Frances (1982): Jessica Lange Shines in Oscar Nominated Role of Frances Farmer



Jessica Lange received her first Best Actress Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the troubled an ultimately doomed actress Frances Farmer, whose career was most promising in the 1930s (she appeared in Howard Hawks’ “Come and Get It,” among other) until it was cut short by mental illness.


Conforming to the format of the Hollywood showbiz biopic, “Frances,” directed by Graeme Clifford, the saga details Farmer’s rejection of Hollywood’s social conventions, her dependence on alcohol, and the horrors she endured after being committed to an asylum by her own mother.


Kim Stanley received a Supporting Actress nomination for playing Lillian Farmer, her ambitious, initially well-meaning mother who turns into a domineering, vindictive monster.  When Frances defies her God and Communism-fearing Lillian and goes to Moscow, it’s the beginning of a series of mother-daughter confrontations that lead eventually to the surgical destruction of personality


This was Stanley’s second Oscar nod after being nominated in the lead category for the 1964 British drama, “Séance on a Wet Afternoon.”


Sam Shepard plays Farmer’s friend and love interest, and you can spot the then young and unknown Kevin Costner in a bit part.


Oscar Alert


Oscar Nominations: 2


Actress: Jessica Lange

Supporting Actress: Kim Hunter


Oscar Awards: None


Oscar Context:


Nominated for two Oscars in 1982, Jessica Lange won the Supporting Actress Award for the comedy “Tootsie.”  Merry Streep won the Best Actress for the Holocaust drama, “Sophie’s Choice.”