MovieChat Forums > Autumn Sonata (1978) Discussion > Liv Ullmann is the protagonist. Why is B...

Liv Ullmann is the protagonist. Why is Bergman credited as the leading?


It´s ridiculous. Liv should of been the one to be nominated for the Oscar as a better actress.

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Ingrid was a superstar. She was also nearing the end of her life, so her awards were as much a Lifetime Achievement nod as a direct recognition for her work in Hostsonaten. It happens a lot, actually.

Don't take the Oscars too seriously.

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^ +1

Ingrid was hot even then!

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They both were leading and they both should have been nominated.





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yes, i agree, Lemoen.

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^This


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Yes, they both should have been nominated, they were both brilliant.

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Because you are wrong maybe ? :-)

Charlotte (Bergman) is the actual lead, the motor of all things happening, past and present. Eva (Ullmann) is more like ancient Greek chorus - a sounding board for Charlotte's crimes. She is the victim and accuser and you empathize with her but you don't see her character chiseled out. Ingmar Bergman screwed up direction by keeping the camera on Liv Ullmann way too long for fillers and soap-crying delivery which ultimately ruined their Oscar bid. Ingrid on the other hand delivered impeccable facial acting worth an order of magnitude more than all interminable, ad nauseum talk.

An actress portraying Charlotte has to be able to portray huge transitions on camera, an order of magnitude more complex than Eva. I've seen theatrical adaptation recently (the irony of Bergman being back-adapted for stage) and when you see both actresses all the time (no editing to artificially limit your view) it becomes very clear that Eva is the chorus and Charlotte is the core that actually carries the play.

Bottom line - while Oscar process is guilty of many wrongdoings, this one wasn't among them. Ingrid Bergman owned this flick even against Ingmar's directorial slips (maybe he was still boning Liv on the side or something :-)

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Wow, ZeeXy, exactly my thoughts.

Both were leads. I mean, Charlotte Supporting? Seriously? And Ingrid Bergman's performance was better than Ullmann's, though Ullmann should have also been nominated for the Oscar back then. It's not a coincidence that Bergman was nominated for so many awards in 1978/1979 for her performance. Ingrid Bergman won the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) Award for Best Lead Actress, the New York Film Critics Award (NYFC) for Best Actress, the David di Donatello Award for Best Lead Actress (along with Ullmann), the National Board of Review Award (NBR) for Best Actress and was nominated (and supposedly the runner-up behind Jane Fonda) for the Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress in Drama and the Academy Award for Best Lead Actress.
Anyway, Ullmann was brilliant, but histrionics aren't equal to great acting. Bergman had a much more complex and tougher role and every single facial expression of hers was a masterclass of acting, actually. Both ladies should have been nominated and Bergman should have won the Oscar.

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Good point. Ullmann's character is Charlotte's reflection which leads to her realization after her lover's death. She sees how it would be if she's not successful in Eva. And at the mean time Eva reminded her neglects all over the years. That is a daughter she's afraid to face. I still think Charlotte is the lead and Eva is the second lead.

My question is as godly alike as a actress like Ullmann, placing her in a supporting role like this, was this the reason that Bergman seems more brilliant? I always regard highly of Bergman but never like this time. Was Bergman really more superior than Ullmann, (not just in Autumn Sonata).

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I wouldn't be surprised if this screenplay was written by Ingmar specifically for Ingrid. In the 18 Ingrid Bergman films I've viewed, one thing that she can do better than any actor, male or female, is to portray a transformation of personality/emotion in a film, and sometimes even in one scene. "A Woman's Face" (1938) is an early Swedish film that is an extreme example of this, but it can also be seen to a lesser extent in "Gas Light" and "Fear", among other of her films. Unfortunately, Hollywood greatly neglected this unique ability of Ingrid, deciding to pimp her very much as a "sex symbol" instead.

In Autumn Sonata (1978), late in her career, and away from Hollywood "sensationalism" in a Swedish production, Ingrid was once again given a role that very much allowed her to display her unique ability to portray a transformation of personality/emotion. Compare the first "lovey-dovey" scene between her and Liv in the film, compared to the "ugliness" between them in the climactic scenes where they get into the real "nitty-gritty" of their relationship.

Although Liv Ullman is a very good actor in her own right, her filmography doesn't show the transformations of character that comes so easily to Ingrid. As such, I would contend that Liv would've been unable to portray the transformation of her character that she did in this film, had Ingrid not "carried her". That, IMO, is why Ingrid Bergman deserved top billing and awards for her role in this film, but Liv Ullman Did NOT. ... [email protected]

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