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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actress (1927/1928-1949)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories.

1949

Actual Nominees:

  • Jeanne Crain, Pinky
  • Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress
  • Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart
  • Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son
  • Loretta Young, Come to the Stable

My Vote:  Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress

I got nothing here. 1949 is a pretty weak year. No to Bette Davis in Beyond the Forest and A Letter to Three Wives is more of an ensemble film. I see Jennifer Jones was in Madame Bovary. I haven’t seen it, but that’s sort of a performance that fits the Oscar mold. I don’t know. I have nothing to switch out, which sucks, since I have no idea why 3/5 of this list is here (and that’s not a Pinky joke).

Kerry and Hayward have to be here because of who they are, but the performances are not worth being here. And while I hate Come to the Stable, I understand that it probably has to stay. And since I have nothing to switch over for it — I have to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Jeanne Crain, Pinky
  • Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress
  • Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart
  • Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son
  • Loretta Young, Come to the Stable

My Vote: Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress

1948

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda

I don’t see anything to switch out. I’ve seen a lot of stuff from this year, and nothing else struck me as a must-nominate lead actress performance. So I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda

1947

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra

Not really much in the way of performances, this year. So I’m leaving it. ’47 is a weak, weak year.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra

1946

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

Don’t like Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life as a nominee, nor do I like Rita Hayworth in Gilda. I like Lana Turner in Postman Always Rings Twice, but that’s not happening. I’m also not necessarily against Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, but I don’t like it as a nominee. Not on this list. It doesn’t fit at all. It can’t knock any of those off. So I’m leaving this.

(P.S. I’d love to nominate Myrna Loy for The Best Years of Our Lives, but I don’t know the performance enough to say it’s not just me wanting to nominate her.)

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

1945

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

Tough year. I like Jane Wyman in The Lost Weekend. She’s kind of a supporting performance, but, it’s close. I’d put her Supporting because she’d theoretically have a better chance at winning there. But it’s close. I also like Dorothy McGuire in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — but I don’t know if that happens. (I also don’t remember the performance enough to create a My Nominees list with it on there.) And I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet — but obviously that doesn’t happen. So I’m leaving the list. It works.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce

1944

Actual Nominees:

  • Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight
  • Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away
  • Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington
  • Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington
  • Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity

My Vote: Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity

Not a fan of the list, but I don’t see much to swap out for it. I’d laugh in your face if you said Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, and I’m not a huge fan of Laura, so I wouldn’t go near Gene Tierney. I’d also laugh at you if you said Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not.

Basically what I’m saying is I have to leave the category alone.

Compromise List:

  • Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight
  • Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away
  • Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington
  • Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington
  • Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity

My Vote: Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity

1943

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier

Teresa Wright in Shadow of a Doubt would be nice, but it would never happen.

I also say that Ingrid Bergman should have been nominated for Casablanca. So I’m changing it. I don’t care.

Compromise List:

  • Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier
  • Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca
  • Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph
  • Greer Garson, Madame Curie
  • Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette

My Vote: Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca

1942

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Teresa Wright, The Pride of the Yankees

The category works as it is. I’m not changing a goddamn thing.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Teresa Wright, The Pride of the Yankees

1941

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust

Look, if we’re gonna nominate Barbara Stanwyck for a comic performance, let’s make it The Lady Eve. I also really like Irene Dunne in Penny Serenade, but I’m not making a My Nominees list just for that. It probably wouldn’t have gotten on. They’d had to have left off de Havilland for her. (Or Stanwyck.) It wasn’t happening. So it has to stay as-is.

Compromise List:

  • 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

My Vote: Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust

1940

Actual Nominees:

  • Bette Davis, The Letter
  • Joan Fontaine, Rebecca
  • Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story
  • Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle
  • Martha Scott, Our Town

My Vote: Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle

One change on my personal list — Rosalind Russell for His Girl Friday. It never happens in a million years, so I’m leaving the list as it is.

Compromise List:

  • Bette Davis, The Letter
  • Joan Fontaine, Rebecca
  • Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story
  • Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle
  • Martha Scott, Our Town

My Vote: Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle

– – – – –

I’m currently in the process of watching 30s movies for my Top Tens list. As I watch stuff, I’ll update this, but for the next few months, I’m mostly gonna leave stuff alone.

1939

Actual Nominees:

  • Bette Davis, Dark Victory
  • Irene Dunne, Love Affair
  • Greta Garbo, Ninotchka
  • Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

My Vote: Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

1938

Actual Nominees:

  • Fay Bainter, White Banners
  • Bette Davis, Jezebel
  • Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion
  • Norma Shearer, Marie Antoinette
  • Margaret Sullavan, Three Comrades

 

 

 

My Vote: Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion

1937

Actual Nominees:

  • Luise Rainer, The Good Earth
  • Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas
  • Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth
  • Janet Gaynor, A Star Is Born
  • Greta Garbo, Camille

My Vote: Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth

Well, I’ll tell you right now, one person I’m putting on my list is going to be Beulah Bondi for Make Way for Tomorrow. The category’s tough, so I don’t know if she makes a Compromise List, but I’m gonna fight like hell to get her on there and Garbo off.

1936

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

My Vote: Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey

1935

Actual Nominees:

  • 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

 

My Vote: Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams

1934

Actual Nominees:

  • Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night
  • Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage
  • Grace Moore, One Night of Love
  • Norma Shearer, The Barretts of Wimpole Street

 

 

 

My Vote: Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night

Without even having seen all the ’34 films, I’ll tell you right now, my Compromise List is gonna have this change on it.

Compromise List:

  • Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night
  • Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage
  • Myrna Loy, The Thin Man
  • Norma Shearer, The Barretts of Wimpole Street

 

My Vote: Myrna Loy, The Thin Man

Watch One Night of Love and you’ll see why.

1932-1933

Actual Nominees:

  • Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory
  • May Robson, Lady for a Day
  • Diana Wynyard, Cavalcade

My Vote: Katharine Hepburn, Morning Gory

Gonna be hard-pressed to change this one, no matter what I find.

1931-1932

Actual Nominees:

  • Marie Dressler, Emma
  • Lynn Fontanne, The Guardsman
  • Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet

My Vote: Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet

1930-1931

Actual Nominees:

  • Marlene Dietrich, Morocco
  • Marie Dressler, Min and Bill
  • Irene Dunne, Cimarron
  • Ann Harding, Holiday
  • Norma Shearer, A Free Soul

My Vote: Irene Dunne, Cimarron

1929-1930

Actual Nominees:

  • Nancy Carroll, The Devil’s Holiday
  • Ruth Chatterton, Sarah and Son
  • Greta Garbo, Anna Christie Romance
  • Norma Shearer, The Divorcee Their Own Desire
  • Gloria Swanson, The Trespasser

My Vote: Norma Shearer, The Divorcee

1928-1929

Actual Nominees:

  • Ruth Chatterton, Madame X
  • Betty Compson, The Barker
  • Jeanne Eagels, The Letter
  • Corinne Griffith, The Divine Lady
  • Bessie Love, The Broadway Melody
  • Mary Pickford, Coquette

My Vote: Mary Pickford, Coquette

1927-1928

Actual Nominees:

  • Louise Dresser, A Ship Comes In
  • Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven Street Angel Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  • Gloria Swanson, Sadie Thompson

My Vote: Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven Street Angel Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

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