Sunday, February 21, 2010

Smackdown


So, surprise! 1996, Best Actress. Generally, this was a very good year for this category with strong and likeable nominees without any disasters.
So the ranking:

1. Brenda Blethyn in Secrets and Lies: Yes, I have a fascination towards the performances given in Mike Leigh movies and Brenda Blethyn tops all of them. As Cynthia Rose Purley, the unmarried factory worker with two out-of-wedlock children she easily puts on one of the greatest performances I've ever seen. Her constant meltdowns and cries show us a self-pitying, lonely woman, who wants something more and finds it in the new relationship with her daughter whom she lost a long time ago. Her scene at the birthday party and the one with his brother (Timothy Spall also deserved an Oscar) are sooooo brilliant that they still haunt me. Perfect performance.
Grade:*****(*****)

2.Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves: Now, this performance is a bit hyped. Ok, it's great I admit it, but not nearly as magnificent as people say. Still, she's brilliant. I expected much more, but the things I got were nearly satisfying. Her praying scenes are certainly unbelievable and I really liked this performance and her scene with the doctor was heartbreaking. I just cannot say more, because this performance is so indescribable.
Grade:****and a 1/2*

3.Frances McDormand in Fargo: Easily the most likeable nominee of the five. People love this performance more than they should, but it's still hilarious. She's just so adorable when she's eating with her husband, when she shouts "POLICE!" or when she meets her old schoolmate. Her performance is an enormous relief in Fargo, which was its aim I guess. She shows us that you can also have a nice life in a cruel word. Excellent, hilarious and subtle. Well done.
Grade:****

4.Kristin Scott-Thomas in The English Patient: I love this woman, I really do. Her beautiful, dignified performances really catch me and don't let me go. It's debatable wheter she was leading or supporting, but I really don't care (even though I think it's leading). When I first watched The English Patient, Juliette Binoche's and her performance got me the most. She was able to get across the passion of this one and give a beautiful, great performance.
Grade:***

5.Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room: Well, I love this woman too, but she seems to be the weakest link of this line-up. She's fine, she's fine and she has great scenes, for example the one with the pills and when she admits why she can't sleep, but these well-acted scenes cannot attach to each other, so if you see five-minute long clips of this movie, you would think she's great, but really she's only good. I really think she gives a very good performance and again, I love her (Gosh, who doesn't), but this performance is not one of her best.
Grade:**

P.S.: This night must have been great for Mr. and Mrs. Coen. :-)

2 comments:

Sage Slowdive said...

I haaaaaaaate Frances McDormand in Fargo. Thought I'd throw that out there ;D

joe burns said...

Great! And I agree with you about Diane Keaton. Not one of her best performances.