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Best Actress Rewind: 1990

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Monday, Sep 20, 2010
Oscar-watcher Matt Mazur dips into the history of this category and compares the Academy nominees with his own (frequently better) nominees!

Oscar Nominees:

Kathy Bates ... Misery
Anjelica Huston ... The Grifters
Julia Roberts ... Pretty Woman
Meryl Streep ... Postcards from the Edge
Joanne Woodward ... Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Mazur Nominees:

Mia Farrow … Alice

Barbara Hershey … A Killing in a Small Town

Anjelica Huston … The Grifters *

Jessica Lange … Men Don’t Leave

Susan Sarandon … White Palace

Oscar Winner: Kathy Bates took home a statuette for her terrifying work as Stephen King madwoman Annie Wilkes in Misery. Bates’ win was a rare triumph for the horror genre and for character actresses the world over, but in my book, she has been better in other roles since, and more deserving for more nuanced turns in films such as Dolores Claiborne (1995) or Primary Colors (1998).

Mazur Winner: There is absolutely no denying the powerful transformation of the refined, elegant Anjelica Huston into a tough as steel, noirish dame from the wrong side of the tracks, Lilly Dillon in The Grifters. I believe the Oscars got it all wrong this year and ignored some of the finest work from perennial favorites such as Hershey, Lange and Sarandon, but they did have the sense to at least nominate Huston for her crime-world she-wolf of a mama, her last Oscar nomination to date. That is a true shame given that a) she is one of the best living actresses and b) she should have won that night. Here’s to hoping Ms. Huston will be back in the winner’s circle in the near future.

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