Sunday, December 14, 2014

Twice a Best Actress: Ingrid Bergman

Despite being one of only 6 actors to have 3 or more Oscar wins (in addition to her Best Actress wins for Gaslight and Anastasia, she won Best Supporting Actress in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express), it seems that Ingrid Bergman is hardly mentioned as often or beloved as much as Old Hollywood Oscar favorites, Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis. Perhaps because Bergman didn't even receive nominations for her best known performances in Casablanca and Hitchcock's Notorious, but instead received 4 other nominations (Best Actress in 1943's For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1945's The Bells of St. Mary's, 1948's Joan of Arc, and 1978's Autumn Sonata) for films in which she gives great performances (particularly in Autumn Sonata, which she should have won), but that are almost forgotten today. But Bergman was one of our greatest movie stars and actresses and she should be mentioned more often for her contribution to film. Over at A Fistful of Films from Fisti, we looked at Bergman's two Best Actress wins for our blogger roundtable discussion Twice a Best Actress - one a turn by an actress at the height of her fame and popularity in a performance that I feel is the best of her 3 wins and the other an award for redemption, the Academy welcoming back a wronged woman.

Ingrid Bergman 

Best Actress 1944 

Ingrid Bergman Gaslight*
Claudette Colbert Since You Went Away
Bette Davis Mr. Skeffington
Greer Garson Mrs. Parkington
Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity

My Thoughts on Bergman as Paula Alquist Anton in Gaslight: "Bergman, showing what a movie star can bring to a part, is magnetically compelling throughout the film bringing a style of acting that sometimes is often overlooked..." (Click here for the complete write-up) B+

Best Actress 1956

Carroll Baker Baby Doll*
Ingrid Bergman Anastasia
Katharine Hepburn The Rainmaker
Nancy Kelly The Bad Seed
Deborah Kerr The King and I

My Thoughts on Bergman as Anna Koreff in Anastasia: "Overly theatrical, the film is stiff and suffocating, never able to overcome its stage-bound origins and Bergman seems to be the one most stifled by it all..." (Click here for the complete write-up) D

*My Choice for Best Actress. In 44, I can't decide between Bergman and Stanwyck. If you asked me next week I might have a different answer. But I went with Bergman only because I would've given the win to Stanwyck in 41. For 56, it's really a battle for who actually gave a performance worth rewarding. None are particularly memorable or challenging. But I went with Baker in "Baby Doll" even though I'm not that impressed with the actual performance because that image of her sleeping in a baby crib is unforgettable... 

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