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Best Actress Rewind: 1984

Best Actress Rewind is back! Oscar-watcher Matt Mazur challenges the Academy's choices in his favorite category, comparing the Academy nominees with his own (frequently better) nominees!

Oscar Nominees:

Judy Davis ... A Passage to India

Sally Field ... Places in the Heart

Jessica Lange ... Country

Vanessa Redgrave ... The Bostonians

Sissy Spacek ... The River

Mazur Nominees:

Diane Keaton ... Mrs. Soffell


Jessica Lange ... Country


Vanessa Redgrave ... The Bostonians


Gena Rowlands ... Love Streams


Kathleen Turner ... Crimes of Passion & Romancing the Stone


Oscar Winner: Sally Field, whose "you like me..." speech is infinitely more memorable than her actual performance in Places in the Heart. A formulaic, sappy Great Depression/Dust Bowl melodrama from Robert Benton, the laborious film drags Field, so engaging in Norma Rae (1979), down into the vilest depths of the stalwart, scrappy mother archetype. In the part, she is toothy and irksome at best.

Mazur Winner: There is no denying Kathleen Turner in the 1980s, and to ignore her two very different, yet beautifully rendered leading roles, in perhaps her finest year as a performer, doesn't make much sense. In Ken Russell's erotic thriller Crimes of Passion, Turner explores the dark underbelly of porn, prostitution, obsession and lust, while in Robert Zemeckis' witty blockbuster Romancing the Stone she explores the underbelly of ... Michael Douglas. As Joan Wilder, Turner is a romantic leading lady, funny, strong, vulnerable and best of all, in Hollywood terms, bankable. I'm looking forward to seeing Turner's star turn in this year's The Perfect Family, but for now, she captures my trophy for her superlative work in 1984.

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