Wednesday, 4 November 2009

2007: The Actresses


So here's a look at the Leading Women. It was a good year, kind of. Well it was definitely better than the Supporting Women. And yet Oscar got it ALL wrong...kind of. Here's what I thought of them.
         
TIER THREE
Nikki Blonsky in Hairspray
Perfect blend of silliness and honesty, she was well casted. It’s anyone’s guess if she’ll get another good role but if they had to look at only one teen star that year I don’t see why it couldn’t have been her.
                        
Jennifer Connelly in Reservation Road
I’m no fan of hers, and the movie didn’t allow everything to coalesce well, but she’s in good company here and she does a good job. It’s a good performance and I wish she’d do more of this [like House of Sand and Fog] and less of A Beautiful Mind. A movie that she didn’t help one bit as far as I was concerned.
                
Jennifer Garner in Catch & Release
A silly romantic comedy perhaps, but it works and so does she. She makes some bad decisions, but overall she’s quite charming and at the end of the day this is a good performance. She should do more small comedies like this, because at the end of the day this is where she seems more comfortable. Unless they make an Alias movie, which I wouldn’t be against.
          
Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up
As I mentioned before, the women in Apatow films don’t fare as well; and sure she seems hated but her performance was good. Although I couldn’t get just what made her attracted to that deadbeat slob, but that was more of the writing and less of her acting’s fault. All in all, it was a good performance.
               
Ellen Page in Juno
She did a good job with this, don’t mistake me. But I’m at a loss to see exactly what makes this one of the greatest teen performances. Would you have given Lindsay Lohan or Lacey Chabert a nomination for Mean Girls? As much as I liked them, neither would I. So exactly what makes Page so worthy? I know I’m opening a can of worms here – but shoot.
                 
TIER TWO
Amy Adams in Enchanted
So appealing she does wonderfully here. From the first shot of her I was sold, she plays it so wonderfully and although I found Dempsey less than deserving of her ebullience this performance is still an absolutely delightful one.
            
Halle Berry in Things We Lost in the Fire
It goes to show that her Oscar win wasn’t a fluke. She does good work when she’s opposite good actors like Del Toro here and Lange in Losing Isaiah. Her performance is very layered and it’s one of the best things she’s done. I know that given a good role and director/cast she can do well. So I’m hoping.
               
Cate Blanchett in The Golden Age
She goes over the top but she’s still entertaining. Very entertaining actually. I didn’t mind this nomination one bit, although it wouldn’t have been on my personal slate. But she tries, even when those around her seem to be walking in their sleep and the script offers virtually nothing for her to work with. That's good acting.
               
Julie Christie in Away From Her
She missed the missed the five by a modicum of an inch. It’s a great performance that she handles effortlessly. She pulls off the less than satisfying end and throughout is just so luminous without seeming like she’s playing it too hard. It’s exceptionally well orchestrated and worthy of the nomination.
           
Laura Linney in The Savages
It’s another performance that wouldn’t have made it into my slot, and I gasped [in a bad way] when I heard Kathy Bates call her name. Who the hell saw this coming? It’s a bit too done-it-all-before for me, but it’s a good performance. The script gives her a good character to work with and she handles it well. It’s good work. But I was still annoyed.
           
THE NOMINEES

Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
It’s more than singing that makes said performance good in a musical; and for that matter I didn’t think her singing was bad. I enjoyed her characterisation of Mrs. Lovett and
          
Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I adore the French. It’s an excellent performance from where I stand and it’s more than just the marring of her beauty that makes it convincing. Lip synching doesn’t diminish the beauty of the performance and as the character descends she is mesmerising. What a performance.
            
Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart
Her performance in this docudrama is chilling and realistic. That one extroverted scene of grief towards the end – so much has been written of it; and deservedly so. It’s a great acting moment, and at the same time the screaming is unlike the usual behaviour of the character, it’s believable at the same time. It’s a pity that after continuous precursor attention the Academy ignored her.
           
Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding
The character is probably a bit too harsh, but she plays it just right. Her annoyed looks always amuse and reaffirm the fact that she does well in comedy. Those moments as she tries to hold on to her son and stop him from growing are both funny and pathetic. With all the good work she’s done, it’s amazing she only has two nominations.
            
Keira Knightley in Atonement
I wonder if she would have gotten any love in the Supporting category. Obviously the Academy was not fond of Atonement, but I believe this to be her best performance. There is a scene when Briony comes downstairs during dinner with a letter. She gets up disturbed, “Give it to me”. She sinks to her chair in relief when she realises to be a different letter. It’s a nice subtle moment. She’s better than she’s given credit for.
                                            

So, only one of the Oscar’s pick made it into my five. What do you think of my other nominees? What do you think of my analysis of the category? Who were you gunning for? I won’t answer, but who do you think is my winner?

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3 comments:

Jesper.L said...

Love your line up :D

joe burns said...

I felt that Page, Linney, and Christie deserved nominations. My lineup: Adams, Christie, Cotillard (silver), Linney (Bronze), Page (gold).

Univarn said...

I hate to be the odd ball on this one but that year I really didn't care much for the Best Actress department. Lots of even matched performance but none I was passionate enough to care about who won for.