Friday, June 4, 2010

1988 Best Actress Rankings

5. Meryl Streep, A Cry in the Dark - 3 Stars

I may be coming across as a Meryl hater but that's not the case. I would give her wins for Kramer VS Kramer and The Bridges of Madison County and greatly admire her work in Postcards From the Edge, The Devil Wears Prada, and Julie and Julia.

But many of her nominated performances in the 1980's just leave me feeling cold. Obviously her Lindy Chamberlain in this movie is supposed to be that way. Streep's accent and technique of course are flawless. She has some very strong scenes in the courtroom and she shows great restraint. But the film itself is so dated that I would never want to watch it again. It's a solid technical performance in a very flawed film which seems to be the norm for Streep this decade.

4. Sigourney Weaver, Gorillas in the Mist - 3 1/2 Stars

Weaver gives a passionate performance as the doomed woman Diane Fossey who led a crusade to save the mountain gorillas of the Rwandan jungle. But like A Cry In the Dark, the quality of the film itself hampers the effect of Weaver's performance. That's not to say Weaver doesn't have some great moments. When her beloved ape Digit is killed by poachers she gets to ride the gauntlet of emotion. It's a moving performance and you can tell Weaver put her heart into it.

3. Jodie Foster, The Accused - 4 Stars

Foster did a lot more in this movie than get gang raped on a pin ball machine. To me her best scene is the scene where she tells off her DA Kelly McGillis while she's hosting dinner in her apartment. You can see the rage, anger, and betrayal in Foster's eyes during that scene. While The Accused is also pretty dated, I think it's a more interesting film mostly due to Foster's performance and the underated performance given by co star Kelly McGillis. The movie does a fantastic job of showing how victims very much turn into the accused even when the most violent crime is commited against them. You can't help but be moved at the end when justice is served for Sarah.

2. Glenn Close, Dangerous Liaisons - 4 1/2 Stars

Close follows up her terrorizing Alex Forrest with an equally icy cold villan
Marquise De Merteuil. It is played to perfection by Close and co star John Malkovich in the central roles; their arch dialogues together turn into exhausting conversational games, tennis matches of the soul. They manipulate and seduce others for their entertainment. Close has some amazing speeches in this movie. ""Dominate your sex and avenge my own" and her declaration of "war" on Malkovich nearly earned her my top spot!

1. Melanie Griffith, Working Girl - 4 1/2 Stars

I said when analyzing Cher's performance in Moonstruck that I feel a lot of performances that have been nominated for romantic comedies are not given their proper respect. I feel that is the case with Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. I see a lot of talk about the 1988 Oscar race and many feel Griffith didn't belong. They argue for Close, for Streep, for Weaver, for Foster. Obviously those 4 actresses have far better reputations than Griffith who never really was able to get another good role after Working Girl. But I feel that Griffith is not being given her due here.

But not only does Griffith belong here I feel she deserved the award. #1 I think Working Girl is the best movie out of these 5 nominees. I could watch it over and over again. Dangerous Liaisons would be the only one I can say that about. I saw Working Girl in the movie theater. It was one of the first movies I saw on the big screen (my mom dragged me!). I still remember the magical opening scene with Carly Simon's Let the River Run playing as the camera pans from the Statute of Liberty to the downtown New York City skyline. It put a smile on my face that didn't leave until the ending credits. I wish more movies these days did that.

#2 I feel Tess McGill is a character we all can relate to. You learn very early on when you enter the work force.
The problem with working your way up the ladder of life is that sometimes you can't get there from here. Griffith's background as a night school temp with a bad accent and a lot of hair pretty much meant she was always going to be climbing that ladder unless she took matters into her own hands which she did. She rode the ferry, had a sleazy boyfriend, and just when she thought she was making headway and found a mentor to trust in she gets stabbed in the back. Welcome to the real world.

#3 I just thought Griffith did an excellent job carrying this film on her back. She oozed charisma and sexuality on the screen. The script was tight and there were great supporting performances by Sigourney Weaver and Joan Cusack. But the film doesn't work unless we are deeply invested in Tess McGill. We root for her. We wish we had her fight. Griffith shines and creates a memorable screen heroine.


  1. WOW, that's surprising! I have to admit, I think Melanie Griffith's performance is one of the weakest ever nominated.

  2. Hehehe uh oh Sage! I can't wait to see who you pick.

  3. Hahahaha, well don't feel bad about Meryl. I like her in her early days, but her most recent performances have been very "aware".

  4. I'm also surprised. I haven't seen anyone chose Griffith before...I might do this year someday.

  5. Yes! I'm really glad you liked Griffith!

    Her competition, haven't seen Streep though, is pretty amazing for me. She's not my pick for now, but there is the strong emotional connection that she setles between her and the audience.

    Maybe it's not an all time best, but it's a performance to remember.