Five Great Scene Stealers: Ladies Night!
In the previous installment I listed great male scene stealers. Now it’s time for the ladies!
5. Vanessa Redgrave in Mission: Impossible
Ahhh, the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave shutting down the scene. Even her pauses are Oscar-worthy. Thank you for giving her something interesting to do. Of course I’d watch her read the instructions to my wireless router. So cheeky and dismissive. “My dear boy…” This is one of the best parts of the film. She talks like the Cheshire Cat. “Whooo arrrreee you? Can you stand on your head?”
4. Lorretta Devine in Waiting to Exhale
It’s been years since I watched the film, but I will never forget Loretta Devine sashaying her cute self away from new love interest played by the late Gregory Hines, “Ooh, I hope he’s not still watching…he’s still watching.” She was my favorite character in the generally overwrought, melodramatic adaptation of Terry McMillian’s overwrought, melodramatic novel.
3. Sandra Oh in Sideways
I have been a fan of Oh’s since I saw Double Happiness at an art theater in the mid 90s. Oh had bit parts in a couple films before snagging a supporting role in 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun (where her partner was played by Grey’s alum Kate Walsh!). But she owned the screen in Sideways as Stephanie, a winery employee. She is my favorite part of the film, effortlessly outshining Virgina Madsen and the rest of the cast.
2. Eileen Atkins in Cold Comfort Farm
Cold Comfort Farm is a charming comedy of manners, which boasts an impressive line up of British acting luminaries: Kate Beckingsale, Ian McKellan, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and the great Dame Eileen Atkins, who plays Judith Starkadder, the dour matriarch of the luck deficit Starkadder clan. If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. I am used to seeing Atkins in an array of corsets and costuming so her decidedly unglamorous performance was a departure! Still, she displays exquisite comedic timing and her deadpan dialogue delivery is freaking hilarious.
1. Eileen Brennan in Clue
Oh it was truly a battle of the Eileens. Mrs. Peacock gets some of the best lines, particularly my favorites – “Get your hands off me, I’m a Senator’s wife!” and “But look what happened to the cook!” Clue is a totally underrated comedic masterpiece, featuring a host of strong comedic talents playing it straight with hilarious results.