Author Topic: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?  (Read 729 times)

Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« on: February 19, 2021, 12:50:34 PM »
A bit of a vague argument I spose and not really directed specifically at CaB but moreso general discussion on the net about "great acting", that is that focusing more on either histrionics or mannerisms as the standard(the Day Lewis Oldman method) there seems to be a downplaying of many great female performances. Maybe the divide itself could be considered as sexist but I think you could definitely argue more female roles down the years have tended not to focus on those aspects as much, to demand more subtle performances less dependant on mannerisms/grand dialog and rather on selling emotion.

To give a CaB favourite as an example in Under The Skin I do remember a few comments even here that really there wasn't much to Johansson's performance beyond looking pretty. Personally though I do think she is a very large part of that films success in how effectively she sells the characters nature/drama by movement/expression. The same is true for Kidman with Birth, both films I think succeed partly because they give strong showcases to that kind of performance.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 01:41:51 PM »


To give a CaB favourite as an example in Under The Skin I do remember a few comments even here that really there wasn't much to Johansson's performance beyond looking pretty. Personally though I do think she is a very large part of that films success in how effectively she sells the characters nature/drama by movement/expression. The same is true for Kidman with Birth, both films I think succeed partly because they give strong showcases to that kind of performance.

Yep she's great, not just the subtlety of her performance, but one of the best English accents I've heard from an American actor. I actually quite like her in Ghost in the Shell too, she has this weird way of walking and tilting her head which is unique and makes sense in the context of the character.

Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster are two of my favourites but due to how they express their characters emotions through body language, facial expressions, eye movement, etc which I think is sometimes not considered among the greats because it's not as thrilling on a highlight reel as some guy doing a shouty monologue.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 02:07:33 PM »
Yep she's great, not just the subtlety of her performance, but one of the best English accents I've heard from an American actor. I actually quite like her in Ghost in the Shell too, she has this weird way of walking and tilting her head which is unique and makes sense in the context of the character.

Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster are two of my favourites but due to how they express their characters emotions through body language, facial expressions, eye movement, etc which I think is sometimes not considered among the greats because it's not as thrilling on a highlight reel as some guy doing a shouty monologue.

Although I felt Streep as Thatcher getting vast praise was a bit again because it was along that Oldman/Lewis Axis of what "great acting" should be, taking on a persona.

Really I think those roles for Johansson were more of a return to what broke her though in the first place with Lost in Translation and Girl with the Pearl Earring. I wouldn't say Ghost in the Shell was quite as good a performance but I do think there was an clear reason why she was cast there, not just as "famous white movie star".

Watching Paris, Texas again yesterday the scenes at the end stood out for me along those lines as well. I spose Harry Dean Stanton's performance already gets praise for its subtley but Nastassja Kinski's reactions are arguably just as important as his monologs for selling the drama.

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Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2021, 02:35:03 PM »
On the histrionics side: Margaret Hamilton, in The Wizard of Oz, did an amazing job bringing the physicality of the Wicked Witch onto the screen, just watch her movements and poses.

She was also a top lad in general.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2021, 10:51:06 AM »
It's definitely a thing of histrionics getting acting awards. Look at the likes of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, even Angelina Jolie.

Setsuko Hara, who was in a lot of Ozu films, comes to mind as a woman who was (eventually) lauded for giving very subtle performances. But you could argue that's far from popular acclaim.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2021, 01:11:34 PM »
It's definitely a thing of histrionics getting acting awards. Look at the likes of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, even Angelina Jolie.

Setsuko Hara, who was in a lot of Ozu films, comes to mind as a woman who was (eventually) lauded for giving very subtle performances. But you could argue that's far from popular acclaim.

Kinuyo Tanaka in many Mizoguchi films as well although she was pretty well acknowledged at the time, Kurosawa's arguably more male dominated films do seem to have become progressively more dominant in peoples view of that era of Japanese cinema.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2021, 03:30:30 PM »

Even though she was awarded with an Oscar win for her role, I feel Lousie Fletcher's performance in Cuckoo's Nest is often overlooked.

Re: Standards for "Great Acting" Sexist?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2021, 04:12:41 PM »
Even though she was awarded with an Oscar win for her role, I feel Lousie Fletcher's performance in Cuckoo's Nest is often overlooked.

Agree and also have a similar view for A Streetcar Named Desire. It is mainly noted for Brando's major breakthrough performance; but for me it was Vivien Leigh who absolutely blew me away.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2021, 04:23:24 PM by EOLAN »

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