Who Should Have Won the Best Actress Oscar for 1956?

When the Academy decides it’s time to forgive somebody, they hand them a statue of a naked guy holding a sword. Weird people. Ingrid Bergman won for Anastasia, which Cary Grant accepted for her in absentia. The Academy gave her this Oscar as a welcome home gift and an apology for castigating her over adultery (a hobby they were busily pursuing for fun and profit while she was overseas).

The other nominated actresses included Carroll Baker, Baby Doll, getting twisted and going Lolita for Tennessee Williams:

Nancy Kelly grabbed one for playing the mother of Satan’s child (that’s a figure of speech, folks) Patty McCormack in  The Bad Seed:

Deborah Kerr exercises her British fortitude in The King and I:

The final official nominee was for Katharine Hepburn’s turn with con man Burt Lancaster, The Rainmaker. I’m a huge Hepburn, but I have to say, I thought this was a poor role for her:

Surprisingly, the Academy ignored one of their favorites in one of her very best performances: Elizabeth Taylor as a proto-feminist in Texas in Giant:

Sadly, the Academy missed one of the finest performances of the year by not nominating Giulietta Masina for Federico Fellini’s first accomplished film, La strada (which was released this year in the US, thus making her eligible):

Feel free to make other suggestions below in the comments!

As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/WHO-Won-Irreverent-Look-Oscars/dp/069232318X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

And now, please vote!


  1. I think Bette Davis gave an outstanding turn in The Catered Affair as the Bronx housewife of taxi driver Ernest Borgnine, determined to give daughter Debbie Reynolds the wedding she deserves. I’m not sure any actress of the golden age of Hollywood had the range of Davis – from the cockney slut in Of Human Bondage through a majesterial Elizabeth I, the noble doomed heiress of Dark Victory to the complicated diva Margo Channing – Aggie Hurley is an unjustly neglected portrait in Bette’s illustrious gallery.
    Robert, I love this fantastic project of yours. I don’t always agree with your conclusions but you make some helluva good arguments and you get folk going back to look at the movies
    I’m particularly interested in how you resolve the 1967 Best Actress race in the next volume – can’t wait to read that and the rest of your thoughts. Keep up the great work!

  2. Marilyn Monroe – Bus Stop deserved a nod this year. Funny to see my favourite performance of the year ranked last, I guess enough people haven’t seen Baby Doll.

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