Best Actress – 1973

Official Nominations: Glenda Jackson. Ellen Burstyn. Marsha Mason. Barbra Streisand. Joanne Woodward.

Glenda Jackson won this year for A Touch Of Class – an entertaining farce basically about two horn-bags trying to have sex, then continuing an on-off affair. The main problem I have with the film is that the main characters are, well, dicks. The affair is slapstick stuff but eventually settles into a more typical relationship with all the guilt and jealousy you would expect. Still, Jackson is good, shows a talent for comedy, and deserves the nomination. Ellen Burstyn is the tortured mother in The Exorcist, helplessly clutching for some sort of salvation for her daughter. She comes across as cold in the early parts of the film but once the vomit hits the fan she is the concerned, terrified parent watching unimaginable trauma inflected on her child – Burstyn is the winner, no other choice.

Martha Mason earns her first of four nominations for Cinderella Liberty. The cynic in me looks at her marriage to Neil Simon who just happened to write most of the films she was nominated for, but that’s not the case here. She’s good here but there’s something too showy or theatrical about the performance? I don’t know. The film itself is a strange one too – good cast, decent drama, but forgettable. Barbra Streisand is Barbra Streisand, so you know exactly what you’re going to get – lots of scenery chewing and arm waving, while Joanne Woodward is a weird choice in a weird movie. It’s the requisite veteran vote, but she’d already won an award previously. Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams feels like a Bergman movie – even the title sounds like one, and isn’t a film anyone is ever going to seek out. It’s actually a genuine, accurate portrayal of depression and I think there is a great movie in here somewhere – it just doesn’t come off very well.

My Winner: Ellen Burstyn

My Nominations: Ellen Burstyn. Sissy Spacek. Julie Christie. Margot Kidder. Raquel Welch.

People think of Carrie when they think of Sissy Spacek’s breakout role, but the makings of her illustrious career can be found in Badlands – acting as both narrator and lead. As a slightly more passive character she is in danger of being overshadowed by Martin Sheen, but manages to more than hold her own. Julie Christie finds herself in a similar position in Don’t Look Now but her quiet turn to obsession is just as unnerving as what happens to Sutherland’s character. Margot Kidder gives perhaps the most impressive performance of my nominees in a dual role in De Palma’s Sisters while Raquel Welch appears this year in both The Last Of Sheila and The Three Musketeers – either of which is worthy of a nomination.

My Winner: Ellen Burstyn

Let us know in the comments which Actress you think deserves the Award this year!

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