Monday, June 11, 2012

Maybe It Wasn't 'My Man' That Won the Oscar for Barbra?

     For the longest time, conventional wisdom and those who think they know have said that when Barbra won the Oscar for Funny Girl (in a tie with Katherine Hepburn), it was because of the final song in the movie. As we all know, that was Barbra's knockout version of "My Man," sung dramatically on a bare stage. It was just Fanny -- in black -- facing the audience (whom we do not see), singing of her undying love for Nick. It was definitely a tour-de-force performance, the first time a Streisand movie would end with such an emotional, musical flourish.

     However, I think we're giving "My Man" too much credit. Funny Girl has brilliant Barbra scenes one right after the other, at least four of which are musical scenes that are just as dynamic as "My Man." "My Man" is like the cherry on top of the sundae. In fact, on a purely personal level, the number that still gets me every time is "I'm the Greatest Star." But if push comes to shove, the ultimate musical number in the film, the one that is really legendary, and the one that might have truly won her that Oscar was..."Don't Rain On My Parade." On every level, acting, singing, has it all.

     And Barbra's performance is unmatched. She captures every nuance of Fanny's urgency, desire and determination. It's ultimate Streisand on film -- just watch! Then, tell me what you think about my contention.

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