Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Look Ahead to Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

These are the others in the series that I’ve done:
- Supporting Performances- Screenplay - Original Score- Animated- Make-Up - Visual Effects- Costume Design- Cinematography- Editing- Art Direction (hehe)

Actress was a decently chosen category. I agree with 2 of the choices, and 2 of the other performances make my overall top 10. Not bad at all.

Penelope Cruz (Volver)
Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal)
Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Kate Winslet (Little Children)


How I did: 100%. As with Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. These were the only two categories I predicted perfectly.

01. Penelope Cruz, Volver
Almodovar wrote the character of Raimunda specifically for Cruz, and, having seen her give this searing, majestic performance, I can safely say that no-one could have done it better. Raimunda is character of countless layers – struggling economically, she works many jobs to make up for her sack of crap husband. She also has a teenage daughter from whom she harbours a terrible secret. The plot turns in this film are freakishly Almodovarish and very disturbing indeed, but throughout, Cruz is the shining star of it, ensuring that whatever happens, Volver is a delightful watch and a film of huge heart. As Raimunda goes from hiding her husband’s corpse in a freezer to belting out the titular torch song “Volver”, she displays an enchanting range of emotions and acting traits, without ever giving in to histrionics or over acting. Raimunda is may be Almodvar’s creation, but Cruz makes her what she truly is – she never crumbles in the face of adversity, but fighting through life with courage and power, yet, at the same time, we can see she is a very vulnerable person, and fragile emotionally. If we were in a perfect world, Penelope would win this award, for embodying one of the most creative, difficult roles of the new millennium and rising to the challenge wonderfully. Volver may have been snubbed terribly (it deserved nominations for score, foreign film, script and many more if you ask me), but let’s just be grateful that the true star of it has not gone unrewarded. A.

02. Helen Mirren, The Queen
Now that I’ve waxed lyrical about Penelope, it may seem that I’m out of good things to say about my fellow countrywoman Helen Mirren. Far from it. She was tremendous as Elizabeth II, in another difficult role. For the many accolades that the Dame has picked up for her work, it would be all too easy to throw around phrases like “overrated” and “mediocre”, but I refuse to fall into the trap. It *was* good acting from her in this film, as she plays a woman that finds a nation she has invested so much time and commitment to turning against her. Mirren captures both the regal grace of the Queen as well as her emotional helplessness. Her scenes opposite Michael Sheen are an absolute treat. A-.

03. Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. However I’d pictured Barbara from reading the novel, I must say, Dench’s version is a lot scarier. At the same time, she lives up to my expecations of Barbara in practically every way. Each crevice of her face exudes a shrewd disparagement, and watching her in her pursuit of Sheba’s story sends a shiver down your spine. The British film magazine Empire – whom I rarely see myself agreeing with – called her work “Hannibal Lecter in Drip-Dry knitwear”, and I agree with this canny choice of phrasing. Nonetheless, it’s still a performance that is easier to admire than to like. B+.

04. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wear Prada
Contender for my second favourite actress of all time, Streep certainly had a good year in 2006. She was absolutely splendid in The Prairie Home Companion, in a winning role, but also did good work with a much nastier character in this film. Her Miranda Priestley is unfathomably devilish – she hands Andy near-impossible assignments, reduces her inferiors to tears with a simple “that’s all” and in the end, betraying one of her closest friends, but Streep, and only Streep could, make her magnetic and humane. We, like Andy, feel sucked into her superficial, greedy world. B+.

05. Kate Winslet, Little Children
A decent enough performance, but got where it was more due to the Winslet fanboys and not really the quality of the acting. C+ .

Who should win: Penelope Cruz
Who will win: Helen Mirren
Who deserved to get nominated: Ivana Baquero, Pan’s Labyrinth

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you likes Mirren too, she'd be my choice

Anonymous said...

"04. Meryl Streep, The Devil Wear Prada
Contender for my second favourite actress of all time, Streep certainly had a good year in 2006. She was absolutely splendid in The Prairie Home Companion, in a winning role, but also did good work with a much nastier character in this film. Her Miranda Priestley is unfathomably devilish – she hands Andy near-impossible assignments, reduces her inferiors to tears with a simple “that’s all” and in the end, betraying one of her closest friends, but Streep, and only Streep could, make her magnetic and humane. We, like Andy, feel sucked into her superficial, greedy world. "

Truer words have never been said, m'girl. Grade should be an A, though.

Dave said...

I am a Winslet fanboy, yet even I have to admit that this wasn't her best work. Although it's much more the script's fault for giving her a bum role, and she did the best she could with it. Yet, as you may have seen on my blog, she was at the bottom for me too.

As for Cruz, a superb comment on her superb performance. Dench deserves second place, though- a marvellous performance that I was truly taken aback by.

And- the reason I'm really commenting- thank you very much for recommending those Pan's tracks. I love 'The Moribund Tree & the Toad', and the final lullaby is so haunting. Luckily the uni cinema is putting Pan's on again so I can re-evaluate soon.

Catherine said...

Helen Mirren will probably walk away with the award, but I'm still hopeful for Cruz. It's such a shame that Volver is getting so snubbed and Penelope isn't getting any recognition. Grr.

Anonymous said...

Mirren will win, but Winslet should! She's the best actress in the world! Why doesn't she have an Oscar?

Cruz was crap. Talk about a load of writing for nothing

Lisa G said...

OK then

Catherine said...

Yo, anon. Can't even show your name? Hah.

MOVIE FREAK said...

Amen on Winslet. And Little Children wasn't even that good, but it's got Winslet in it, enough to get the fans drooling.

jaime said...

What Catherine said. I'm sick of all these cowardly shits sending Emma pointless messages without ever even having guts to leave a name.

And for me, I'd love Cruz to win this too.

Harry W said...

That Cruz woman.

The end.