Today edition of “Recall the Gold” finds us revisiting the 1983 race for Best Supporting Actress. The somewhat controversial winner was Linda Hunt (pictured), who might just as easily have entered the Best Supporting Actor race. In The Year of Living Dangerously, she played a man, photographer Billy Kwan, and played the role straight, without any hint of camp or gender-bending. Not only was it a great performance, but as a stunt, it was hard to top, even for Glenn Close in the popular The Big Chill (she played Kevin Kline’s wife and the hostess for the weekend-long wake/college reunion). Then there was Cher in Silkwood, a revelation as an actress who could stand toe to toe with Meryl Streep and play a blue-collar lesbian without a hint of the showbiz glamour she was then best known for. (She was still four years away from her eventual Oscar win for Moonstruck.) Unfortunately overlooked were Amy Irving in Yentl (shimmering as the Nice Jewish Girl who gets engaged to Barbra Streisand, unaware that her fiancé is a fiancée) and Alfre Woodard in Cross Creek (as a woman named Geechee who helps The Yearling author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, played by Mary Steenburgen, find herself. It’s a role so overlooked, in fact, that we couldn’t find a clip of it anywhere on the Internet.)
Looking back from today’s perspective, which of these performances do you think is the best? Vote in our poll, and list your comments below. (For a refresher, watch the clips embedded after the jump, which contain some NSFW language.) Remember, we’ll be running the Recall the Gold surveys every Tuesday and Thursday until January, so you may go back at any time and vote in the other polls (click here to see them all), reexamining the Oscar races of 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years ago. On Tuesday, October 14, we’ll look at the 2003 Best Actor competition. Watch also for commentary and context throughout EW.com, including on Dave Karger’s new Oscar Watch blog.
Cher in Silkwood
Glenn Close in The Big Chill
Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously
Amy Irving in Yentl