Best Supporting Actress 1971

1927/28 through 1997

Best Supporting Actress 1971

Ann-Margret - Carnal Knowledge
0
No votes
Ellen Burstyn - The Last Picture Show
9
32%
Barbara Harris - Who Is Harry Kellerman?
3
11%
Cloris Leachman - The Last Picture Show
15
54%
Margaret Leighton - The Go-Between
1
4%
 
Total votes: 28

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Re: Best Supporting Actress 1971

Postby CalWilliam » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:30 pm

This discussion occurred almost five years ago, but for those who still may be interested, (and I happen to be very interested after reading Tee's and Marco's words about Barbara Harris), here's the link for the entire Who Is Harry Kellerman:

http://youtu.be/coCS3f1adwU
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Postby Mister Tee » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:08 pm

It's certainly the part of the performance most of us have recalled all these years, but, not being preceded by the audition, it feels like it begins abruptly. If you came in the second Mo 'Nique began her final interview in Precious, you might not feel the full effect. Also, people here who've obviously never seen it might conclude this was the sum total of Harris' screen time, when it's actually a bit more substantial. The part isn't enormous, but it's not Beatrice Straight-level, either.

Nice print, by the way -- especially compared to the washed-out version they showed on TV55 the other night. In that telecast, when Hoffman lit her cigarette, you could barely see anything beyond fuzzy hair.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:28 pm

There's the audition itself and two brief scenes later but this was the crux of her performance as I recall.

There are other clips on YouTube that may or may not contain snippets of the remainder of her performance.

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Postby ITALIANO » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:24 pm

But it begins before then. And there are two more scenes later.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:12 pm

Here's her big 11 minute scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL0Q9IJprR4

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Postby Reza » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:36 pm

Wonder if her sequence is on youtube?

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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:10 am

I think she struck a chord with the actors' branch because of the way she laughs through her tears in the audition scene, something they could relate to, but the film is torture to sit through waiting for that moment to come.

Amazon partners are selling the VHS tape for $6.50 new and $2.45 used.

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Postby Reza » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:07 am

I now have to somehow find Harry Kellerman to watch Harris' lauded performance.

Do you guys think that, apart from the performance itself, Harris got in on the strength of her name? After all she was an acclaimed Tony winning actress on Broadway by the time this film came out.




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Postby Cinemanolis » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:16 pm

Barbara Harris was indeed very good in the film, but the film itself is so bad that by the time her character appears (if i remember correctly in the last 30 minutes) you almost don't care anymore and you just want to see the credits roll by.

My top 6
Barbara Harris - Who Is Harry Kellerman?
Cloris Leachman - Last Picture Show
Margaret Leighton - The Go-Between
Ann Margret – Carnal Knowledge
Irene Papas – The Trojan Women
Vanessa Redgrave – The Trojan Women

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Postby ITALIANO » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:56 pm

Mister Tee wrote:I sat absolutely floored by her beautiful, multi-colored rendition of a "my life's slipping away" monologue.

Me too. There is a moment which has always stayed with me, when she tells Hoffman that today it's her birthday - she turns 34 I think - and she says something like: "This morning I woke up and suddenly I wasn't young anymore". The way she does this - compared to the way another, less intelligent actress would have done it - without any easy tear-jerking effect, but with a kind of soft, vague sadness, should be shown to young students of acting.

Bruce, see the movie for Harris's performance - for once, you will be tempted to vote for a performance in a movie you don't like, I'm sure.




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Postby Bruce_Lavigne » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:42 pm

Leachman is the easy choice for me, though I also really like the other three I've seen.

I haven't seen Who Is Harry Kellerman?, and on Italiano's recommendation I may track it down for Harris' performance, but with even the performance's defender trashing the movie, it's hard to believe she'd be good enough to overcome my own feelings about voting for even great performances if they're in terrible movies.

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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:14 pm

Typical for this era, my thoughts are a cross-section of old, un-re-scanned opinions along with some more recently updated ones.

To begin, I have to say that, at the margins, Damien, Magilla and I held somewhat different opinions of some films of this era. To wit: I was quite a fan of Little Murders back in 1971, enough that I'd list Elizabeth Wilson as a runner-up for this category. And, though Plaza Suite was mostly dreary (Arthur Hiller + comedy = cognitive dissonance), I though Maureen Stapleton went to extraordinary lengths to make her opening segment feel vaguely human. These are the women I thought might have made the list, in addition to those actually listed.

But there's no quarrel with the five who did turn up. I didn't see Margaret Leighton's work until years later, and watched most of it again earlier this week on TCM. It's a solid piece of work, one that follows a formula we know well today: respectable background throughout, then a dominant scene right near the end. It's not enough to get her the win, but it's nice for such a strong actress to have the nomination as career tribute.

History being what it is -- all outcomes seen as inevitable -- I wonder if people know how widespread was the belief pre-show that Ann-Margret was going to win here. Her "little ol' trouper made good" turn, along with the Globe, made her a near-universal prediction. (Gene Siskel one of the few dissenters I can recall) That she ended up losing taught me a valuable lesson about the Oscars: if voters really hate a film, they won't go for anything associated with it, sentiment be damned (and they surely hated Carnal Knowledge; despite its box office success, even the writers voted for Klute and Summer of '42 over it. In retrospect, this should have prepared us for Binoche over Bacall). I watched Carnal Knowledge again a year ago, and had my original view re-inforced: Ann-Margret is certainly stronger than most had expected based on her earlier credits, but it's not a performance of such breakthrough virtuosity as to overcome voter distaste for a movie that turns bitter and, in the view of older folk, distasteful in later reels.

The reason Ann-Margret was seen as such a favorite, apart from her veteran status, was the seemingly inevitable split of Last Picture Show partisans between Leachman and Burstyn. The NY/National Society choice of Burstyn put her on the map first, but Leachman had the more easily sympathy-garnering part -- the single shot of her waiting in vain when Timothy Bottoms stands her up probably clinched votes with many. I think both actresses are wonderful, and, at the time, I probably favored Leachman. But re-viewings have swung me Burstyn's way. I especially love her tart line reading when Cybill Shepherd pooh-poohs the idea Bottoms might be sleeping with Leachman, saying "She's 40 years old". Burstyn replies "So am I, honey; it's an itchy age".

But, rather than make the Solomon-like decision between these two splendid performers, I'll stick to my 1971 choice of Barbara Harris. I'd avoided Harry Kellerman for most of the summer it was released. After Midnight Cowboy, I'd thought of Dustin Hoffman as a movie god, but the film had got such hideous reviews I didn't have the stomach for it. Finally, near fall, I trooped to the theatre to get it under my belt. Perhaps I'd been sufficiently under-sold on it, but I didn't hate the movie. Most of the things Italiano says about it are true, and Herb Gardner is a mediocrity at his best, but I found some things about the film semi-memorable -- at least, by 19-year old standards.

And nothing was as memorable as Barbara Harris in her brief appearance. Apparently I hadn't done enough pre-reading about the film, because I hadn't heard she was any kind of standout. So, I sat absolutely floored by her beautiful, multi-colored rendition of a "my life's slipping away" monologue. It took the movie to a whole other level, and was easily memorable enough to get my vote here. Her nomination, hardly a sure thing, was one of the happiest nominations morning moments I've ever experienced.

And you know what?: I'm not even relying on a four-decade-old memory here, because last night -- when I knew I'd be dealing with this year's race today -- I flipped past the Channel 55 Long Island network, and saw that not only were they running Harry Kellerman, it was precisely the moment Harris' monologue was beginning. I watched and had all my impressions validated. Despite Ulu Grosbard's annoyingly intrusive camera, Harris takes hold of the screen for those minutes, flooding the scene with complicated, richly-toned emotions. So I can not only vote for her, but do it with fresh enthusiasm.




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Postby Hustler » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:35 am

Cloris Leachman is an accurate choice.

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Postby ITALIANO » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:06 am

Reza wrote:Wonder if I'll ever try to see Barbara Harris' performance especially after Magilla's comments about her film?

You should. Anyone here should - the alternative is, like Damien did, not voting in this poll.

For the simple reason that Barbara Harris's performance in Who is Harry Kellerman is one of the best ever nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.

Well, almost. For being so completely forgotten and ignored, it's a gem, really, one that anyone truly interested in the Oscars should try to see (I found the movie on VHS years ago through Amazon, but now it must be even easier, with Youtube, etc.). And, of course, the movie IS terrible - it belongs to the wrong side of the cinema of the 70s, it's messy, ambitious, intellectualistic, irritating, Fellini-esque in the worst possible way and, if I didn't hate this word so much, I'd add: self-indulgent.
Or at least it is till the final 15 minutes, when something unpredictable happens and a sweet-looking, round-faced little woman comes on the screen, and she alone changes everything. The scene is great but not especially original - the typical "audition scene" which is always effective and that members of the Acting branch must have obviously felt sympathetic towards. Barbara Harris plays this unsuccessful, pretty but not beautiful, lonely, ageing actress trying to overcome her shyness and nervousness during just another audition which, as so often before, she will fail. And she does it beautifully, especially at one point when, feeling the absolute disinterest from the director, she holds a lamp on the stage and calmly declares that she can't leave it and will stay there even after the others have gone. It's supposed to be pathetic and sad, and Harris makes it pathetic and sad, but she makes it, and more generally her character, much more than just that, giving it a warm, light, even humorous touch and, by doing so, makes it even more heart-breaking. Only a very good performer could have been so subtle, so emotional yet at the same time emotionally distant from the obvious, easy temptations that another, lesser actress would have fallen into with such a role. The result is a glorious, though short, acting turn in an unfortunately infamous movie. But the Academy back then could still recognize a great job even in the wrong context.

I'm voting for Barbara Harris, though of course The Last Picture Show is a much better movie, and very-well acted, so I can understand why Cloris Leachman won back then and will win again here. Still, good as she is and she is very good, I've never completely believed that she "was" the character she was playing, and this is why I'd probably choose Ellen Burstyn over her (Burstyn's role is much shorter, but she makes it very strong and, even more important, very real).

Margaret Leighton certainly isn't bad in The Go-Between, but I saw the movie too many years ago and she failed to deeply impress me then (which can be my fault, or the fault of the young boy I was - after all she's considered one of the greatest actresses of the 20th century). As for Ann-Margret, she definitely can't fail to impress - the scene where she's semi-naked in her bed and complains about life is very well-written, as is her character - but I should see the movie again to understand if she is really so good in it or if the nomination was at least partly due to the surprise of seeing Ann-Margret "acting" (and in a respected movie by a respected director) for the first time.




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Postby Precious Doll » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:59 am

My choices for '71 are:

1. Cloris Leachman for The Last Picture Show
2. Glenda Jackson for The Boy Friend
3. Lee Remick for Loot
4. Diana Dors for Deep End
5. Gemma Jones for The Devils




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