Sunday, November 16, 2014

Twice a Best Actress: Elizabeth Taylor

There's no mistaking the fact that Elizabeth Taylor was an amazing movie star. The husbands (totaling 7, but 8 actual marriages - she and Burton apparently liked it so much, they married twice!), the jewels (her extensive jewelry collection included an extravagant diamond named after her - the Taylor-Burton diamond), the drama (her turbulent life was made for scandal) - she was the very definition of a glamorous star. So it's easy to overlook sometimes that Elizabeth Taylor was also an amazing actress as well. She was nominated for Best Actress five times by the Academy (from 1957-1960 she was consecutively nominated four years in a row) and the two film that won her the award (BUtterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) are this week's subject of Twice a Best Actress from Fisti over at A Fistful of Films.  What's great about her two wins is that the first represents Taylor: The Star and the second acknowledges Taylor: The Actress. Even if that first win wasn't necessarily for a good movie (and other factors weighed heavily on the eventual victory) it's a reflection of how she could still command the screen in whatever she was in, a movie star by every sense of the word. And an accomplished  actress as well, as the second win confirmed. Read all about our take on La Liz here.

Elizabeth Taylor

Best Actress 1960

Greer Garson Sunrise at Campobello
Deborah Kerr The Sundowners
Shirley MacLaine The Apartment*
Melina Mercouri Never on Sunday
Elizabeth Taylor BUtterfield 8

My take on Taylor as Gloria Wandrous in BUtterfield 8: "It's only because of the star-wattage of Taylor that the film is even watchable..." (Click here to read the complete write-up) C+

Best Actress 1966

Anouk Aimée A Man and a Woman
Ida Kaminsky The Shop on Main Street
Lynn Redgrave Georgy Girl
Vanessa Redgrave Morgan!
Elizabeth Taylor Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?*

My take on Taylor as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: "And Taylor in those early scenes with Burton, bickering and impersonating Bette Davis, seems more casually effortless than she's ever appeared - biting into the role with as much gusto as Martha does into cold, leftover chicken legs..." (Click here to read the complete write-up.) A-

*My Choice for Best Actress winner

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