Oscar Best Actress Winner 1977: Faye Dunaway in Network


You’re television incarnate Diana. Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy.

After being nominated for her iconic roles in Bonnie and Clyde as well as Chinatown, Faye Dunaway took home her first and only Oscar win for her portrayal of Diana Christensen in Network. Earning herself the 1977 Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Dunaway embodies the ruthless television executive who will do anything for her job.

The film Network centers around a man named Howard Beale (Peter Finch), a deranged television anchor who is slowly losing his mind. After learning he is going to be taken off air, Beale announces that he is going to commit suicide on air. The announcement immediately catches peoples’ attention including the head of the network’s programming department, Diana Christensen. Jumping on the chance to exploit the madman Diana puts him on air,
using him until he is a destroyed shell of a man. Beyond simply exploiting Beale, Christensen also seduces Beale’s best friend Max Schumacher (William Holden) away from his wife and into an affair. Unlike Beale however, Schumacher identifies Diana for the soulless, work obsessed person that she is and leaves her before he ends up like Howard Beale.

Faye Dunaway gives a great performance, certainly earning her Oscar win. Dunaway gives the character  of Diana a charming facade when she is attempting to get people on her side but at the same time allows the audience to understand the depths of her obsession with ratings and the job. Faye Dunaway beat out Marie-Christine Barrault (Cousin Cousine), Talia Shire (Rocky), Sissy Spacek (Carrie) and Liv Ullmann (Face to Face) for the 1977 Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar. Giving an amazing performance as a less than lovable character, Faye Dunaway certainly deserves her Oscar.


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