Best Actress – 1980

Official Nominations: Sissy Spacek. Ellen Bursytn. Goldie Hawn. Mary Tyler Moore. Gena Rowlands.

That’s a pretty great line-up for any year, with mostly very strong performances across the board. Few of the films the performances can be found in are personal favourites and some of the films are both less memorable and less remembered than others. I could see three of these being respectable winners, but it’s difficult arguing against Sissy Spacek being the best choice. I’ve gone on the record plenty of times saying I’m not a fan of biopics and the Academy’s predictable, inevitable voting for these performances, but Sissy Spacek is one of the finest performers of her generation with this being up there are one of her finest showcases. It’s a film and performance made with love.

Nobody remembers Resurrection but Burstyn is suitably brilliant in it as the widow who discovers healing powers and becomes an overnight celebrity, a beacon of hope for the sick and religious alike, and an object of cynicism and ridicule from sceptics. It’s an interesting movie, and unusually not the sort of thing The Academy would usually go for. It doesn’t always hit the right balance between tone and subject matter, but the cast is great – Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth, Lois Smith, Jeffrey DeMunn. Goldie Hawn’s turn in Private Benjamin basically set her up for life while Mary Tyler Moore played against type in Ordinary People – as good as she is, it does feel like a nomination to prop up the film or to acknowledge her TV work rather than strictly role and performance based. Finally, Gena Rowlands earned another nomination working under her husband – I’m always pleased to see Rowlands nominated for awards because she was never a typical actress and she rarely picked traditional material. Both of these points ring true for Gloria.

My Winner: Sissy Spacek

The Silver Screen: Coal Miners Daughter - Second Home

My Nominations: Sissy Spacek. Ellen Bursytn. Goldie Hawn. Gena Rowlands. Angie Dickinson.

This should be fairly easy – I replace Mary Tyler Moore with Angie Dickinson from Dressed To Kill as the ill-fated housewife Kate who becomes the pray of Norman Bates a psychotic killer. She’s good, film’s good, all good. I’m not sure who else you would pick this year.

My Winner: Sissy Spacek.

Let us know in the comments who you would pick as winner!

4 thoughts on “Best Actress – 1980

  1. John Charet June 3, 2021 / 3:21 am

    Great post 🙂 You can’t go wrong with any of the choices 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  2. John Charet June 12, 2021 / 4:20 am

    It almost dawned on me, you should have added Theresa Russell under your alternate nominations for Best Actress in Nicolas Roeg’s controversial 1980 masterpiece Bad Timing 🙂

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