Henry and Jane Fonda
Henry Fonda won his only Oscar for what turned out to be his last role, as crotchety patriarch Norman Thayer Jr., but given the famously fraught relationship between Fonda and daughter Jane, maybe the character wasn’t much of an acting stretch. Probably not a stretch for Jane, either. She seethes throughout the film as Norman’s daughter Chelsea, bitter over a lifetime of failing to win her father’s approval.
For his part, Norman, whose lifelong emotional detachment is now eclipsed by his preoccupation with death, isn’t about to stop withholding his feelings and become emotionally expressive and open. (Some old-fashioned sexism may be involved, as Chelsea observes that Norman has bonded with her future stepson in a way he never did with her.) When Chelsea finally tries to meet him halfway on his own turf, it’s a small moment, but it feels like a huge emotional dam-burst.