1942 was a great year for movies. Many of my favorite movies and performances come from 1942, and so when Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club announced their annual 31 Days of Oscars blogathon, it was pretty much one of my top 5 subjects to choose from. Not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. There are sooo many things to talk about when it comes to the Oscars! But I had to go for this because I couldn’t make up my mind about certain things in other subjects (more about that next week).
So here we are! These were the 5 Best Actress nominees of 1942/1943:
Rosalind Russell in My Sister Eileen – Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair star as Ruth and Eileen, two sisters from Ohio who move to New York to pursue their dreams: Ruth wants to be a writer, while Eileen wants to be an actress. They soon realize that New York is a jungle filled with unbearable noises and eccentric characters. Despite its hard-hitting truth about how hard it is to ‘make it’, My Sister Eileen is surprisingly adorable. And Roz Russell is as funny as they come. I’ve always thought she had this wonderful gift of being funny without even trying. I find myself laughing at certain things she does that, if done by anybody else, would be completely unremarkable. She had an all-around impeccable, natural comic timing, with a palpable depth that made her so incredibly relatable. I don’t know about you, but I’d’ve loved to have been best friends with her.
Teresa Wright in The Pride of the Yankees – Teresa Wright’s portrayal of Lou Gehrig’s wife Ellie is as moving as the film itself. She had the nicest, friendliest face in 1940s cinema, but that face could break your heart in three seconds with the swiftest change of expression. In The Pride of the Yankees, she wore her heart on her sleeve. In the scenes following Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper)’s diagnosis, she displays her emotions beautifully throughout and she will make you want to cry. And in her actual Oscar-winning performance (Supporting Actress) that year – one of only 11 actors to be nominated in two different categories in the same year – in Mrs Miniver, she does the same. By the way, no matter how much you love her, I’d advise you never to have a Pride of the Yankees/Mrs Miniver double bill. You’ll be crying your eyebrows off by the end of it.
Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year – It’s very hard for me to talk about Katharine Hepburn without gushing. She’s been a huge part of my life for about ten years and I don’t think I can objectively talk about her or her performances. I’m not saying I think she should have won the Oscar every time or anything like that, I just can’t analyze her performances anymore, because I’ve seen them so many times. Woman of the Year is one of my particular favorites. The look of love was in her eyes the whole time. As we all know, she and Spencer Tracy fell in love during the making of this movie and it’s very, very clear. In the movie, Tess Harding also falls in love with Sam Craig and vice-versa, while at the same time being an independent, ‘ahead of her time’ badass. Some people say that Katharine Hepburn ‘always played herself’ (heathens!), and if so, then this is the most Katharine Hepburn she’s ever been.
Bette Davis in Now, Voyager – Poor Charlotte Vale. The ugly-duckling. The black sheep. The spinster aunt. This is the type of character that will always be relevant and never go out of style. Whether it’s a comedic character or one that will break your heart. Per usual, Bette Davis does the latter. The pain and suffering that comes from wanting to get away from her mother’s grip, and the yearning for love is heart-breaking, and Bette plays it wonderfully. With a sincerity and humanity that is both beautiful and sad, she grabs you from the first second and you’re there with her the whole time. You feel for her, you root for her and when she transforms into an elegant, confident woman, you’re proud of her for finally loving herself. I think everybody, at some point, has been Charlotte Vale in one way or another, and that’s why she’s so relatable.
Greer Garson in Mrs Miniver (winner) – Refined, poised, warm, strong and with nothing but love in her heart, Kay Miniver’s main concern is trying to keep her family together during the war. A loving wife, mother and mother-in-law (who can forget her scene with Teresa Wright in the car?), as well as a friend to nearly everybody in town, Mrs Miniver never loses her cool in the face of adversity. Being a World War II movie, there are obviously some painful, heart-wrenching moments in Mrs Miniver, but, for just a little while, when she’s around, she makes you feel like everything’s going to be alright and everybody turns to her for support. She’s the rock of the Miniver household and she was the character everybody needed in 1942. Did Greer Garson deserve her Oscar? Of course she did, are you kidding?
So there you have it, folks! If you want to read the other entries for the blogathon, click here. The blogathon will carry on through tomorrow, so be sure to check it!