She has been described as flaky, kook, but with a strong script in her hand she is anything but. Intelligent, sharp, she slips on characters like a well fitting glove, bringing them to life, film after film. Though she became known for her work in the films of Woody Allen, her performances as Kay in ‘The Godfather’ (1972) and ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974) really placed her in the public eye.
Working with Woody Allen, she became an interesting and unique comic talent, breaking through in Play It Again, Sam (1972) and the under appreciated Love and Death (1975). In 1977 she won the Academy Award for Annie Hall, but could have, and perhaps should have won as the promiscuous school teacher in Looking for Mr. Goodbar for director Richard Brooks. Allen had the courage to direct, write and act with Keaton in Annie Hall (1977), a film about their own relationship and the breakdown of it. She was remarkable in the film, funny, acerbic, a woman growing before our eyes.
From that point in her career she became one of the most revered and sought after actresses in movies. Interiors (1978) and the sublime Manhattan (1979) came next, both great films directed and written by Woody Allen. Warren Beatty cast her as Louise Bryant in his epic Reds (1981) for which she received some of the best reviews of her career. For her stunning performance in Shoot the Moon (1982) as a woman struggling with her husband leaving her for a younger woman. For me it remains her finest performance in a career filled with brilliant work. How she was not nominated for this remarkable work remains one of the great snubs in Academy recent history. Her work through the eighties and nineties simply furthered her reputation as one of the cinemas’ finest actresses. She consistently has challenged herself, even stepping behind the camera as director! Here is the list of top 10 Diane Keaton movies.
1. Shoot the Moon (1982)
As Faith, Keaton gives the finest performance of her career, capturing the angst, hurt and pain of being left for a younger woman. Seemingly happily married to George, a famous writer, she is content to raise her rambunctious kids. Left reeling with rage when he leaves, she slowly begins to pick up the pieces of her life and rebuild without George. Her sadness leaves us aching with her, her pain becomes our pain, with her we rage at George for what he has done to her, to their family. Far too often considered a comedic actress, Keaton has proven time and time again she is among the most formidable dramatic talents in movies. This is her greatest, and the Academy missed it, in every single category, though missing Keaton was their greatest crime.