I decided to create a list of the Best "Best Supporting Actress" performances. I mean, why not? It's a lazy summer day and I have had some time to contemplate. So here, in order from amazing to most amazing, is the list!
10. Estelle Parsons- Bonnie and Clyde
There is a lot of criticism for the sheer shrillness of this performance, but i disagree. When you first watch the movie you certainly find yourself thinking "Good god shut up Blanche!" more than once, but repeat viewings allow you to realize how much Parsons adds to the already unbeatable ensemble. Her mannerisms and fiery feud with Bonnie give the movie a much needed boost during what could have been the dull, blah moments of the picture.
9. Jane Darwell- The Grapes of Wrath
Darwell is heartbreaking as Ma Joad in this Henry Fonda vehicle. She manages to steal precious scenes they share together and is a perfect example of what a supporting role should be.
8. Judi Dench- Shakespeare in Love
Her screen time may be minimal, but everyone who has seen the movie always seems to be fondest of this character. Why? Because Dench does so much with her scant screentime. She creates Queen Elizabeth as funny, strong, and wise beyond our years in just eight minutes. Bravo!
7. Cloris Leachman- The Last Picture Show
She's there, she disappears, and then she reappears at the end of the film. She's lonely, she's gone, she's heart-wrenching at the end of the film. A beautiful movie with a heavy performance by the typically funny Leachman.
6. Meryl Streep- Kramer Vs. Kramer
Not a huge fan of the film, making my love for Streep in it all the more confusing. There aren't many words to describe someone like Meryl Streep. My suggestion is: watch the movie. It makes trying to explain her easier.
5. Sandy Dennis- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Unlike her co-star, Dennis is a teeny bit more understated in her performance. She brings heart to the heartless film about a drunken romp shared between two terribly mismatched couples.
4. Kim Hunter- A Streetcar Named Desire
Stella! Stella! That now famous yell would have been a hell of a lot less believable if he had been calling for someone other than the criminally underrated Kim Hunter. Granted she was blacklisted, but still! She (And I can say this without even seeing other productions of Streetcar) is the quintessential Stella Kowalski.
3. Donna Reed- From Here to Eternity
Being paired with Montgomery Clift seems to bring out the best in actresses (i.e. Olivia de Havilland). Although Lancaster and Kerr may be the romance we are supposed to invest in, we find ourselves much more interested in Clift's and Reed's doomed from the start relationship.
2. Dianne Wiest- Hannah and Her Sisters
Wiest is one of the ultimate supporting performers of our time. Hannah and Her Sisters is definitely the better Woody Allen film, as Wiest gets to play a full character instead of a silly, comic-relief cartoon she had to play in Bullets Over Broadway, and boy does she excel. When actors like Wiest get a chance to shine, it's magnificent. Hannah and Her Sisters definitely contains the best supporting female performance of any Allen film I've seen, and that's saying a lot from a man who tries to create so many great roles for actresses.
1. Rita Moreno- West Side Story
Another performance hard to put into words. She just is Anita. That's it. She embodies Anita. She's funny. She's in love. She's singing. She's dancing. She's helping Maria. She's mourning Bernardo. She's trying to make nice with the Jets. She's terrified. She's strong. Simply put, one of the best female performances ever written that completely comes to life due to Moreno.