Cinderella Awards: The Woman Herself

Congratulations!! You've made it to the final post of the Cinderella Awards! Before I reveal my review of the new film tomorrow, we have one important subject left to talk about. We've now discussed almost every aspect there is to discuss with the many adaptations of the famous fairy tale Cinderella... besides Cinderella herself! Like yesterday's post, while this is largely based on my personal preference, I included criteria to rank all the Cinderellas against so I can make the best possible case for this ranking. All Cinderellas will be rated from 1-5 on the following criteria: Beauty & Style (can she make even the "sooty servant look" appealing?), Intelligence (no one wants a dumb heroine), Personality (is she a likable Cinderella?), Strength & Determination (how courageous and resourceful is she? Does she ever try to better her situation?) and finally Portrayal (did the actress get the character right.. sure they might be written well, but it's up to the actress to make their Cinderellas memorable). What's been interesting, is that more often than not, I find Cinderella to be the weak link in her own movie! As such, this list was a lot more difficult to rank than I thought it would be. Unfortunately, we've gotten a lot of mediocre Cinderellas in otherwise good movies. So here's how they stacked up!

#10 Jennifer Beals - Faerie Tale Theatre

Beauty & Style: 3. She's lucky her looks propel this number higher... but even they couldn't save her from being #10 on this list. While she's pretty, her clothes she's stuck with throughout the whole movie (save her final dress) are pretty horrible. The dresses are wearing her whether she's a servant or at the ball. Cinderellas must have control of their look!
Intelligence: 2. She's definitely one of the dumber Cinderellas of the lot. You can almost see her Fairy Godmother guiding every thought she has. Also, she doesn't know what kissing is.. She pretty much has the mentality of an elementary kid.
Personality: 2. She's pretty bland... and when she's not bland she's kind of pouting. And she doesn't get half of the Godmother's jokes.
Determination & Strength: 2. No, she never does anything to better her situation. I mean she had a suitor and, even though, her stepsisters TOLD him that she died, she could have sought him out and said "hey I'm alive... how about we get married so I don't have to live with my stepfamily anymore..."
Attitude: 3. Like I mentioned before, she's rather pouty... and ungrateful! Her little tantrum "prayer" to her Fairy Godmother after she was able to go to the first ball but isn't sure she can make it to the second is pretty bad. But before that I guess she took everything with stride.
Portrayal: 2. Jennifer Beals is clearly the weak link in this otherwise really fun adaptation. Had she been replaced with someone else it would be awesome.
Total: 14

#9 Brandy - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '97

Style & Beauty:  3. She's a pretty average Cinderella in my opinion. Her rag look is alright enough, and her ball dress is pretty but dated. I guess my main problem is those pencil thin eyebrows... and that she (or her Godmother) coupled her look with blue eye shadow and a cheap looking necklace.
Intelligence: 3. Does SHE put two and two together that the guy she talked with at the beginning was the Prince? It's not really clear... but she seems smart enough. Not a genius by any means but she's got her head on straight.
Personality: 2. I know her situation sucks, but she never finds time to really laugh at the antics of her stepsisters. Basically, there's not much to her from what we're shown... though she does have some moments of being opinionated.
Strength & Determination: 3. She's kind of more existing than enduring, but her songs always help. Her fairy godmother mentions she has the power to leave on her own.. but it doesn't seem like she ever truly contemplates using it.
Attitude: 4. Using her imagination & singing songs get her through the day. She's not too whiny about it. She has a pretty good attitude all things considered.
Portrayal: 2. If you're in a musical adaptation you better be able to do two things well: singing and acting. Brandy doesn't really do either. She has a fine enough voice for pop songs.. but her renditions of these classic broadway songs are much to breathy and weak. And her acting left A LOT to be desired too.
Total: 17

#8 Drew Barrymore - Ever After

Style & Beauty: 3 Drew Barrymore is kind of a "good light, bad light" kind of girl. Unsurprisingly her prettiest moments come when she's dressed NOT like Cinderella. Luckily for her, her mother had a great sense of style so that helps her cause. Otherwise, she'd be borderline hopeless.
Intelligence: 5. She's one of the smartest Cinderellas... at least that's what we're told anyway.
Personality: 3. Personally, I don't think she's anything to write home about. She's pretty much your typical female empowerment type leading lady.. which is fine, I'm just not sure how genuine that makes her. You can tell they were going for an Elizabeth Bennet type, but instead they should have taken the qualities all Cinderellas have and just made her stronger for them.
Strength & Determination: 4. Though I'm not sure if she really thinks about bettering her situation while she's with her stepsisters, she certainly does when she gets sold to the guy at the end.
Attitude: 2. One thing that bugs me is that she should know the one stepsister is an ally of hers, yet when she can tell she's upset about something she believes the easy excuse instead of asking the stepsister herself what's wrong. Might have saved her a lot of troubles. Basically, I feel like she could have made a better situation out of what she had than what she did.
Portrayal: 2 I know many readers will disagree here and say I'm lowballing her, but she overacts in this movie like crazy and her accent really almost ruins the whole thing for me.
Total: 19

#7 Gemma Craven - The Slipper and the Rose

Style & Beauty: 5. She's always beautiful, whether it's rags or riches she always looks pretty awesome.
Intelligence: 2. It takes her awhile to put two and two together or even question how the Fairy Godmother could be helping her. Also she's never given thought to if love should come before marriage?? Come on.
Personality:  4. She's kind of bland quite honestly, BUT she is willing to sacrifice her love for the good of her country. That's pretty respectable right there.
Strength & Determination: 2. In line with the last thing though, it kinda shows she's not much of a fighter.. not that there was much she could do. She's just lucky her Fairy Godmother planned to sort things all out in the end.
Attitude: 3. She pretty much takes everything in stride and accepts her situation.
Portrayal: 3.5. She does a slightly above average job just because she brings a needed loveliness and softness to the part... and she does well with the musical numbers.
Total: 19.5

#6 Hilary Duff - A Cinderella Story

Style & Beauty: 3.5. She's a pretty girl, but her style isn't particularly memorable. Also.. what's so bad with her "diner girl" look that she'd be a social pariah to all her classmates just because she had a job?? 
Intelligence: 5. We're led to believe this girl gets into Princeton so she's gotta be pretty smart! I don't know if the character I saw seemed that smart but I digress.
Personality: 3. She has a pleasant enough personality.. pretty interchangeable though from other characters Hilary or other former teen actresses have portrayed.
Determination: 4. She's just biding her time, but by her actions to attend college and work at the diner to earn money, we know she is taking the initiative to get out of there.
Attitude 4. She's actually pretty positive about life and her situation for the most part. She enjoys her friends and counts the good things that she DOES have.
Portrayal: 2.5 Hilary doesn't really bring any depth or anything interesting to this role. You could have interchanged her with any teen actress and basically gotten the same movie. 
Total: 22

#5 Leslie Ann Warren - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '65

Style & Beauty: 4. Her rags look is admittedly hideous, but somehow she still rocks it! That takes something!! I guess it's those big giant eyes that play their part in making you like her. 
Intelligence: 2. Her planned pickup line to the Prince was "Please your highness, I would like to be your bride!" Oh gosh. Good thing the stepsisters laughed in her face because that Prince probably would have too.
Personality: 4. Even though she is a bit naive, her wide eyed optimism is kind of infectious! You can tell that she has a joy out of life when she sings her rendition of "In my own little corner."
Strength & Determination 3. Same as Brandy's R&H Cinderella and same with Julie Andrews below.. They handle their life but don't really contemplate escape much.
Attitude: 5. Like I mentioned in Personality, she's an extremely positive individual! Even if she had never gone to the ball she probably would have still sought to make her life a happy one.
Portrayal: 5. Yes at times it can be chuckle worthy, but she just gives us a really young, happy Cinderella. A true dreamer.
Total: 23

#4 Julie Andrews - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '57

Style & Beauty: 3. She's kind of a mousy Cinderella to be honest. She's just lucky that her Fairy Godmother gave her a really pretty dress for the ball.. but other than that she kinda just looks the same.
Intelligence: 4. She doesn't come off like an airhead like Leslie Ann Warren. She seems like she knows what's going on.
Personality: 3.5. Even if she seems smarter, she is still fighting a 1950's blandness.. and mostly comes out on top.
Strength & Determination: 3. Ditto the other three R&H Cinderellas. They're just not written in a way other to exist in their situation...
Attitude: 5. When does Julie Andrews' positivity NOT shine through on a role she's playing?
Portrayal: 5. She might not be the most memorable Cinderella, but she set the standard for the R&H adaptation.. and she gave it her all.
Total: 23.5

#3 Anna Kendrick - Into the Woods

Style & Beauty: 4. She has two looks the whole movie, and she wears them both well. Her Cinderella dress is more Belle than Cinderella... but that's not her fault!
Intelligence: 5. She takes more than enough time to think things through. She doesn't make decisions on the fly.
Personality: 4. She's very relateable and likable. She's just a girl trying to always make the best decision she can.
Strength & Determination: 4. She goes through A LOT in this film, and handles all the pressure extremely well.
Attitude: 4. She, like Lily James below, takes her parents words to heart to help her get through her trials. Though her life is tough, she generally tries to keep a positive handle on things.. even if sometimes she gets distracted.
Portrayal: 4. Anna Kendrick was a fine edition to the canon of Cinderellas. Even though she doesn't appear in a film purely focused on just her character, she makes her role memorable.
Total: 25

#2 Lily James - Cinderella 2015

Beauty & Style: 5. She rocks every style pretty much. Rags, ball, wedding gown.. no worries she will always look glamorous.
Intelligence: 4. She benefits from having a smart fairy Godmother and asking her the right questions (what if people recognize me?) But her kindness allows her to be taken advantage of.. which she doesn't always see coming.
Personality: 5. Her mother taught her the importance of kindness and has minded her words her entire life. She loves her parents and cherishes those memories of them to get her through the hard times. She's very likable.
Strength & Determination: 5. The only Cinderella we ever see who actually tries running away! The only reason she turns back is that she remembers her home and feels it is her duty to protect her childhood home from her stepmother. She has my respect.
Attitude: 5. She takes her parents words to heart and they help her through her entire life. She strives to be a good person to everyone and it shows.
Portrayal: 4. I thought Lily James made a lovely Cinderella... it will be interesting to see if she stands the test of time.
Total: 28

#1 Animated 1950:

Beauty & Style: 5. She's always simply lovely. Even in her servant clothes, she outshines her stepsisters in all their finery.
Intelligence: 5. She knows what's going on. She doesn't always see through her stepmother right away, but she always puts things together.
Personality: 5. How can you not like someone that sews tiny clothes for mice? She is just kind and graceful in everything she does. It's hard not to admire her!
Strength & Determination 3.5. She's of the school that endures, but endures well. Plus she is smart enough to get her vermin friends to help her out of her messes.
Attitude: 5. She handles everything with patience and always looks for the best in life. She probably has it worse than all the other Cinderellas and she handles everything beautifully.
Portrayal: 5. She's classic! My first thought of Cinderella and the most fitting portrayal to the character yet. I'm not sure if she can be topped.
Total: 28.5

Leslie Caron - The Glass Slipper

Style & Beauty - 2. One of the Cinderellas who didn't rock either look. Then again how could she? As Cinderella she was almost completely COVERED in cinders. Yeah we get it!! Your name is Cinderella! And then at the ball her dress is completely out of control.
Intelligence: 0. Honestly.. it seems like her light bulb went out upstairs.
Personality: 0. The only adaptation where I found myself cheering along the stepsisters.
Strength & Determination: 1. I didn't really see any evidence of this.
Attitude: 0. She throws tantrums at the drop of the hat.
Total: 3

Well my friends, you've made it to the end of the Cinderella Awards. I hope you enjoyed them. For a reward I made another personality quiz you can take. This time you can find out which one of these Cinderellas most resmble your personality. Take the quiz HERE And be sure to come back tomorrow for my full review of the new Cinderella!

Which Cinderella is your favorite?

Animated Cinderella
Lily James - Cinderella 2015
Anna Kendrick - Into the Woods
Julie Andrews - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '57
Leslie Ann Warren - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '65
Hilary Duff - A Cinderella Story
Gemma Craven - The Slipper and the Rose
Drew Barrymore - Ever After
Brandy Norwood - Rodgers & Hammerstein's '97
Jennifer Beals - Faerie Tale Theatre
Poll Maker


Johanna said...

I voted even though I haven't seen the one coming out tomorrow. I always really liked the animated Cinderella and felt that she had lots more depth than any other Disney princess, except maybe Belle.

Looking forward to the review tomorrow.

Sarah said...

Great post...but I think your quiz might be flawed because I don't think I am the '97 version of Cinderella! :)