Oscar: Best Actress–Spacek, Sissy in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Sissy Spacek won the 1980 Best Actress Oscar for the musical biopic, “A Coal Miner’s Daughter,” in which she portrayed country singer Loretta Lynn.

It was Spacek’s second (but not last) nomination–the first was for Brian De Palma’s horror film, Carrie,” in 1976.

In 1980, Spacek competed against Ellen Burstyn in “Resurrection,” Goldie Hawn in “Private Benjamin,” Mary Tyler Moore in “Ordinary People,” and Gena Rowlands in “Gloria.”


“A Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Michael Apted’s biopicture of country music singer Loretta Lynn depicts the legendary figure from poverty in the rural Appalachian, growing up in a shack in Kentucky’s Butcher Hollow, all the way to stardom at the Grand Ole Opryand beyond.

Though a rags to riches saga, all the way with depictions of career obstacles, marital conflicts, and battles with prescription drugs, the movie, based on a screenplay by Tom Rickman, doesn’t fall victim to clichés.
Under the astute helm of British Michael Apted, better known then for his seminal docu “7Up-28Up” series, the aptly titled yarn benefits immensely from its likable and credible casting, beginning with Sissy Spacek, who does her own singing; Levon Helm as her father Ted Webb; Tommy Lee Jones as her husband Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn; and Beverly D’Angelo, who’s outstanding as Patsy Kline (D’Angelo also sings).
By comparison, Jessica Lange’s 1985 impersonation of Patsy Kline in “Sweet Dreams” suffered a few years later, due to the fact that Lange’s was dubbed and her lip-synching left much to be desired.
Oscar Nominations: 7
Picture, produced by Bernard Schwartz
Screenplay (Adapted): Tom Rickman
Actress: Sissy Spacek
Art Direction-Set Decoration: John W. Corso; John M. Dwyer
Sound: Richard Portman, Roger Heman, and Jim Alexander
Editing: Arthur Schmidt
Oscar Awards: 1
Oscar Context
In 1980, Robert Redford’s feature debut “Ordinary People,” which swept the most important Oscars, competed with two superlative films (both in black-and-white): David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man,” which received 8 nominations but lost each one of them, and Scorsese’s masterpiece “Raging Bull,” which also received 8 nods, winning one for editing.
The biopic of Loretta Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” was nominated for seven Oscars, winning one for Actress Sissy Spacek, but deprived its helmer from a Director nomination. Roman Polanski’s literary adaptation “Tess” won three technical Oscars out of its six nominations. 
Loretta (Sissy Spacek)
Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones)
Ted Webb (Levon Helm)
Clara Webb (Phyllis Boyens)
Lee Dollarhide (William Sanderson)
Produced by Bernard Schwartz
Directed by Michael Apted
Screenplay: Thomas Rickman (based  on the autobiography of Loretta Lynn and George Vescey).
Camera: Ralf d. Bode