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« Months of Meryl: One True Thing (1998)| Main| Yes No Maybe So: Beautiful Boy »
Wednesday
Jun 27 2018

1994's Unsatisfying Best Actress Race

1994 was our year of the month for June so before the month closes,a couple of more forays into that year.Here's Nathaniel R responding to a reader requestduring the Supporting Actress Smackdownto discuss the actual leading nominees.

It's an age old question and the answer is (nearly) always the same.

Q: What happens when all the best stuff in a film year is within genres Oscar doesn't care for?
A: The Academy sticks to their traditional loves even if it means providing history with a weak shortlist that they'll judge harshly!

Some recent years have suggested that Oscar is loosening up in this regard.The swell of new members might be helping along with the increased visibility of critical passion (the plethora of precursor awards constantly saying "but this is great!won't you please look at it?"seems to have shifted Oscar votersa bitmore towards critical passion and away from "Oscar Bait").But overall they stick to what they love (dramas,message movies,epics,biopics,etcetera).This is especially true of the Acting branch which rarely met a teary face it didn't fall for and continually sticks up its nose at laughing or screaming orunusualfaces given their aversion to comic genius,horror films,and auteur experimental or sci-fi/fantasy work.Which brings us to 1994's BEST ACTRESS LIST...

They got the nominee right but nominated her for the wrong film!

This is not meant to disparage any of the actresses nominated but just that it was an absolutely frustrating year wherein the Academy refused to look at the wide variety of work that was out there and just stuck to traditional fare.As a result the media called it a "weak"year for female leads.

As we've long argued at The Film Experience there really aren't "weak"亚博主页years when it comes to acting.There are,it's true,weakeryears but that's a huge semantic difference.Given the amount of films released in a given year it's virtually impossible to not find five outstanding performances in any given category if you're willing to look for them.It just depends on how many films you're willing to watch and whether you're willing to leave your comfort zone and think about acting accomplishments outside of traditional dramaoroutside of your home country.

FOR 1994 THE ACADEMY CHOSE

  • Jodie Foster inNell
  • Jessica Lange inBlue Sky
  • Miranda Richardson inTom & Viv
  • Winona Ryder inLittle Women
  • Susan Sarandon inThe Client

It's not that there was much wrong with the individual performances but collectively they inspired a lot of 'ho-hum' proclamations.It's certainly not a year,like the year's sandwiching it that Best Actress aficiandos regularly fawn over.

But who could they have chosen that they didn't...and why didn't they?Here were several other options.Your mileage will vary on each performance but the general "weak"field didn't need to be at all had they gone for a risky performance or three.

OTHER OPTIONS (AND OUR PRESUMPTIONS ABOUT WHY OSCAR VOTERS PASSED)

Golden Globe Nominees Oscar Passed On

  • Jamie Lee Curtis - True Lies (EWWW.COMEDY AND ACTION?NO!)
  • Geena Davis - Speechless (MEH.AND WE ALREADY GAVE HER ONE)
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh - Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (SHE'S WEIRD.WHAT'S WITH THE VOICE?)
  • Andie MacDowell - Four Weddings and a Funeral (WE WOULDN'T EVEN NOMINATE HUGH GRANT,FOR THIS,WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?)
  • Emma Thompson - Junior (COMEDY.NO)
  • Shirley Maclaine - Guarding Tess (WE KINDA DON'T LIKE HER.YES A LOT OF NOMINATIONS BUT WE PASS HER OVER JUST AS OFTEN)
  • Meryl Streep - The River Wild (ACTION.NOPE.NOT EVEN FOR HER)

It's shocking in the 21st Century to realize that there was once a time -- even in a "weak"year where they'd pass Streep by but they did!That one time.But there were two real missed opportunities among the Globe nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh's divisive but memorable take on the caustic wit Dorothy Parker and Jamie Lee Curtis's wondrously deft physical comedy and character arc inTrue Lies.Alas it was an action comedy and Oscar voters don't think about acting within either of those genres,let alone both of them at once!Still,she ran circles around most of the nomniees they chose that year,and she did it in bra and panties with her hair impromptu slicked back by a water vase!

Indie Spirit Nominees Oscar Passed On

The Last Seduction

  • Linda Fiorentino - The Last Seduction (RULED INELIGIBLE ON A TECHNICALITY.ALSO NOIR.WE CAN'T HAVE THAT I MEAN WE WERE WILLING TO IGNORE KATHLEEN TURNER IN 'BODY HEAT' WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM US!)
  • Karen Sillas - What Happened Was (WHO IS THAT?)
  • Luna Lauren Velez - I Like It Like That (WHO IS THAT?)
  • Chien-Lien Wu - Eat Drink Man Woman (YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT WE DON'T NOMINATE ASIAN ACTRESSES)

Other Interesting Options

The Ref featured one of Judy Davis's funniest performances.She's amazing in it.Not even a Globe nod.Ugh.

  • Isabelle Adjani - Queen Margot (SUBTITLED.WE CAN'T READ!)
  • Sandra Bullock - SPEED (ACTION FILM.WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!)
  • Judy Davis - The New Age (INDIE COMEDY.TOO SMALL WEIRD.I'M NOT WATCHING THAT!)
  • Judy Davis - The Ref (COMEDY.YUCK!)
  • Whoopi Goldberg - Corrina Corrina (WE ALREADY GAVE HER AN OSCAR)
  • Irene Jacob - Three Colors Red (SUBTITLED.WE CAN'T READ!)
  • Juliette Lewis - Natural Born Killers (OUTRE EXPERIMENTAL.WTF IS THAT?)
  • Gong Li - To Live (SUBTITLED.WE CAN'T READ!)
  • Rena Owen - Once Were Warriors (FOREIGN INDIE.WE DIDN'T WATCH IT)
  • Natalie Portman - Leon: The Professional (ACTION FILM.CHILD PSYCHOPATH.WHAT?NO!)
  • Meg Ryan - When a Man Loves a Woman (WE DON'T TAKE HER SERIOUSLY.OUR LOSS)
  • Winona Ryder - Reality Bites (YOUTH COMEDY.NO WAY!)
  • Kathleen Turner - Serial Mom (OUTRE COMEDY.GROSS.ALSO WE DON'T LIKE HER LIKE THE AUDIENCE LIKES HER!WE'VE MORE THAN PROVEN THAT.SHUT UP)
  • Kate Winslet and/or Melanie Lynskey (WHO ARE THEY?ALSO: WEIRD VIOLENT YOUTH INDIE.NO WAY!)

Contrary to popular belief the Oscar voters could not have chosen Toni Collette inMuriel's Weddingthat year (people always bring her up as a 1994 snub) because the film was not released anywhere but in its home country and a few festivals in 1994.

Our longwinded point is this.There were a LOT of female leads to choose from,many of them quite interesting.Oscar just chose poorly because most of their strong options were in genres they don't much care for or by actresses that they either were unfamiliar with or have weird histories with.

The Best Actress list didn't have to be weak.The trophy didn't have to go to someone who'd already won in a role she could do in her sleep for a film that was delayed for years because no one was excited to release it.

Nathaniel's Ballot.
I would have to watch a few of these again to settle on just five but I consider ALL 10 of the following performances superior to ALL of the nominees but for Jodie Foster.I know her work inNellis divisive but i'm on the side of it being a very risky and earnest out-of-the-box performance by her that earned the nomination.I think Richardson's "Viv!"performance (you'll get that title jokeif you listened to the podcast) is admirable and easily the second best of the Oscar nominees but I prefer the following ten if we're talking "best".It's probably no accident that it's a very young list.Though Oscar doesn't have the same reservations about young actresses that they do about young actors,it still can make a difference with how seriously they take you when you have a lot of competition.

Juliette Lewis was touched by the gods...or demons I guess...while inhabiting Mallory Knox in "Natural Born Killers"

  • Jamie Lee Curtis -True Lies
  • Judy Davis -The Ref
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh-Mrs Parker and...
  • Juliette Lewis -Natural Born Killers(utterly inspired.shemighteven be my winner)
  • Gong Li -To Live
  • Melanie Lynskey -Heavenly Creatures
  • Natalie Portman -Leon The Professional
  • Winona Ryder -Reality Bites(far superior to herLittle Womenwork - but then she was always best at contemporary or just barely period work despite her two nominations being for traditional period pieces.)
  • Kathleen Turner -Serial Mom
  • Kate Winslet -Heavenly Creatures

WHO WOULD YOU HAVE SELECTED FOR 1994?Do you agree that there's no such thing as a weak year?

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Reader Comments (83)

For me,by far the Best Actress of the year was Chrissy Rock in Ken Loach's Ladybird,Ladybird.Her intense performance just takes no prisoners!She won the Berlin Film Festival and a couple of English Critics' Awards and was a runner-up for the New York Film Critics,but unfortunately she was pretty much overlooked.Both her magnificent performance and the film itself have fallen into unfortunate obscurity,if not oblivion,but it's definitely worth searching out.One of Ken Loach's best.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Any nomination for Miranda is fine by me!

Nathaniel - you're so right about Kathleen Turner - she completely deserved a nomination for Serial Mom.


Watching Kathleen Turner grace the screen was an essential part of my childhood!

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Lewis

Juliette Lewis,NATURAL BORN KILLERS
Melanie Lynskey,HEAVENLY CREATURES
Julianne Moore,VANYA ON 42ND STREET
Karen Sillas,WHAT HAPPENED WAS...
Kate Winslet,HEAVENLY CREATURES

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJana

Not generally a fan of Meg Ryan....But she tore up WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN!

I remember being floored by her work in it....it still holds up!

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

My ideal 1994 Best Actress ballot:
Linda Fiorentino,The Last Seduction
Juliette Lewis,Natural Born Killers
Melanie Lynskey,Heavenly Creatures
Julianne Moore,Vanya on 42nd Street (winner)
Winona Ryder,Reality Bites

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRayLewis1997

Jamie Lee Curtis - True Lies
Juliette Lewis - Natural Born Killers
Julianne Moore - vanya on 42nd street **winner**
Winona Ryder - Reality Bites
Kate Winslet - Heavenly Creatures

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterVince

You ignore Sigourney Weaver in Death and the Maiden?

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

3rtful -- just forgot her.looked at the top 120 or so movies on imdb so posisble i missed a few others too

June 27,2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

3rtful i'm with you here,Weaver though is notoriously forthright and not afraid to sound off to many a producer etc and that alienated her from awards plus her OTT campaign in 88.

My nominess

Weaver - shaky in places with the dialogue but she sells the rage.
Ryan - again shaky at certain points but then some of her best acting when with Garcia
Foster - the speech brings it into melodrama but I believed Foster lived in that cabin
Curtis - the line readings,the fussing,the on point sex appeal,the punch,the dance,2 bottles instead of 1 as weapons,she made us love Arnie.
Rock - for some esp USA viewers she's too raw and real but i've known women like her.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Isn't Ryder doing a Ryder type in both films and RB is too hip even in 94 for it's own good,everyone's just "So Cool"

Lange is doing what we know she can do flutttery eyes,lips on mouth,breathy crying jags,wanton sexiness and does it fine a noms ok but a win???

Sarandon - gr8 with Renfro,Gr8 with Jones,gr8 as a scene partner with any1,she was a big thing in the 90's,has 1 great scene but not enough.

Richardson - awful,too OTT,mannered and damn right stupid,she plays the mental ilness as comedy except for her last scene i'd have seen her at the Razzies.

Foster- her 2nd best for me.Had 2 couldn't win 3 in 6 yrs.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Fiorentino was the best of the year by far.


But among the rather weak nominees in a weak year,I woulddar choose Miranda Richardson

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPete

The problem with this line-up has always been the collective rather than the component parts (which are all fine).My pick might even be Sarandon here,where I think she's elevating workmanlike material.She would then not be "due"the following year,so we could've let that category play out a little more excitingly (I'd still pick Shue).

I too would swap Winona for Reality Bites,and would certainly find room for Gong Li.I'd possibly pick up a couple of "out there"nominees not mentioned - Demi Moore in Disclosure,which I think is her second best turn (after About Last Night...) and possibly Lara Flyn Boyle in Threesome.Also,if Kerry Fox in Shallow Grave was eligible,then her.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobUK

Jamie Lee Curtis,True Lies
Julianne Moore,Vanya on 42nd Street*
Winona Ryder,Reality Bites
Kathleen Turner,Serial Mom
Kate Winslet,Heavenly Creatures

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I'd give Foster her third win for Nell.She's quite spectacular in it.

Of course the best scenario would be she winning her second Oscar for Nell and Weaver getting the Oscar Foster won for The Accused,but I'd still vote for her even if that meant a third Oscar.

That's what I hate about Foster: how can an actress this talented can be so lazy most of the time?

She's a brilliant actress with 3 of 4 incredible performances,a lot of very good ones and a lot of lazy work.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

just forgot her

So did the industry because she was magnificent during the 90s.Roger Ebert made a big to do about her performance.Once award season settled he threw his support behind Lange.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I'd love to read more about how people ascertain "eligibility"for their own personal awards.

My 1994 winner is Toni Collette (I go by "year that a film was first shown on general release in cinemas - no festivals - which makes Muriel's Wedding 1994).

Of the great options above,I bet that at least a third never had the paperwork submitted to be Oscar eligible (and even fewer bothered to pay for Academy-wide screeners).

I'd argue that the greater diversity in nominees recently (Isabelle Huppert and Ruth Negga BOTH fighting off more prestigious and Oscar-bait competition in the same year!?) is largely down to streaming options for voters.You no longer need a Miramax budget to get your film/performance in front of voters.

Anyway,my nominees (eligibility notwithstanding) -

1) Toni Collette
2) Kathleen Turner
3) Melanie Lynskey
4) Juliette Lewis
5) Kate Winslet

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

The Oscar line up is so mediocre.Lange would not have won if it were any other year.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSTFU

My choices:

Juliette Lewis,Natural Born Killers
Demi Moore,Disclosure (nice reminder,RobUK)
Meg Ryan,When a Man Loves a Woman
Winona Ryder,Little Women (yes,I think she deserved that nomination she got)
Sigourney Weaver,Death and the Maiden

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Oh,Nathaniel!You made me laugh so hard with your "presumptions".They sound pretty real to me!

ken s.-- She's so good in that movie.Her pain is so real,maybe too real for certain audiences (Björk comes to my mind).

Weaver was miscast in Death and the Maiden.It's a very complex role and she only shows the rage that we already seen in Aliens.She doesn't look fragile or emotionally broken and she definitively doesn't look latina.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

she definitively doesn't look Latina

Glenn Close won a Tony playing this character.Weaver definitely looks more Latin-assumed than Glenn Close.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Peggy Sue i'd love to hear more on your Weaver miscast analysis,maybe i'm picking up on the rage and not realising something else's isn't happening as you say,i'd never seen it like that.

Do you think Weaver has been miscast and that's why she isn't as revered as Streep,Lange,Sarandon,Spacek etc.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Richardson,Jacob,Fiorentino,and Lange for sure.As for the fifth ...maybe Veronica Forque for Kika maybe?I don't know.

I think Lange won because Orion closed,Tony Richardson was dead,and as a make-up for losing for Frances (that supporting win just won't do!).It's actually a great performance.She has just done it so many times since then that it isn't as spectacular anymore.

I would have given it to Fiorentino or Richardson.Both were quite deserving.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

this is possibly my *favorite* Portman performance and was her *best* for a very long time (finally surpassed by Black Swan and Jackie).but still one of the greatest child performances of all time

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterhuh

Linda Fiorentino (The Last Seduciton) was NOT declared ineligible on a "technicality".The film was originally a made-for-TV movie and it premiered on TV in July.It was very successful and was then released in theaters in October,both in the US and abroad.And if a film is shown first on TV,then that's a no-no for the Oscars.亚博主页If I remember well,the producers even wanted to submit it both for the Oscars and the Emmys!亚博主页So that not a "technicality"in my opinion.That's trying to fool the system.Some other organizations did not care.For instance,Fiorentino was the New York Film Critics Circle's Best Actress.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Terrible,terrible year.And I don't get the Winona Ryder love *at all*.RB or otherwise.
Plenty of brilliant work to nominate.I'd argue Best Actress 2011 (minus Viola Davis) was a recent example of the Academy staunchly sticking to their limited and archaic biases in comparison to the unusually strong contenders waiting in the wings.

Anyway...My list would be;

Linda Fiorentino,The Last Seduction
Melanie Lynskey,Heavenly Creatures
Julianne Moore,Vanya on 42nd Street (WINNER???)
Crissy Rock,Ladybird,Ladybird (WINNER ???)
Karen Sillas,What Happened Was....

Outside the ballot I'd have ranked;
Juliette Lewis,Natural Born Killers
Elodie Bouchez,Wild Reeds
Marisa Tomei,Only You
Kate Winslet,Heavenly Creatures
Jennifer Jason Leigh,Ms Parker and the Vicious Circle
Isabelle Adjani,Queen Margot
Sigourney Weaver,Death and the Maiden

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAmandaBuffamonteezi

/3rtful -- I know Glenn Close won a Tony for Death and the Maiden (who doesn't?),but the stage is a completely different animal.

Mark -- Weaver is widely loved around the world and I think she has done great things with her career.I just don't think she's the right choice here.The movie should have been more ambiguous.We should be rooting for Paulina and at the same time questioning her behavior.When you give a gun to someone like Weaver,you don't have any doubts: she's going to shoot it.I believe Polanski wanted Anjelica Huston.Anyway,at least it wasn't Meryl!

I'm not posting my five women because someone mentioned Verónica Forqué in Kika and now,even without Fiorentino,I have like 8 names.The voters were sooo lazy that year!

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Jessica Lange in Blue Sky
Sigourney Weaver in Death and the maiden
Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom
Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies
Isabelle Adjani in Queen Margot

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterErick Loggia

I believe Polanski wanted Anjelica Huston.Anyway,at least it wasn't Meryl!

Huston is a provocative choice.Weaver was the inspiration for the Hunter character in The Piano.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

There is no such a thing as a Latina ethnicity.Glenn Close and Sigourney Weaver could be Chileans,too.Just google it: around 60% of Chileans are of Caucasian origin.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Am I the only one to defend Jessica's win?I think it's big and bold and bonkers and brilliant.She owns the screen with a mesmerizing old-school star turn that actually also finds lovely shading in the quiet moments.A much misunderstood feat.

Cosign that Turner was absolutely robbed.

My lineup:

Lange
Davis
Turner
Ryder
Richardson

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Sarandon is great in The Client—it's up there with her best performances,and I might even prefer it (on substance,not mythmaking) to Thelma and Louise.A well-deserved BAFTA win.In an uninspired year she would have made a very good Oscar winner.

I understand the love for Moore in Vanya on 42nd Street.I appreciate what she,Wallace Shawn and (especially) Brooke Smith did in that movie,but I think it's a bit too experimental to merit acting nominations.They're not actors playing actors playing characters;They're documentary subjects playing characters in a non-film medium.

It's an ingenious concept,but rewarding that work as "screen acting"feels like a stretch.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

cal roth -- I know that.I'm not an American.I'm not asking for a dark-skinned actress or whatever you think a latina is in the US.I'm just saying that Sigourney is more new yorker than The Statue of Liberty.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I couldn't make it all the way through Nell.Jodie was good,but the movie itself -- yikes.
Susan Sarandon did the most to elevate her material -- the Emily Blunt Girl on the Train award or the Sandra Bullock in almost everything award.
I like Winona in Little Women.She jelled well with the rest of the cast,which is so essential in an ensemble movie about a family (one performance in that film sticks out like a sore thumb,but it's not her).
Kate and Melanie were electrifying,but even today I don't think the Academy would nominate two lead performances from a weird indie movie starring unknown (foreign) teenagers.
I've only seen part of True Lies,but even out of context JLC's scene prepping for her hotel meeting is an Oscar-worthy clip.Her body language is insane.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I haven't seen a lot of these (eg.Blue Skies,Tom &Viv,Mrs.Parker,Serial Mom,etc)
so as much as I admire the actresses,I can't choose something I haven't seen.

1994 performances I really liked:
Sandra Oh,"Double Happiness"
Irene Jacob,"Three Colours: Red"
Marisa Tomei,"Only You"
Natasha Richardson,"Widow's Peak"
Sophie Marceau,"La Fille de d'Artagnon"(I loved this one)

Also great:
Natalie Portman,"Leon: The Professional"
Sandra Bullock,"Speed"
Whoopi Goldberg,"Corrinna,Corrinna "

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers would be my easy win in the category.I'd also have Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey for Heavenly Creatures,Kathleen Turner for Serial Mom,and Jodie Foster for Nell.I'd like Wynona Ryder in there,too,for Reality Bites,but then I'd be choosing if I wanted to lose Kate Winslet or Kathleen Turner,so I'd rather not go down that road.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

For me,

1.Irene Jacob-Trois Couleurs: Rouge
2.Juliette Lewis-Natural Born Killers
3.Natalie Portman-Leon
4.Kathleen Turner-Serial Mom
5.Winona Ryder-Little Women.

That's my pick with honorable mentions towards Linda Fiorentino forThe Last Seduction,Lauren Velez-I Like It Like That,Judy Davis-The Ref,and Toni Collette-Muriel's Wedding.That was a weak Best Actress nomination list.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

This is tough because I'm not slavishly in love with any of the nominated performances.Sarandon's film and performance are my favorite of the five but I'm loath to hand an award to a solid but not exceptional performance in a decent but hardly remarkable movie.

No I don't think there are weak years in acting.If the voters would take the trouble to investigate all the available films there are always five worthy pieces of work.

My list for the year would run this way:

Isabelle Adjani-Queen Margot
Linda Fiorentino-The Last Seduction-Winner
Melanie Lynskey-Heavenly Creatures
Kathleen Turner-Serial Mom
Kate Winslet-Heavenly Creatures

Fiorentino's disqualification was such a shame since she really had the heat AND the performance to back it up.I think had she been allowed to compete she would have won in a walk.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I genuinely think this was one of the absolute years on record,including Jessica Lange's performance.Her work is not aging well.But all the nominees are terrible.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

I'd have to give Lange another look after 24 years,but I'm with brookseboy.I certainly didn't mind her performance or her win at the time.A mainstream talent but a decidedly left-field picture.I can't even imagine a film like this sitting that long in a vault in New York City now and *still* getting this kind of play..Fiorentino and both women from Heavenly Creatures would've been welcome on this roster,though.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterzig

I haven't seen a lot of these performances,but I,too,have to defend both Noni's performance in "Little Women"(I went in thinking it was terrible casting and she totally won me over) and Susan Sarandon's in "The Client"(despite the fact that the thought of Sarandon makes me barf in my mouth a little these days).Even a quarter century later they both still stick with me.

I'd have nominated Jamie Lee Curtis for TRUE LIES,though.She was perfection.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

My top 5:
1.Chrissy Rock - Ladybird,Ladybird (see above)
2.Melanie Lynsky - Heavenly Creatures
3.Kate Winslet - Heavenly Creatures
4.Irene Jacob - Trois Couleurs: Rouge
5.Jessica Lange - Blue Sky

Jessica deserved her win,even if it's a little "by default"-ish.I like Susan and Wynona just fine.As for Tom and Viv,I've pretty much forgotten it,other than remembering being unimpressed with Miranda Richardson and wondering why and for whom it was made.As for Nell,it's a true camp classic,and Jody Foster's contribution to the merriment cannot be underestimated.

June 27,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Of the nominees I love Jodie's performance.I guess you could see it as cheesy,but I believed her character,the world she inhabited and the film's journey.Because of that authenticity,it was very moving to me.She would definitely have my vote.But even if most felt the same,I get why she didn't win - too much too soon.

Of the non nominees I'm a sucker for Heavenly Creatures - both should have been nominated.(side note - how the heck has Melanie never been nominated - and why isn't she more revered??)

June 27,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Kathleen Turner in Serial Mom is my winner!!

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Rena Owen is just stunning in Once Were Warriors.One of my Top 5 lead actress performances of the decade.Had people watched the film,she would have been a no-brainer for a nomination,and possibly even a win.I can only urge everyon who hasn't watched this film yet (and I know most people haven't) to give it a look.

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

I thought Jessica Lange was so brilliant in Blue Sky!I never understood the hate.

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Glenn Close in The Paper.She was incendiary!

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Glenn Close in The Paper.She was incendiary!

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

This category is such a major yawn: every single performance has put me to sleep.My final five:

Jamie Lee Curtis,TRUE LIES
Linda Fiorentino,THE LAST SEDUCTION
Shirley MacLaine,GUARDING TESS
Kathleen Turner,SERIAL MOM
Alfre Woodard,CROOKLYN

Kathleen takes it!

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNewMoonSon

I also think Lange is spectacular in "Blue Sky,"especially in the freak-out showpiece scene toward the beginning of the film.The movie loses its focus--most likely because of studio interference--but Lange's work is still remarkable: by turns,convincingly sexy,hysterical,and strange.

I also think Sarandon is doing very strong,moving work in "The Client."Yes,it's Grisham,but she infuses the role with so much feeling in the pivotal scenes,that she leapfrogs over the standard material.

I often am taken with Winona Ryder,but I find her work uneven in "Little Women"--she seems to get in her own way.She seems to be trying too hard here.

I love Jodie Foster's final moments in "Nell,"but I think on the whole she's miscast.

I remember looking forward to "Tom & Viv,"but Miranda Richardson's overacting caused my eyeballs to explode.

June 28,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

I agree that on the surface,the nominees that year were pretty weak,especially considering some of the competition.

I vehemently disagree about two of your proposed replacements with Kathleen Turner's performance in Serial Mom and Juliette Lewis's performance in Natural Born Killers.

KT's performance was pure camp and as someone generally defends John Waters as a legitimate and important filmmaker,I find Serial Mom to be horrific and it's mostly because I find KT to be so over-the-top and unwatchable in the film.

With Juliette Lewis and NBK,my biggest issue is with the film overall being horrible.The only thing watchable about that movie is Robert Downey,Jr.'s Australian reporter.I do think it's a travesty that his supporting performance was overlooked.

I do think Winona Ryder was given the "Great Year"nomination with Little Women.I loved both performances of hers,but they went with the more traditional Oscar fair with her actual nomination (Ethan Hawke got this for 2001 when he was nominated for Training Day because it was commercial and had the Denzel Washington buzz,despite his best performance that year being in the very small indie,Tape.)

Linda Fiorentino was my favorite performance that year,but also feel she should have never been nominated in the film awards,because it was a made for TV movie that was released after being on TV.It wasn't just a small technicality like what happens with the original music nomination process.What sucked even more and the true tragedy of the LF situation is because of the theatrical release,it made her ineligible for an Emmy nomination which IMO,is the more outright snub in regards to this performance..That is what makes me the most angry about her situation.

My nominees for 1994:
Irene Jacob: Three Colors- Red
Winona Ryder: Little Women or Reality Bites
Susan Sarandon: The Client
Melanie Lynsky: Heavenly Creatures
Kate Winslet: Heavenly Creatures.

June 28,2018 | Unregistered Commenternacho21

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