After quitting the brothel (where she’d switched from maid to prostitute), Holiday, now a little more mature, tries her hand at becoming a Cotton Club entertainer. Her lack of dancing experience shines through in the most comedic way — she’s off-rhythm and clumsy.
Billy Dee Williams as Louis McKay is just handsome and hunky. It’s his $20 bill that gives Holiday the ultimate confidence. Her career picks up from there and she becomes a hit at the club.
Diana Ross’ performance landed her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1973. There are many scenes where Ross’ thespian skills shine through — particularly here when Holiday realizes she can’t function without drugs. As a result, she spins out of control, smearing makeup on herself and the mirror reflecting her now-deteriorating image.
There’s no greater sense of support than a loving family. Holiday’s longtime friends and loved ones surprise her with a welcome-home party after her long stint in rehab. Overwhelmed with emotion, a teary-eyed Holiday thanks them for the support, and the party begins around the piano.