In Woody Allen’s 60-year career, his leading women have garnered 10 Oscar nominations, and five wins. So, it’s fair to say that this industrious writer and director knows how to bring the best out of his leading ladies. In Allen’s latest rom-com, Magic in the Moonlight, he’s taken Emma Stone under his very successful wing. She’s also been cast in his, yet to to be titled, next film alongside Joaquin Phoenix. He clearly likes working with her, leading to chatter that she could be Allen’s next Mia Farrow (who appeared in 13 of his films).
Alongside Emma Stone’s induction as Allen’s new heroine in Magic in the Moonlight, we’ve put together three of our favourite female performances in his filmography.
1 – Diane Keaton in ‘Annie Hall‘
No surprises here. There were also no surprises when Diane Keaton was chosen to accept Allen’s Honorary Award at last year’s Golden Globes. You can tell they’re close-friends by their chemistry on-screen. A chemistry that was consummated in the rom-com masterpiece, ‘Annie Hall’. Keaton plays the eponymous love-interest of neurotic comedian, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen). The to-and-fro, dialogue-driven script laid the framework for Hollywood’s most authentic romance. Bona-fide on paper, it was Keaton, with her ditsy charm and adorable delivery, that helped the script work on-screen. It’s criminal that Keaton didn’t get any Oscar attention, but that doesn’t take away from this timeless performance.
2 – Cate Blanchett in ‘Blue Jasmine‘
With a clear influence from Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Allen’s tale about the emotional downfall of an upper-class socialite was a tour-de-force. However, Woody owes his biggest thanks to leading lady, and Oscar winner, Cate Blanchett. Blanchett’s tragic betrayal of the fallen Jasmine was elegantly powerful and fascinatingly deep. When the film was released last year, it became a question of seeing Blanchett’ performance rather than Woody Allen’s film. In other words, she was so good that she overshadowed the great director, himself. Just when we thought Allen was considering retirement, ‘Blue Jasmine’ put him back on form. And, the extraordinary Cate Blanchett was the figurehead.
3 – Mia Farrow in ‘Hannah and Her Sisters‘
As mentioned above, Farrow is Allen’s most prolific actress, starring in a whopping 13 of his films. The quality of her work was generally unwavering, but the pick of the bunch has to be her lead in family romance drama, ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’. This broad tapestry of inter-locking stories explored love, infidelity and human frailty. Farrow, as title-character, Hannah, was at the fore amongst the chaos, as her husband falls in love with her sister. With a similar bona-fide charm to Keaton in Annie Hall, Farrow’s portrayal was immensely potent and convincing. A minimum requirement for an Allen film, and Farrow didn’t let up in her other 12 Woody roles.