best film: JFK. Others may be upset I’m not going with De Palma’s film or Malick sublime debut here but I think Stone’s masterpiece is the slightly superior work. Spacek isn’t front and center- it’s an ensemble piece and she plays an important supporting role (and a very unlikable character I may say) but it’s a seminal film when it comes worth the art-form because of Stone’s masterful editing.

best performance:  Carrie. This isn’t a landslide. Her top two films are extremely close. She eerie yet sympathetic in Carrie and her work in Badlands with the voice-over is fantastic as well. They’re both superb films so that doesn’t break the tie either but it does hurt her stellar work in films like In the Bedroom and Coal Miner’s Daughter

stylistic innovations/traits:  In Spacek’s two greatest roles (and three of her best four) she’s soft-spoken, shy, and different. Not the so-called prototypical woman or beauty. She survived and flourished as an actresses because of her substantial talent. She can do slow-mounting rage (dish scene in In the Bedroom), a person with a disability (the straight story), and a larger than life superstar (Coal Miner’s Daughter).  Spacek is great in big cinematic moments that are now part of not only great art– but our collective memory of great scenes. She’s in the big climax in Carrie, and of course the countless iconic moments from Malick’s debut (my favorite scene of which is the dancing scene here).

directors worked with:  Spacek’s archiveable films do not include a director more than once but she has worked with some greats: Malick, De Palma, Altman, Oliver Stone, David Lynch

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Carrie
  2. Badlands
  3. In the Bedroom
  4. 3 Women
  5. Coal Miner’s Daughter

Archiveable films

1973- Badlands
1976- Carrie
1977- 3 Women
1980- Coal Miner’s Daughter
1982- Missing
1991- JFK
1998- Affliction
1999- The Straight Story
2001- In the Bedroom
2005- Nine Lives
2010- Get Low