Jennifer Lawrence gives an amazing breakthrough performance in Winter's Bone. This is a case where her win was just being nominated alongside these other amazing performances. She plays Ree with such determination and she holds her own when John Hawkes is on-screen with her. The movie has a really dark and eerie feel to it but Jennifer Lawrence is what holds the movie together and prevent it from absorbing the viewer into it's darkness.
Annette Bening's performance as one half of a lesbian couple is terrific. It's a really good, layered performance and it took repeated viewings for me to appreciate Annette's work. Her chemistry with Julianne Moore was impeccable and she was amazing when confronting Mark Ruffalo's character. The character of Nic isn't really a showy part and Annette handled that really well especially when it came to the the scenes when she was confronting Julianne Moore's Jules. She was angry and sad but she restrained herself and did not go over-the-top with calling Jules out. A magnificent performance by an actress that is overdue on winning an Oscar.
3. Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine (4.5/5 stars)
This is where it got really difficult to choose the top three performances. Michelle Williams is an amazing actress and she is a revelation in Blue Valentine. She gives a brutally honest and heartbreaking portrayal of a woman who is falling in love/falling out of love with a man. The scenes when Cindy is falling in love with Ryan Gosling's Dean are so sweet and they have the chemistry to pull it off. The scenes when Cindy is falling out of love are simply devastating and this is in part due to the amazing chemistry between Ryan and Michelle. If it were not for that chemistry, I don't believe viewers would be as moved as we were. We see Cindy slowly drifting away from an oblivious Dean and it is really heartbreaking to see her pulling away. The scene when she tells Dean that she feels nothing for him did it for me. A near perfect performance by a phenomenal actress.
2. Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole (4.7/5 stars)
Rabbit Hole is one of my favorite movies. Yes, it's a slow-paced movie with really depressing subject matter but it is handled perfectly by it's director and the actors. Nicole Kidman gives the best performance of her career as Becca, a woman that continues to struggle with the death of her son. Nicole Kidman's performance is really restrained and the character really calls for that. Which makes the scenes when she snaps absolutely unforgettable. The scene at the meeting when she pretty questions God's reasoning for needing another angel is breathtaking. My favorite scene however is when Becca snaps at her mother (played by an amazing Diane Wiest) about the difference between the death of her own son and her mother's son. I could talk at length about Nicole's work in this movie, and I haven't even brought up her chemistry with Aaron Eckhart. A truly stunning performance by one of the best actresses working today.
1. Natalie Portman in Black Swan (5/5 stars)
Fisti, you were right! I know you don't agree but you were right about my choice for #1. 2010 was just Natalie Portman's turn. I had never really been interested in Natalie Portman's acting but Black Swan was just amazing. Black Swan is what I consider to be an okay movie that could be slow at times but it is totally worth it to see Natalie's Nina transform. She really gives the performance her all and it paid off. The character of Nina goes from being really sheltered to giving it all in her final performance of the movie. It was spectacular watching Natalie's Nina go from being coddled by her mother to the whole "It's my turn!" scene. A well deserved five!
What did you guys think?
(Sorry for my LONG absence, I've been adjusting to college life but now I'm back and I'm ready to run my blog. Does anyone have any suggestions for what year I should review next? It could be from the Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor category. Or if you have a specific movie you'd like for me to review. Fisti, any suggestions, since you were able to predict my number 1?)