Sunday, January 25, 2015

Twice a Best Actress: Glenda Jackson

The Academy's love affair with British actress Glenda Jackson was intense, but like all great flings was brief. From a six year period of 1970-1975, Jackson was nominated for Best Actress 4 times, winning half of the time. (The two wins came for her work in 1970's Women in Love and 73's A Touch of Class with the other two nominations were for 71's Sunday Bloody Sunday and 75's Hedda.) And it wasn't just the Academy that was enamored. During that same time period she appeared in a 1971 BBC 6-part series as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth R and won two out of the three Emmy awards she was nominated for that year, winning for Best Actress in a Drama Series and Best Actress in a TV Movie. (She received double nominations in the TV Movie category as each episode was considered separately.) Jackson expressed her distaste of awards for the arts, disliking how actresses are pitted against one another. After over two decades on stage and in film, she retired from acting in the early 90s to take up a completely different profession - politics. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992 and from 97-99, during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister, served as the Junior Transit Minister. In 2011, Jackson announced that she would not seek reelection at the next general election, citing her age  (she turns 80 in 2016) as the reasoning. Jackson has had a remarkable life, excelling in two careers that are difficult to break into, and over at Fisti's A Fistful of Films, we looked at her two Oscar winning roles for our Twice a Best Actress series. Both wins are unique choices for the Academy and each role couldn't be more different from the other. But all these years later, it's a little hard to see what the Academy saw in these performances. But people do crazy things when they're in love...

Glenda Jackson

Best Actress 1970

Jane Alexander The Great White Hope
Glenda Jackson Women in Love
Ali MacGraw Love Story
Sarah Miles Ryan's Daughter
Carrie Snodgress Diary of a Mad Housewife

My Thoughts on Jackson as Gudrun Brangwen in Women in Love: "Her part is very enigmatic and Jackson with her honeyed voice and a mysterious twinkle in her eye, effortlessly conveys a rich inner life for her character, making her engaging as she can. But it's hard to place if any of it actually amounts to anything..." (Click here for the complete write-up) C

Best Actress 1973

Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist
Glenda Jackson A Touch of Class
Marsha Mason Cinderella Liberty
Barbra Streisand The Way We Were*
Joanne Woodward Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams

My Thoughts on Jackson as Vicki Allessio in A Touch of Class: "Jackson's hand at comedy is a little too forceful, oddly choosing anger and aggression as her main delivery and her character starts to feel a bit like a nag..." (Click here for the complete write-up) D

* My Choice for Best Actress. I haven't chosen anything for 1970 because I've only seen Jackson and MacGraw and I don't see either as Oscar-winning performances

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