Best Actress Snubs Over The Years

Who says that there’s only strong competition—and controversy—in the Best Actor category of the Academy Awards?

Our recent post challenging some recipients of the Best Actor Oscar can be found here. While we didn’t have as many issues over the history of the Best Actress category, there’ve certainly been some wins over the years worth debating.


A highly fictionalized account of the life of show biz impresario Flo Ziegfeld (played by William Powell), The Great Ziegfeld remains an entertaining rags-to-riches-to-rags story, with Luise Rainer as French-Polish performer Anna Held, with whom Ziegfeld was smitten, made into a star and married. The fact is that Rainer—third-billed in the film, and absent from its second half—saw herself as an also-ran in the race, and was only convinced to attend the ceremony at the last minute. She would go on to a much-deserved win of the trophy the following year, for her dramatic powerhouse role opposite Paul Muni in The Good Earth. In ’36, though, the Austrian import faced two actresses turning in memorable performances in screwball classics: Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey and Irene Dunne in Theodora Goes Wild.  The remaining competition included Norma Shearer for George Cukor’s version of Romeo and Juliet, opposite Leslie Howard’s Romeo; and Gladys George in Valiant is the Word for Carrie, playing a prostitute trying to make a new life for herself after being run out of town.   


Of course, Ginger Rogers is best known as one-half of the greatest dancing duo in film history, sharing the screen with Fred Astaire in Top Hat, Swing Time and other classic musicals. But Ms. Rogers had little trouble crossing over to dramatic and straight comedic roles, taking impressive turns in Roxie Hart (the precursor to Chicago), Primrose Path, Bachelor Mother and Billy Wilder’s The Major and the Minor. Her turn as Kitty Foyle, the blue-collar gal from Philly who must decide between a well-off married Main Line guy and a doctor in New York City, got her the Oscar recognition she desired. We don’t mean to discount Ginger’s often overlooked dramatic abilities, but the year she copped the Oscar, she had some heavy competition: Bette Davis for the noirish The Letter; Joan Fontaine in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (she would win the following year for Hitch’s Suspicion); Martha Scott, who made her film debut opposite William Holden in Our Town; and Katharine Hepburn, in a comeback performance as zany divorcee Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story.


Judy Holliday’s signature role as Emma “Billie” Dawn, the high-pitched and seemingly bubble-headed bombshell girlfriend of slovenly tycoon Broderick Crawford in Born Yesterday, is a gem. But Judy had some strong women to contend with this year. There were Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in the backstage theater classic All About Eve, which won Best Picture; Eleanor Parker in the prison drama Caged; and our preference, Gloria Swanson as the faded screen star Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd.


Judy Garland was the clear favorite to take home the gold for playing Esther Blodgett, aka Vicki Lester, aka Mrs. Norman Maine, in the remake of A Star is Born. After Grace Kelly, playing dowdy and devoted spouse to alcoholic hubby actor Bing Crosby in The Country Wife, got the win, Groucho Marx sent Judy a letter declaring the choice “the biggest robbery since Brink’s,” or something to that effect. But Judy wasn’t the only woman who turned heads with her performance that year. Also-rans included Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones, Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, and Jane Wyman in Magnificent Obsession.


Elizabeth Taylor was penciled in by many for her part as “Maggie the Cat” in Richard Brooks’ 1958 screen adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She lost out to Susan Hayward in the melodrama I Want to Live! The following year, she was up again for another Williams opus, Suddenly, Last Summer. Co-star Katharine Hepburn split the vote, making room at the top for Simone Signoret in Room at the Top.  She finally prevailed with 1960’s BUtterfield-8, a racy drama neither she nor hubby/co-star Eddie Fisher liked at the time. With the Oscar, “La Liz” got the Hollywood nod of approval (and a long-awaited one-way ticket out of her long-term contract from MGM) for all of her angst—including a recent bout with pneumonia—and for her personal life, as she was generally seen then as someone who stole Fisher from ex Debbie Reynolds.  Still, other goodies were left in the dust that year, especially Shirley MacLaine’s elevator operator in The Apartment (“I lost to a tracheotomy!”), Greer Garson’s Eleanor Roosevelt in Sunrise at Campobello, Deborah Kerr’s Australian matriarch in The Sundowners, and Melina Mercouri’s prostitute in the international hit Never on Sunday.


It’s hard to argue that Katharine Hepburn—with a career ledger of twelve total Oscar nominations and four wins—was undeserving of any award, but Academy voters may have given her a pass on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, where she played an art gallery owner facing the fact that her daughter (real-life niece Katherine Houghton) wants to marry a black physician (Sidney Poitier). Hepburn’s husband was played by Spencer Tracy, her longtime off-screen companion, who was seriously ill at the time of production and died shortly after the Stanley Kramer film’s release. The depiction of interracial romance was considered groundbreaking for its time, but Tracy and Hepburn’s relationship—the film marked their ninth and final screen pairing—certainly played a part in her Oscar bounty. Anne Bancroft’s Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate is our choice for the win, but the other entrants should not have been ignored, either: Faye Dunaway in a career-making performance as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde; Audrey Hepburn as the terrorized blind woman in the thriller Wait Until Dark; and the longshot, Dame Edith Evans as an elderly woman with a vivid imagination in The Whisperers.


Glenda Jackson had won the 1969 Best Actress Academy Award for Ken Russell’s Women in Love, so her subsequent nomination for A Touch of Class, a romantic comedy opposite George Segal, was not taken all that seriously. Even though The Exorcist dominated the box-office and even the headlines of the day, it was shut out in the major Oscar awards. Among those denied was Ellen Burstyn, and you could see her visible annoyance in the telecast when it was announced that the absent Jackson took home the prize (Touch of Class director Melvin Frank accepted on her behalf.)  Also finishing out of the money were Barbra Streisand for The Way We Were, Joanne Woodward for Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, and Marsha Mason for Cinderella Liberty. But Ellen would get her due the following year, taking home the well-deserved statue for Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Her 1974 opponents were quite formidable: Diahann Carroll for Claudine, Faye Dunaway for Chinatown, Valerie Perrine for Lenny and Gena Rowlands for A Woman Under the Influence.


“America’s Sweetheart” Julia Roberts had a lot going into the award season, what with a couple of previous nominations and  starring in Erin Brockovich, the true-life social drama that happened to be a box-office hit that happened to be directed by Steven Soderbergh, nominated twice that same year for Best Director (for Traffic as well). But Ellen Burstyn’s turn as a pill-popping Brooklyn widow in Darren Aronofsky’s downbeat, NC-17 rated, indie drug saga Requiem for a Dream may have been a little too much to overcome for the Academy members. The other nominees were solid as well, including Joan Allen in The Contender, previous Oscar winner Juliette Binoche in Chocolat and Laura Linney in You Can Count on Me.


Nicole Kidman lost the 2001 Oscar for her exuberant singing and dancing turn in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! So, fitted with a prosthetic nose, Kidman returned to the screen in The Hours, playing troubled writer Virginia Woolf in the 1920s-set sections of the time-skipping anthology  based on Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. We would have preferred Julianne Moore for her perfectly realized turn in the retro ‘50s sudser Far from Heaven, but there would have been little argument from these quarters if the AMPAS had favored either Salma Hayek as artist Frida (Kahlo); Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart in the Best Picture-winning Chicago; or Diane Lane for acting Unfaithful to hubby Richard Gere.


Gallic actress Marion Cotillard won accolades and audience enthusiasm for her uncanny impersonation of singer Edith Piaf in the French production La Vie En Rose. In fact, Cotillard—up until then virtually unknown to American audiences—took home many other major awards for her performance, including the Golden Globe, the BAFTA (from England) and the Cesar (from France). Momentum was on her side, prevailing over some other impressive turns that year: Cate Blanchett, reprising her work as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Julie Christie in impressive comeback mode, playing a woman succumbing to Alzheimer’s in the Canadian film Away from Her; Laura Linney, as a daughter trying to decide what’s right for her elderly father in The Savages; and Ellen Page in a career-making performance as Juno, a Minnesota teenager dealing with her pregnancy.

  • Ron

    Gena Rowlands in Gloria.

    I remember one movie reviewer saying something like “she explodes across the screen like a stick of dynamite”. That’s about it.

    • joey

      gloria-with gena rowlands,was so unreal and stupid,it was so fake its not even funny. the one with sharan stone was very good and well acted..end of story.

  • wayne

    Yes, Irv…Kate probably did get 1 or 2 Oscars too many…as “The Lion in Winter” 1976 also qualifies as probably undeserved, considering Jill Clayburgh’s career defining performance in “An Unmarried Woman” was hard to top by that small part, at least! How about any Body of Work awards as make-ups in the Best Actress Category? The men have a few as we already noted before in your last commentary…did mention myself a PC nod to Bette Davis for 1935′s “Dangerous” after she lost the year before for “Of Human Bondage”…but those type of slights seem less prevalent and/or obvious over the years for the ladies than they do for the men. It is not too hard to imagine what the effect of Judy Garland winning in 1954 mightve had on her later downward slide, both personally and professionally on the screen. Does anybody else wonder if an actresses looks may have something to do with Oscar nods?

    • Doug

      I think Kate deserved all her oscars. I read a lot of English history and have read a lot of material on Eleanor of Aquataine and her portrayal of Eleanor, who was a very strong headed duchess in her own right while being queen of England was right on. I thought it was so sad, though, that O’Toole lost that award that year. That was one of the top 3 performances ever in movie history.

      • wade

        I agree, great film and great acting by all

  • wayne

    Booboo update: got it wrong above…”The Lion in Winter” Oscar to Kate was in 1968. So, Jill Clayburgh didnt lose to her in 1978 but to Jane Fonda for “Coming Home”. Its maybe still a snub to Jill, just the same!

  • wayne

    Shared Best Actress Oscar 1968
    was the year that Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand were both awarded the Oscar for Best Actress, for “The Lion In Winter” and “Funny Girl” respectively, the only time that has happened. Both are great films, though I think “Funny Girl” is a little better.

    The above was taken from another website…didnt know this and thought to pass the info along…perhaps this shouldve happened more often!

    • Doug

      No, it happened once before with 2 male actors in the 1930′s – in 1931-32 when Grand Hotel was named best picture. Both Frederic March (Dr. Jekyll) and Wallace Berry (The Champ) tied for best actor oscars. How on earth that ass Berry won an oscar is beyond me. But March was great.

      Also, Walter Brennan is the only male who has won 3 oscars, all for supporting roles in the 1930′s.

      • craig

        Doug is a moron. Ever hear of Jack 2 best wins and one supporting. to go along with 12 nominations. How about some facts in these OPINIONS!!!!!!!!

  • Martin Stumacher

    How About Irene Dunn? She was a wonderful actress. Her role as Mama in “I remember Mama” and directed by George Stevens. How could the Academy forget Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas among her memorable roles until they decided to give her a lifetime award after her career was over.

  • Joel

    Susan Hayward’s greatest performance in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow”, beatened out by the Italian housemother, Anna Magnani!

    • Admar

      Hayward shined in Ill Cry Tommorrow. Her scenes with her first husband and and the underrrated Richard Conte are riveting! The scene where Hayward is on the skids is heart wrenching. When she is helped by the Asian American family and motions to move their children from her sight, you feel the shame and self loathing. Extraordinary moment!


    Deanna Durbin in Christmas Holiday.Watch the scene again where shes in church looking for help after a bad marriage with Gene Kelly.While thinking about her ruined life she starts crying.
    If she had better parts she would have become a first rate dramatic actress.

  • Frank DeCavalcante

    I dont understand the remarks about Marion Cotillard. It seems as if the author is implying that because of all the critical and audience accolades she received for her work in La Vie En Rose,they made her work less worthy. Yet her performance was one of the few I have seen that exploded on the screen. Friends of mine and I attended a showing and were in a state of shock after seeing her dynamic star turn. The other nominees were fine actresses but Blanchard was in an inferior sequel to her first, more deserving Elizabeth (how did she ever lose to the lackluster Gwyneth Paltrow?) and the other three gave good, solid performances in less popular movies, but none was as exceptional as Cotillard’s. I do hope that someday, the very talented Laura Linney will be recognized for her superlative acting in another film.

    • Irv Slifkin

      My apoogies for implying Marian was unworthy–I guess I just would have preferred Laura, Ellen and Julie were my prefernce ove rher. It happened to be a good year for actresses.

      • Rob

        Marion Cotillard in “La Vie En Rose” is comparable to Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady.” Both gave very strong performances in disjointed films. Cotillard especially was particularly astounding in that her performance encompassed the entire film, whereas Streep, of course, could not portray Margaret Thatcher as a young woman. Cotillard was stunning as both the teenaged Edith and the doddering, ill, old woman near the end of Piaf’s life.

    • Baz

      Agree about Cate Blanchett, extraordinary as Elizabeth, losing to Paltrow’s insipid performance in Shakespeare In Love. So she pretended to be a boy-big deal! And not such a leap physically for her anyway. Blanchett has turned in great performances regularly since , unlike Paltrow, who probably peaked in Sliding Doors. Talent always wins out.



  • Bernard

    TOTALLY agree with all the moviegoers who think
    Grace Kelly’s so-so performance in “Country Girl”
    rates as one of those WEIRD choices for an Oscar.
    THAT year the award should have gone to JUDY GARLAND. Now what about Julie Andrews winning for
    “MARY POPPINS”–that was an award given to her for
    losing the screen role of Eliza Doolittle to Audrey
    Hepburn, it was clearly a move to teach Jack Warner
    a lesson–voters want to tell him “Don’t you dare
    give the plum roles of stage musicals to established movie stars! ” What a hoot !
    J Warner retaliates by promptly casting Vanessa
    Redgrave in the movie version of “Camelot” by
    passing Julie Andrews (who created that role on stage) ONE MORE TIME !
    I love Julie, she should have won for “Sound of Music” -that year another Julie won–Julie
    Christie (in “Darling”) another so-so performance,
    what part did she played ? a character very much like Grace Kelly—the vicious cycle starts again!

    • Irv Slifkin

      Good point about Jack Warner and Vanessa Redgrave.But I disagree with your underestimation of Julie Christie.

      • Gord Jackson

        Re Jack Warner (and this pains me, I kid you not), the man did get it right once, when he retained Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston (along with the rest of the original broadway cast but one) for the screen version of “Damn Yankees.” That he put in Tab Hunter over the original young Joe Hardy (I cannot remember the original actor’s real name) was understandable from a boxoffice perspective. That Tab Hunter acquits himself so well is also very much to his, Hunter’s credit.

        • Doug

          Actually, Andrews performance in Mary Poppins is great. Go back and watch the film. I think she definitely deserved to play the Fair Lady role because she is/was (lost her voice) a great natural singing talent like Garland. I don’t agree about the snub for Hepburn, for one simple reason – that was not her singing in the film.

          I also degree about Christie. She was and still is one of the great natural actors. Try to watch some of her early roles before Darling. They were very corny English films (except for Billy Liar), but she shines in them. I think she’s great in Darling. Fonda played in a bunch of fluffy romantic comedies before becoming a star with Cat Ballou and then her great performance in They Shoot Horses.

          Seems to me too that the academy loves actors who snub them by not showing up (George C. Scott, Katherine Hepburn, Woody Allen)

  • Juanita Curtis

    To Frank its Blanchett not Blanchard – the biggest upset of all was Cate losing out to Gwynneth Paltrow for Shakepeare in Love.

    Barbara Stanwyck like Cary Grant was also overlooked for an oscar – she should taken it home for Double Indemnity .

    • Joel

      I agree with the Academy’s short-changing of Stanwyck over the years. Of the quad-core of (Crawford, Davis, Hepburn and Stanwyck), Babs was by far the most versatile – think “Stella Dallas”, “The Lady Eve” and the aforesaid “Double Indemnity”. A trio of more different roles does not exist.

    • Irv Slifkin

      Juanita: “Missy” was great in so many movies, but I agree with your “Duuble Indemnity” comment. Thanks for chiming in.

  • Tito Pannaggi

    Joel you mentioned the two, but my admiration for Anna Magnani is still there. “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” was and still is one of my favorites. Susan Hayward was as good as Magnani in that one. An other woman is Dorothy Dandrige. It was a scandal that Grace Kelly won her Oscar in 1954. Both Dorothy Dandrige and even Judy Garland was better. Grace Kelly won because of her looks.

    Dorothy Dandrige and Susan Hayward are the two top-actress in Hollywood thrue the time!

  • Mark Conlan

    The Academy’s Dishonor Roll — great stars who should have won and never did — is long and impressive, and even worse for women than it is for men. Gloria Swanson — nominated three times (“Sadie Thompson,” “The Trespasser,” “Sunset Boulevard.”) Barbara Stanwyck — nominated just once (“Stella Dallas”) — sometimes versatility actually works against you. Irene Dunne. Myrna Loy. Carole Lombard (whose multiple-personality role in the little-known 1933 film “Supernatural” anticipates Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve” and Sally Field in the TV-movie “Sybil”). And the number one Academy mistake of all time in the leading actress category: the unspeakably mannered Luise Rainer in “The Good Earth” over the incandescent Greta Garbo in “Camille.”

    • Joel

      Stanwyck nominated 4 times:

      Stella Dallas, 1937
      Ball Of Fire, 1941
      Double Indemnity, 1944
      Sorry, Wrong Number, 1948

  • jonaathan Lippman

    ELEANOR PARKER far better in LIZZIE than Joanne Woodward in THREE FACES OF EVE and it was a better film too. Maureen O’hara cheated out of a nomination for QUIET MAN and in later years ONLY THE LONELY

  • Jack

    Judy Garland was clearly robbed as was Bette Davis in “All About Eve”. Davis also deserved award for “The Letter” and “The Little Foxes”, possibly “Now Voyager”, “Baby Jane”. and “Whales of August”.

    • maxfrabien

      Jack, let’s not forget Bette Davis got overlooked for “Of Human Bondage” in 1934. Not even nominated. That was one of Oscar’s biggest snubs.

  • Ellen Badders

    Whoopie Goldberg was robbed in 1985 for Color Purple by Geraldine Page in Trip to Bountiful. I also agree that Cate Blanchett should have won over Gwynneth Paltrow. Bette Davis not even nominated in 1939 for Dark Victory or Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex!! Go Figure!

    • phil

      Bette Davis was nominated for Dark Victory.

  • mj

    liv ullmann in both SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE (she wasn’t eligible to be nominated) and FACE TO FACE where she lost to faye dunaway. also linda fiorentino in THE LAST SEDUCTION (also not eligible).

  • Gord Jackson

    I would like to have seen a Judy Garland and Dorothy Dandridge tie in 1954. Both gave towering performances in two very difficult, intricate roles.

    I can understand the annoyance at Gwynneth Paltrow’s performance in “Shakespeare in Love” over Cate Blanchett’s brilliant Elizabeth I. That said, my personal choice has always been Fernada Montenegro for her stunning acting 101 in “Central Station.” I still think it is one of the most flawless performances I have ever seen, on a level with the deservedly Marion Cotillard’s Edith Piaf.

    Tennesse Williams once described her as ‘the magnificent Magnani’ and after seeing “The Rose Tatoo” it is hard to for me to argue with Anna Magnani’s Oscar for 1955. Still, a Susan Hayward/Anna Magnani tie that year would not have been unwelcome either. That Susie did finally win for a more routine turn in “I Want to Live” over Deborah Kerr’s shocking transformation from sophistication in “An Affair to Remember” to dowdy mama’s girl/spinster in “Separate Tables” was a cruel joke.
    Ditto Hepburn and Streisand in 1968 over Vanessa Redgrave’s riveting Isadora Duncan even though I adore Streisand and think “Funny Girl” her best. Another miss for me was Liza Minnelli winning for “Cabaret” (brilliant though she was) over Diana Ross’s Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues.” It wasn’t much of a biopic (a thought to be shared by many about “The Iron Lady”) but Ross was amazing in it.

    I was disappointed that Lana Turner didn’t win for her fine performance in “Peyton Place” but cannot at the same time argue with Joanne Woodward for “The Three Faces of Eve.”

    A couple of nom snubs should also be mentioned – Doris Day for “Love Me or Leave Me” (1955) over the turgid Jennifer Jones in “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” and Shirley MacLaine’s nom for “Some Came Running” instead of Jean Simmons in 1958 for “Home Before Dark.”

    Totally agree with Gloria Swanson for “Sunset Boulevard” with second-choice nod to Bette Davis for “All About Eve”, and disgusted that Missy was constantly snubbed by Oscar.

    Finally, I think Oscar got it right with the aforementioned Marion Cotillard for “Piaf” and Maggie Smith for her brauvera performance in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.”

    • Jim

      Agree that Doris Day turned in an academy award performance in Love Me or Leave Me. Also thought she should have won the big one for her work in Calamity Jane which was physically very demanding. Moreover, she was great in The Man who Knew too Much and in Teacher’s Pet with Clark Gable. Very underrated, but much appreciated actress!!

  • fred buschbaum

    Gee, folks, Over seventy years I’ve seen many Actors and Actresses playing serious and comedic parts. My alltime favorite actress is still babs stanwick. versatile and classy in everything she did. Myrna Loy opposite Cray Grant in south america many good actors dying while trying to fly over the andes. Most good actors get at least one great role, but, the studios use their money to push one film or another for politics. My viewing habits vary a lot with what’s on the late show or TCM. Yet, while crusing the boob tube what should appear but a film called “Chocolat”, Wow!, Juliet Binoche knocked my socks off! I was also shocked by another actor in that film who underplayed his part so well. Even without his gold teeth and plumed hat. You can never tell when an actress or actor will get that role that becomes so real that you can’t even take your eyes off to take a potty break. (in Chocolat, The whole cast even tho unknown to me fit in the film so well that I was blownaway. another example, Beau Geste with Gary Cooper still outclasses all the remakes of that film. (My pet peeve, directors who change remakes to meet their ideas of what makes a better story or to enhance it with the latest cgi or other special effects) Most successful films came from books which I’ve read and it’s sad to see an author’s classic changed due to someones need to express themselves. Oh Well, 2 cups of coffee and a chocolate donut make me longwinded.

  • ETB

    How about Sharon Stone in “Casino” ? I think she did a great job. Don’t recall who won that year?

    • maxfrabien

      Sharon Stone was nominated for Best Actress for “Casino”, but lost to Susan Sarandon for “Dead Man Walking”.

      • Irv Slifkin

        I always looked at Casino as two films: A terrific one and the one sharon Stone was in. I found her uttelry annoying in that movie.

        • maxfrabien

          Irv, Sharon Stone’s character was suppose to be annoying and unlikable. So she played the part very well, and deserved the nomination.

          • Admar

            Sharon Stone is magnificent in this movie. Her transformation and subsequent decline is one of the best aspects of this finely crafted film.

  • Lavelle Jones

    The worst snub recently was Halle Berry’s win for Monsters Ball. I don’t remember her competition, but it doesn’t matter: her performance was laughable. Also, Cate Blanchett should have won over Gwyneth Paltrow’s Shakespeare in Love.Bette Davis should have received many more Oscars than she did, and Judy Garland was indeed robbed in favor of glamour girl Grace Kelly’s bland performance in Country Girl. Lastly, Gloria Swanson’s turn in Sunset Boulevard is a wonder to behold even to this day.

    • Mike L

      You are so right! Halle Berry in a Monsters Ball was one of the worst performances in an Oscar winning performance EVER. The movie was so bad and her performance was hysterical…watch the scene where she “acts” (using the term “acts” very loosely) like she is drunk, you will get a good laugh. I believe it was the same year “A Beautiful Mind” won every major award, except Best Actor. The academy was upset at Russel Crowe for his comments, so they gave Denzel W. the award for “Training Day”…another major snub.

    • Anne

      I believe that she got the Oscar because she acted as if she were ugly. That in itself is an acting job right there. There was much to dislike in that film, including the writing. I love Halle Berry, and would die for her…and I am hoping that she will at some point in her career take several acting classes.

  • maxfrabien

    The 2 biggest Oscar snubs for Best Actress are Bette Davis for “Of Human Bondage” (1934), and Audrey Hepburn for “My Fair Lady” (1964). Neither performance was even nominated!!

    • Rosebug

      Dear Max, you sly puss. No Oscar for Bette Davis in “All About Eve” ? Although she was nominated, the winner that year was a no-brainer!

    • Admar

      Davis’ performance in Of Human Bondage was far superior than any actress of that time. It was groundbreaking in it’s ugliness and sadness.
      Audrey Hepburn should have won for The Nuns Story, but definatley snubbed for My Fair Lady. Ms. Hepburn took a chance with this role and succeeded. I think her as Eliza in her first visit to Higgins home cements that for me!

  • BOB


  • Helen

    Debbie Reynolds was robbed. She did a beautiful job in the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

    • ED

      I agree. She was great in Unsinkable Molly. I have seen her at times in Vegas & Chicago and enjoyed her LIVE perfomances. She has always been my favorite.

      • henry kokemueller

        debbie was totally robbed of a nomination and an oscar win for MOTHER. this was her best performance since her great days at MGM. SHAME on you, academy!!!!!!!!

  • ED

    Ialso agree that Susan Hayworth, Barbara Stanwyck, didn’t get an Oscar for some of their greatest film roles.

    • maxfrabien

      Minor point Ed, it’s Susan Hayward. (Rita’s last name was Hayworth.) And Susan Hayward did win a Best Actress Oscar in 1958 for “I Want to Live”.

  • Jim

    Re The Country Girl. I thought Bing Crosby should have taken Best Actor(so did he); however, Grace Kelly was quite good in her portrayal of a plain, long-suffering, controlling woman much older than Grace.
    Still think Natalie Wood should have won for West Side Story and can’t think of anyone who could have played the part so well- either then or now.

  • Doug

    Although Garland’s musical talents were transported in A Star is Born, her acting wasn’t all that great. Her sob scene in the dressing room when she was talking about her husband seemed forced and a little contrived rather than real. And in other scenes she just looked like she was acting rather than ‘becoming’ the character.

    Rainer’s oscar for The Great Ziegfeld was a travesty. She was hardly in the film, and her only one good scene was talking on the phone to Florenz where she melodramatically croons, “Oh Flo,blah,blah,blah” with sad little eyes was not oscar-worthy. Sorrry. And Irene Dunn, one of the great golden age actresses, got royally screwed out of a much deserved oscar. The academy never did give her an oscar. But Rainer’s character in The Good earth was great and she did deserve that oscar.

    I think Katherine Hepburn clenched her oscar for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner because she just fell so easily into the role of Joey’s mother and treated it so naturally that she looked great, but it was the tears that glistened around her eyes and the way she looked at Tracey during his great speech at the end of the movie that sent the oscar her way. I was crying my eyes out watching her. Bancroft’s performance was great too, but Bancroft was a great actress, period.

    I still think Burstyn should have won the best supporting oscar for The Last Picture Show. She was so cool and crisp in that movie and so real that I wanted her to win it. I think Leachmann got it because she was in the film more and she threw a good tantrum at the end. Glenda Jackson was another great actress from that period.

    I thought it was justifiable that Holliday got her oscar, even though Davis in All About Eve was her crowning achievement in her long career. If notfor Holliday she would have won that oscar and been up there with Bergman (3 oscars), Hepburn (4), and now Streep (3).

    I was just watching Georgy Girl last night and was glad Lynn Redgrave was nominated for that film. She was great in it.

    I just love the movies!

  • mark zall

    Jessica Lange was given best supporting actress for Tootsie as consolation. She should have gotten best actress for Frances. My favorite performance of all time.

    • Admar

      Jessica Langes performance is so solid it is painful to watch. From King Kong to Francis…that’s a talented and skilled leap!

  • roger zotti

    Eva Marie Saint’s sultry, intelligent performance in North by Northwest was worth of a Best Actress Oscar…

  • Dolores Tamoria

    Barbara Stanwick in 1948 Sorry Wrong Number very dramatic roll. I saw it back then when I was 13 yrs old and never forgot it. It is part of my Classic Collection.

  • Light-Hearted Friend

    Ellen Page in An American Crime.

  • Metro’s little lion

    Several people have mentioned Irene Dunne, but not one of her best performances, in “High Wide and Handsome”, which, although it contained some lovely Jerome Kern siongs, was, when Dunne wasn’t on screen, a terrible bore. Perhaps that often makes the difference – a great performance in a mediocre film is sometimes ignored. However, not this year. Can anybody really tell me that they liked “Iron Lady”? Streep was wonderful, but the movie was dull, boring, and in compressing so much, distorted history.

    And not even Ted Turner has had “High Wide and Handsome” brushed up and sent out to the public.
    So most of you don’t have an idea of how could Dunne could be.

    And don’t forget Stanwyck in “Christmas in Connecticut”. Even saddled with Dennis Morgan, she lit up the screen with such perfect timing – a true comic classic.

    Too bad the Oscars don’t give an honorary statue to a deceased or retired actor – perhaps one per year – to catch up on the slights such as Cary Grant…though I seem to remember that he got an honourary Oscar one long past year.

    An aside – could someone loan Angelina Jolie a copy of “The Band Wagon”? Now, there were the world’s most beautiful legs, and I don’t mean those that belonged to Fred Astaire.

    • Robin

      Two points:

      You can see and judge Irene Dunne in her two comedies with Cary Grant, The Awful Truth and My Favorite Wife. A truly superb actress.

      Second I agree about Cyd Charisse’s legs but – please excuse my ignorance and I’m genuinely interested- what is the relevance to Angelina Jolie?

      • Metro’s little lion

        The 2012 Oscars were taken over by the one leg…even a winner made fun of it, and probably earned a hitman being hired…or would it be a Pittman?

        It wasn’t her night, but she attempted to hijack it from the nominees and winners. Any publicity is good publicity? I don’t think so.

        • Anne

          As I understand, Jolie was trying to bring a little humor into the proceedings by making fun of the poses that so many actresses assume.

    • maxfrabien

      The Academy occasionally does grant postumous lifetime awards. They did so for Edward G. Robinson at the 1972 Awards. I think the Academy should give postumous awards to the best horror actors ever, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. If you studey their performances, you can see what talented, skilled actors they were.

  • Metro’s little lion

    Thanks for the reminder of Eva Marie Saint. She was a classa act in every way. I cannot think of a bad performance. Even in “Raintree County”, with all that talent packed into a poorly scripted film, she was the only one worth watching. Well, maybe Lee Marvin’s final scene showed us what strong talent he was to reveal soon.

    Another class act or two – Lee Remick, and Angela Lansbury who walked off with the “The Harvey Girls” right under the nose of Judy Garland, and “Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman giving a strong performance.

  • phil

    The greatest injustice was in 1937, when Luise Rainer won for her heavy-handed stoicism in The Good Earth. Three other nominees were infinitely more deserving — Greta Garbo in “Camille,” Barbara Stanwyck in “Stella Dallas” and Irene Dunne in “The Awful Truth.”

    • Metro’s little lion

      Absolutely true. But almost every 1930′s choice can be seen as unjust as so many great performances were given most years, even by today’s standards. But how does one justify the really bad choices that came up the 1960s and 1970s?

      And though she didn’t get the oscar – she was usually a very bad actress – Lana Turner was cast perfectly in “The Bad and the Beautiful” and gave one of Metro’s best performances that year.
      Just a reminder. I think I’d give up on Oscars forever if she had won.

  • Rob in L.A.

    One quick correction: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” was released December 12, 1967, and Spencer Tracy died June 10, 1967, so he actually passed away BEFORE the movie came out.

  • Tim

    Was so glad to see favorable mention of Julie Christie in “Away From Her”…really enjoyed that!

    • Admar

      Julie was extraordinary. A welcomed film performance by a classy and talented actress. Remember her in The Go Between ?

  • Frank Guerrasio

    And how about these non-nominees: ida Lupino in “The Hard Way”;Melina Mercouri in “Promise at Dawn”; Margaret Lindsay in “House of 7 Gables’; Lillian Gish in “Whales of August”; and, as mentioned, Doris in”Love Me…”

  • Andre Bellemarre

    how about MIA FARROW for her superb performance in the classic ROSEMARY,S BABY? She wasn,t even nominated though RUTH GORDON won best supporting actress.

    • Light-Hearted Friend

      Great call.

  • Rosebug

    I think one of the great Academy snubs was Agnes Moorhead as Velma Cruther in “Hush, Hush…” A film noir tour de force.

    • Admar

      I agree whole heartedly. She added insight, sympathy, and depth to the entire proceedings. Her film death was ghastly.

  • Christine Stouffer

    1954: Grace Kelly won in “THE COUNTRY GIRL”, not “THE COUNTRY WIFE” as you stated here.

  • Admar

    Big Oscar Mistakes…No Oscar Awarded to…
    Swanson..Sunset Blvd
    Davis……..The Letter
    Garland….A Star is Born
    Parker……Interrupted Melody or
    Hayward..I’ll Cry Tomorrow
    Kerr………The King and I, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison

  • Joyce Belcher

    I was isappointed that Australia was never awarded anything and that Nicole Kidman deserved that Best Actress Award also Judy Garland deserved it for A Star is Born. Also there has not ever been a lifetime award to Mickey Rooney. I like his movies with Judy Garland and his unbelievable talent. He could do anything including play so many instruments. It’s a shame he never got any thanks for all the movies he made.

    • Baz

      Joyce, the awards are not handed out on a nationality basis, other than Best Foreign Film categories. I’m an Aussie but I cringe when I see the media crapping on about “Aussies snubbed at Oscars”. Australia has its own film awards but do you think the US whines about its actors etc. not winning them. Let’s just grow up a little.

      • tom

        I hesitate to speak for her, but I believe she was referring to the movie Australia, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman

        • Baz

          Oh I forgot about that movie so apologies for my rant. Having said that, I now need to say that Australia was not worthy of any nomination except perhaps cinematography. I hope that my namesake Baz lifts his game for The Great Gatsby, which was being shot in Sydney recently.

  • Roger Lynn

    Viola Davis this year,,where was tilda swinton for we need to talk about kevin,,,,Michelle Williams for my week with marilyn,,all far ahead of Meryl(over-rated)Streep…How about the greatest of actresses Ms Barbara Stanwyck,,her 4 Oscar Nods were Stella Dallas,(luise Rainer won),,Ball Of Fire (Joan Fontaine won)Double Indemnity,(Ingrid Bergman won)Sorry Wrong Number (Jane Wyman won)she should of won hands down for Double Indemnity and Sorry Wrong Number

    • Admar

      Stanwyck in Double Idemniyy hands down is one of the greatest snubs ever. No one could have added the layers Stanwyck did to that role.
      Should have been Nominated: Greer Garson in Random Harvest, not Mrs. Miniver

  • Admar

    Eva Marie Saint ..derived the Sup Oscar for Waterfront…yes, to North by Northwest. What about A Hatful of Rain and Exodus

  • Rebecca N

    In his books about the history of the Academy Awards, Robert Osborne describes the phenomenon known as the “holdover award.” A holdover award occurs when an actor/actress/director receives an Oscar because they were previously snubbed. The performance for which they were “snubbed” may have been superior to the performance for which they received the award, but at least they do finally receive some well deserved recognition.

    High on my list of people who SHOULD HAVE received an Oscar–holdover or otherwise–are Natalie Wood and Peter O’Toole.

    • steve. there was the famous bette davis holdover : got for Dangerous in 1935 because they failed to give it to her for Of Human Bondage in 1934.

      there was the famous Bette Davis holdover in 1935 for Dangerous because they failed to give it to her for one of the finest performances ever in Of Human Bondage

  • Baz

    As Clint Eastwood famously said-”Opinions are like assholes-everybody’s got one”. The comments here just underline what a subjective exercise it is trying to single out one person or one film each year as “best”. It would be fairer to award all of the nominees in every category. What’s wrong with having 6 “Best Actors” each year , for example. Everybody acknowledges that all of the nominees have excelled in some way so share the award and avoid all of the “I wuz robbed” angst that goes on every year.

  • Douglas White

    Deborah Kerr for The Innocents, Vivien Leigh For Ship of Fools, Jo Van Fleet for Wild River, Judy Garland for A Star is Born, Gloria Swanson for Sunset Blvd, Agnes Moorhead for The Magnificent Ambersons, Vivien Leigh for Waterloo Bridge, Joanne Woodward for The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, and for The Glass Menagerie, Anne Bancroft for The Pumpkin Eater and for The Graduate

    • Harold Holmes

      YOU ARE EXACTLY, PERFECTLY, AND ABSOLUTELY CORRECT….YOU SHOULD BE A CASTING DIRECTOR……YOUR CHOICES WOULD HAVE CHANGED MANY OF THEIR LIVES….ESPECIALLY MY DEAR JUDY, SHE WAS SO ALWAYS CRUSHED FOR NEVER BEING RECOGNIZED AS A PROFESSIONAL, WITH THIS BOARD OF JUDGES AT THE ACADEMY….NEVER GOOD ENOUGH……AND WE KNOW GRACE TOOK IT HOME DUE TO HER FAMILY AND THEIR POSITION IN PHILLY AND THE PRINCE R——-… $$$MONEY ALWAYS WEIGHS A TON…(it talks) AND THE REST WALK…..NO MATTER THE WEATHER…SOOOO SAD…Even the past academy awards, with Meryl Streep, winning over the outstanding performance of Viola Davis, the MAIN MAID in the Help…an outstanding performance and what an actress VIOLA is>>>>…..a real actress>>>what a shaft….the “Iron Lady” movie was SOOOOO BAD….BORING…, she did not look like Margaret Thatcher or sound like her……IT WAS SOOOO CONTRIVED, TOTALLY…. and was just another example of Hollywood ACADEMY BOARD, at its best….PATHETIC…!!!

      • Douglas White

        Thank you. I should have also included Shirley MacLaine for The Apartment. I would also note that Jo Van Fleet, Agnes Moorehead,Vivien Leigh (Ship of Fools) I see as Supporting performances. I believe that the greatest winning performances are Vivien Leigh for A Streetcar Named Desire and for Gone with the Wind, Meryl Streep for Sophie’s Choice, Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful, Patricia Neal for Hud, Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl, Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind (Sup) and Jane Darwell for The Grapes of Wrath (Sup)

        • Gord Jackson

          Sorry, but I can’ go along with all of the Streep or (as a movie) “Iron Lady” bashers. Meryl Streep is arguably the most versatile female film performer we have today and her take on Margaret Thatcher was very good.

          That the film was not a usual Hollywood bio may be at the root of its problem with many. That it indicated what made Margaret Thatcher who she was through some very fine imaging and reaction shots also seems to have been lost on most. It may not be a classic for the ages, but the pre-suppositions I suspect that were brought into it by viewers says more about those viewers and their take on “The Iron Lady” or its central subject than the actual film that was delivered. It’s like criticizing a film made from a favourite book – too many (often much more trained in the language of print than of images) spend too much time critiquing the film that should have been made from the favourite book as opposed to the one delivered. They are two toally, separate arts, one grounded in words strung together out of letters, the other images strung together into montage.

          I never have and never will be a fan of Margaret (TNT) Thatcher, but the film gave me some context and not just a stereotypical, arrogant, hateful Maggie that a lack of further insights would have delivered. I may not have agreed with Mrs. hatcher or her politics, but I can now at least more appreciate who she was and the motivations behind her actions.

  • Anonymous

    Sure, she won for Suspicion, but Joan Fontaine most deserved the oscar in 1944 for The Constant Nymph. Her portrayal of the gawky, lovesick 14 year old was beyond convincing (she was in her mid 20s at the time). Watch some of those movements and expressions…a rare example of someone playing way younger who pulled it off completely.




    • Admar

      I agree, I agree, I agree….three extraordinary actresses. Who can ever forget their beauty, talent and skill. And their commitment to their craft…..

      • Laurence Almand

        Parker was excellent in CAGED – and should have won.

  • Alfie

    As with many other things, Hollywood games and politics have ruined the Academy Award process. If it was difficult to select the best of the best in the early days of cinema – it is now next to impossible to do with any degree of objectivity. Love the Clint Eastwood quote.

  • Harold Holmes

    Judy Garland, Viola Davis, Whoopi Goldberg, Julianne Moore, so many great performances………and JESSICA TANDY>>>>many more have been rudely ignored…

    • Rick Biggie

      If you want to discuss snubs then you have to mention the great Rosalind Russell who could have one for any of her 4 noms. Really in 47 they gave it to Loretta Young for a medicore performance in The Farmers Daughter over Roz in Mourning Becomes Electra. She was completely overlooked for Picnic in 55. She steals the film. They just got it all wrong in 58. I would have picked Roz for Auntie Mame or Elizabeth Taylor for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It seams that were giving the award away for ones body of work and not the performance. If this was the case Roz had a great body of work moving brilliantly from comedy to drama which she pulled off ease playing Mame. That being said she should’ve been the pick for Auntie Mame! Oh! Don’t even get me started on her loss in 46!

    • Laurence Almand

      Lana Turner did an excellent job in PEYTON PLACE. I guess her glamor image overshadowed her performance.

  • Irv Slifkin

    Thanks for all of the insightful comments. I was trying to focus on actresses who WERE nominated as opposed to those who were not. Perhaps next year we’ll explore theones who should have been nominated. and here-here for Dunne and Lupino!

  • Kathy

    I remember being very disappointed, and still am, that Meryl Streep win an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the 1985 Academy Award winner for Best Film, Out of Africa. She was so believable as the Danish countess. Instead the award went to Geraldine Page. So go the politics of the Academy that it was only three years since she had won an Oscar in the brackett for her performance in Sophie’s Choice. Now she finally wins one for her performance in a film that hasn’t been giving the best of reviews. Beside, unless your a staunch supporter of the Tory party in the U.K., who wants to watch a film about Margaret Thatcher, a woman who came into office as Prime Minister as a popular politician, and went out one of the most unpopular of the 20th century.

    • Laurence Almand

      Geraldine Page should have won for SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, but was overlooked for the same reason SUNSET BOULEVARD was overlooked – the film was too close to home for the Hollywood crowd, evidently.
      I for one believe that she did deserve the Award for TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL – a sad, poignant, beautifully-acted tale of an older woman saying goodbye to her childhood home.

  • Bernard

    AUDREY HEPBURN was snubbed of the Oscar for “The
    Nun’s Story”, anybody remember who won that year?
    It was Simone Signoret for”Room at the Top” –a
    memorable performance ? I ‘ll let anybody have
    their “opinion”. I totally agree with the “undeserving” winners like Grace Kelly, Luise
    Rainer (For Great Ziegfeld), Gywneth Paltrow,
    Luise Fletcher, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep (Iron Lady). And people like DORIS DAY should be awarded a LIFETIME achievement award (she is a better singer than Streisand or Minnelli !!)–
    and people like Stanwcyk, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Jean Simmons, Susan Hayward should be
    given more awards than just nominations.
    Ah… I guess all snubs are great for
    conversation. The Academy was not meant to represent the public choices. Great actresses
    will remain indelible in their fans memories
    regardless if they won an Oscar or not. I for
    one will watch Audrey in “The Nun’s Story” on video over and over again, as for “Room at the Top”-once was quite enough.

  • Patrick Hornberger

    So how did the Oscars overlook Cate Blanchett for her amazing imitation of Dylan (she was more Dylan he was)or Notes on a Scandal (a gutsy role for any actress)–since Oscar and Lucinda this actress – on screen and stage is as good as Streep and a lot more pleasing to look at. And isnt it really about who is in – in Hollywood?

  • henry kokemueller

    the greatest snub in oscar history occured in 1962 when the greatest actress that ever lived,BETTE DAVIS lost to ANNE BANCROFT. nothing against MISS BANCROFT, but booze-hag JOAN CRAWFORD compaigned against BETTE to all her friends {and i’m sure many a bed-mate} and told them not to vote for her. to add insult,she even accepted the award for MISS BANCROFT and then kept the oscar for some time! BETTE’S interpretation of the aged-star BABY JANE was simply superb! all the nuances. make-up, and creation of the character was BETTE’S. she didn’t perfect the part on stage as did MISS BANCROFT of her portayal of annie sullivan. BRAVO BETTE!!!you were ROBBEDDEDDDDD!!!!!

  • Diane

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but no one has even mentioned Doris Day. I know she was primarily a comedic, song and dance actress, but boy could she act!! Look at her performances in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much, Julie, Midnight Lace, anything she did with Rock Hudson. She could speak volumes without opening her mouth – her facial expressions were priceless. She was a bundle of talent like Debbie Reynolds – but the Academy never nominates actresses who are the “triple threat” – act, sing, dance. Don’t know why, it’s just always been that way.

    • Laurence Almand

      Not quite. Ginger Rogers won for KITTY FOYLE.

  • wayne

    Put her right there then, in that case, with Mickey Rooney, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, Ok? Ive also always really respected some unique once in a lifetime performers…those who, like Bob Hope, Red Skelton, and Jack Benny, that came along by an accident of birth and combined great timing with God-given talent to span several eras of entertainment: Vaudeville, Radio, Movies & TV!PBS did a wonderful special a couple of years ago to honor these often overlooked legends! :)

  • Roger Phillips

    Gloria Swansan definately should have worn for her perfect Norma Desmond in one of the best ever “Sunset Boulevard”. Though I like Judy Holiday I really love her in the very funny “Solid Gold Cadillac” rather than the boring “Born Yesterday”. Yes, Judy Garland should have won for “A Star is Born”; “Country Girl” was boring all around. I like Kate but who can honestly say they even enjoyed the movie “Lion in Winter”–it is a truly boring movie. At least Barbra Striesand did share an oscar win for the wonderful Fanny Brice “Funny Girl”. Yes, Barbara Stanwyck should have one once probably for “Double Indemnity”. At least she got an honorary oscar late in life. (She did win multiple emmys–yes, she did drama and comedy equally well and was a beautiful woman even in old age. And she let her hair turn a beautiful color of gray.

    • Laurence Almand

      Remember Stanwyck’s famous quote about acting her age and letting her hair turn naturally gray: “What the hell. You’ve been around for years and everyone knows it. So why pretend?” Good for her!

  • Bobby Laguardia

    Lucille Ball

  • Roger Lynn

    Barbara Stanwyck was over looked 4 times STELLA DALLAS,BALL OF FIRE,DOUBLE INDEMNITY(SHOULD OF WON FOR THIS),SORRY WRONG NUMBER(DEF SHOULD OF WON),SIGOURNEY WEAVER gave her best performance ever in COPYCAT she didn’t even get nominated Jessica Lange won for the stupid over-rated Blue Sky

    • Ezra

      I totally agree that Barbara Stanwyck should have won a Best Actress oscar, especially for Sorry Wrong Number. She was one of, if not the finest actress of her generation who gave remarkable performances in all of her films. Any film is blessed with a Stanwyck performance. Ditto for Sigourney Weaver and her Copycat thesping was terrific. I also greatly admire Jessica Lange’s talent and it’s a shame she didn’t win the Best Actress oscar for her work in the film, Frances.

    • Laurence Almand

      Keep in mind that studio politics plays a huge part in who gets what award. Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar for BUTTERFIELD 8 was purely a sentimental award for almost having died. The film is one of the worst she ever made, and ditto her performance. The only reason she did the picture was to get out of her MGM contract so she could do CLEOPATRA – another clinker.

  • fbusch

    Watching the dates, seems my mail is slow….. most of them are about 1 year old but today is feb. 12-2013. So my take on all this may seem a bit off center. I have to say that this stuff is only in the eye of the beholder. For myself, I’ve seen most of these actresses fall flat, or glow like a shooting star. (the academy is a very political organisation). I’m 73 yrs old, and I know what sticks in my mind forever. I’d not seen “The Good Earth” until about 10 years ago, (on one of those nights when you cruise the channels in bordom), I’d never seen Louise Rainer, and to my knowledge haven’t seen her in anything else, but, she gave a standout performance by underplaying rather than “emoting”. Then theres Ms. Stanwick, seen her alot. Always believeable, and CLASS in everything. Kate Hepburn, seemed to me at her best in lighthearted parts even though most preferred her in heavy dramatic roles. As to Streep, I’ve got mixed feelings, a film where she is hounded by nuclear business she did very well, and “Out of Africa” was perfection. Susan Hayward sticks in my mind for several roles. Doris Day is always there. Julia Roberts is usually very believeable too. When an actress, (or an actor makes you feel that they are the person portrayed, they should be accorded your praise). The most important thing to keep in mind, is to separate the quality of the film from the script the person has to work with. How about someone not mentioned? Jean Arthur, That diamond on a glass table top voice just fit her and made her more believeable. Another one would be Juliet Binoche, Chocolat held my attention completely. Most, have had great roles, and some stinkers too. As I said at the beginning, I like many actresses, but a few stick in my mind forever. So, pick your own poison and enjoy.

  • Jonathan

    KILLS ME that Miss Lilli Palmer, actress par excellence over a 40 year period, was never nominated for an oscar and seems to be totally forgotten today, but not by me.. her performances in BODY AND SOUL as John Garfield’s neglected wife and in COUNTERFAIT TRAITOR with William Holden, she playing a woman of the Berlin underground resistance and starring with then Husband Rex Harrison in THE FOUR POSTER which won her the Venice film festival award for best actress were all oscar nomination worthy… a pity

  • williamsommerwerck

    Judy Holliday’s performance in (the boring?) “Born Yesterday” is exceptional — but it should have been, as she had a year on stage to refine it. Gloria Swanson’s in “Sunset Blvd.” is one of the great screen performances, period. It’s subtle and finely nuanced — she is beyond “acting”. Her Norma Desmond is a real person.

    I suspect her loss was a reaction against the film.

    • TLady62

      I agree, with both you and the writer of this blog that Swanson’s performance was indeed a powerful one. And I definitely share your suspicion, since it has been noted in several books and documentaries that Hollywood did not appreciate Wilder putting them on blast about how the industry often used and abused young, starry-eyed beauties, only to discard them when they grew old. And it still happens today.

    • Laurence Almand

      I suspect Louis B. Mayer’s influence had something to do with Swanson’s being bypassed in 1950. Mayer hated SUNSET BOULEVARD, as did many of the old-time Hollywood moguls and other denizens. (A year later, Mayer was ousted from MGM).

  • dirkwrestler

    yeah, there seems to be some “career” Oscars awarded or “make up” Oscars — Since Whoopi Goldberg didn’t win for THE COLOR PURPLE, she was awarded a statuette for GHOST a year later.

    • Laurence Almand

      Likewise Bette Davis, who was passed over for OF HUMAN BONDAGE.

  • Tiffany Fontaine

    Of course, Audrey Hepburn being completely snubed (not even overlooked, but slapped across the face) in “My Fair Lady,” and then giving it to Julie Andrews for “Mary Poppins!” I mean, Miss Andrews ahs done some fine work – but that was not the Oscar-worthy role of her career!

    • Laurence Almand

      Julie Andrews, who originated Eliza Dolittle on Broadway, was considered for the film role. However, Warner boss Jack Warner wanted a boxoffice name, since Warners had paid $5,500,000 for the film rights – a huge sum in the 1960s. (The picture was originally offered to MGM, but the Metro brass would not pay the price.)
      Hepburn was, unfortunately, too old for the part, and was not convincing in the least. Also, her songs were dubbed by Marni Nixon, whereas Andrews did her own singing. I suppose the Academy figured that since Hepburn had already won an Oscar it was Andrews’ turn.

      • BILLYBOY53


  • agenteightysix

    Frances McDormand was very good in “Fargo”, but Emily Watson (“Breaking the Waves”) deserved the award.

  • Joe Levin

    How about Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate and secondarily in Capra’s State of the Union

  • Laurence Almand

    Garbo in Camille was far better that Rainer, but she never won an Oscar – a shameful overlook of a great actress. The Academy finally awarded her an honorary Oscar, belatedly.



  • RubManFtLaud

    The biggest travesty in my opinion, in the Lead Actress category was 1973 when Gena Rowlands was overlooked for ” Woman Under the Influence”. Oh yeah, what about Glenn Close in “Dangerous Liaisons” in 1988. Jodie Foster won that year. But my fave was Glenn.

  • Sara

    Stanwyck not winning ANY of her four nominations.

  • Sara

    Kathy Bates was utterly fantastic in Dolores Claiborne.

  • BarryBD

    A real acting tour de force from all three leads, Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner, in Night of the Iguana was passed over completely. Supporting cast Cyril Delevanti and Grayson Hall were also superb, with at least Hall receiving a Supporting Actress nomination.