Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue

Simone Signoret, Ship of Fools

1964 – Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins *

Anne Bancroft, The Pumpkin Eater

Sophia Loren, Marriage Italian Style

Debbie Reynolds, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Kim Stanley, Séance on a Wet Afternoon

1963 – Leslie Caron, The L-Shaped Room *

Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce

Patricia Neal, Hud

Rachel Roberts, This Sporting Life

Natalie Wood, Love with the Proper Stranger

1962 – Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker *

Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Katharine Hepburn, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth

Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses

1961 – Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Piper Laurie, The Hustler

Sophia Loren, Two Women

Geraldine Page, Summer and Smoke

Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass *

1960 – Greer Garson, Sunrise at Campobello

Deborah Kerr, The Sundowners

Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment *

Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday

Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8

1959 – Doris Day, Pillow Talk

Audrey Hepburn, The Nun’s Story *

Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly, Last Summer

Simone Signoret, Room at the Top

Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly, Last Summer

1958 – Susan Hayward, I Want to Live!

Deborah Kerr, Separate Tables

Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running

Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame

Elizabeth Taylor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof *

1957 – Deborah Kerr, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Anna Magnani, Wild Is the Wind

Elizabeth Taylor, Raintree County

Lana Turner, Peyton Place

Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve *

1956 – Carroll Baker, Baby Doll *

Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia

Katharine Hepburn, The Rainmaker

Nancy Kelly, The Bad Seed

Deborah Kerr, The King and I

1955 – Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo

Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow *

Katharine Hepburn, Summertime

Jennifer Jones, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Eleanor Parker, Interrupted Melody

1954 – Dorothy Dandridge, Carmen Jones

Judy Garland, A Star is Born

Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina

Grace Kelly, The Country Girl *

Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession

1953 – Leslie Caron, Lili

Ava Gardner, Mogambo

Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday *

Deborah Kerr, From Here to Eternity

Maggie McNamara, The Moon is Blue

1952 – Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba

Joan Crawford, Sudden Fear

Bette Davis, The Star

Julie Harris, The Member of the Wedding *

Susan Hayward, With a Song in My Heart

1951 – Katharine Hepburn, The African Queen

Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire *

Eleanor Parker, Detective Story

Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun

Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil

1950 – Anne Baxter, All About Eve

Betty Davis, All About Eve

Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday

Eleanor Parker, Caged

Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard *

1949 – Jeanne Crain, Pinky

Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress *

Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart

Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son

Loretta Young, Come to the Stable

1948 – Ingrid Bergman, Joan of Arc

Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit

Irene Dunne, I Remember Mama

Barbara Stanwyck, Sorry, Wrong Number

Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda *

1947 – Joan Crawford, Possessed

Susan Hayward, Smash-up, the Story of a Woman

Dorothy McGuire, Gentleman’s Agreement

Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra *

Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter

1946 – Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own *

Celia Johnson, Brief Encounter

Jennifer Jones, Duel in the Sun

Rosalind Russell, Sister Kenny

Jane Wyman, The Yearling

1945 – Ingrid Bergman, The Bells of St. Mary’s

Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce *

Greer Garson, The Valley of Decision

Jennifer Jones, Love Letters

Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven

1944 – Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight

Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away

Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington

Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington

Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity *

1943 – Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier *

Ingrid Bergman, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph

Greer Garson, Madame Curie

Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette

1942 – Bette Davis, Now, Voyager

Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver

Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year

Rosalind Russell, My Sister Eileen

Teresa Wright, The Pride of the Yankees *

1941 – Bette Davis, The Little Foxes

Olivia de Havilland, Hold Back the Dawn

Joan Fontaine, Suspicion

Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust *

Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire

1940 – Bette Davis, The Letter

Joan Fontaine, Rebecca

Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story

Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle *

Martha Scott, Our Town

1939 – Bette Davis, Dark Victory

Irene Dunne, Love Affair

Greta Garbo, Ninotchka

Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind *

1938 – Fay Bainter, White Banners

Bette Davis, Jezebel

Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion *

Norma Shearer, Marie Antoinette

Margaret Sullivan, Three Comrades

1937 – Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth *

Greta Garbo, Camille

Janet Gaynor, A Star is Born

Luise Rainer, The Good Earth

Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas

1936 – Irene Dunne, Theodora Goes Wild

Gladys George, Valiant is the Word for Carrie

Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey *

Luise Rainer, The Great Ziegfeld

Norma Shearer, Romeo and Juliet

1935 – Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never

Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds

Bette Davis, Dangerous

Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams *

Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp

Merle Oberon, The Dark Angel

1934 – Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night *

Grace Moore, One Night of Love

Norma Shearer, The Barretts of Wimpole Street

Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage (write-in)

1932-1933 – Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory *

May Robson, Lady for a Day

          Diana Wynyard, Cavalcade

1931-1932 – Marie Dressler, Emma

Lynn Fontaine, The Guardsman

Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet *

1930-1931 – Marlene Dietrich, Morocco

Irene Dunne, Cimarron *

 Marie Dressler, Min and Bill

Ann Harding, Holiday *

Norma Shearer, A Free Soul

1929-1930 – Nancy Carroll, The Devil’s Holiday

Ruth Chatterton, Sarah and Son

Greta Garbo, Anna Christie & Romance

Norma Shearer, The Divorcée *

Norma Shearer, Their Own Desire

Gloria Swanson, The Tresspasser

1928-1929 – Ruth Chatterton, Madame X

Betty Compson, The Barker

Jeanne Eagels, The Letter

Corrinne Griffith, The Divine Lady

Bessie Love, The Broadway Melody

Mary Pickford, Coquette *

1927-1928 – Louise Dresser, A Ship Comes In

Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven Street Angel & Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans *

Gloria Swanson, Sadie Thompson

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