Sigourney Weaver for Working Girl (1988)

The Academy Awards have always shown a bias towards comedies, even if they are rooted with a well-intentioned message. Working Girl was one of those films that slipped past that Oscar bias, yet each of its nominations was their award (with the exception of Carly Simon’s Best Song win). Sigourney Weaver, having won the Golden Globe for her role in Working Girl, was the frontrunner for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. However when the winner was announced, it was Geena Davis for The Accidental Tourist who was walking to the podium.

Sigourney Weaver’s role as Katherine Parker is one of the first roles that have now been dubbed as “the boss from hell.” Her character is twisted and manipulative towards the film’s main character Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), a secretary who is trying to make a name for herself. When Tess learns that Katherine has stolen a business plan she had created and is posing it as her own, Tess decides to claim back her idea behind the back of her boss.

Weaver’s performance easily could have been portrayed as a one-dimensional career grabber, yet she doesn’t allow for the character to be categorized in such a way. Instead she portrays Katherine Parker as someone so immersed in her own lies that she believes herself to be flawless. Additionally, Weaver successfully channels the personality of a diva while representing the surface of the character as impeccable. Yet the most successful element of the performance, while it also being the most difficult task for Weaver, is in that she offers a character that audiences despise, yet cannot help but desire more of her on-screen presence.

Lost to: Geena Davis for The Accidental Tourist (1988)

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