Best Supporting Actress – 1980

Official Nominations: Mary Steenburgen. Ellen Brennan. Eva La Gallienne. Cathy Moriarty. Diana Scarwid.

Honestly, there’s not a lot to choose from here with a list of actresses your regular movie goer wouldn’t recognise. You could say the same most the majority of the movies which contain the performances. Raging Bull is the one everyone knows, with Cathy Moriarty playing Jake’s object of obsession. She’s good, but it’s little more than the classic ‘pretty girl turns manic’ performance and has a lot in common with Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas. Good performance, but she’s not what you remember from the film.

The official winner this year was Mary Steenburgen playing another wife in Melvin & Howard. She’s the long suffering wife of the eternal screw up, Melvin, and she is always looking for her own way out. Another good performance, but nothing you haven’t seen before. Ellen Brennan plays the stereotype ‘authority figure tries to control/sabotage the star’ role against Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin. Once again, nothing you haven’t seen in any number of other films, though it’s more usual to have a man in this type of performance. She’s funny, and plays off Hawn with chemistry.

Our final two are the least well known performances, performers, and films. Diana Scarwid is the potential love interest of the suicidal Roary – not sure why this was nominated but it’s not a great year. The last nod is a veteran nod – Eva La Gallienne a star of stage more often than screen with performances going back to the 1910s. Burstyn is what you remember from Resurrection with Gallienne playing the grandmother attempting to ground Burstyn’s character after her sudden fame.

My Winner: Cathy Moriarty

Cathy Moriarty

My Nominations: Cathy Moriarty. Mary Steenburgen. Beverly D’Angelo. Nathalie Baye. Cherrie Currie.

I add three new nominees to the two taken from the Official list. Beverly D’Angelo, more known for her comedic roles, makes an early dramatic impact appearing in The Coal Miner’s Daughter as Patsy Cline and earned herself a Golden Globe nomination. Nathalie Baye excels alongside Isabell Huppert in Godard’s Every Man For Himself. I’m not sure how I feel about the film and you may be unsure as to whether or not Baye or Huppert is the lead. While well received, it’s not my favourite Godard film, but there’s no doubting the performances. Finally, Cherrie Currie of The Runaways fame tries her hand at acting in Foxes and makes us wonder why she didn’t become a bigger success in that field. Drug addiction seemed to affect the roles she could get, a shame not least because of her presence and performance as the rebellious and abused teenage girl whose behaviour and fate mirror the lives of the central characters. While I feel my picks are more interesting than most of the Official picks, it’s difficult to vote against Raging Bull and Moriarty.

My Winner: Cathy Moriarty

Let us know your winner in the comments!

One thought on “Best Supporting Actress – 1980

  1. John Charet July 25, 2021 / 8:42 pm

    Great choice 🙂 For me, I would choose either Cathy Moriarty or Mary Steenburgen so you chose wisely in any case 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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