And the Academy selected:
- Jeannie Berlin in The Heartbreak Kid
- Eileen Heckart in Butterflies Are Free
- Geraldine Page in Pete N' Tillie
- Susan Tyrell in Fat City
- Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure
5. Shelley Winters as Belle Rosen in The Poseidon Adventure
Shelley Winters was the only cast-member to be noticed by the Academy for her sentimental role as former swimming champ Belle Rosen. Really Winters' role can be cut between two parts: the ongoing, nice older lady and her heroic moment where she saves Gene Hackman and then dies. There's not coherently wrong with her performance, it's nice, there's just not much to it.
4. Jeannie Berlin as Lila in The Heartbreak Kid
Well, Jeannie Berlin's performance is certainly exaggerated but that is entirely the point of her character Lila. She's a Jewish newlywed with a high pitched, unnerving voice who makes a pig out of herself when she eats and annoys her new husband endlessly. She is wildly funny in her annoyance, there's not really any wisecracks or anything like that, just pure annoyance that becomes funny once you get used to it.
3. Susan Tyrell as Oma in Fat City
Susan Tyrell's subtle, lovely work as alcoholic Oma is a great achievement. She enters the film ready to be a tired cliche, but the way the character is written and the way Tyrell handles it is quite wonderful. She never takes the usual steps with Oma, a character who is constantly wondering what could be. It's a terrific performance full of things to find.
2. Geraldine Page as Gertrude in Pete N' Tillie
It's sort of a guilty pleasure even though I attest to not have any :) Geraldine Page's brief, but unbelievably charming performance as socialite bitch Gertrude in Pete N' Tillie. Page is already a force on screen and when she tries comedy (at least this time around) she fulfills everything possible with the character. She's only on-screen for a short time, but she's always the life of the film when she is called for. A great, charming performance.
1. Eileen Heckart as Florence Baker in Butterflies Are Free
Eileen Heckart's perfect, amazing performance as caring mother Mrs. Baker simply amazes me. She blasts through the film, being nosy, caring about her son like nobody's business, and throws as many witty lines out that I can't believe. She reminds me of the mother everyone would want to have - endearingly annoying and caring, but never bad or in need of hurting her child. Just one of the many perfect aspects of this brilliant performance.
Honorable Omissions: Edith Massey in "Pink Flamingos".