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Best Actress Bracket Game: Sally Field Vs. Jodie Foster

field-vs-foster

The fact that we are dealing with actresses who have won multiple Oscars makes the chronology of this bracket game a little wonky.  Yesterday, we were dealing with two actresses who had their first wins in the early 80’s, but today we’re taking a brief detour back into the previous decade for Sally Field’s first win.  Field won her two Best Actress statues in 1979 and 1984 which averages out to “early 80’s” which is how she ended up in a bracket against “late 80’s” winner Jodie Foster (whose second win was actually 1991, but who’s counting?)

But before we get to today’s match, let check on yesterday’s results.

best-actress

Probably not all that surprising.  Streep’s record-braking volume of nominations and the longevity of her career make her an odds-on favorite to make it to the finals.  Of all of the living actresses in this game, Streep remains the most relevant today.  But that doesn’t mean she’s going to waltz her way into the final round.  If you were expecting a blow-out, you didn’t get one.  Still, Streep did win by a comfortable margin with over 60% of the votes.  That means Streep will face off against Diane Keaton in round two.

Back in the 60’s Sally Field was known for lightweight television like Gidget and The Flying Nun.  For much of the 70’s, she was Burt Reynolds’ girlfriend and Smokey and the Bandit costar.  No one would have mistaken Field for a serious actress.  There was that one TV movie in which Field played a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder which started to earn her some respect.  But aside from Sybil, there wasn’t a lot on Field’s resume that suggested she had Oscar potential.

Field earned her first Best Actress nomination and win for playing a factory worker who helps organize a union in Norma Rae.  After nearly two decades in the industry, Field finally had put surfer girls and flying nuns in the past and earned the respect and admiration of her peers.  But apparently the actress still had her doubts.  Because when she took the stage for her second Oscar win for Places in the Heart in 1984, Field famously gushed “You like me!  You really like me!”

Jodie Foster also came from humble beginnings.  As a child actor, she appeared on TV shows like The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Paper Moon (all three based on movies).  On the big screen, she appeared in several Disney movies, but she also had a couple of Martin Scorsese movies under her belt.  In 1976, the same year she starred in Freaky Friday, Foster was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Taxi Driver.

Concerned that she would be branded as a child actor for the rest of her career, Foster scaled back her acting career and concentrated on her education.  For most of the 1980’s, Foster did not appear in any movies general audiences would have heard of.  that changed in 1988 when Foster starred in the romantic drama Stealing Home and played a rape victim in The Accused.

Originally, costar Kelly McGillis was approached to play Foster’s role.  But as a real-life victim of rape, McGillis felt it would be too traumatic.  She opted instead to play the district attorney who prosecutes the case.  That allowed Foster to step into the role that would finally earn her an Oscar and put aside any notions that she was just a child star.

Three years later, Foster won again for The Silence of the Lambs.  She would be nominated again in 1994 for Nell but she lost that year to Jessica Lange who was nominated for Blue Sky.

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Posted on February 12, 2017, in Awards, bracket game, Movies, Oscars and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Sorry, Sally, but…

    AGENT STARLING, AGENT STARLING, AGENT STARLING!

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  2. While I like both of these actresses a lot, and they’ve both done some excellent work, I am giving Sally Field a narrow edge here.

    Here is her famous, oft-misquoted line from that Oscar acceptance speech in 1985:

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  3. I always thought Sally Field was adorable, and coming from a blue collar family, I think “Norma Rae” is powerful, so she’s my vote. Prop to Jodie Foster too though.
    Interesting deal with Jessica Lange winning for “Blue Sky” (I think it’s a good film, have it on tape and everything) is that film was finished in 1991, then sat in the can for 3 years due to Orion Pictures going bankrupt.

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