The category is Best Supporting Actress and the year is 2009. Yes, as we come closer to the 82nd Academy Awards, I must do this. First of all, this line-up (apart from one or maybe two of them) is actually quite weak and nothing really special. I guess this is an easily predictable ranking but here it is:
1. Mo'Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire: The best supporting performance since Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously. Yes, I said what many people have said before. This performance is... amazing. I was one of those who was very sceptic about the brilliance of Mo'Nique. People say that a limited actress gave a great performance. I disagree. Mo'Nique showed us that she's definitely NOT a limited actress. Mary is disappointed, lonely, cruel, broken-down, lazy, someone who you could call an awful human being. But the way Mo'Nique gets across the pain of this character is simply brilliant. A new member of the Top 10.
Grade (isn't it obvious): *****
2. Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air: Well, this performance is overrated. Yes, I said it. She's fine. But really what else can I say about her? She plays this mysterious woman in a very tricky way, but this is certainly the type of performance that amazes most people. Sure, she has her great moments and I liked her very much, but really I just can't say much about her, except that she was great.
3. Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air: Although I loved Up in the Air, I really can't say that about Kendrick. She gave a very decent performance which is neither as great as some say nor as bad as others say. Kendrick is very good and amusing as a pushy young girl going through a big change. Sometimes she's extremely annoying, but she was supposed to be, right? But I forgive her everything for her "breakdown" scene, which was hilarious IMO. So this is an enjoyable performance, but not one for the ages.
Grade:*** (I'm a bit generous)
4. Maggie Gyllenhaal: Although I'm never able to spell her name right, I love this actress, I especially loved her in Stranger than Fiction (which is excellent). And before watching Crazy Heart, I was ecstatic about this nomination. Now I don't think she really earned it, but she has her moments in Crazy Heart. It's clearly the movie of Jeff Bridges and all the others could only be in his shadow, but Maggie could have been a bit more active, if you know what I mean. But who cares, if Bridges wins I'm gonna be OK.
5. Penélope Cruz in Nine: I'm one of the few people who actually liked Nine. But not Cruz. She plays Maria Elena, I'm sorry Carla, a neurotic and funny woman. I have seen this before, yes last year she won for playing almost exactly the same character. I'm pissed about this nomination, because: Cruz can do better and I can say three actresses right now who deserved this one much more (Marion Cotillard in PUBLIC ENEMIES, Judi Dench in Nine, Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds). Her big musical number was not as sexy as I expected, but her scene at the restaurant was great, so it got Cruz a better grade.
So what do you think? I think this is Mo's to lose. Oh, and I revealed one pick of my Should Win/Will Win post tomorrow. :-)