Saturday, October 18, 2014

Twice a Best Actress: Luise Rainer

This week for the Twice a Best Actress blogger roundtable (hosted by Fisti at A Fistful of Films), we looked at a woman that's more remembered as an Oscar footnote rather than the accomplished actress she was (it probably doesn't help that she won over more celebrated actresses like Lombard, Garbo, Stanwyck, and Dunne). After winning her two Best Actress Oscars, Luise Rainer virtually disappeared from Hollywood, the pressure being too much for her to live up to and the studio's inability to know what to do with her talent. But Luise Rainer was the first actor (male or female) to win multiple Oscars and the first to win back-to-back awards (and the only Actress to do so until Katharine Hepburn 30 years later in 67 and 68). She had only 7 more films released after the film that brought her second win, The Good Earth, and only 2 were made after 1938. But although Luise Rainer's time as a Hollywood star was brief, she herself is still breaking records. At 104 years old, Rainer is still alive and still the oldest living Oscar winner in history. She has also placed the highest in our roundtable thus far. So celebrate her work by reading what we all thought of her performances in The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth

Luise Rainer
Best Actress 1936

Irene Dunne Theodora Goes Wild
Gladys George Valiant is the Word for Carrie
Carole Lombard My Man Godfrey*
Luise Rainer The Great Ziegfeld
Norma Shearer Romeo and Juliet

My Thoughts on Rainer as Anna Held in The Great Ziegfeld: "Rainer is a fluttery diversion, enjoyable when she's on screen, but quickly forgotten whenever she's not..." (Click here to read the complete write-up) C-

Best Actress 1937

Irene Dunne The Awful Truth
Greta Garbo Camille*
Janet Gaynor A Star Is Born
Luise Rainer The Good Earth
Barbara Stanwyck Stella Dallas

My Thoughts on Rainer as O-Lan in The Good Earth: "Rainer gives a quiet and effective performance, disappearing into herself as she plays a meek yet determined woman..." (Click here for the complete write-up) B-

*My Choices for Best Actress winner. Can we just take a second to admire that line-up in 1937? It was hard to choose a winner, but I ultimately went with Garbo

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