5. Sissy Spacek in The River: Besides some very brief moments of depth, Sissy Spacek is a dud in this awful, extremely odd film. All she's saddled with is the boring part of a wife who just lives for her family and she fails to spark up the role miserably.
4. Vanessa Redgrave in The Bostonians: Though she has a few good moments, this performance is nothing special and the role is so limited that it becomes confusing. What did the academy or Redgrave herself see in this film?
3. Sally Field in Places In The Heart: Sally Field gives a very good, but inconsistent performance, on one hand, she does a good job of making us feel who Edna is and for her situation and some of her moments are terrific, but on the other hand, she never goes far enough with the part, not putting enough energy or going deep enough into the character. But she's stuck in a sentimental, confusing film, and I give her a lot of credit for trying.
2. Jessica Lange in Country: Lange has a very one dimensional part, but unlike Spacek, actually tries and surprisingly completely succeeds in commanding the screen with her performance. It's not perfect since the role really isn't interesting enough to become great, but Lange is great to watch.
1. Judy Davis in A Passage To India: My heart said Jessica, but my head said Davis, and I went with the latter. As with nearly all the performances this year, Davis's character is not that interesting, still, Davis gives a subtle, extremely strong performance that hits it's peak during the court scenes, where Davis shows how excellent of an actress she can be.
Wow, a year that is as weak as it looks! None of these performances except for maybe Davis, measure up to the usual standard that I expect from the Oscars and although they make some strange nominee choices (Talia Shire, Stockard Channing, Debra Winger), I think that they could have chosen better then this.
My ranking of the nominated films:
2. A Passage To India
3. Places In The Heart
4. The Bostonians
5. The River