Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Best Supporting Actress Ranking

5. Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook (3/5 stars)

Although she had a very small role and no one was expecting a nomination from her, Jacki Weaver was able to deliver a cute loving performance as the mother in a family where mental illness is prevalent. Upon watching SLP again recently, I noticed that although she didn't have much dialogue her presence in scenes when she's just smiling or looking concerned make her presence felt. If she had more lines or like maybe even a monologue scene about how she's affected by all of the problems she might have had more of a chance but overall it was an extremely enjoyable performance from an actress that needs more recognition, in my opinion.

4. Amy Adams in The Master (3.5/5 stars)

To be completely honest, I personally thought that this was Amy Adams second strongest performance in this category. (With the first being her exceptional performance in Junebug) The problem with Adams' performance however is that the movie is pretty much the Phoenix/Hoffman show. The few scenes that she does get, however, are nothing short of brilliant. That scene where she was "assisting" Dodd and telling him to "cum for" her was quite uncomfortable just because of the nonchalance in her tone. Her big scene was the "we have to attack" and if she had more scenes like that one she would have had a higher ranking. 

3. Helen Hunt in The Sessions (3.7/5 stars)

Let's be honest, this felt like a leading performance and it was handled amazingly well by Helen Hunt. Her subtlety in how she delivered her performance felt so earnest. The emotion she put into the scenes where she knew she was getting too involved with Mark after he had written her the poem. She was able to pull of the feelings of being disconcerted without much dialogue. I also know that at some point she had a Boston accent and at other points in the movie she didn't but that didn't detract from her overall performance. This was a phenomenal performance from an actress I know not much about in an extremely great movie. 

2. Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables (4/5 stars)

There's no denying that Anne Hathaway's turn as Fantine in the musical phenomenon Les Miserables was nothing short of spectacular. She moved through her scenes really well and was able to express the agony and pain of someone who has fallen to rock bottom but still has to go on for her daughter. Her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" has become synonymous when even referring to the movie itself. Personally, I liked her  very few scenes she had after her big "I Dreamed a Dream" number a little bit better as it showed a truly broken woman. There's no denying the amazing talent that Anne Hathaway possesses and that allowed her to win the actual Oscar.  

1. Sally Field in Lincoln (4.7/5 stars)

My personal choice for the best of this year goes to the amazing Sally Field for her performance as Mary Todd Lincoln in the the Steven Spieldberg epic Lincoln. It could have been easy for Sally to get lost in the epicness of the movie and the amazingness that was Daniel Day-Lewis' performance, but she more than holds her own as the troubled first lady. My personal favorite scene is the argument scene in which Mary Todd falls to the ground to show how truly heartbroken she was over the death of her son. That scene alone made me pick Sally as my top choice. Not to say she doesn't have to any other great scenes, like her scene in the Grand Reception. While I've heard some complain about Sally "over-acting", I beg to differ. There's no great way of underacting someone who was potentially mentally ill. All-in-all, a great performance by a great actress.

Honorable Mentions:

Ann Dowd in Compliance (4/5 stars)

There's no way that Ann Dowd was a supporting actress as she pretty much lead the movie (like Helen Hunt) but perhaps because she was in an indie she was made to campaign as a supporting actress. Anyhow, Ann Dowd was truly spectacular in Compliance. I often found myself upset at Sandra for easily falling into the trap and going through with everything the "cop" was telling her to do, but Ann Dowd portrayed Sandra as someone who was just trying to follow the orders of someone who was supposed to guide her in the right direction. The final scene in the interview is truly a revelation of how amazing Ann Dowd was because it shows her as Sandra trying to hold on to her pride. She is basically asking "what would you do?" but not at all trying to deny the fact that she was somewhere in the wrong. It's a shame that she didn't get nominated. 

Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy (3/5 stars)

To be completely honest, I'm not sure how to feel about the movie and that kind of affects how I feel about the performance, which I know it shouldn't. Nicole Kidman played Charlotte Bless, a trashy woman who writes letters to men in prison and gets engaged to one. On one hand, I think that it was a good role and that Nicole was great in it. On the other hand, I think the movie detracts from her performance in that it's polarizing, to say the least. I think the movie is worth a watch, if just so one could make their own opinions about Nicole Kidman. She's been called "terrifically good" in this movie and so that might be a reason to watch it.

Samantha Barks in Les Miserables (4.2/5 stars)

Samantha Barks definitely held her own in the musical epic, playing Eponine, yet another tragic character in the movie. She perfectly portrayed the yearning and desire that the character was experiencing which made her demise saddening. Like Anne Hathaway had "I Dreamed a Dream", Samantha Barks had "On My Own" and she was fantastic. I honestly thought that she might be able to pull off a nom but it looks like everyone was more concerned with getting Anne Hathaway her first Oscar. When people go back and watch Les Miserables, I feel that they will be able to appreciate Samantha Barks performance and see that it was worthy of an Oscar nom. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

Jacki Weaver received her second Oscar nom in this category for playing Dolores Solitano, mother of a son with a mental illness and wife of a man who is also potentially suffering from a minor illness. Can I just begin by saying that when Jacki’s name was called out in the nominations, that I was surprised? I’m pretty sure people were expecting Nicole Kidman in the Paperboy or even Ann Down for Compliance (what a great performance!) but we got Jacki Weaver.

I was so excited when Jacki got her nom because I thought that she played her character to the best of her abilities with the little dialogue that she had. To be honest, she may have only gotten the nom because of the all the Best Picture buzz SLP had. I have often said that although she had little screen time, she had a big presence on-screen (with or without dialogue). All of the scenes, she’s in, she works her character in to trying to keep the peace in this family that’s bordering on being completely dysfunctional.

The only other movie I have seen with Jacki Weaver is Animal Kingdom and I loved her in that, so I don’t have much to go off of when reviewing her acting abilities. In this movie, rather than play a manipulative matriarch of a family of criminals, Jacki plays a caring mother who strives to keep her family together. I know that the Academy has a thing for actresses who play mothers, since that year that Jacki was nominated Melissa Leo won for playing Alice mother to Micky Ward.

The scene when she picks up Pat from rehab center is one of my favorites because, it sets up how her character would be right from the get-go. Dolores is a caring mother who cares deeply for her family. Although there is no major character development as the film progresses, there is a consistent feeling that comes from watching Dolores on screen.

One of my favorite scenes from the film is when Pat is looking for his wedding video and then he accidentally knocks her down. Then, Patrizio comes in, starts fighting with Pat and Dolores is just yelling at them to stop and I was amazed at how well you could see her trying to keep her family together although they’re far from being together.
Although her character was likable, I don’t think that she had that many “Oscar scenes”. In most of the scenes she’s just shown smiling or looking worried but I got the sense that she was being genuine, which is something I love in a performance.  I was surprised that they managed to dig one up for when they were announcing the nominees at the Oscars. I think Jacki probably came in last in voting and she never really had a chance at winning seeing as she missed many of the important noms (GG, SAG) I did think that by the time the Oscars came that we all knew who was going to win.

 In conclusion, I think that this performance was great, even though she had little screen time. Jacki was ableto make her character extremely likable and play the part extremely well although it wasn't extremely demanding. She managed to convey so much emotion just by being present in a scene doing something as simple as smiling or looking worried. Had this year not been full of so many great performances and had she more screen time, Jacki might have been able to win. All in all, a great performance that was lucky just to be nominated.

How'd I do for my first review? Comment, please. 

Best Supporting Actress 2013

The nominees are:

  • Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
  • Sally Field in Lincoln
  • Helen Hunt in The Sessions
  • Amy Adams in The Master
  • Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

So it begins. I will first be reviewing the Best Supporting Actresses of this year's Oscar race and once I review each performance, I will post a final ranking of all of the performances. I personally thought this was a great year even though there was an obvious winner right from the get-go. Just to make it clear, I totally called Anne Hathaway's first Oscar win even before the first trailer came out as I'm sure everyone else did. Looking back however, I don't really agree with the win as much as I thought I did when I saw the first trailer but I'll save that for her the reviews.

 I encourage you all to make predictions as to how my final ranking will look like. Thanks and wish me luck.


Welcome Everyone!

I just want to welcome everyone to check out this blog and I would like to thank anyone that sticks around and comments on some of my posts. This will be a film blog where I will be reviewing films (new or old), reviewing performances by actors and actresses. I just hope that this will be successful.