Best Actress – 1969

Official NominationsMaggie Smith. Genevieve Bujold. Jane Fonda. Liza Minnelli. Jean Simmons. 

Although nowadays Maggie Smith is known for building nests in your neighbour’s trees and swooping down to gobble up stray worms and centipedes, back in 1969 she was winning an Oscar for her performance in The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. It is an excessively ugly film with many bizarre accents, topped off by the dead eyed stare of Maggie as she gives it her all. Genevieve Bujold is the best thing about Anne Of The Thousand Days, Jane Fonda gets a deserved nomination in the bleak, bizarre, and still shocking They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, and Liza Minnelli is just on the verge of irritating in The Sterile Cuckoo. Jean Simmons is the final pick, very strong in the unusually frank The Happy Ending. 

My Winner: Genevieve Bujold.

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My Nominations: Genevieve Bujold. Jane Fonda. Jean Simmons. Natalie Wood. Shirley Knight. Diana Rigg.

Not too many changes for my personal nominations this year – three existing and three new. Ted and Alice got nominations for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, so why not Carol? Natalie Wood stars as the liberal Carol who is okay with her husbands extra-marital antics so decides to have some of her own, before eyeing up a more dedicated commitment to swinging. Shirley Knight goes on a personal odyssey encountering various characters and reflecting the frustration and stress of someone who has not yet worked out what they want out of their own life. Finally, long before she was trading barbs and quips with royalty in Westeros, Diana Rigg was hanging out in equally dangerous snake-pits. Her performance in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is good, but it is in the same year in The Adjustment Bureau that she earns my nomination, a strong woman driven to personal and public gain through moral and dubious ventures.

My Winner: Shirley Knight.

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Let us know in the comments who gets your pick as the Best Actress of 1969 – any of the above, or someone I have missed?

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3 thoughts on “Best Actress – 1969

  1. John Charet December 7, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    Great post 🙂 Interesting picks, I would have chosen Liza Minnelli for The Sterile Cuckoo though 🙂 Interestingly enough, her father Vincente Minnelli would direct his penultimate film a year later in 1970 with “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” starring Barbara Streisand. Only question I have is how come you did not include Glenda Jackson for Women in Love? Other than that, you did a great job with the choices 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • carlosnightman December 7, 2016 / 11:13 pm

      This was a bit of a confusing year, and I almost didn’t include Women In Love at all, given that it was made in 69, but released in US in 70 and features more in next year’s Oscars. In the end I just made it up as I went along, but she will be there next year…

      • John Charet December 8, 2016 / 5:02 am

        That makes perfect sense 🙂 On an unrelated note, have you ever seen or heard of this Michael Powell film called Peeping Tom? Mark Kermode talked about it a few years back when he was interviewing Martin Scorsese. It came out the same year as Hitchcock’s Psycho. Peeping Tom I heard was a pretty controversial film in its day and it nearly ended Michael Powell’s mainstream career. If you have never seen it, you can watch a trailer for it on youtube and search the words “Mark Kermode Peeping Tom” in order to find the interview he did with Scorsese. The one to watch is the one that runs 22 minutes because their are two or three videos that feature his interview with Scorsese. Once again, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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