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The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Supporting Actress (1950-1969)

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.

1969

Actual Nominees:

  • Catherine Burns, Last Summer
  • Dyan Cannon, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  • Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower
  • Sylvia Miles, Midnight Cowboy
  • Susannah York, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

My Vote: Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower

I like this category. The only real weak nomine is Sylvia Miles, since she’s really only in the film for one scene. But it seems like they were gonna nominate someone from this movie anyway, and I don’t really have anyone else I’d rather nominate, and I just don’t care enough to try and change it. So I won’t.

Compromise List:

  • Catherine Burns, Last Summer
  • Dyan Cannon, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  • Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower
  • Sylvia Miles, Midnight Cowboy
  • Susannah York, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

My Vote: Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower

1968

Actual Nominees:

  • Lynn Carlin, Faces
  • Ruth Gordon, Rosemary’s Baby
  • Sondra Locke, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • Kay Medford, Funny Girl
  • Estelle Parsons, Rachel, Rachel

My Vote: Sondra Locke, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

This is a rough category, since my favorite performance is technically a lead, but these categories are littered with those. It’s also rough because I don’t really have anything else I’d nominate instead. So I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Lynn Carlin, Faces
  • Ruth Gordon, Rosemary’s Baby
  • Sondra Locke, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • Kay Medford, Funny Girl
  • Estelle Parsons, Rachel, Rachel

My Vote: Sondra Locke, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

1967

Actual Nominees:

  • Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Mildred Natwick, Barefoot in the Park
  • Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde
  • Beah Richards, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • Katharine Ross, The Graduate

My Vote: Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde

Love this category. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Compromise List:

  • Carol Channing, Thoroughly Modern Millie
  • Mildred Natwick, Barefoot in the Park
  • Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde
  • Beah Richards, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
  • Katharine Ross, The Graduate

My Vote: Estelle Parsons, Bonnie and Clyde

1966

Actual Nominees:

  • Sandy Dennis, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Wendy Hiller, A Man for All Seasons
  • Jocelyne LaGarde, Hawaii
  • Vivien Merchant, Alfie
  • Geraldine Page, You’re a Big Boy Now

My Vote: Sandy Dennis, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Kind of a weak year. I don’t have anything else for this year (not to mention that it’s one of the few years the Globes and the Oscars match up exactly, which leads me to believe there really isn’t much else). Leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Wendy Hiller, A Man for All Seasons
  • Jocelyne LaGarde, Hawaii
  • Vivien Merchant, Alfie
  • Geraldine Page, You’re a Big Boy Now

My Vote: Sandy Dennis, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1965

Actual Nominees:

  • Ruth Gordon, Inside Daisy Clover
  • Joyce Redman, Othello
  • Maggie Smith, Othello
  • Shelley Winters, A Patch of Blue
  • Peggy Wood, The Sound of Music

My Vote: Shelley Winters, A Patch of Blue

I liked Claire Bloom in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but I’m not sure how much of that is the fact that I really love that movie. I don’t remember the performance too well. That’s probably the only performance I’d want to put on, instead of Joyce Redman. But until I see it again, I’m going to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Ruth Gordon, Inside Daisy Clover
  • Joyce Redman, Othello
  • Maggie Smith, Othello
  • Shelley Winters, A Patch of Blue
  • Peggy Wood, The Sound of Music

My Vote: Shelley Winters, A Patch of Blue

1964

Actual Nominees:

  • Gladys Cooper, My Fair Lady
  • Edith Evans, The Chalk Garden
  • Grayson Hall, The Night of the Iguana
  • Lila Kedrova, Zorba the Greek
  • Agnes Moorehead, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

My Vote: Agnes Moorehead, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hard category to change. Mostly I’d want to change Evans. Off the top I’d mention Hayley Mills from the same film. I thought she was much better and that Evans got the nomination because she’s a veteran. Otherwise, I don’t have anything. I’ll need to see some stuff again before I decide if I’m changing anything.

Compromise List:

  • Gladys Cooper, My Fair Lady
  • Edith Evans, The Chalk Garden
  • Grayson Hall, The Night of the Iguana
  • Lila Kedrova, Zorba the Greek
  • Agnes Moorehead, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

My Vote: Agnes Moorehead, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte

1963

Actual Nominees:

  • Diane Cilento, Tom Jones
  • Edith Evans, Tom Jones
  • Joyce Redman, Tom Jones
  • Margaret Rutherford, The V.I.P.s
  • Lilia Skala, Lilies of the Field

My Vote: Joyce Redman, Tom Jones

I really liked Joey Heatherton in Twilight of Honor, but I’m not sure with whom/if that could be swapped. I’m also sure someone was terrific in The Cardinal, but I still can’t remember what performance that was. Again, gotta leave it until I know for sure.

Also, the Globes went nuts this year and nominated like eight people, so other performances I’ll be looking at are Diane Baker in The Prize, Wendy Hiller in Toys in the Attic and Liselotte Pulver in A Global Affair.

(P.S. you know who should be here, is Patricial Neal for Hud, but she won Best Actress, so I can’t do anything about that.)

Compromise List:

  • Diane Cilento, Tom Jones
  • Edith Evans, Tom Jones
  • Joyce Redman, Tom Jones
  • Margaret Rutherford, The V.I.P.s
  • Lilia Skala, Lilies of the Field

My Vote: Joyce Redman, Tom Jones

1962

Actual Nominees:

  • Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker
  • Shirley Knight, Sweet Bird of Youth
  • Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate
  • Thelma Ritter, Birdman of Alcatraz

My Vote: Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird

Not changing a goddamn thing. I love this category. (Though if I can ever decide whether or not Sue Lyon and/or Shelley Winters belong her and not for lead for Lolita, I might be inclined to make a change at that point in time. For now, I’m leaving it alone.)

Compromise List:

  • Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker
  • Shirley Knight, Sweet Bird of Youth
  • Angela Lansbury, The Manchurian Candidate
  • Thelma Ritter, Birdman of Alcatraz

My Vote: Mary Badham, To Kill a Mockingbird

1961

Actual Nominees:

  • Fay Bainter, The Children’s Hour
  • Judy Garland, Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Lotte Lenya, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
  • Una Merkel, Summer and Smoke
  • Rita Moreno, West Side Story

My Vote: Judy Garland, Judgment at Nuremberg

Again they go with the veteran over the child actor. But it’s Fay Bainter, so I guess it’s fine. I thought the girl who played her granddaughter was much better, though. It’s hard for me to say what I’d change, since I really don’t have too many options. Mostly I’d want to put on Karen Balkin instead of Bainter, but then I’d probably want to put on Bainter instead of Merkel by sheer fact that I hate Summer and Smoke. I’m not well enough acquainted with the performances to truly make that call outside of anything except me liking one film over another. So I won’t make it.

Compromise List:

  • Fay Bainter, The Children’s Hour
  • Judy Garland, Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Lotte Lenya, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
  • Una Merkel, Summer and Smoke
  • Rita Moreno, West Side Story

My Vote: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

1960

Actual Nominees:

  • Glynis Johns, The Sundowners
  • Shirley Jones, Elmer Gantry
  • Shirley Knight, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
  • Janet Leigh, Psycho
  • Mary Ure, Sons and Lovers

My Vote: Janet Leigh, Psycho

I like the category. I think it works. I’d leave it alone.

Compromise List:

  • Glynis Johns, The Sundowners
  • Shirley Jones, Elmer Gantry
  • Shirley Knight, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
  • Janet Leigh, Psycho
  • Mary Ure, Sons and Lovers

My Vote: Janet Leigh, Psycho

1959

Actual Nominees:

  • Hermione Baddeley, Room at the Top
  • Juanita Moore, Imitation of Life
  • Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life
  • Thelma Ritter, Pillow Talk
  • Shelley Winters, The Diary of Anne Frank

My Vote: Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life

A case could probably be made for Lee Remick as Supporting for Anatomy of a Murder, but I’m pretty sure I already put her lead, so that’s out.

Otherwise — as much as I love Thelma Ritter, that nominee is a joke. She’s barely on screen. There’s gotta be someone else. What about the woman who played Anne’s mother in The Diary of Anne Frank? I don’t remember the performance, so I won’t rush to change it, but there’s gotta be someone else.

Compromise List:

  • Hermione Baddeley, Room at the Top
  • Juanita Moore, Imitation of Life
  • Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life
  • Thelma Ritter, Pillow Talk
  • Shelley Winters, The Diary of Anne Frank

My Vote: Susan Kohner, Imitation of Life

1958

Actual Nominees:

  • Peggy Cass, Auntie Mame
  • Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables
  • Martha Hyer, Some Came Running
  • Maureen Stapleton, Lonelyhearts
  • Cara Williams, The Defiant Ones

My Vote: Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables

Like the performance, don’t like the year so much, and I don’t remember Judith Anderson in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof enough to say I’d vote for her over anyone else in this category. I like it, so I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Peggy Cass, Auntie Mame
  • Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables
  • Martha Hyer, Some Came Running
  • Maureen Stapleton, Lonelyhearts
  • Cara Williams, The Defiant Ones

My Vote: Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables

1957

Actual Nominees:

  • Carolyn Jones, The Bachelor Party
  • Elsa Lanchester, Witness for the Prosecution
  • Hope Lange, Peyton Place
  • Miyoshi Umeki, Sayonara
  • Diane Varsi, Peyton Place

My Vote: Hope Lange, Peyton Place

Loved Susan Harrison in Sweet Smell of Success. Would I vote for her? I don’t know. Probably. But I’d take of Umeki, which I can’t do. I don’t remember Peyton Place that well, so I don’t remember how good Varsi was. I know Lange was incredible. I also know Lanchester was great, and I really lliked Carolyn Jones, even though she doesn’t have a very big role in that movie. I thought she made a great impression. So really it just comes down to Varsi, and I don’t remember the performance enough to switch her off for Harrison on a Compromise List. So I’ll leave it and wait until I’m sure.

Compromise List:

  • Carolyn Jones, The Bachelor Party
  • Elsa Lanchester, Witness for the Prosecution
  • Hope Lange, Peyton Place
  • Miyoshi Umeki, Sayonara
  • Diane Varsi, Peyton Place

My Vote: Hope Lange, Peyton Place

1956

Actual Nominees:

  • Mildred Dunnock, Baby Doll
  • Eileen Heckart, The Bad Seed
  • Dorothy Malone, Written on the Wind
  • Mercedes McCambridge, Giant
  • Patty McCormack, The Bad Seed

My Vote: Dorothy Malone, The Bad Seed

One performance I really liked that didn’t get nominated is Vera Miles in The Wrong Man. But I don’t need that on here. I love this category. The only potential change I’d make (after I saw the film again) is switching Mercedes McCambridge for Carroll Baker. I feel like Baker had more of a role (well, I know that part) and gave the better performance. But otherwise, I love this category.

Compromise List:

  • Mildred Dunnock, Baby Doll
  • Eileen Heckart, The Bad Seed
  • Dorothy Malone, The Bad Seed
  • Mildred Dunnock, Baby Doll
  • Patty McCormack, The Bad Seed

My Vote: Dorothy Malone, The Bad Seed

1955

Actual Nominees:

  • Jo Van Fleet, East of Eden
  • Betsy Blair, Marty
  • Marisa Pavan, The Rose Tattoo
  • Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause
  • Peggy Lee, Pete Kelly’s Blues

My Vote: Betsy Blair, Marty

One person I really like here, and that’s Eleanor Parker in The Man with the Golden Arm. No idea who I’d swap her out for, though. Probably the weakest performance here is Natalie Wood. (Peggy Lee is a sentimental nominee. I don’t want to take her off.) But I always feel bad that Natalie got fucked over and never won. So I’m just leaving it. I really just don’t care enough to change anything.

Compromise List:

  • Jo Van Fleet, East of Eden
  • Betsy Blair, Marty
  • Marisa Pavan, The Rose Tattoo
  • Natalie Wood, Rebel Without a Cause
  • Peggy Lee, Pete Kelly’s Blues

My Vote: Betsy Blair, Marty

1954

Actual Nominees:

  • Nina Foch, Executive Suite
  • Katy Jurado, Broken Lance
  • Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront
  • Jan Sterling, The High and the Mighty
  • Claire Trevor, The High and the Mighty

My Vote: Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront

Awful category. And yet — supporting female performances weren’t really well-developed in this era, so there aren’t many alternatives to be found. What, we’re gonna nominate Thelma Ritter for Rear Window? She pretty much plays Thelma Ritter every time, and I feel like we’d only be doing it because of the film more than the performance. But the category does suck. I don’t know anymore. I kind of just want to be done with these fucking articles.

Compromise List:

  • Nina Foch, Executive Suite
  • Katy Jurado, Broken Lance
  • Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront
  • Jan Sterling, The High and the Mighty
  • Claire Trevor, The High and the Mighty

My Vote: Eva Marie Saint, On the Waterfront

1953

Actual Nominees:

  • Grace Kelly, Mogambo
  • Geraldine Page, Hondo
  • Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity
  • Thelma Ritter, Pickup on South Street
  • Marjorie Rambeau, Torch Song

My Vote: Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity

Sherry Jackson, Trouble Along the Way (love me some precocious children roles)

I hate Torch Song with a passion, and I think Rambeau’s nomination is a veteran nomination and that alone. Honestly, if we’re gonna give a veteran nomination, at least make it Jean Arthur in Shane. Neither is particularly great, but at least that one holds up.

I’m also not too big a fan of Geraldine Page in Hondo, but not-surprisingly, there are few supporting female performances worth nominating this year.

Fuck it, I’m making the one change. If only for myself. Since it doesn’t matter anyway. These articles are a complete mess at this point anyway. They’re pretty much only here to fill up days, and went up months before I was planning on putting them up. But whatever. At some point I’ll actually be prepared for these things and write them for real, and have my criteria in place rather than just do it on the fly. (I feel like I realized pretty quickly that my impetus for doing these stopped becoming about what I’d nominate, since I don’t really give a shit, and became more about, “Oh god, I can see where other people would take this concept and do so many things that annoy me,” and me making a point to tell people how stupid those decisions would be.)

Meh, it’s almost over. And it’s not like anyone reads these things anyway.

Compromise List:

  • Jean Arthur, Shane
  • Grace Kelly, Mogambo
  • Geraldine Page, Hondo
  • Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity
  • Thelma Ritter, Pickup on South Street

My Vote: Donna Reed, From Here to Eternity

1952

Actual Nominees:

  • Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful
  • Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain
  • Collette Marchand, Moulin Rouge
  • Terry Moore, Come Back, Little Sheba
  • Thelma Ritter, With a Song in My Heart

My Vote: Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain

Marie Windsor is great in The Narrow Margin, and she’s the queen of the B movie, but would they have ever nominated her? Is a good B performance worth an Oscar nomination? Plus, I don’t know if I’d even want to vote for her. I liked the performance, but I’d probably rather just leave it at that. It’s kind of — over the top. Plus the category’s strong and I like what’s there, mostly.

The one person who should be on this list that isn’t is Katy Jurado for High Noon. It’s a joke that they didn’t nominated her, and even more of a joke that they nominated her for Broken Lance two years after this instead. So I’m putting her on. And I’m taking Thelma Ritter off. If you want, take off Marchand, but I remember her performance more than Ritter’s after the fact, so to me that makes Ritter more expendable.

Compromise List:

  • Gloria Grahame, The Bad and the Beautiful
  • Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain
  • Katy Jurado, High Noon
  • Collette Marchand, Moulin Rouge
  • Terry Moore, Come Back, Little Sheba

My Vote: Jean Hagen, Singin’ in the Rain

1951

Actual Nominees:

  • Joan Blondell, The Blue Veil
  • Mildred Dunnock, Death of a Salesman
  • Lee Grant, Detective Story
  • Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Thelma Ritter, The Mating Season

My Vote: Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire

The only real performance that doesn’t work (Dunnock doesn’t hold up, but she’s Willy Loman’s wife, so it makes sense that she’d be there) is Thelma Ritter, and it’s purely because she’s the lead of the film. Actually the lead of the film. All the way through. The only question is — does it matter?

The obvious performance switch here is Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun. I’ll admit to remembering nothing about her performance except the fact that she is stunning in it. And that’s pretty much what the role requires. So I’m not sure if there’s a performance there, or if I want to vote for her because she looks great. Different things. So until I see the performance again, I’ll leave it.

(P.S. You know who was really good, but would have never gotten on? Agnes Moorehead in Fourteen Hours.)

Compromise List:

  • Joan Blondell, The Blue Veil
  • Mildred Dunnock, Death of a Salesman
  • Lee Grant, Detective Story
  • Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Thelma Ritter, The Mating Season

My Vote: Kim Hunter, A Streetcar Named Desire

1950

Actual Nominees:

  • Hope Emerson, Caged
  • Celeste Holm, All About Eve
  • Josephine Hull, Harvey
  • Nancy Olson, Sunset Boulevard
  • Thelma Ritter, All About Eve

My Vote: Josephine Hull, Harvey

I like the list. I’d also consider Jean Hagen in The Asphalt Jungle, but it’s not much of a necessity. I probably wouldn’t vote for it, but it’s there.

I’d vote for Alida Valli in The Third Man, but she straddles the line between supporting and lead, and I doubt they’d ever do it.

I’m not sure who I’d want to vote off. Olson is probably the most expendable, but I’m not sure how much Valli fits here. So I’m just gonna leave it. It works.

Compromise List:

  • Hope Emerson, Caged
  • Judy Holliday, Adam’s Rib
  • Celeste Holm, All About Eve
  • Josephine Hull, Harvey
  • Nancy Olson, Sunset Boulevard
  • Thelma Ritter, All About Eve

My Vote: Josephine Hull, Harvey

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