And the Academy selected:
- Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie
- Mildred Natwick in Barefoot in The Park
- Estelle Parsons in Bonnie and Clyde
- Beah Richards in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
- Katherine Ross in The Graduate
5. Carol Channing as Muzzy Van Hossmere in Thoroughly Modern Millie
Awful, just awful. Words cannot describe the terrible performance Carol Channing gives. Muzzy is all over the place because of Channing, instead of being zany, she is just weird, playing off the fact that she is an odd performer showing how odd she really is. No depth, nothing funny, just tons of weird facial expressions and bizarre line readings.
4. Beah Richards as Mary Prentice in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
Beah Richards performance is mostly her standing around, giving the same kind of looks Katharine Hepburn gives, except Richards is no Hepburn. Her readings of otherwise nice monologues are well overplayed by Richards who sometimes goes over the top and sometimes doesn't even seem to be trying. A hard feat for a performer who maybe only has 10 minutes to prove something like this. She looks constantly glazed and her performance feels more of a 'why not' then anything else.
3. Mildred Natwick as Ethel Banks in Barefoot In The Park
Barefoot In The Park is surely a dry exercise for everyone involved, but the nomination for Natwick is puzzling. Playing the mother of Jane Fonda, she does have alot of screentime, but it's how Natwick chooses to not take any chances or make a splash with her 'winded' old lady role. She is actually the most boring part of the film for me, at least Redford and Fonda are a bit of charming in their main storyline, when the film focuses on Natwick is becomes winded just like her character. A mediocre performance at best.
2. Katherine Ross as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate
If anything, she is amazing, fleshes out many things in her time as Elaine Robinson. Of course she has great material on her side, but Ross evokes the true spirit of her character with naive sensibility and jaded spirit in her course of the latter part of the film. She becomes the second part of the film in many ways, while Anne Bancroft dominates the first half. It is a magnifcently great performance that fits in wonderfully with her film.
1. Estelle Parsons as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde
I came extremely close to picking Ross this time around, but Estelle Parsons is still just as wonderful and brilliant no matter how many times I see her. Most of the time, she is just funny - others she can be as touching as a performance can get whether it is her hypocritical feelings or her hopelessness towards the end. It will annoy many but not this viewer who finds her enchanting.
Honorable Omissions: None.