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Best "Best Actress" of the 1950s

Who do you think was most deserving of the prize? The winners:%0D %0D 1950: Judy Holliday in "Born Yesterday"%0D %0D 1951: Vivien Leigh in "A Streetcar Named Desire"%0D %0D 1952: Shirley Booth in "Come Back, Little Sheba"%0D %0D 1953: Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday"%0D %0D 1954: Grace Kelly in "The Country Girl"%0D %0D 1955: Anna Magnani in "The Rose Tattoo"%0D %0D 1956: Ingrid Bergman in "Anastasia"%0D %0D 1957: Joanne Woodward in "The Three Faces of Eve"%0D %0D 1958: Susan Hayward in "I Want to Live!"%0D %0D 1959: Simone Signoret in "Room at the Top"

by Anonymousreply 7505/11/2013

Demi Moore

by Anonymousreply 101/21/2011

Love me some Judy and some Vivien, but Shirley is the clear winner here.

by Anonymousreply 201/21/2011

The actual winner is Judy Garland, but she was robbed of the prize by a puritanical academy that wanted to punish her for her perceived misdeeds.

by Anonymousreply 301/21/2011

i've never seen room at the top.

by Anonymousreply 401/21/2011

r4, it's a great British soap opera with a magnificent performance by Signoret as a lonely married woman who has an affair with ambitious, on-the-make Laurence Harvey.

by Anonymousreply 501/21/2011

Actually, I think Grace Kelly was the only egregious mistake for The Country Girl, a performance that was only distinctive in its miscasting. %0D %0D Some might quibble with Judy Holliday and Audrey Hepburn as well, who both won mainly because it was the first time moviegoers had ever seen them and they were truly unique.

by Anonymousreply 601/21/2011

who do you think should have won those r6?

by Anonymousreply 701/22/2011

I'm not R6, but Judy Holliday, who WAS wonderful in Born Yesterday, beat out Bette Davis for All About Eve and Gloria Swanson for Sunset Blvd.

by Anonymousreply 801/22/2011

Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson should have tied for Best Actress in 1950.

by Anonymousreply 901/22/2011

Bette Davis should have won for All About Eve instead of Holliday (who I love!) and Judy Garland should have won for A Star Is Born instead of Kelly.%0D %0D Rereading the list of winners, I realize there are quite a few who were probably seen by most American audiences for the first time in their respective roles: Booth, Signoret, Magnani and Woodward, so my theory doesn't hold much water.

by Anonymousreply 1001/22/2011

I went with Signoret. With the exception of Kelly, I'm fond of all these performances.

by Anonymousreply 1101/22/2011

Davis and Swanson gave astoundingly fearless performances. Holiday winning over them is one of the biggest jokes in Academy history.

by Anonymousreply 1201/22/2011

I'll pick Vivien Leigh

by Anonymousreply 1301/22/2011

It's astounding that Bette Davis did not win for All About Eve.

by Anonymousreply 1401/22/2011

Viv, only because Bette didn't win for one of the top 5 female performances of all time in "All About Eve".

by Anonymousreply 1501/22/2011

Fuck Bette Davis! Fuck her right in the ass!

by Anonymousreply 1601/22/2011

I'm curious about Shirley Booth. I know that she created her role in Come Back Little Sheba on Broadway before making the film version but was she very well-known to audiences before that and if so, for what? And did she make many other films before becoming a TV star as Hazel (over 10 years later)?

by Anonymousreply 1701/22/2011

Shirley Booth reinvented film acting with her raw, honest and heartbreakingly vulnerable performance in SHEBA. It was utterly without artifice and like looking directly into another human being's heart and soul. A triumph unequaled to this day.

by Anonymousreply 1801/22/2011

In which movie did Simone Signoret have a scene (toward the end of the film) with a really handsome blond man? %0D %0D Any dish on Laurence Harvey? He was a fine actor and quite handsome in an Anderson Cooper sort of way.

by Anonymousreply 1901/22/2011

[quote]In which movie did Simone Signoret have a scene (toward the end of the film) with a really handsome blond man?

"Ship of Fools"?

by Anonymousreply 2001/22/2011

Magnani's oscar for Rose Tattoo is not merely the most deserving best actress oscar of the 50s.

It's one of the greatest performances of all time.

by Anonymousreply 2101/22/2011

what strikes me on this list is that they while we can quibble about whether each was the best performance of their respective year, there should be little argument that these ten women were all wonderful actresses and were each remarkable personalities who brought their own particular talent and style - each very distinguishable from the other - to the screen. Also with the exceptions of Kelly and Hayward, two terrific movie stars, they were all renowned and classically trained stage actresses.

by Anonymousreply 2201/22/2011

I thought Shirley Booth gave an awesome performance in Sheba. Then I saw she did the same character in every movie and TV project she did. It wasn't so awesome anymore.

by Anonymousreply 2301/22/2011

well maybe not "classically" trained in all respects, but certainly well trained and true stars of the stage.

by Anonymousreply 2401/22/2011

I prefer Bergman in Anastasia

by Anonymousreply 2501/22/2011

What an amazing list of unforgettable actresses. Talk about talent!

by Anonymousreply 2601/22/2011

Woodward is the only survivor. Any chance she will make another major screen appearance.

She would be sensational in August Osage County, but it appears that's going to Streep. Although the character is said to be younger in the play's stage directions, at other times in the play it's said that she was a member of the greatest generation, which Woodward certainly was, perhaps even younger than that. And she's certainly not too old to have three daughters in their 40s. In fact, I believe she does have daughters in their 40s.

by Anonymousreply 2701/22/2011

I can't stand Magnani's ham acting in Tattoo - but love her in Cukor's Wild is the Wind in 1957, where she is more reined in.%0D %0D Swanson and Davis should have tied in 1950 - but must have split the vote letting Holliday win - but of course Bette and Gloria were seen as old-timers then and were not as revered as they are now (Bette's late 40s films were all dogs). %0D %0D Same with Judy in '54 - she was a difficult old timer and Grace was the hot posh new girl (like Audrey the year before), so Grace wins for looking dowdy in glasses and a cardigan.%0D %0D Susan Hayward was also sensational in '55's I'll Cry Tomorrow, but at least won in '58.%0D %0D The late 50s saw the rise of european cinema so awards were given to Signoret (for a relatively small part) and Loren in 61.

by Anonymousreply 2801/22/2011

R19..."Ship of Fools" I think.

by Anonymousreply 2901/22/2011

The Oscars were a travesty in 1954. Judy Garland in A Star is Born gave one of the best performances ever. And Judy certainly deserved to win over the bland Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. Come on, Grace Kelly no matter how lovely was boring in that role.

by Anonymousreply 3101/22/2011

I 'discovered' Shirley Booth last winter. I'd never heard of her before and wanted to watch Burt Lancaster in SHEBA. Man what a revelation. She was brilliant. It is performance that I will never forget. I read that she only did 4 films and was not that interested in Hollywood...

by Anonymousreply 3201/22/2011


by Anonymousreply 3301/22/2011

R32--until she got a little TV series called Hazel.

by Anonymousreply 3401/22/2011

Judy should have won for "The Man That Got Away" scene alone.

by Anonymousreply 3501/22/2011

I go with Leigh, though it's a touch race. Leigh was, for a long time, the definitive Blanche because of this film, and she's still one of the best ever.

by Anonymousreply 3601/22/2011

I agree that this list is incomplete without Judy Garland's performance in "A Star is Born" and Bette Davis's in "All About Eve". And to idiots like R30, watch Judy's little nod at the end of "The Man That Got Away". After wrenching our guts out with the song, she shows us Esther Blodgett's professional pride in her performance. Great stuff. Of those listed, I'd go with Simone Signoret--a brilliant job in "Room at the Top". My next choice would be Joanne Woodward in "Three Faces of Eve"--aside from Signoret's, probably the least mannered of those listed, even when she was portraying Eve Black. And yes, she'd be great as the matriarch in "August: Osage County". I love Ingrid Bergman, but she should have been nominated and won for "Notorious".

by Anonymousreply 3701/22/2011

And who else was left off yet another list?

by Anonymousreply 3801/22/2011

Anna Mangnani was simply the best ever!

by Anonymousreply 3901/22/2011

I was watching ALL ABOUT EVE last night and it just kills me every time I remind myself that Bette Davis did not win an Oscar for this. It was not only her finest and most perfect performance but one of the all time best female performances in cinema history. The next time it%E2%80%99s on just study her. She%E2%80%99s pitch perfect in every last scene she%E2%80%99s in.

It%E2%80%99s easy to remember the scenes when she%E2%80%99s raising hell but check out the scenes when Margo%E2%80%99s talking to Karen in the stalled car about women and having a career or the scene where Margo and Bill are talking on the theater stage bed prop after their argument and the vulnerability she shows when she really can%E2%80%99t put into words what%E2%80%99s wrong with her. She conveys both insecurity and the sense that she knows something isn%E2%80%99t right. Superb performance!

by Anonymousreply 4001/22/2011

Where is it claimed in A Star is Born that Esther Blodgett is a fresh-faced Hollywood ingenue?%0D %0D Shirley Booth is also revelatory in The Matchmaker, effortlessly showing us what Dolly Levi is truly all about. Fun film with Tony Perkins and Bobby Morse at their most adorable.%0D %0D In 1954 it was truly unique (and brave!) for a beautiful and glamorous young actress to allow herself to look plain and dowdy, though nowadays it is quite de rigeur. Hard to imagine now what an impact that had on the voters back then.%0D %0D Although Joanne Woodward displayed the fire and spunk to play Violet in August;Osage County in her 50s and 60s film performances, her acting became quite benign by the 70s. Sadly, I think a bravura performance is long past her.%0D %0D By the time of 1959's I Want to Live! Susan Hayward was considered the perennial bad-luck loser, much like Annette Bening today. She gave better performances in With a Song in My Heart, My Foolish Heart, The President's Lady and I'll Cry Tomorrow.

by Anonymousreply 4101/22/2011

Thank you, R20 and R29!

by Anonymousreply 4201/22/2011

Agree compeletly with R40. Bette Davis's Margo Channing is one of the all-time great performances by an actress. Definitely in the top five. The Academy should have just handed her the Oscar.

by Anonymousreply 4301/22/2011

I agree with the idea that Davis should have won the Oscar in 1950. Personally, I feel she should have won for Baby Jane as well. That performance also leaves me with my mouth open each time I watch it. Talk about fearless.

by Anonymousreply 4401/22/2011

Miss Davis felt she should have won her Oscars for The Letter and All About Eve, and I suspect a third for Baby Jane.

by Anonymousreply 4501/22/2011

For those who doubt Garland's pre-eminent talent, go to Youtube and you can see the 2 alternate versions that Judy shot of The Man That Got Away from A STAR IS BORN.

by Anonymousreply 4601/22/2011

I would also give Miss Davis an Oscar for Little Foxes

by Anonymousreply 4701/22/2011


by Anonymousreply 4801/22/2011

Talk about your sentimental winners....Ingrid Bergman in Anastasia was a hammy performance that doesn't hold up today at all. %0D %0D It was merely Hollywood's way of saying: "We forgive you Ingrid, please come back!"

by Anonymousreply 4901/23/2011

Katharine Hepburn too in Lean's Summertime in 1955 - which was a Shirley Booth role on stage, but then Kate bagged a lot of Booth's roles, including the play that became Desk Set.

by Anonymousreply 5001/29/2011

1950 would only be perfect if both Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson had tied for Best Actress. What an amazing pair of performances, both iconic, both "the best" in both amazing careers.%0D %0D While Hepburn may not have deserved to win for African Queen or Summertime, these are two of her best performances as well. %0D %0D The other part of this list is thinking of films that wouldn't be made or at least offered to some of these actresses: Shirley Booth from the original Broadway cast instead of someone too young frumping it up on film?

by Anonymousreply 5101/29/2011


by Anonymousreply 5203/15/2013

It's astounding that Grace Kelly beat Judy Garland.

by Anonymousreply 5303/15/2013

Of the actual winners, I'm torn between Booth and Magnani. Yes, Davis should have won for AAE, Garland WAS better than Kelly. And it's a shame that Deborah Kerr was constantly bested throughout the 50s, despite superb performances. Hayward was fantastic in "I Want to Live!", but then there's Roz's classic Auntie Mame...

by Anonymousreply 5503/15/2013

Judy Garland.

by Anonymousreply 5603/15/2013

The other great female performance of 1950 was Barbara Stanwyck in THE FURIES.

by Anonymousreply 5803/15/2013

Say what you will, the two most enduring performances of the 50's are Judy and Bette.

by Anonymousreply 5904/09/2013

What people forget now is that Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson were seen as old-timers back then, and not as revered as they are now. Swanson was a silent star not seen in years and Davis had just left Warners after her last films being duds, though they have camp value now of course, but they didnt love Beyond the Forest then!

Now of course they are 2 of the best performances of the 50s, perhaps they should have both tied, over Holliday, who went on to other successes.

by Anonymousreply 6004/09/2013

Yes r60 and Judy was seen as an old-timer too and a troublesome one at that - with the stories, real or invented, about the making of A Star Is Born, which it seems Warners lost confidence in and cut to fit in more performances. So obviously the new cool girl in town got the award for looking dowdy in a cardigan - but where is The Country Girl cult today? its practically a forgotten film but we will always have the restored A Star Is Born.

by Anonymousreply 6104/09/2013

None of the above, OP. The best actress - the greatest performance - of the decade was Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard." The fact she was blackballed by anyone lingering from the studio system doesn't mean we should have to see her in the same company of Holliday or Hayward.

by Anonymousreply 6204/09/2013

Vivien. But then I haven't seen any others. Oh dear. But at least I picked the very best! I have too much shit to watch, Oscar winners or otherwise.

I heard Jennifer Jones decimated those other bitches of the 1940s and Ingrid Bergman cried when she saw her performance as she knew she wouldn't get the Oscar. I lucked out there and saw Kitty Foyle. Ugh.

by Anonymousreply 6304/16/2013

Just watched Simone in Room At The Top. Heartbreaking performance.

by Anonymousreply 6405/10/2013

What about 50s actor? Surely totally pointless.

by Anonymousreply 6505/10/2013

It's a toss-up between Susan Hayward for "With A Song In My Heart" and Maureen O'Hara for "The Long Gray Line."

by Anonymousreply 6605/10/2013

I think that Bette Davis gave one of the all-time great performances in All About Eve. Ditto Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. And, in an embarrassment of riches, ditto Judy Holliday the same year for Born Yesterday. I voted for Judy, one of the greats.

by Anonymousreply 6705/10/2013

Judy totally did NOT deserve an Oscar for that boring one-note performance.

by Anonymousreply 6805/10/2013

I have no problem with Leigh, Booth, Bergman and Hayward winning in their years. I have no problem with Holiday, but if I had been a member of the Academy, I would have voted for Swanson.

I would have voted for Gardner over Audrey Hepburn in 1953, Garland over Kelly in 1954. Deborah Kerr over Joanne Woodward (worst pick of the decade) in 1957. Audrey Hepburn over Signoret in 1959.

As for 1955, I thought it was weak year for the performances in the Best Actress category. I would have voted for Susan Hayward. Had Susan Hayward won 1955, I would have voted for Rosalind Russell in 1958.

Of Leigh, Booth, Bergman and Hayward, i would say that Bergman gave the best performance in a very tough field

by Anonymousreply 6905/10/2013

I have never understood the praise that Bette Davis gets for All About Eve. I find Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter and Anne Baxter gave better performances that Davis. But again, I am not a drag queen ...

by Anonymousreply 7005/10/2013

You're not intelligent, either.

by Anonymousreply 7105/11/2013

{71) My Phi Beta Kappa key and my dissertation say otherwise

by Anonymousreply 7205/11/2013

Good performances that weren't even nominated; what were they?

by Anonymousreply 7305/11/2013

Barbara Stanwyck, though her career was fading, gave great performances in The Furies (1950), No Man of Her Own (1950), Titanic (1953) and Executive Suite (1954).

by Anonymousreply 7405/11/2013

Some of the foreign language ones since for whatever reason in those days they didn't nominate foreign language but only the performances - I think some foreign language screenplays made it.

I had read after Sophia they decided to let them in? Shame if that was the case.

Giulietta Masina in La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. Probably some of Magnani's Italiano stuff, Simone Signoret's French stuff?

by Anonymousreply 7505/11/2013
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