Welcome to Oscar Justice, a weekly feature at Ice Creams for Freaks. It’s a simple concept: I give an Oscar to someone who rightfully deserved it, then I follow the repercussions down the line until I am satisfied.
This week on Oscar Justice: Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons
1982 Best Supporitng Actress, The World According to Garp – Lost to Jessica Lange, Tootsie
1983 Best Supporitng Actress, The Big Chill – Lost to Linda Hunt, The Year of Living Dangerously
1984 Best Supporting Actress, The Natural – Lost to Peggy Ashcroft, A Passage to India
1987 Best Actress, Fatal Attraction – Lost to Cher, Moonstruck
1988 Best Actress, Dangerous Liaisons – Lost to Jodie Foster, The Accused
2011 Best Actress, Albert Nobbs – Lost to Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
2018 Best Actress, The Wife – Lost to Olivia Colman, The Favourite
2020 Best Supporting Actress, Hillbilly Elegy – Lost to Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Glenn Close was never not a star. She began her career on and off Broadway starting in 1974. Her talents led her to a Tony nomination in 1980 for Barnum and caught the eye of director George Roy Hill, who cast her as the eccentric feminist mother of the title character in The World According to Garp. Close earned three Best Supporting Actress nominations for he first three films and the world immediately caught on to her talent.
Close earned Best Actress nods in consecutive years for Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons in 1987 and 1988, respectfully. Though she was considered the favorite among critics and fans for both races, she ended up losing both Oscars.
The veteran actress has been busier in her later years, as she has voiced Disney characters, appeared as the star of live-action versions of Disney films and is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Additionally, she earned three more Oscar nominations, but with her loss in 2020, is now tied with Peter O’Toole as the most nominated performer without a win, with eight nominations. Close continues to work and could be destined for the Oscar stage soon.
Glenn Close defeats Jodie Foster at the 1988 Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
WHY THIS JUSTICE?
Of all of Close’s Oscar nominations, Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons are the two that stand out in quality. I’m choosing to focus on Dangerous Liaisons because it is the performance I prefer of the two.
Close hisses and schemes her way through Stephen Frears’ costume drama. She manipulates and double-crosses for no other reason than petty grievances and psychotic boredom. Her political and societal positions are her only currency and she uses all her gifts to her advantage. At the film’s climax, it all comes crashing down.
The film’s final scene follows Close’s de Merteuil following the disillusion of her “game” with Valmont and the reveal of her intimate letters, leading to her disgrace. Arriving at an opera, she is booed and humiliated by the crowd. Her eyes dart with understanding and she turns with her usual grace to exit, stumbling briefly before calmly leaving with composure. She retires to her home and wordlessly removes her jewelry and makeup. She is barely able to look at herself as she sheds tears while shrouded in darkness. Few actresses can convey so much with only their own disdain for the characters they have created and Close puts it to full effect in two brief minutes at the end of the film.
A performance of this monumental brilliance should be rightfully rewarded.
Here’s where things get wild. Jodie Foster has two very well-deserved Oscars, but I like to spread the wealth. I thought about leaving Foster with her other Oscar for 1991’s Silence of the Lambs, but then I saw an opportunity. She defeated the two powerhouse women from Thelma & Louise in Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Sarandon would go on to an Oscar win in 1995, but Davis already had her Oscar, also in 1988 for The Accidental Tourist. I love the idea of Davis winning for Thelma & Louise, and I briefly considered giving the co-stars a tie victory. For the sake of realism, I’ll award the Oscar to Davis alone.
With Davis winning in 1991, her 1988 Oscar becomes available, which opens the door for another long-time Oscar bridesmaid in Sigourney Weaver for Working Girl. Weaver was double-nominated along with Close and Foster for Gorillas in the Mist, but lost both. Weaver was nominated in Best Actress as well in 1986 for Aliens, but I like Marlee Matlin having an Oscar. Weaver wins in 1988.
So, Close wins Best Actress in 1988 and Weaver wins Supporting Actress. As a result of the 1988 loss, Davis gets her Oscar in 1991. But that leaves us with Foster. She was nominated again in 1994 for Nell, but that film has aged very poorly, and I continue to come to grips with the mess of the 1994 Best Actress category. Instead of looking forward, let’s go back to Foster’s first Oscar nomination for Taxi Driver in 1976. She lost the award to Beatrice Straight in Network. As great as she is, Straight only appears on screen for barely over five minutes. Foster’s role is much more substantial in its content and performance, so I’m giving the Oscar to Foster.
Straight would never be nominated again after a limited film career. She was prominent in television and the stage throughout the years, earning a Tony for The Crucible and an Emmy nomination for The Dane Curse. Straight passed away in 2001 at age 86.
Jodie Foster wins Best Supporting Actress in 1976 over Beatrice Straight
Glenn Close wins Best Actress in 1988 over Jodie Foster
Sigourney Weaver wins Best Supporting Actress in 1988 over Geena Davis
Geena Davis wins Best Actress in 1991 over Jodie Foster
Next week on Oscar Justice…Tom Cruise had some close calls as a leading man, but it’s a supporting performance that gets him the award