While there were no surprises regarding Screen Actors Guild wins for best male lead actor, Colin Firth (The King's Speech), and supporting actor, Christian Bale (The Fighter), it was refreshing to see Melissa Leo (The Fighter) snag the best supporting actress award and disappointing to witness Natalie Portman's (The Black Swan) win as best actress. The truly bravura performances by actresses in 2010 were Annette Bening and Naomi Watts in Mother & Child and Jennifer Lawrence and Dale Dickey in Winter's Bone. Watts and Dickey didn't get SAG or Oscar nods, but Bening found herself nominated for another film, the very popular -- far from perfect -- The Kids Are All Right.
Sixty years ago (1951 films competing for 1952 awards), Vivien Leigh -- who hadn't been nominated since her win for Gone With the Wind in 1939 -- won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for A Streetcar Named Desire over actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Shelley Winters for The African Queen and A Place in the Sun, respectively. But perhaps the tightest race of all that year was for Best Actor in a Leading Role, which included an august group of performing artists:
Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire
Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun
Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen
Fredric March, Death of a Salesman
Arthur Kennedy, Bright Victory
Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his exquisite portrayal of Charlie Allnut, a gritty, gin-soaked steamboat skipper who rages against the brutal elements of nature as well as imperial, WWI German forces in East Africa beside a Bible-toting spinster named Rose, played by Katharine Hepburn. With salty lines like, "I ain't sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!" wasn't it a cinch that Charlie would fall madly in love with Rose?
Bogey and Kate's one and only film together will be celebrated with the screening of a new 35-mm restoration this month at the Film Forum.
To read more about The African Queen and film reviews of Mother & Child, which won the WFCC (Women Film Critics Circle) Best Ensemble award, and Winter's Bone, which garnered four Academy Award nominations and multiple wins and noms from the Independent Spirit, Gotham, WFCC, and Berlin International Film Festival awards, click here.