|Tatum O'Neal won, the youngest ever in Oscar history
These are your supporting actresses of 1973! Well, four of them are actually supporting, but you know how the Academy do.
Linda Blair in The Exorcist
Yeah, yeah, Mercedes McCambridge provided the voice of Pazuzu emanating from Regan in the final hour of the film. And? Blair's expressive face is still perfection, whether covered in demon makeup or clean and clear. Let us not forget that she is selling demonic possession with that far-away, crazy look in the eye as she yells, "Fuck me! Fuck me!" She's also got some killer line readings, like when she's cross-examining her mother about Burke Dennings: "Oh. I heard...differently."
Candy Clark in American Graffiti
Huh. All right. Clark plays the blonde bimbo well. She hints at some very subtle manipulation, but also seems just open for anybody and anything. I don't want to scoff at it, since she really does have a presence, but when Cindy Williams is in the same film giving her performance...well, I have to wonder if maybe this was more of a Wish Fulfillment vote.
Madeline Kahn in Paper Moon
God help me, because Lord knows I love Madeline Kahn, but I gotta score with my gut. Kahn, as always, kills with a single look, and she's got a wonderful little monologue about getting her tits in the front seat, but otherwise I felt she somewhat struggled with both role and tone. Was she uncomfortable with this role? She's not finding the empathy she usually does.
Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon
Tatum just misses that fourth star due to category fraud. Otherwise, it's a strong performance, even if she does, at times, sound a little rehearsed. She holds her own strongly, and the film just doesn't have the same spark when she's off-screen. Worth it for the motel sequence involving an elaborate solo con. You know what I mean.
Sylvia Sidney in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams
In just a few scenes, Sidney nails her character's relationship with her daughter and the outside world, as well as conveying the attitudes she's passed down to her offspring. You could wave it off as a stock character, that of the Overbearing/Cold Mother, but she plays it to the hilt, with a cigarette permanently perched in her hand and a loud voice that commands attention. It's energetic, detailed work, and she gets to cap it off by dying on-screen (not a spoiler; it's the plot of the movie). Her last words are a gut-punch.
With Oscar lapping up Fraud like a cat with milk, Tatum O'Neal won the Oscar, the youngest to ever do so in a competitive category. But with Sidney and Blair neck and neck, I have to pass O'Neal by and go with someone just a bit older. I vote for:
What an excellent day for it, too!