Melanie Griffith in WORKING GIRL

" She’s pretty, she’s funny, she’s great to look at, but that's all."

Jodie Foster in THE ACCUSED

"Jodie Foster is a very versatile actress, with a lot of range and talent. She deserved a better screenplay."

Sigourney Weaver in GORILLAS IN THE MIST

"[the film] is a real showcase for Sigourney. It’s not really a showy performance, but certainly a TERRIFIC one."



"What a joy seeing such a performance on screen. Glenn Close gives a tour de force, and I imagine it was a thrill for her to play it."


Meryl Streep in A CRY IN THE DARK

"Streep is a chameleon, behind the physical transformation and the perfect Australian accent, she vanishes and gives life to Lindy."


                                             THE CONCLUSION                                                

1988 is really a great year with outstanding performances. The ranking was difficult to make, and I’m still torn between Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, but I pick Meryl Streep, her performance is more challenging and more effective. This is the reason why I give to Glenn Close a Special Award (I think it’s something I will do once in a while when the ranking will be difficult to make), it’s my way to honor her tremendous work in “Dangerous Liaisons”. Sigourney Weaver would have been also a terrific winner, but her film is too weak in its first hour and I can’t give her more than 4 stars, but she is truly superb. I am not really familiar with Sigourney's work, but "Gorillas in the Mist" makes me want to see a lot more of her craft which I did by coincidence thanks to “Working Girl”. The real disappointment for me is Jodie, she is just fine, but really not enough fantastic compared to the other three. Melanie Griffith’s performance is really not award worthy, I mean she is well cast and she is lovely and cute, and her film is very enjoyable but that's all.

                                   THE ACADEMY AWARDS and ME                                      

    NEXT YEAR: 1944
as Sarah Tobias in THE ACCUSED (1988)

Sarah Tobias goes to her local bar and is gang-raped by three men. The district attorney on the case is Katheryn Murphy who wants to prove that although Sarah had taken drugs that night and was acting provocatively while in the bar, this is no reason for her to be so brutally attacked and the men responsible should be brought to justice. Not only does Katherine Murphy want to go after the men who commited the rape, she wants to go after the men in the bar who cheered it on. But Katherine has her work cut out for her... 

"You don't understand how I feel! I'm standing there with my pants down and my crotch hung out for the world to see and three guys are sticking it to me, a bunch of other guys are yelling and clapping and you're standing there telling me that that's the best you can do. Well, if that's the best you could do, then your best sucks! Now, I don't know what you got for selling me out, but I sure as shit hope it was worth it!"
                                         - Sarah Tobias

Jodie Foster received her second Oscar Nomination and first win, portraying Sarah Tobias, a reckless waitress with a troubled past, who goes into a bar one night and winds up being gang raped by three guys. I remembered being a great fan of the movie and Jodie’s performance in the past, but this time I didn’t find her performance as effective as I used
to think it was. At first, I think her performance was too forced, and I wanted to see more subtlety and softness to really enjoy her performance. She’s always in fierce, and over the top, and portrays Sarah with such ferocity but also with a lot of dignity. She creates a complex character but we can’t relate to her. She doesn’t show rightly her different sides. Then, I realize, it’s the way Sarah Tobias chose to protect herself. In the courtroom scenes, she reveals herself a lot more damaged and terrorized than we thought. She is nervous, she can’t stop shaking. Jodie Foster has great scenes to express her range, but nothing really outstanding. The character reveals itself to be very layered, but Jodie Foster chose to portray the victim, the raped and angry girl, and put aside the drunken girl, the not recommended girl, the not reliable girl. The flashback scene is really terrific, and allows Jodie other things to do. In this scene, she is able to show a bit of her other side, but it's not enough. The relationship between Katheryn Murphy, played wonderfully by Kelly McGillis, and Sarah Tobias is very interesting. We realize right away the differences, Katheryn, the smart and cultured woman, and Sarah, the lost and troubled girl. Despite their differences, a beautiful relation is created between the two, and Sarah's case became more personal for Katheryn. 

[Kelly McGillis as the district attorney Katheryn Murphy, gives a great performance, and portray a very moral and very engaged woman in her job.]

"In her first Oscar-winning role, Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias, a fast-food waitress who's gang-raped ina roadside table. In the course of the film, she transforms from a good-time hard-drinking girl to a woman fighting for the self-esteem she never had."
                                                                                               - Emmanuel Levy

Jodie Foster is a very versatile actress, with a lot of range and talent. She shows us a woman with a lot of contradictions, determined and frightened, full of dignity and not so  reliable. Jodie Foster deserved a better screenplay. 

as Marquise de Merteuil in DANGEROUS LIAISONS (1988)

The plot is motivated by a cruel wager between the debauched Marquise de Merteuil and her former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont. The Marquise challenges Valmont to seduce the virginal Cecile de Volanges before the girl can be wed. Valmont offers a more difficult counter-challenge: He bets the Marquise that he will be able to bed the very moral and very married Madame de Tourvel. In the course of carrying out his plan, Valmont is stricken with a sudden case of honor and remorse, while the Marquise becomes all the more vicious. 

"When I came out into society I was 15. I already knew that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment. I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit."
                                         - Marquise de Merteuil

For her fifth nomination before a long gap of 24 years, Glenn Close plays the literary iconic character of Marquise de Merteuil from the classic written by Choderlos de Laclos.  Member of the French nobility, the Marquise has been forced to comply with the social rules of her gender at that time. Strong-willed and ambitious, she has grown spiteful from consistently being forced to "Keep quiet and do as told" by the male gender, and so she has made it her business to do whatever she could to dominate the male gender, and avenge her own. At first we could think it’s a one dimensional character, but it is much deeper than we may think. Glenn Close portrays her as a manipulative and immoral woman who uses her beauty and intelligence to both maintain her position in the society but also to avenge herself on anyone who has wronged her in the past. Her true nature is hidden behind a mask of virtue and morality, she has created.  She’s and I quote “a virtuoso of deceit”
Glenn Close takes a risk showing us the human side of this devilish character. She shows us perfectly her weaknesses and her strengths. She’s a vain and jealous woman who doesn’t like when someone takes what she thinks belonged to her. In society, she’s considered by her entourage as a virtuous person. She is always radiant and joyful, full of gratitude. This ambivalence is beautifully shown by Glenn Close. It’s a remarkable performance, and I don’t think another actress could have done a better job. Another actress could have easily fallen in the overacting thing. Her relationship with Valmont is overwhelming, they need each other. It’s the only person with whom she’s truly herself, she can drop her mask with him. When the latter turns against her, she can’t admit it, and declares “WAR". It’s at this moment that her world begins to fall apart. The scene where you see the marquise hysterical and destroying the room is so powerful. Also, the last scene at the Opera is priceless, her mask drops, and her face shows us so many emotions, mainly despair. She has lost everything: her reputation, her revenge, her position is the society. It's one of the best scenes ever played, everything is on her face, no word. Marquise de Merteuil is a woman ahead of her time, and Glenn Close shows this wonderfully. 

[John Malkovich is exquisite playing Valmont, and should have been nominated for an academy award. He gives a multi-layered performance. On the other hand, Michelle Pfeiffer is also great showing us vulnerability, kindness and softness.]

""[The two leads) played to perfection by Close and Malkovich... their arch dialogues together turn into exhausting conversational games, tennis matches of the soul."
                                                                                               - Roger Ebert

What a joy seeing such a performance on screen. Glenn Close gives a tour de force, and I imagine it was a thrill for her to play it. She’s not that much in the movie, but her presence is felt through the entire movie. Her performance is priceless. From an one-dimensional character, Glenn Close gives a very layered performance led by cruelty (her favorite word) and revenge

as Tess McGill in WORKING GIRL (1988)

Tess McGill is a frustrated secretary, struggling to forge ahead in the world of big business in New York. She gets her chance when her  classy but villainous boss breaks her leg on a skiing holiday. McGill takes advantage of her absence to push ahead with her career: Tess simply takes over her office, her apartment, even her wardrobe. She then creates a deal with a handsome investment banker that will either take her straight to the top - or finish her off for good. The situation is complicated after the return of her boss. 

"I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?"
                                         - Tess McGill

Melanie Griffith received her only Academy Award nomination, playing Tess McGill, a working class stockbroker’s secretary from Staten Island with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from evening classes, who dreams of an executive position.  In this film, Melanie Griffith
portrays quite beautifully the American dream. She shows the ambition of her character quite stunningly, portraying this beautiful secretary who just wants to be taken seriously. She shows that she is a lot much stronger that she seems, and a lot less naïve that her appearance may suggest. But the great things on her performance stop here. The main issue is that Griffith doesn’t show her eager, her determination. She’s a passive character and a one-dimensional one, she is kind, she doesn’t want to hurt anyone whereas in the business, you have to be a lot more ferocious. Even when Tess thinks Katherine stole her idea or when her boyfriend is cheating on her, her behavior doesn’t change, and it’s a great mistake. I don’t think her performance in Oscar Worthy. She gives a kind of Reese Witherspoon/Katherine Heigl/Jennifer Aniston performances in Romantic Movies, nothing really astonishing or deserving of an Oscar nomination, and I don’t understand the appeal around this film.  To be honest, the only difference between Melanie Griffith and the other Romantic Ladies is that I can’t deny the fact that Griffith is well cast and that she really understands her character. Also, her voice never changed through the movie, always soft and quiet, we don’t really feel any emotions. The only highlight in the film is the end, when Sigourney becomes bitchier, and when Tess' world falls apart. She becomes more emotional, but nothing spectacular. 

"Working Girl is enjoyable largely due to the fun of watching scrappy, sexy, unpredictable Melanie Griffith rise from Staten Island secretary to Wall Street whiz."
                                                                                               - Variety

Well, it's not a surprise, Melanie Griffith’s performance is really not Oscar worthy, I mean she’s pretty, she’s funny, she’s great to look at, but that's all. I don't deny the fact that Melanie is great in the role, but  the material is not substantial enough to give a tour de force. I'm not someone who thinks comedy is not award worthy, but in this case, there is nothing amazing to reward.

as Dian Fossey in GORILLAS IN THE MIST (1988)

Appalled by the poaching of the gorillas for their skins, hands, and heads, Dian Fossey, who devoted her life to the study of primates, complains to the Rwandan government, which dismisses her. She rejects this, and dedicates herself to saving the African Mountain gorilla from illegal poaching and likely extinction. To this end she forms and leads numerous anti-poaching patrols, and even burns down the poachers' villages and stages a mock execution of one of the offenders. Fossey is mysteriously murdered on December 26, 1985, in the bedroom of her cabin. 

"You like this ring? You want to keep the hand this ring is on? If I see or hear or smell you anywhere near my gorillas, you'll be writing with your other hand and I'll have a new ashtray."
                                         - Dian Fossey

Sigourney Weaver, received her second and last Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category, playing a woman who gives up everything to study primates, and dedicates her life to protect the gorillas. Many scenes in the movie are really hard to see, but they are necessary to
show the importance of Dian’s work in her life. Sigourney Weaver gives a deep, provocative, emotionally challenging performance, and through her acting, humanizes the woman she plays, and she allows us to have a lot of sympathy to her. We understand easily her work because we all know that what she does is rightThe first hour of the movie is pretty weak, and the love story is not necessary or even interesting. The true beginning of the movie is the scene when she has to kill the deer, because he is trapped and hurt. In this particular scene, she’s outstanding. It’s at this moment that Sigourney shows us the determined and heroic side of her character. All the scenes when she tries to approach the gorillas are moving, sometimes funny, and always wonderful, and the scene when some of them are killed allows Sigourney to show all her rage, anger and despair. It’s a hard and liberating scene for an actor. The highlight of the movie is the little gorilla (Pucher), and all the scenes when Dian takes care of her are beautiful, but  the scene when Pucher has to go, because she was sold, is probably the most moving moment of movie. All these events transform Dian. From the lovely woman who gives her life to the protection of gorillas, Sigourney completely transforms herself into the obsessed and hot-tempered Dian, and yet manages to give her an inner soulfulness and vulnerability. She embodies Dian with every fiber of her being. It is really a thrill to see an actor shone that much. 

"Sigourney Weaver gives a towering, Oscar caliber performance in Michael Apted's biopic about courageous anthropologist Dian Fossey who devoted and risked her to save Africa's vanishing breed."
                                                                                               - Emmanuel Levy

Sigourney Weaver gives a tremendous performance. The film is pretty weak during its first hour, and seems more as a documentary, but the second is a real showcase for Sigourney. It’s not really a showy performance, but certainly a TERRIFIC one. Her acting is so subtle. Sigourney gives a knockout performance and would be a very deserving winner

as Lindy Chamberlain in A CRY IN THE DARK (1988)

Based on the true story of Lindy Chamberlain that shocked and divided a nation in the early 1980s. During a camping trip to Ayer's Rock in Australia's outback, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from the family tent when her mother Lindy (Meryl Streep) witnesses a dingo - an Australian wild dog - dragging a bundle out of the tent. Azaria's body is never found. The police notes some apparent inconsistencies in her story, and Lindy is eventually charged with murder. 

                                                                             "I'm told, "Don't talk like you normally talk. Watch how you hold your mouth. You look too sour and crabby. Don't get angry. Don't ask too many questions, or they think you're trying to be smart. And never, never, never laugh or you're an uncaring bitch." Well, I can't cry to order, and I won't be squashed into some dumb act for the public... or for you."
                                         - Lindy Chamberlain

Meryl Streep earned her very deserved eighth Oscar nomination playing a mother of family, eventually charged with murder. Meryl Streep gives one of her finest performances. The case attracted a 
lot of attention, turning an investigation into a media circus, with the public divided in their opinions, and the movie shows how this attention can affect a situation. Meryl Streep is authentic, gives a portrait without pretense, and shows an ambiguous and stunning character. Meryl follows the original public perception of Lindy, and rightly she did not behaved as "the weeping, screaming, bereaved mother - she was more like 'None'a your f----ucking business how I feel!'". Her interpretation leads the audience to question whereas in principle,  there are no doubts to have, the director has chosen to present the terrible events in the outback in such a way that there's never any doubt  about what happened, but her performance is so true and the situation so real that you can't resist and you have doubts. She never try to be sympathetic to the audience, she’s cold, react weirdly and show no emotions, Meryl shows us a woman who deliberately refused to allow insights into herself, this character appears emotionless except in the courtroom scenes. In those, she shows herself fearless, fierce and full of anger but also very heartbreaking, touching  and disturbing when she was questioned about the night her baby was taken by the dingo. 

"Streep - yes, with another perfect accent - brings her customary skillfulness to the part. It's not a showy performance, but the heroine's internal struggle seems to come from the actress' pores"
                                                                                               - Rita Kempley, The Washington Post

Meryl Streep is a chameleon, behind the physical transformation and the perfect Australian accent, she vanishes and gives life to Lindy, she dominates all the scenes. It is a true testament of a great performance, rightly rewarded by the best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival. 


  • Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons
  • Jodie Foster in The Accused
  • Melanie Griffith in Working Girl
  • Meryl Streep in A Cry in the Dark
  • Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist

I choose to do this year, because I want to re-watch Streep's performance in A cry in the Dark, plus it's an Iconic Year, it was the last real shot for Glenn to Win, and I want to review Melanie Griffith's Performance which did not seem a baity role on paper. 

What do you think  ?  Your Prediction  ?  Your Ranking  ? 

Anne Bancroft in AGNES OF GOD

"[Bancroft] could have looked deeper on the psychology of the character to express the conflicts and the torments."


Jessica Lange in SWEET DREAMS

"Her acting seems so easy that it’s a privilege to see her on screen, the issue is the lack of opportunities left by the screenplay."


Meryl Streep in OUT OF AFRICA

"It's a quiet and subtle performance that needs more epic, romantic, showy scenes."



"Geraldine Page gives in The Trip to bountiful a wonderful performance, full of joy, sadness and nostalgic."


Whoopi Goldberg in THE COLOR PURPLE

"For her film debut, Whoopi Goldberg gives one of the most wonderful performance ever given by an actor."


                                             THE CONCLUSION                                                

I proudly announce that Whoopi Goldberg is my first winner. Contrary to the Academy Awards I didn't wait 74 years to give an Oscar for a leading role to a black actress . 1985 was a great year, the movies are all interesting, and the performances are all different in terms of quality, so the ranking was easy to make. Despite that Whoopi is hands down my pick, Geraldine Page is a deserving winner. Geraldine's performance is a delight, and even if I dislike the way the Academy sometimes gives an Oscar to honor a career, it was the best moment to honor Geraldine Page.

                                   THE ACADEMY AWARDS and ME                                      

    NEXT YEAR: 1988
as Mrs. Carrie Watts in THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (1985)

Carrie Watts is living the twilight of her life trapped in an apartment in 1940's Houston, Texas with a controlling daughter-in-law and a hen-pecked son. Her fondest wish -- just once before she dies -- is to revisit Bountiful, the small Texas town of her youth which she still refers to as "home." The trouble is her son, Ludie, is too concerned for her health to allow her to travel alone and her petty daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae, insists they don't have money to squander on bus tickets.

"I guess when you've lived longer than your house and your family, then you've lived long enough."
                                         - Mrs Carrie Watts

Geraldine Page received her eighth Oscar nomination and her first win, for her unforgettable and poignant portrait of an elderly widow who wants nothing more out of life than to return to her home town of Bountiful. The first time, Geraldine Page appears on screen in The trip to bountiful, we desperately fall in love with her. Seeing this elderly woman, with a great determination and a great heart, full of melancholia on screen is mesmerizing. Geraldine Page carries the film on her shoulders and gives to Mrs Carrie Watts the necessary incandescence to portray the role admirably. She gives to the film her greatness. She brings to her character the innocence it needed. Her scenes with her beloved son are heartbreaking, and those with her daughter-in-law, brilliantly played by Carlin Glynn, are funny, amusing and cynical, it’s a great balance between the two. 
Escaping from her family's clutches, Page boards a bus to Bountiful, where she makes the acquaintance of young Rebecca DeMornay. The two women immediately hit it off, and their trip is a most pleasant one. In the bus, she tells her story about love, her husband, and the true love of her life, and this scene is probably one of the two scenes who gave her the edge in the Oscar competition. The other, is the one at the bus station, when she expresses her feelings to the sherrif. She’s at 12 miles from her destination, but she is stopped by the sherrif, because her family will arrive to bring her back. The scene is very emotional, from despair to anger: It's a moving moment. Feeling sorry for Page, Bradford permits her to complete her sentimental journey, even though he knows full well that Bountiful is now a ghost town.It doesn't matter, though: Page sees Bountiful, and for the first time in years she is truly happy and at peace with herself. Those last scenes give the greatness she deserved to finish the movie.  

"In this small, sharply observed tale from Horton Foote, the great Geraldine Page plays an elderly widow, who longs to go back to her idyllic small-town roots; shapeless, the film is mostly a showcase for its actors."
                                                                                               - Emanuel Levy

Geraldine Page gives in The Trip to bountiful a wonderful performance, full of joy, sadness and nostalgic. She’s convincing and gives us one of the most beloved character than audience has ever seen on screen. 

as Patsy Cline in SWEET DREAMS (1985)

Patsy Cline is unhappily married and playing small-time gigs in the Tri-State when she meets Charlie Dick, whose charm and aggressive self-confidence catch her attention. In time, Patsy leaves her husband to marry Charlie, and she gives up music to focus on raising their children. But after Charlie goes into the United States Army, Patsy begins singing again, and after joining forces with manager Randy Hughes, Patsy becomes a rising star on the country music scene. She died in a plane crash on March 5, 1963 at the age of 30.

"See, I figure when you say you want to get to know me better - what you really mean is you want a ten minute screw in the back seat of your car."
                                         - Patsy Cline

Sweet Dreams is a lively biopic, in which Jessica Lange remarkably gives life to Patsy Cline, one of the first great female stars of the country music, who had not only broadened the audience for country but also brought a new sophistication to the Nashville sound.
The director chose to focus on the troubled relationship between Patsy Cline, and her second husband, Charlie Dick played by Ed Harris, and not only on her career, well, even If I think he made the right decision, maybe a balance between the two could have been better and more interesting. With this character, Jessica Lange embarks on a long journey and has to portray a lot of emotions, at the beginning, she’s a bit naïve, she has big dreams, then when the success comes, she becomes more confident of her talent, but also of her feminity. Through the film, she has to use her sexiness, her tender side, her anger. Her acting seems so easy that it’s a great privilege to see her on screen, everything seems so real, the only but important issue here, is the lack of opportunities left by the screenplay, few scenes are really powerful and strong. The film doesn't let Jessica Lange really shine. All the scenes where Ed Harris’ character is abusive or in love with Jessica Lange's character are impressive, the duo has a great alchemy, this love/hate relationship is beautifully created by the two actors, the scenes are intense and extreme, but there are not enough in the film. Another relationship is important in her life: the one with her mother who always was a great support for her daughter, those scenes are really great, sometimes funny and always sentimental. It’s a great balance to the hard scenes Jessica Lange had with Ed Harris

[I think Ed Harris is fantastic in the movie and should have been nominated for an academy award, it's a rare and intense performance and works perfectly with the performance of jessica Lange. It's a great duo.]

"Lange and Harris, dangerously well-matched, give us lovers whom only success could sunder."
                                                                                               - Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

No surprisingly, Lange plays perfectly the legendary Patsy Cline, She’s convincing and everything seem so real but as Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, the screenplay doesn’t give her a lot of things to really dazzle even if it’s a showy, vivid  and sometimes quiet performance. 

as Mother Miriam Ruth in AGNES OF GOD (1985)

When a dead newborn is found, wrapped in bloody sheets, in the bedroom wastebasket of a young novitiate, psychiatrist Martha Livingston is called in to determine if the seemingly innocent novice, who knows nothing of sex or birth, is competent enough to stand trial for the murder of the baby. While searching for the answer that her supervisors want, Dr. Livingston finds herself inevitably drawn into searching for the truth about the baby's conception and death. Despite the lack of cooperation that she receives from her own organization and the church, itself, she eventually discovers more than she may have bargained for.

"So, you have questions. Fire away!"
                                         - Mother Miram Ruth

For her last Oscar nomination (which should not be remembered), Anne Bancroft plays a controlling and protective nun who tries to protect a novice nun who gives birth and insists that the dead
child was the result of a virgin conception. Before saying anything, I would like to say that I’m a big fan of Anne Bancroft. At first, I think her role is very demanding, but Anne Bancroft chose the easy way to let the role one-dimensional, with no thickness. Then, the role could have been great if she had chosen to be ambivalent, the character should have been torn between the beliefs and the truth of the modern world, between faith and reason but Anne Bancroft does not show any of these sides. Anne could have expressed in her acting the possibilities of miracles while recognizing the realities of today's world, of which the mother superior is painfully aware. There is no subtlety in her performance, and she avoids all challenges. The great things in the film are the conflict between mother superior and the psychiatrist, it’s an intense relation, well played by both actresses with rivalry, understanding but also the fears of each worlds and also the extreme devotion of Mother Superior to protect Agnes.   

[I think the performance of Fonda should have deserved more credits, and Meg Tilly gives the standout performance, she shows the naivety of her character beautifully. I have never seen that, I think it’s hard to seem naïve, innocent and a bit silly. The movie is easy to watch but it’s a bit silly, and I don’t see the necessity of this kind of film.  ]

"Deadly - despite good work from Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly, the film is grotesquely directed and the spiritual debate is sensationalized beyond all reason."
                                                                                               - Nick Davis

Anne Bancroft doesn't give a substantial performance, she could have looked deeper on the psychology of the character to express the conflicts and the torments, but no, she avoids all challenges. It’s a one-dimensional character who should have deserved more intense dialogues, the only thing which remains great in the movie is the intense conflict between mother Superior and the psychiatrist played beautifully by Jane Fonda, who I think gave a better performance with the little she had. I respect her performance but it could have been better.