Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Essential Performances of the 90s Tournament: Round 2, Showdown 2

Hello voters. All 32 performances have been decided for the second round of the Essential Performances of the 90s Tournament (bracket HERE). Round two began this morning and I'm here with two more performances to go head to head.

Remember, if you love any of the upcoming performances in round I'd love for you to defend them on your own blogs (information HERE).

Julianne Moore won her match-up against Woody Harrelson (The People vs Larry Fynt) quite easily with 75% of the votes. Cage won over Irene Jacob in Three Colors: Red). Both performances are from 1995: Cage has the Oscar, but who gets your votes?

Julianne Moore in Safe (1995 ) as Carol White
And, almost indiscernible at the very edges of the frame, she becomes the blankest of surfaces allowing the film to enfold her, freeze her in place.” – Craig

More than emotionally distant mothers, I think of Julianne Moore as the forever discontent housewife. Which isn’t to say that her work Safe is trivial, it’s not. Harrowing would be the wrong word to describe Safe but it’s certainly not an easy film to watch and in that way it’s so indicative of Moore’s general oeuvre. She’s always pushing boundaries, testing audience perception, playing in films which take the craft to more expansive levels. Safe might make you squeamish but not just for the sake of itself, it – and Julianne – are intent on testing your boundaries. Randomness: Julianne got a best actress nod playing another housewife in a Haynes picture - Far From Heaven.

Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (1995) as Ben Sanderson
But all the while it’s a respectful stance on alcoholism as a mind and body-warping disease instead of a frivolous sideshow act.” – Paolo

Sure, Ben’s alcoholism may be self inflicted, but he’s battling a disease in the same way that Moore’s Carol is. Trivia, I saw Leaving Las Vegas was back in my teens on the same day I saw Dead Man Walking and to some extent my ardent love for the latter often made me remember the former less. Which is a shame, because the film is on-point, as is Cage’s performance. At his best and at his worst, the most prominent feature of Cage is his lack of self-consciousness as a performer. And, he puts it to such good use here making Ben so effective and pathetic without making him ineffectual or ridiculous. Randomness: Cage is one of the three male performers who won and Oscar and has managed to make it to the second round of the bracket.

Which performer embodying a tortured soul earns your vote?

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