The Iconic Kathy Bates Performances Every Southerner Should Watch

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Seven notable performances perfect for your next movie night.

<p>Jeff Kravitz / Contributor / Getty</p>

Jeff Kravitz / Contributor / Getty

Kathy Bates has one of the most diverse careers in Hollywood. She is a serious actor who has won Oscars and Emmys and SAG Awards, but will also make fans laugh with her recurring guest spot on The Office. She makes adults cry with her terrifying performances in American Horror Story and then plays Grandma Sylvie in the film adaptation of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. After a Tony Award-nominated stage performance comes news comes that she’s going to star in a Matlock reboot. Clearly there’s no part she can’t play!

That said there are a few performances that rise about the others. Here are some of Kathy Bates’ most indelible, hilarious, and notable performances perfect for your next movie night:

Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoes 

Many folks first became a Bates fan after seeing her in this classic Southern film based on Fannie Flagg's beloved novel. Bates plays the not-particularly-happy Evelyn Couch who befriends nursing home resident Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) and is regaled with stories about her life in a small Alabama town and café in the 1920s. It’s a beautiful story of two friendships and Bates brings Evelyn to life.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic

While Titanic was undoubtedly the Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) show, Bates stole more than a few scenes as the raucous and perhaps uncouth Molly Brown. As one author put it on film site, “There are very few actors who can bring so much to a part so little, but that’s exactly what Kathy Bates did in Titanic.” Can you imagine any other actor urging the crew to turn that lifeboat around and save more people? Nope!

<p>CBS Photo Archive / Contributor / Getty</p>

CBS Photo Archive / Contributor / Getty

Mama in The Waterboy 

While not the most serious role in her repertoire, Bates played Mama with unparalleled gusto, imbuing it with so much enthusiasm and energy. Bates clearly loves the role, too, as she brought the character back to support Sandler after the Oscars snubbed his performance in Uncut Gems, writing, “You was robbed!! But Mama loves you!!!”

Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt

Alexander Payne’s coming-of-middle-age film stars Jack Nicholson as a widower trying to find himself at his estranged daughter’s wedding. Bates plays Roberta, the mother of a groom who is a free spirited foil to Nicholson’s reluctant retiree. Bates earned her third Oscar nomination (as Best Supporting Actress) for her performance, but it was undoubtedly her comical-yet-tender performance in a hot tub seduction scene that cemented the nod.

Stella Mae in Come Back To The 5 And Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

After making a name for herself on stage, this is one of Bates’ earliest film roles. She makes a splash in this Robert Altman-directed comedy playing Stella Mae, a member of a James Dean fan club that is gathering together for what turns out to be a very memorable meeting. Even as a young actor she stands her own next to stacked cast that included Sandy Dennis, Karen Black, and Cher.

Miss Sue in The Blind Side

While Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron are the true stars of the film, Bates has a memorable turn, too. In the film she plays Miss Sue, the tutor who was hired to help Michael, the high school football player portrayed by Aaron, bring up his grades. Bates brings the character to life with charm, patience, humor, and kindness and helps Michael achieve his full potential.

Annie Wilkes in Misery

There is no more iconic role than Bates’ turn as a dangerous super-fan in the film adaptation of the Stephen King novel. While she first seems like a kindly nurse, starstruck when her favorite author (played by James Caan) turns up on her doorstep, it gets dark quickly. It’s rare for the Academy Awards to acknowledge the acting done in horror movies, but Bates’ incredible and frightening performance inspired them to give her the Oscar for Best Actress.

For more Southern Living news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Southern Living.