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Why the hell hasn’t Sigourney Weaver won an Oscar yet, God damn it!
Sigourney Weaver is best known for her work in the Alien series (1979, 1986, 1992 and 1997), Ghostbusters (1984), and most recently for the comedies Galaxy Quest (1999) and Holes (2002). Although she is very well known for her comedic roles, she is also one of the best dramatic actresses of the last 25 years. She has shown her range in many films and has turned in many Oscar worthy performances, and some have even gotten nominations. In this paper I want to discuss her three Oscar nominated films, Aliens (1986), Working Girl (1988) and Gorillas in the Mist (1988). I also want to bring up four films that were snubbed by the Oscars but recognized by other award organizations, The Ice Storm (1997), Alien (1979), A Map Of The World (1999), Snow White : A Tale Of Terror (1997).
Aliens - Aliens is probably the first and only time a science fiction sequel has ever been nominated for an Oscar outside of the special effects department. So it was very surprising when Sigourney was nominated for best actress in 1987. This was Weaver’s first Oscar nomination but not her last. Weaver got her acting start in the original Alien and came back for this sequel seven years later with director James Cameron taking over for Ridley Scott. Her performance as the Reagan era mother at war put this movie above the sequel stigma making it a film all in its own. Granted, the film is nothing with out its originator but it is commonly regarded as one of the only sequels to surpass the original in every way. Although the performance was brilliant, that year Marlee Matlin won the Best Actress Oscar for Children of a Lesser God (1986).
Working Girl - Only eight thespians have ever been nominated for the Lead and Supporting acting Oscar in the same year and Sigourney is one of them. Working Girl was the film that got her the Best Supporting Actress nomination for 1989. In this film she plays the villianess New York executive that gets beaten out by her secretary (Melanie Griffith) for the love of a man (Harrison Ford) and for the job. She won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for this movie, but Geena Davis won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Accidental Tourist (1988).
Gorillas in the Mist - Also in 1989 she was nominated for Gorillas in the Mist in the Lead actress category, making it her second nomination of the year. This movie really proved that Sigourney could be a commanding dramatic actress and not just the comedic girlfriend. In this biopic she played naturalist Dian Fossey who fought for the freedom of African gorillas from poachers. With two Oscar nominations in one year and winning both of her Golden Globe nominations you would think that she had this Oscar in the bag, well she didn’t. Jodie Foster won that year for The Accused (1988).
Now those are the three films she was nominated for that she didn’t win the Oscar. All three were excellent roles that no other actress could have pulled off like she did. The competition was tough but an actress like her probably had more chances to win in the future. More roles came along that were as good and if not better than the already nominated films. For some reason, the academy did not agree and haven’t nominated her since the two 1989 nominations. Now I’d like to discuss the snubbed films.
The Ice Storm - This film was directed by Ang Lee and starred Kevin Kline and Joan Allen. Sigourney played Kline’s mistress in this 70’s period piece. The movie observes ‘key parties’ and marriage in a time when all emotions were locked away inside for no one to see. The Golden Globes nominated Weaver for a Best Supporting Actress award and she won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. With momentum like that you’d think she’d get a definite nomination from the Academy. She got nothing.
Alien - I like to believe that she was snubbed for this movie because of her being very new at the time and it being a science fiction film but new actresses get nominations all the time now. Perhaps the academy gave her the nominations for Aliens as a make up for snubbing her for this one. However she did win a Saturn Award for Best Actress and got a BAFTA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer.
A Map Of The World - This movie could have been your average Lifetime Original Movie if it had not been for the two talented actresses in the movie. Sigourney and Julianne Moore really make this movie what it is and put it to the next level. The plot sounds cheesy and unoriginal so I won’t even bother to describe it but the performances are what matter here. Both the Golden Globes and Golden Satellites gave her Best Actress nominations.
Snow White - A Tale Of Terror - This film didn’t even have a chance to get an Oscar nomination since it was a TV release. However both the Emmy awards and SAG awards nominated her for Best Actress in a TV movie. The performance of the wicked step mother in this gothic version of Snow White is pretty good but she’s done better acting in her comedic films than she does here. Too bad the Oscars won’t ever nominate people for comedies.
Along with these seven films she has also had great performances in the dramas Copycat (1995), Death and the Maiden (1993) and The Year Of Living Dangerously (1982) and the comedies Ghostbusters, Dave (1993), Galaxy Quest and Heartbreakers (2001) that garnered no major nominations. After all these great performances a win in the future seems unlikely. On the other hand, the Oscars are notorious for giving an award based on an actor’s body of work rather than their current role. This year Sigourney has a film called Imaginary Heroes that is already creating Oscar buzz for Best Actress. In the film she plays the mother of the Travis family and after the favorite son kills himself the family slowly starts to crumble under the pressure. It sounds Oscar worthy to me but the lady just can’t seem to catch a break with the academy.
Just for the record, writing is not my strong point so please don't point out any grammar or sentance errors.