Monday, 19 October 2009

2008: The Supporting Women

I’ll just bite the bullet and get it over with, I though Kate Winslet was supporting in The Reader. I’m just going to get it out of the way. Yeah, she had a substantial amount of screen time, and sure unlike David Kross/Ralph Fiennes she plays the same character for the duration of the film. Whatever, I thought she was supporting. So be warned. [alphabetical order]

The Semi Finalists
Patricia Clarkson in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
On the first viewing I was actually most impressed with her cameo, but she doesn’t have a rounded enough character to pull a Pieces of April surprise nod, but she’s still pretty good in this playing a somewhat narcissistic woman.
Viola Davis in Doubt
Obviously she was in not in my top 5. I didn’t really have a problem with her being nominated. We all saw it coming a mile away, but her cameo was not my favourite of the year and if I hadn’t been conditioned to really look for her entrance it might have passed me.
Beyonce Knowles in Cadillac Records
She’s not any where near the legendary singers transforming to screen and she has a long way to go but her performance as Etta James was inspired and had some very good moments.
Tilda Swinton in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Although I’m not a huge fan of hers even in small roles like this she has certain poignancy in her performance. I wasn’t even missing Cate in the moments she was onscreen.
Debra Winger in Rachel Getting Married
This should have been the role that she’d win her Oscar for, playing a mother to an ingénue; but Rachel Getting Married was such a mixed bag; there just wasn’t enough for her to work with it.
The Finalists
Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
I really didn’t mind her winning. It was going to be either her or Davis and I preferred her. I remember the days when her acting seemed truly abysmal and Woody did create a good middle ground between her English and Spanish.
Lena Olin in The Reader
Her dual role was an effective cinch to the film. She wasn’t over the top or excessively pragmatic. Her performance[s] was just good.
Amy Ryan in Changeling
This was my favourite cameo of the year. It’s nothing close to her star turn in Gone Baby Gone or her unfairly ignored guest starring stint on The Office, but with only a few minutes she creates a real character worth remembering.
Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading
No one plays a bitch like her. She sunk her teeth into this ridiculous over the top character and turned it into a comedic work of art. In a great ensemble she was one that stood out.
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler
Has Marisa Tomei ever played a frigid character? She is just so congenial or accommodating from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead to In the Bedroom and even the abysmal Anger Management. I’ll be honest, even though I was not gunning for a nod for her I was psyched when her name got called.
The Nominees

 Amy Adams in Doubt
The performance was maligned and no one really expected her to make an impact on the race; but I believed her nomination was deserved. Sister James ended up seeming like the most rounded character, sure she’s played the good girl before but that doesn’t take away from the profundity of her performance.
Kathy Bates in Revolutionary Road
Last year was notorious for snubs and this was one of them. Kathy Bates deserved a nod for her unnerving Mrs. Givings and every moment from her was a moment of good acting.
Rosemarie DeWitt in Rachel Getting Married
I was very mixed on Rachel Getting Married, but if anyone from the film deserved recognition from the Academy and other award ceremonies. She deserved attention for her layered performance.
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The consensus is not there on loving this performance, but I found her just adorable as Queenie. She has always been commendable in middling fare like Something New and Baby Boy. Hopefully this could be a stepping stone to her getting more work.
Kate Winslet in The Reader
I know some think she won the Oscar for her older scenes but it’s the young Hana that grabs me. Like that trip she takes where she tries to experience those fleeting moments of happiness that she’s never able to give into.

So those are the five I'd have nominated. Don't be shy. Tear me to shreds if you'd wish. Let's hear your opinions.


joe burns said...

My overall thoughts: I think that Davis did deserve a nomination. Her performance was more than just a cameo. Her role was a major part of the film and she was excellent in it. I also would have nominated Dewitt and Adams, but in my opinion Bates did nothing oscar worthy and I think that Winslet's role is a leading one. As for Henson, I think she's one of the worst nominees ever. My lineup would be: Adams (silver), Cruz, Davis (bronze), Dewitt, Tomei (gold).

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I guess Taraji really is a subjective choice. But she entertained me.

Alex in Movieland said...

Nice Top 5, even though Winslet as I think about it is... Leading I guess.

So checking my 2008 top, here are the ladies

1. Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Amy Adams – Doubt
3. Lena Olin – The Reader
4. Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married
5. Debra Winger – Rachel Getting Married

with Viola as runner-up.

I'm glad other people also lile Lena Olin! she was remarkable.

Bryan said...

Random Amy Ryan shout-out:

i LOVED her in gone baby gone; she completely tore down the house.

and her guest spot on the office was awkward/cute at its best.