Charlize Theron received her first Best Actress nomination and the Oscar for playing Aileen Wuornos, a serial-killer prostitute in the movie Monster. In my humble opinion, Charlize Theron's win was pretty much locked. She won tons of awards possible for this performance of hers (though not as much as, say, Helen Mirren for The Queen). Entertainment Weekly actually predicted the win for her eleven months before she won. That's really something and I think Theron won by over 70% of the votes. I just don't buy that Naomi Watts was a serious rival for Charlize.
Monster is a pretty great movie, I think. Patty Jenkins wrote a very interesting screenplay and her directing was free of clichés. I really think that this movie could have been nominated for Best Picture. I guess it was too small compared to LOTR and such. I also believe that Christina Ricci also should have been nominated. Although she's not nearly as great as Theron, she's still pretty good, way better than the actual winner of the year.
There are the so-called deglam roles. A beautiful, sexy actress becomes ugly, even disgusting, play a character of a poor social background, gets nominated for the Oscar and then wins in most of the cases. If wee look at Monster this way then it's really just a deglam role with tons of make-up for Charlize. However, if we look more closely, we get to discover what a truly amazing, mindblowing performance this is. In fact, I've never seen anyone who criticised Charlize's performance (or I just didn't look). For some reason (God knows why), there are some who think Naomi Watts should have won for her overacting but nobody is critical of Charlize. Why? The answer is easy.
As I said, Charlize Theron is amazing in this movie. You don't have to be an expert to see that. You just feel her performance in your guts. There are performances when you forget to be amazed as you are so blown away by it and you're so absorbed that you cannot control your emotions. For instance, Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf or Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? In these cases, the actress goes so deep inside the character's mind and identifies with her so well that there's no margin between the performer and the part. They became thos women. Same goes for Charlize Theron. You just don't see the beautiful, sexy Charlize Theron on the screen. You see an ugly, bitter and crazy Aileen Wuornos on the screen. The transformation of Theron was so astonishing that it could have won the Oscar alone.
However, I still haven't even mentioned the darkness that Charlize added to Aileen. To watch the changes in the character is just a terrific experience. First, she seems to be a hardened hooker who wants only beer. And along comes Selby, a young girl seemingly attracted to her and slowly Aileen falls in love with her. I guess Selby is the only one who keeps Aileen sane and Charlize showed that wonderfully. The desperation of Lee in the scenes where she's looking for a decent job is just unbearable. The struggle that we can see is so wrenching. There's a short scene when she's on the street basically begging. It's an astonishing, unforgettable moment. There's so much humiliation there and it's just heart-breaking.
Again, the way Charlize showed Aileen's lvoe for Selby is just amazing. The scene at the skating rink is just unbelievable. I mean the chemistry between the two ladies is just so brilliant that I became really speechless. Selby, in my opinion, was a selfish person who actually used Aileen and forced her into prostitution. Aileen was just desperate not to lose the only great thing about her life. That's Selby. Theron and Ricci work exceptionally together. They really make this a very realistic relationship.
The most devasting scenes in this movie are the ones where Aileen kills her guys. There's only one man who can avoid his fate and it's such a terrifying and intense moment. We see Aileen feeling sorry for her and in the end she just gives her a handjob. However, later she's not this forgiving and she kills an innocent man who really just wants to help her. That's probably one of the best acted scenes in history. Charlize is unbelievable. We just see her become hysterical that she can see a man who has a great life. A life she could never have. It's a brutal, unforgettable, terrifying scene and I'm really not overenthusiastic. The way she screams "I'm sorry!" is so... oh, I can't describe it, watch her. :)
Of course, Aileen cannot avoid her own fate. She has to face with the consqeuences with her acts. That extended telephone scene with Christina Ricci is just amazing again. All the emotion that she put there is just astonishing. Really. Not to mention her breakdown in the courtroom. Fantastic.
This performance is universally praised and for a reason. Charlize Theron gives an unfogettable, astonishing, breathtaking, mindblowing, heart-breaking, angry, bitter, desperate, devastated, devastating, in short brilliant performance as Aileen Wuornos. This might look like another deglam role but it's more than that in my opinion. Charlize really rocks as Aileen, showing the dark sides of human life. Brilliant.
What do you think?