Best Actress Bracket Game: Julie Andrews Vs. Jane Fonda
We’re making our way through the 1960’s and into the 70’s. As a two-time winner, Jane Fonda was a natural inclusion. But to further fill out the decade of the sixties and also to throw a bone to the Disney fans among our readership, I turned to Julie Andrews. This contest is lopsided in Fonda’s favor in terms of quantity of wins and nominations. But Andrews may be able to pull off an upset thanks to sentimental favorites like Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.
But before we get into today’s match, let’s recap yesterday’s results.
If this contest is determined by quantity, Katharine Hepburn will walk away with it. She has twice as many Best Actress wins as anyone else. She also has more nominations than anyone but Meryl Streep. So it’s probably not too surprising that Hepburn handily beat out raven-haired beauty, Elizabeth Taylor. Of course Taylor herself hated the movie that earned her first Oscar. So Hepburn advances to round two where she will face the winner of today’s contest.
Julie Andrews won Best Actress for her movie debut. Prior to Mary Poppins, Andrews had a successful stage career. She originated the role of Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. When it came time to adapt the play for the big screen, Jack Warner passed over Andrews in favor of Audrey Hepburn despite the fact that Hepburn had to have her singing dubbed. Warner was concerned that the untested Andrews wasn’t a big enough star to carry his movie.
Warner’s loss was Walt Disney’s gain. He courted Andrews to star in his adaptation of P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins books. At the time, Andrews declined due to her pregnancy. But Disney held up the schedule to accommodate her. According to Andrews, she received a phone call from Travers the day after giving birth. The author told Andrews “You’re far too pretty, of course. But you’ve got the nose for it.”
The movie went on to win five Oscars including Best Actress for Andrews. The following year, she was nominated again for The Sound of Music – a part she got in part because Disney was willing to screen early footage from Mary Poppins for director Robert Wise. Andrews was nominated a third time in 1982 for the comedy Victor Victoria, but lost to Meryl Streep.
Our next contest won her first Oscar for a part that was a little more mature. Jane Fonda was Hollywood royalty. She is the daughter of Henry Fonda (not to mention brother Peter and niece Bridget). Like Andrews, Fonda started her career in theater before transitioning to film. She spent most of the 60’s appearing in comedies. At the end of the decade, Fonda earned her first Best Actress nomination for a dramatic turn in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
In 1971, Fonda won her first of two Best Actress Oscars for the crime-drama, Klute. She played a prostitute with connections to a murder victim. Donald Sutherland costarred as the detective investigating the case.
Following her Oscar win, Fonda’s career cooled. She attributed this partially to her outspoken activism against the Vietnam conflict. Six year later, Fonda was nominated again for the drama Julia. She lost to Diane Keaton that year. Then in 1978, Fonda won her second award for the Vietnam-themed drama, Coming Home.
Although she has yet to take home a third statue, Fonda was nominated again in 1979 for The China Syndrome and 1986 for The Morning After.