The piece on Margo Martindale yesterday was part of a much-longer post, divided for sheer breathing room. There are quite a few wonderful actresses in her genre, and these are a few I'm always glad to see listed in the credits:
Of course, the Queen of the lot has for some time been Kathy Bates---Dolores Claiborne/ Annie Wilkes/Evelyn Couch/Frances Lacey, and she IS a Star, with an Oscar and several other nominations, but she's also one of the become-the-character, warts-and-all people whose work is stunning to watch, every time.
There’s also a crowd of very talented women making their own places in similar roles and characters.
Remarkable, deliberately-plain Melissa Leo, noted for her perfectly-played character of a no-nonsense police officer in the unequaled Homicide: Life on the Street, has come to the fore in recent times with several stunning portrayals of gritty, driven women with a will to persevere, and an Oscar (finally!) just this year.
I’ve always loved Beah Richards, the soft-spoken Mama in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, (who was several years younger than her "son" at the time). In her younger years in the theater, she was an absolute dynamo, with her stunning raw beauty. fierce and fearless on the stage. and throughout all her countless dramatic roles, Baby Suggs had been waiting for her all her life, until her very last moments on film.
And Ann Wedgeworth, noted as one of the beauties of the screen, glamourous as all get-out, and improbably perfect as Patsy Cline’s feisty, plain and plain-spoken Mama in Sweet Dreams.
There’s the quiet, simple strength of Beth Grant, cool as ice, or fiercely loving or slyly deceitful. She's everybody's perfect (or nightmare) Neighbor.
Wonderful, expressive Viola Davis---an immense presence filling the screen in even the smallest role, and those teacup tears will break your heart. We're gonna hear great things from this lady.
Paula Malcomson, the easy, tough Trixie in Deadwood, whose tiny frame and piercing eyes contribute to her portrayals of formidable friend and foe alike.
And there’s Dale Dickey, whose portrait of a browbeaten, fierce-in-her-own-way Appalachian wife, cruel when she has to be, whose implacable, downturned mouth and hard words gave no quarter, sought no mercy in Winter’s Bone---quite a memorable performance in an outstanding ensemble of pure talent.
And the Powerhouse---practically a Force of Nature: Lorraine Toussaint. A smart, sexy, savvy, sassy actor with a note of command in her smoky voice, melting into the tenderest Mama Earth. She can preach about Original Sin, then get you out of any predicament you’ve fallen into thereby, through her wit and warmth and brain-power. When she’s on a screen, she’s all there is, and I think she could do Shakespeare as the Cheshire Cat, with nothing to see but those eyes and that smile. Such a power to her presence, and her hugs must be glorious.
And you? Do you have any less-famous-than-they-deserve favorites?