Revenge can be very sweet: The role of the plain, dumpy waitress in the play "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" was written specifically for this pleasantly plain-looking, slightly dumpy actress, who played it to perfection. But when it came time to do the movie, Bates was passed over for the glamorous Michelle Pfeiffer. So, instead, she played the psychotic nurse in Misery (1990) and won a Best Actress Oscar, while Frankie and Johnny crashed and burned at the box office. Though primarily a stage actress, Bates has made film appearances since the 1970s, with small roles in such pictures as Straight Time (1978), Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), Summer Heat (1987), Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Men Don't Leave, Dick Tracy and White Palace (all 1990). In 1991 she snagged two plum roles: that of the fanatical Christian fundamentalist stuck in the Amazon in At Play in the Fields of the Lord and the downtrodden Southern housewife who enjoys a special relationship with an older woman (Jessica Tandy) in Fried Green Tomatoes In 1992 she joined Tandy again, along with superstars Shirley MacLaine and Marcello Mastroianni, in Used People Bates, like many of her contemporaries, affects a natural acting style, never allowing artifice to get in the way of emotional honesty.