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The Oscar Quest: A Viewer’s Guide (Best Actress)

The two macro articles I put up each time I do the Quest are the Viewer’s Guide and the Rankings. The Rankings are self-explanatory. The Viewer’s Guide is more universal. One is specific to the categories and picking winners. The Viewer’s Guide is more about how I feel about the films. If you wanted to find Oscar films to watch, you come here, and I tell you how I feel.

Last time I put out the Viewer’s Guide, it was done with a big color code, with each color used to signify how I felt about a film. Not the best system, especially since I put out hundreds of reviews each year on a star system. So we’re moving to the star system now.

Pretty simple — for each Oscar nominee’s film, I’ll assign a rating the way I’d assign a rating to any film I see each year. I don’t think anything’s gone under 2.5 stars, since I don’t think there are truly bad films nominated. The worst you’ll see is 2.5 stars, which for me means I was indifferent toward it. 3 stars is “pretty good.” 3.5 stars is “solid.” 4 stars is “liked it quite a bit.” 4.5 stars is “loved it.” And 5 stars is 5 stars.

The idea is for the ratings to help you find stuff you might like. Also, for each category I’ll tell you what I voted for, what I think would have held up as a winner from that category and how good a choice I think it was.

Here’s Best Actress:

2016 – Emma Stone, La La Land — * * * * * (5 stars)

Isabelle Huppert, Elle — * * * (3 stars)

Ruth Negga, Loving — * * * * (4 stars)

Natalie Portman, Jackie — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Natalie Portman, Jackie

What Would Have Held Up: N/A

The Choice: B-

2015 – Brie Larson, Room — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Cate Blanchett, Carol — * * * * (4 stars)

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy — * * * * (4 stars)

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Brie Larson, Room

What Would Have Held Up: N/A

The Choice: A-/B+

2014 – Julianne Moore, Still Alice — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything — * * * * (4 stars)

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Reese Witherspoon, Wild — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

What Would Have Held Up: N/A

The Choice: B/B+

2013 – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine — * * * (3 stars)

Amy Adams, American Hustle — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Sandra Bullock, Gravity — * * * * * (5 stars)

Judi Dench, Philomena — * * * * (4 stars)

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Judi Dench, Philomena

What Would Have Held Up: N/A

The Choice: C+/B-

2012 – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty — * * * * (4 stars)

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour — * * * * (4 stars)

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild — * * * * (4 stars)

Naomi Watts, The Impossible — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

What Would Have Held Up: Lawrence, Chastain

The Choice: B/B-

2011 – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs — * * * (3 stars)

Viola Davis, The Help — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

What Would Have Held Up: Streep’s really the only one, but it’s not great.

The Choice: C

2010 – Natalie Portman, Black Swan — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole — * * * (3 stars)

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

What Would Have Held Up: Portman

The Choice: A

2009 – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Helen Mirren, The Last Station — * * * (3 stars)

Carey Mulligan, An Education — * * * * (4 stars)

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, Julia and Julia — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Carey Mulligan, An Education

What Would Have Held Up: If anyone, Mulligan.

The Choice: D

2008 – Kate Winslet, The Reader — * * * * (4 stars)

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married — * * * * (4 stars)

Angelina Jolie, Changeling — * * * * (4 stars)

Melissa Leo, Frozen River — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, Doubt — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

What Would Have Held Up: Winslet has. Hathaway could have. Streep maybe.

The Choice: B/B+

2007 – Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose — * * * * (4 stars)

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age — * * * (3 stars)

Julie Christie, Away from Her — * * * * (4 stars)

Laura Linney, The Savages — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Ellen Page, Juno — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

What Would Have Held Up: Cotillard, Christie

The Choice: A

2006 – Helen Mirren, The Queen — * * * * (4 stars)

Penèlope Cruz, Volver — * * * (3 stars)

Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Kate Winslet, Little Children — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Helen Mirren, The Queen

What Would Have Held Up: Miren

The Choice: A-

2005 – Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Felicity Huffman, Transamerica — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice — * * * (3 stars)

Charlize Theron, North Country — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

What Would Have Held Up: Witherspoon, ehh, but sure. Huffman on performance.

The Choice: B-

2004 – Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby — * * * * (4 stars)

Annette Bening, Being Julia — * * * (3 stars)

Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake — * * * (3 stars)

Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

What Would Have Held Up: Swank’s fine. Winslet’s a long shot, but possibly.

The Choice: B

2003 – Charlize Theron, Monster — * * * * (4 stars)

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give — * * * (3 stars)

Samantha Morton, In America — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Naomi Watts, 21 Grams — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Charlize Theron, Monster

What Would Have Held Up: Theron

The Choice: A

2002 – Nicole Kidman, The Hours — * * * * (4 stars)

Salma Hayek, Frida — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Diane Lane, Unfaithful — * * * (3 stars)

Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven — * * * * (4 stars)

Renée Zellweger, Chicago — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven

What Would Have Held Up: Moore, then Zellweger, then Kidman

The Choice: C

2001 – Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Judi Dench, Iris — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! — * * * * (4 stars)

Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom — * * * * (4 stars)

Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones’s Diary — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Judi Dench, Iris

What Would Have Held Up: Berry’s fine. Spacek probably.

The Choice: C

2000 – Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich — * * * * (4 stars)

Joan Allen, The Contender — * * * * (4 stars)

Juliette Binoche, Chocolat — * * * * (4 stars)

Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream — * * * * (4 stars)

Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

What Would Have Held Up: Roberts. Allen maybe. Burstyn maybe.

The Choice: B/B+

1999 – Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Annette Bening, American Beauty — * * * * * (5 stars)

Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair — * * * (3 stars)

Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Annette Bening, American Beauty

What Would Have Held Up: Bening, Swank

The Choice: B

1998 – Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station — * * * (3 stars)

Meryl Streep, One True Thing — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth

What Would Have Held Up: Blanchett

The Choice: C-

1997 – Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove — * * * (3 stars)

Julie Christie, Afterglow — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Kate Winslet, Titanic — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets

What Would Have Held Up: Hunt. Maybe Dench.

The Choice: B

1996 – Frances McDormand, Fargo — * * * * * (5 stars)

Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room — * * * (3 stars)

Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient — * * * * (4 stars)

Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Frances McDormand, Fargo

What Would Have Held Up: McDormand, Watson, Blethyn

The Choice: A-

1995 – Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas — * * * * (4 stars)

Sharon Stone, Casino — * * * * * (5 stars)

Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas

What Would Have Held Up: Sarandon, Shue

The Choice: B

1994 – Jessica Lange, Blue Sky — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Jodie Foster, Nell — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Miranda Richardson, Tom & Viv — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Winona Ryder, Little Women — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Susan Sarandon, The Client — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Jodie Foster, Nell

What Would Have Held Up: Foster, Lange

The Choice: B-

1993 – Holly Hunter, The Piano — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Stockhard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation — * * * (3 stars)

Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day — * * * * (4 stars)

Debra Winger, Shadowlands — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Holly Hunter, The Piano

What Would Have Held Up: Hunter

The Choice: B+

1992 – Emma Thompson, Howards End — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Catherine Deneuve, Indochine — * * * (3 stars)

Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish

What Would Have Held Up: Thompson, and I think McDonnell could have

The Choice: B

1991 – Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs — * * * * * (5 stars)

Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise — * * * * (4 stars)

Laura Dern, Rambling Rose — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Bette Midler, For the Boys — * * * (3 stars)

Susan Sarandon, Thelma & Louise — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

What Would Have Held Up: Foster

The Choice: A-

1990 – Kathy Bates, Misery — * * * * (4 stars)

Anjelica Huston, The Grifters — * * * * (4 stars)

Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman — * * * * (4 stars)

Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Kathy Bates, Misery

What Would Have Held Up: Bates

The Choice: B+

1989 – Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy — * * * * (4 stars)

Isabelle Adjani, Camille Claudel — * * * (3 stars)

Pauline Collins, Shirley Valentine — * * * (3 stars)

Jessica Lange, Music Box — * * * (3 stars)

Michelle Pfeiffer, The Fabulous Baker Boys — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy

What Would Have Held Up: Tandy, possibly Pfeiffer

The Choice: B

1988 – Jodie Foster, The Accused — * * * * (4 stars)

Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons — * * * * (4 stars)

Melanie Griffith, Working Girl — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Jodie Foster, The Accused

What Would Have Held Up: Foster

The Choice: A-

1987 – Cher, Moonstruck — * * * * (4 stars)

Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction — * * * * (4 stars)

Holly Hunter, Broadcast News — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Sally Kirkland, Anna — * * * (3 stars)

Meryl Streep, Ironweed — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Holly Hunter, Broadcast News

What Would Have Held Up: Hunter, Cher, maybe Close

The Choice: B

1986 – Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God — * * * * (4 stars)

Jane Fonda, The Morning After — * * * (3 stars)

Sissy Spacek, Crimes of the Heart — * * * (3 stars)

Kathleen Turner, Peggy Sue Got Married — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Sigourney Weaver, Aliens — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote:

What Would Have Held Up:

The Choice:

1985 – Geraldine Page, The Trip to Bountiful — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Anne Bancroft, Agnes of God — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jessica Lange, Sweet Dreams — * * * (3 stars)

Meryl Streep, Out of Africa — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple

What Would Have Held Up: Goldberg

The Choice: C+

1984 – Sally Field, Places in the Heart — * * * * (4 stars)

Judy Davis, A Passage to India — * * * (3 stars)

Jessica Lange, Country — * * * (3 stars)

Vanessa Redgrave, The Bostonians — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Sissy Spacek, The River — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Sally Field, Places in the Heart

What Would Have Held Up: Ehh. Field has, but it’s a weak category.

The Choice: C

1983 – Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jane Alexander, Testament — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Meryl Streep, Silkwood — * * * * (4 stars)

Julie Walters, Educating Rita — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Debra Winger, Terms of Endearment — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Shirley MacLaine, Terms of Endearment

What Would Have Held Up: MacLaine, Winger

The Choice:

1982 – Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Julie Andrews, Victor Victoria — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Jessica Lange, Frances — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Sissy Spacek, Missing — * * * * (4 stars)

Debra Winger, An Officer and a Gentleman — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice

What Would Have Held Up: Streep, then Lange

The Choice: A

1981 – Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Diane Keaton, Reds — * * * * (4 stars)

Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City — * * * * (4 stars)

Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant’s Woman — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Diane Keaton, Reds

What Would Have Held Up: Hepburn’s fine. Keaton would have.

The Choice: C+

1980 – Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter — * * * * (4 stars)

Ellen Burstyn, Resurrection — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Goldie Hawn, Private Benjamin — * * * * (4 stars)

Mary Tyler Moore, Ordinary People — * * * * (4 stars)

Gena Rowlands, Gloria — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter

What Would Have Held Up: Spacek, Moore

The Choice: A-

1979 – Sally Field, Norma Rae — * * * * (4 stars)

Jill Clayburgh, Starting Over — * * * (3 stars)

Jane Fonda, The China Syndrome — * * * * (4 stars)

Marsha Mason, Chapter Two — * * * (3 stars)

Bette Midler, The Rose — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Sally Field, Norma Rae

What Would Have Held Up: Field, then Midler

The Choice: A

1978 – Jane Fonda, Coming Home — * * * * (4 stars)

Ingrid Bergman, Autumn Sonata — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Ellen Burstyn, Same Time, Next Year — * * * (3 stars)

Jill Clayburgh, An Unmarried Woman — * * * * (4 stars)

Geraldine Page, Interiors — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Jill Clayburgh, An Unmarried Woman

What Would Have Held Up: Clayburgh, Fonda

The Choice: B

1977 – Diane Keaton, Annie Hall — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anne Bancroft, The Turning Point — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Jane Fonda, Julia — * * * * (4 stars)

Shirley MacLaine, The Turning Point — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Marsha Mason, The Goodbye Girl — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Diane Keaton, Annie Hall

What Would Have Held Up: Keaton

The Choice: A-/A

1976 – Faye Dunaway, Network — * * * * * (5 stars)

Marie-Christine Barrault, Cousin, cousine — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Talia Shire, Rocky — * * * * * (5 stars)

Sissy Spacek, Carrie — * * * * (4 stars)

Liv Ullmann, Face to Face — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Faye Dunaway, Network

What Would Have Held Up: Dunaway

The Choice: A-

1975 – Louise Fletcher, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest — * * * * * (5 stars)

Ann-Margret, Tommy — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H. — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Glenda Jackson, Hedda — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Carol Kane, Hester Street — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

What Would Have Held Up: Fletcher

The Choice: A

1974 – Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Diahann Carroll, Claudine — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Faye Dunaway, Chinatown — * * * * * (5 stars)

Valerie Perrine, Lenny — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence

What Would Have Held Up: Rowlands, Burstyn, Dunaway

The Choice: B+

1973 – Glenda Jackson, A Touch of Class — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Ellen Burstyn, The Exorcist — * * * * * (5 stars)

Marsha Mason, Cinderella Liberty — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Joanne Woodward, Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Marsha Mason, Cinderella Liberty

What Would Have Held Up: Jackson’s fine. Burstyn maybe. Mason possibly.

The Choice: B

1972 – Liza Minnelli, Cabaret — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues — * * * (3 stars)

Maggie Smith, Travels with My Aunt — * * * (3 stars)

Cicely Tyson, Sounder — * * * (3 stars)

Liv Ullmann, The Emigrants — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Liza Minnelli, Cabaret

What Would Have Held Up: Minnelli

The Choice: A

1971 – Jane Fonda, Klute — * * * * (4 stars)

Julie Christie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Glenda Jackson, Sunday Bloody Sunday — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Vanessa Redgrave, Mary, Queen of Scots — * * * (3 stars)

Janet Suzman – Nicholas and Alexandra — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Jane Fonda, Klute

What Would Have Held Up: Fonda

The Choice: A-

1970 – Glenda Jackson, Women in Love — * * * (3 stars)

Jane Alexander, The Great White Hope — * * * * (4 stars)

Ali MacGraw, Love Story — * * * * * (5 stars)

Sarah Miles, Ryan’s Daughter — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Carrie Snodgress, Diary of a Mad Housewife — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Ali MacGraw, Love Story

What Would Have Held Up: No comment.

The Choice: D

1969 – Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Geneviève Bujold, Anne of the Thousand Days — * * * * (4 stars)

Jane Fonda, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Liza Minnelli, The Sterile Cuckoo — * * * * (4 stars)

Jean Simmons, The Happy Ending — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Liza Minnelli, The Sterile Cuckoo

What Would Have Held Up: Smith, Fonda

The Choice: B+

1968 – Katharine Hepburn, The Lion in Winter — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl — * * * * (4 stars)

Patricia Neal, The Subject Was Roses — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora — * * * (3 stars)

Joanne Woodward, Rachel, Rachel — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl

What Would Have Held Up: Streisand, Hepburn. So that worked out.

The Choice: A

1967 – Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anne Bancroft, The Graduate — * * * * * (5 stars)

Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde — * * * * * (5 stars)

Edith Evans, The Whisperers — * * * (3 stars)

Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

What Would Have Held Up: Hepburn, Bancroft, Dunaway

The Choice: B+

1966 – Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — * * * * * (5 stars)

Anouk Aimée, A Man and a Woman — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Ida Kaminska, The Shop on Main Street — * * * * (4 stars)

Lynn Redgrave, Georgy Girl — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan! — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Elizabeth Taylor, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

What Would Have Held Up: Taylor

The Choice: A

1965 – Julie Christie, Darling — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Julie Andrews, The Sound of Music — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Samantha Eggar, The Collector — * * * * (4 stars)

Elizabeth Hartman, A Patch of Blue — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Simone Signoret, Ship of Fools — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Julie Christie, Darling

What Would Have Held Up: Christie, then Andrews

The Choice: A

1964 – Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Anne Bancroft, The Pumpkin Eater — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Sophia Loren, Marriage Italian Style — * * * (3 stars)

Debbie Reynolds, The Unsinkable Molly Brown — * * * (3 stars)

Kim Stanley, Séance on a Wet Afternoon — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins

What Would Have Held Up: Andrews

The Choice: A-

1963 – Patricia Neal, Hud — * * * * (4 stars)

Leslie Caron, The L-Shaped Room — * * * * (4 stars)

Shirley MacLaine, Irma La Douce — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Rachel Roberts, This Sporting Life — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Natalie Wood, Love with the Proper Stranger — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Leslie Caron, The L-Shaped Room

What Would Have Held Up: Neal, Caron

The Choice: B+

1962 – Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? — * * * * (4 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, Long Day’s Journey Into Night — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses

What Would Have Held Up: Bancroft, Remick

The Choice: A-

1961Sophia Loren, Two Women — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Piper Laurie, The Hustler — * * * * * (5 stars)

Geraldine Page, Summer and Smoke — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass

What Would Have Held Up: Loren, Wood, potentially Hepburn. Maybe Laurie

The Choice: B+

1960 – Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8 — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Greer Garson, Sunrise at Campobello — * * * (3 stars)

Deborah Kerr, The Sundowners — * * * * * (5 stars)

Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment — * * * * * (5 stars)

Melina Mercouri, Never on Sunday — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment

What Would Have Held Up: MacLaine

The Choice: C

1959 – Simone Signoret, Room at the Top — * * * * (4 stars)

Doris Day, Pillow Talk — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Audrey Hepburn, The Nun’s Story — * * * * (4 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly, Last Summer — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly, Last Summer — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Simone Signoret, Room at the Top

What Would Have Held Up: Signoret, maybe Audrey Hepburn

The Choice: A-

1958 – Susan Hayward, I Want to Live! — * * * * (4 stars)

Deborah Kerr, Separate Tables — * * * * (4 stars)

Shirley MacLaine, Some Came Running — * * * * (4 stars)

Rosalind Russell, Auntie Mame — * * * * (4 stars)

Elizabeth Taylor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Susan Hayward, I Want to Live!

What Would Have Held Up: Hayward. Maybe Kerr. Possibly Taylor.

The Choice: B+

1957 – Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve — * * * * (4 stars)

Deborah Kerr, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Anna Magnani, Wild is the Wind — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Elizabeth Taylor, Raintree County — * * * (3 stars)

Lana Turner, Peyton Place — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Joanne Woodward, The Three Faces of Eve

What Would Have Held Up: Woodward

The Choice: A-

1956 – Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Carroll Baker, Baby Doll — * * * * (4 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, The Rainmaker — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Nancy Kelly, The Bad Seed — * * * * (4 stars)

Deborah Kerr, The King and I — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Carroll Baker, Baby Doll

What Would Have Held Up: Bergman on paper. Baker. Maybe Kerr.

The Choice: C+/B-

1955 – Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, Summertime — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Jennifer Jones, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing — * * * (3 stars)

Eleanor Parker, Interrupted Melody — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Susan Hayward, I’ll Cry Tomorrow

What Would Have Held Up: Hayward, Magnani

The Choice: B+/B

1954 – Grace Kelly, The Country Girl — * * * * (4 stars)

Dorothy Dandridge, Carmen Jones — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Judy Garland, A Star is Born — * * * * (4 stars)

Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Judy Garland, A Star Is Born

What Would Have Held Up: Garland, Kelly

The Choice: A-/B+

1953 – Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday — * * * * * (5 stars)

Leslie Caron, Lili — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Ava Gardner, Mogambo — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Deborah Kerr, From Here to Eternity — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Maggie McNamara, The Moon is Blue — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday

What Would Have Held Up: Hepburn

The Choice: A-

1952 – Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Joan Crawford, Sudden Fear — * * * (3 stars)

Bette Davis, The Star — * * * (3 stars)

Julie Harris, The Member of the Wedding — * * * * (4 stars)

Susan Hayward, With a Song in My Heart — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Julie Harris, The Member of the Wedding

What Would Have Held Up: Booth is fine. Harris could have.

The Choice: B

1951 – Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire — * * * * * (5 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, The African Queen — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Eleanor Parker, Detective Story — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire

What Would Have Held Up: Leigh

The Choice: A+

1950 – Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday — * * * * (4 stars)

Anne Baxter, All About Eve — * * * * * (5 stars)

Betty Davis, All About Eve — * * * * * (5 stars)

Eleanor Parker, Caged — * * * * (4 stars)

Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday

What Would Have Held Up: Holliday, Swanson, then Davis/Baxter

The Choice: A-

1949 – Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Jeanne Crain, Pinky — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Susan Hayward, My Foolish Heart — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Deborah Kerr, Edward, My Son — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Loretta Young, Come to the Stable — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Olivia de Havilland, The Heiress

What Would Have Held Up: de Havilland

The Choice: A

1948 – Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Ingrid Bergman, Joan of Arc — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Olivia de Havilland, The Snake Pit — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Irene Dunne, I Remember Mama — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Barbara Stanwyck, Sorry, Wrong Number — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda

What Would Have Held Up: Wyman, de Havilland, then Dunne

The Choice: A

1947 – Loretta Young, The Farmer’s Daughter — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Joan Crawford, Possessed — * * * (3 stars)

Susan Hayward, Smash-up, the Story of a Woman — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Dorothy McGuire, Gentleman’s Agreement — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Rosalind Russell, Mourning Becomes Electra

What Would Have Held Up: Russell, then Young

The Choice: C+

1946 – Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own — * * * * (4 stars)

Celia Johnson, Brief Encounter — * * * * * (5 stars)

Jennifer Jones, Duel in the Sun — * * * * (4 stars)

Rosalind Russell, Sister Kenny — * * * (3 stars)

Jane Wyman, The Yearling — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own

What Would Have Held Up: de Havilland, Johnson

The Choice: B+

1945 – Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Ingrid Bergman, The Bells of St. Mary’s — * * * * (4 stars)

Greer Garson, The Valley of Decision — * * * (3 stars)

Jennifer Jones, Love Letters — * * * (3 stars)

Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Gene Tierney, Leave Her to Heaven

What Would Have Held Up: Crawford

The Choice: B+

1944 – Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight — * * * * (4 stars)

Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away — * * * * (4 stars)

Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington — * * * (3 stars)

Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington — * * * (3 stars)

Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity — * * * * * (5 stars)

My Vote: Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight

What Would Have Held Up: Bergman, Stanwyck

The Choice: B+

1943 – Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier — * * * * (4 stars)

Ingrid Bergman, For Whom the Bell Tolls — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Greer Garson, Madame Curie — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette

What Would Have Held Up: Jones, then Bergman

The Choice: B+

1942 – Greer Garson, Mrs. Miniver — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Bette Davis, Now, Voyager — * * * * (4 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year — * * * * (4 stars)

Rosalind Russell, My Sister Eileen — * * * * (4 stars)

Teresa Wright, The Pride of the Yankees — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

My Vote: Teresa Wright, The Pride of the Yankees

What Would Have Held Up: Garson, then Davis

The Choice: A-

1941 – Joan Fontaine, Suspicion — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Bette Davis, The Little Foxes — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Olivia de Havilland, Hold Back the Dawn — * * * (3 stars)

Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust — * * * * (4 stars)

Barbara Stanwyck, Ball of Fire — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Greer Garson, Blossoms in the Dust

What Would Have Held Up: Garson, Fontaine somewhat.

The Choice: B-

1940 – Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Bette Davis, The Letter — * * * (3 stars)

Joan Fontaine, Rebecca — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Martha Scott, Our Town — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Joan Fontaine, Rebecca

What Would Have Held Up: Fontaine, Rogers is fine.

The Choice: B-

1939 – Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind — * * * * * (5 stars)

Bette Davis, Dark Victory — * * * * (4 stars)

Irene Dunne, Love Affair — * * * * (4 stars)

Greta Garbo, Ninotchka — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips — * * * * (4 stars)

My Vote: Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

What Would Have Held Up: Leigh

The Choice: A+

1938 – Bette Davis, Jezebel — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Fay Bainter, White Banners — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Norma Shearer, Marie Antoinette — * * * * (4 stars)

Margaret Sullivan, Three Comrades — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion

What Would Have Held Up: Davis, Hiller

The Choice: B

1937 – Luise Rainer, The Good Earth — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Greta Garbo, Camille — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Janet Gaynor, A Star is Born — * * * * * (5 stars)

Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth

What Would Have Held Up: Dunne, Gaynor. Rainer on role only.

The Choice: B-

1936 – Luise Rainer, The Great Ziegfeld — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Irene Dunne, Theodora Goes Wild — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Gladys George, Valiant is the Word for Carrie — * * * (3 stars)

Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey — * * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Norma Shearer, Romeo and Juliet — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Carole Lombard, My Man Godfrey

What Would Have Held Up: Rainer’s fine. Lombard could have.

The Choice: B

1935 – Bette Davis, Dangerous — * * * (3 stars)

Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds — * * * (3 stars)

Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams — * * * * (4 stars)

Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Merle Oberon, The Dark Angel — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams

What Would Have Held Up: Hepburn. Davis is fine, I guess.

The Choice: C+

1934 – Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night — * * * * * (5 stars)

Grace Moore, One Night of Love — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

Norma Shearer, The Barretts of Wimpole Street — * * * * (4 stars)

Bette Davis, Of Human Bondage (write-in) — * * ½ (2.5 stars)

My Vote: Claudette Colbert, It Happened One Night

What Would Have Held Up: Colbert, Shearer

The Choice: A-

1932-1933 – Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory — * * * (3 stars)

May Robson, Lady for a Day — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Diana Wynyard, Cavalcade — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory

What Would Have Held Up: Hepburn

The Choice: B

1931-1932 – Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Marie Dressler, Emma — * * * (3 stars)

Lynn Fontaine, The Guardsman — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet

What Would Have Held Up: Hayes

The Choice: B

1930-1931 – Marie Dressler, Min and Bill — * * * (3 stars)

Marlene Dietrich, Morocco — * * * (3 stars)

Irene Dunne, Cimarron — * * * * (4 stars)

Ann Harding, Holiday — * * * (3 stars)

Norma Shearer, A Free Soul — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

My Vote: Ann Harding, Holiday

What Would Have Held Up: At this point, it’s on name recognition. So Dietrich and Dunne.

The Choice: C

1929-1930 – Norma Shearer, The Divorcée — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Nancy Carroll, The Devil’s Holiday — * * * (3 stars)

Ruth Chatterton, Sarah and Son — * * * (3 stars)

Greta Garbo, Anna Christie — * * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Greta Garbo, Romance — * * * (3 stars)

Norma Shearer, Their Own Desire — * * * (3 stars)

Gloria Swanson, The Tresspasser — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Norma Shearer, The Divorcee

What Would Have Held Up: Shearer, Garbo

The Choice: B

1928-1929 – Mary Pickford, Coquette — * * * (3 stars)

Ruth Chatterton, Madame X — * * * (3 stars)

Betty Compson, The Barker — * * * (3 stars)

Jeanne Eagels, The Letter — * * * (3 stars)

Corrinne Griffith, The Divine Lady — * * * (3 stars)

Bessie Love, The Broadway Melody — * * * (3 stars)

My Vote: Corrinne Griffith, The Divine Lady

What Would Have Held Up: Pickford

The Choice: C

1927-1928 – Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven — * * * * * (5 stars)

Janet Gaynor, Street Angel — * * * * (4 stars)

Janet Gaynor, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans — * * * * * (5 stars)

Louise Dresser, A Ship Comes In — * * * (3 stars)

Gloria Swanson, Sadie Thompson — * * * (3 stars)

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

What Would Have Held Up: Gaynor

The Choice: A

– – – – – – – – – – –

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