Welcome to Season 2 of Oscar Justice, a weekly feature at IceCream4Freaks. 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: Sharon Stone in Casino
1995 Best Actress, Casino – Lost to Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking
The 1990s had its fair share of starlets. Some might prefer their actresses wholesome like Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock. But, if you liked your actress to have a definite edge, you went for Sharon Stone.
Despite a string of forgettable films in the 80s, Stone broke through in 1990’s Total Recall. Parlaying that successes, Stone became a superstar in 1992’s Basic Instinct. Playing an unapologetic bisexual murderer, Stone typified the femme fatale of the early 90s. Despite a string of misfires, Stone caught the eye of Martin Scorsese, who cast her in his 1995 Las Vegas gangster epic Casino.
Stone won a number of awards for the performance, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama. She earned her first Oscar nomination for the film, but ended up going home empty-handed. Despite a few other close calls, Stone never ended up back in the Academy’s good graces.
Stone has continued to work steadily in both television and films. If there is any actress who is primed for a big comeback, it’s her.
Sharon Stone defeats Susan Sarandon at the 1995 Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
WHY THIS JUSTICE?
1995 Best Actress has been stuck in my mind for a while. One of the all-time Best Actress lineups features two first-time nominees in dynamic lead roles (Stone and Elisabeth Shue), an overdue actress set for her corronoation (Sarandon) and two previous Best Actress winners in highly-acclaimed roles (Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep). There are no weak links.
Sarandon has other options for wins, while Streep and Thompson already have their statues. I do love Shue’s performance in Leaving Las Vegas, but Stone is an absolute dynamo in Casino.
Ginger is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Despite having everything in life, she can’t escape the allure of her dark past. While other films portray a mob wife as a naive hanger-on with no real agency, Stone portrays Ginger with fiery bravado and righteousness. She is perfectly aware of what her husband is up to, wants a part of it and will be damned if she doesn’t get her way.
Plus, who doesn’t love Sharon Stone? She deserves an Oscar and I want to give her one.
Stone’s win leaves four other possibilities for Sarandon. As much as I would love to honor her best performance in Thelma & Louise, I have plans for that category at a later edition. I also have no intention of taking away Emma Thompson’s Oscar for Howard’s End in 1992 or Katherine Hepburn’s Oscar in 1981 for On Golden Pond. That leaves the mess of 1994.
Jessica Lange steamrolled to her second Oscar for the barely seen Blue Sky. Sarandon was nominated the same year for a true movie star performance in the John Grisham adaptation The Client. Her performance holds up under scrutiny (unlike Lange’s), so she gets the trophy. Lange will have to live with her single Supporting Actress Oscar in 1982 for Tootsie.
Sharon Stone wins Best Actress in 1995 over Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon wins Best Actress in 1994 over Jessica Lange
Next time on Oscar Justice, Reese Witherspoon and Julianne Moore get the right Oscars for the right roles, opening up an Oscar for a “classic” performance.