Sunday, January 25, 2015

Twice a Best Actress: Vivien Leigh


When we did the Twice A Best Actor roundtable this past summer, with wonderful performances from Marlon Brando and Daniel Day Lewis in the running, there was uncertainty whose double wins would come out on top. But for Twice a Best Actress, there was never any doubt in my mind that Vivien Leigh's two iconic wins for Gone With the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) would be victorious. Not only are they considered two of the best wins in that category, but both rank as two of cinema's greatest performances. Leigh won both times she was nominated for the Academy Award (despite a turn in 1940's Waterloo Bridge that should have garnered a nomination), but her filmography is limited. She appeared in only 19 films in her career, more than half of them British films that were made before Gone With the Wind made her a star. And she devoted most of her career to appearing on stage alongside her frequent co-star, husband Laurence Olivier. She appeared in everything from Shakespearean tragedies to Noël Coward comedies and even won a Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical for 1963's Tovarich. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, her health was a large part of why she appeared so infrequently in film. In 1953, while filming Elephant Walk in Ceylon, she suffered a severe breakdown and had to be replaced with Elizabeth Taylor. And she tragically dead in 1967 at the age of 53 due to tubcreiolous. But her performances as Scarlett and Blanche are more than enough to sustain a lasting legacy and her place as one Hollywood's most beautiful and talented actresses (and one of my personal all-time favorites) is assured.

Vivien Leigh

Best Actress 1939


Bette Davis Dark Victory
Irene Dunne Love Affair
Greta Garbo Ninotchka
Greer Garson Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Vivien Leigh Gone With the Wind*

My Thoughts on Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind: "Leigh challenges the viewer not to side with what is essentially a selfish manipulator, by making her interesting, complex, and, frankly, damn alluring...." (Click here to read the complete write-up) A

Best Actress 1951


Katharine Hepburn The African Queen
Vivien Leigh A Streetcar Named Desire*
Eleanor Parker Detective Story
Shelley Winters A Place in the Sun
Jane Wyman The Blue Veil

My Thoughts on Leigh as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire: "Leigh pushes herself so completely in the film, burying herself deeply into Blanche's psyche to a point where sometimes it's hard to know where Leigh ends and Blanche begins..." (Click here for the complete write-up) A

*My Choices for Best Actress. It couldn't be anyone other than Vivien Leigh both years.

1 comment:

  1. It was a joy to have you on the panel once again! Until next time!!!

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