Monday, October 31, 2011

Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake

Imelda Staunton received her only Best Actress nomination to date for playing the title role of Vera Drake, a charming, incredibly helpful woman who "helps young girls out". Imelda Staunton was pretty much the critics' darling during the awards season. It was a big upset when she lost the Golden Globe to Hilary Swank and what once seemed to be a two-way race between Imelda and Annette Bening, turned out to be the time for Hilary Swank to repeat. I guess the other two nods for Vera Drake show that the Academy did fall for this film though I think Imelda wasn't famous enough to get ahead of Annette.

Vera Drake is an excellent piece of work by Mike Leigh though it's not perfect and I felt that sometimes it was a tiny bit obvious and didn't trust its audience enough. Other than that, it's a wonderfully written and directed film (very deserving of both nomination) that really made me cringe once or twice. Although it's not as devastating as Secrets and Lies, it's actually quite close to it. I was very impressed by the performances in this film and it was wonderful to see Mike Leigh's usual actors in very different parts.

Vera Drake is an incredibly lovely woman. You can only see her helping other people and from what we see from her, she's extremely unselfish, very loving, generous and giving. She bursts with energy and kindness, she just enlightens the mood of those close to her. I think Imelda Staunton, with her rosy cheeks and little chubby face, was the perfect choice to play this part. Vera is an incredibly simple woman and if they had given her role to a glamourous superstar, the result wouldn't have been half as effective and harrowing.

You may or may not rememember how much of a hyper I was about this performance. The first time I saw her, I was just amazed and totally chilled by this very emotional work and couldn't love her more. I was utterly surprised to find out that some of that huge amount of appreciation has disappeared. I often wonder why thos things happen. I see the very same work, the same way (if that's possible) so what could be different now? Easy: me. One of the great things about these reviews is that it constantly makes me reevalute my opinions and thoughts about a certain performance. If you would have told me two and a half years ago that I would incredibly dislike Joanne Woodward and be madly in love with Kate Winslet, I wouldn't have believed it. So it was timely to revisit this old favorite of mine.

I'm not saying anything bad about Imelda's work as Vera Drake as I still find it fantastic and amazing. The way she took this person and made totally her own is just unbelievable. Every time I want to write Imelda, I always start typing Vera. That tells a lot about how well Imelda identified with this character. In the beginning, we see her constantly smiling and humming cheerful songs and this spirit keeps up even when Vera is performing one of the abortions. Vera is incredibly calm and Imelda is so subtle in her acting.

Vera is an incredibly interesting character because of all the depths and layers inside her. Imelda was able to show so much of them and as a result, we got a brutally realistic human being. Vera herself doesn't think of her acts as abortions, she just says that she helps young girls out so that they can "get back their bleeding". For her there's no moral dilemma that holds her back as she's 100% certain that she's doing the right thing and helps these desperate women. There's something so soothing and yet very sinister about her character. You can see both an angel of mercy and a devil on earth. But which one is stronger in Vera? Imelda (and the movie) was clever enough to let the viewers decide for themselves.

The harmony of Vera's life is over when she's arrested for endangering the life of one of the girls. The change in the performance (and the movie) is so radical that it has an incredible dramatic effect. Suddenly Vera becomes a frightened anima, her wide smile disappears. Imelda is wonderful in the scene where Vera realises that the police came for her. She's acting only with her face and it was just unbelievable. She has numerous breakdowns and Imelda's cheerful presence turns out to be something really brutal and harrowing. She's quite simply amazing at the police station and courtroom scenes. She doesn't miss any of the opportunities and she constantly surprised me with her unusual choices. Imelda never went over-the-top with Vera and I always felt that it was the right way to play the reactions of Vera.

So after all, I can't say anything negative about Imelda Staunton as Vera Drake. Although I don't love her as much as I used to, I still find her simply fantastic. She completely became this character and wonderfully played with the emotions. The way Imelda reveals all the layers of Vera and creates dramatic tension on the screen is just unbelievably great. Unforgettable, remarkable work.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Annette Bening in Being Julia

Poor Annette Bening, I seriously feel sorry for her. She has been so close to winning the Oscar three times at least (you might argue about her first nomination). Every time she turned on a performance to which people said she was going to win the Oscar, along came a younger actress with a showier, flashier and bigger performance and crashed Annette's Oscar hopes. Natalie Portman's win was much better received than Hilary Swank's second. Basically, the sometimes immense hate thrown against Swank might come from the fact that she beat poor Annette twice, who was (in my opinion) the runner-up both times.

Being Julia, in my opinion, is a delightful, wonderful movie. Although it's not among István Szabó's best works, it's extremely entertaining and very well-made. I enjoyed each and every moment of it, maybe partly to the nice memories that I have from the time it was released. When the movie had its premiere here in Hungary at the oldest movie theater, the media was crazy about the fact that Annette Bening came to us and there were even reports about what she had for dinner (!). A couple of months later, she was nominated for the Oscar. The hysteria went on and it became a sort of patriotic duty to be rooting for Annette Bening's win. At the time of the show, the commentators didn't even hide their disappointment when she lost. (I think something similar will happen with The Door and Helen Mirren).

I'm not a big fan of Annette Bening for one simple reason: I haven't seen enough of her movies. I'm only acquainted with her Oscar-nominated performances and most especially The Kids Are All Right, which I was extremely amazed by for the first time and yet for a second time I was kind of underwhelmed. But from what I saw of her, I've really started to like her and now I truly, sincerely wish that she won an Oscar. I hope it happens once. Personally, if she had a great supporting role, she would instantly win (that's the same thing I think about Sigourney Weaver).

Although some people write Annette's performance as Julia Lambert off as a desperate attempt to recreate Margo Channing, I'd say that's the worst interpretation of this character. Unlike Margo, Julia is not bitter and sarcastic, but extremely self-confident and sharp. Naturally, the bitchy, divaish quality is in both of them (that makes them both irresistable) and yet I would say that Julia is more positive and optimistic. She's an eccentric, larger-than-life creation and yet there's something irresistably human about her. She bursts with energy and talent and who better could play her than Annette Bening, a truly energetic and talented actress.

Julia Lambert is the greatest star of the London stage and she constantly lives up to her status as the most distinguished actress. She's a star and a diva in the best sense of the word and she's just unbelievably awesome at the different areas of life. I love her wonderful, delicate bitchiness in the scene where a snobbish woman asks her if her father was a doctor in Jersey. I won't say her answer, only that it's probably the most priceless moment of the movie.

However, at the beginning of the movie, we see Julia as someone, who's tired and fed up with her life and has very theatrical breakdowns to her friends. I loved the monologue she said to her friend and admirer at the restaurant. It all seems very exaggerated and theatrical and yet it somehow works incredibly. It's like she was acting on the stage and she was working for the applause and appreciation of the audience. Strangely enough, I myself almost started to clap many times while I was watching the film. Annette was able to create to divine presence of a distinguished stage actres, who's so blisteringly brilliant and dignified that you're tongue-tied whenever you see her. The same goes for Annette: she makes the impression of a wonderful actress while seeming incredibly effortless. I just kept wondering at how wonderful she is

Julia is a very dangerous character as any false note would have ruined the performance. However, Annette found the perfect balance. Naturally, it's very colorful and over-the-top work, but Annette knew when to hold back and when to be loud. I would say there are no flaws in this performance, except for the fact that I wanted to see even more of her. She was so good and enjoyable that I couldn't get enough of her. In each and every moment, I was delighted by her presence and wonderul persona. That big revenge scene in the end is, again, priceless.

Annette's performane as Julia reminded me of Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine. It may not be a huge dramatic achievement but she's so delightful and I was so in love with the character that I couldn't get enough of her. She took this wonderful part and turned it into a fascinating, wonderful creation that's incredibly delightful.
What do you think?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Kate Winslet received her fourth Best Actress nomination for playing Clementine, a "fucked-up girl who's looking for her own peace of mind" in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Wow, many have said this but it's true: Kate Winslet's performance as Clementine is the kind of work that's usually snubbed by the Academy and many uproar afterwards because of this snub. That's what happened for instance with Sally Hawkins. However, the Academy had a very good period, I guess and they nominated this very unusual piece of work. I feel, though, that Winslet was probably only fourth in the voting though nowadays most people would actually give her the win. It's more than satisfying to see her get recognised.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a fascinating, original movie that doesn't stop amazing me with its witty and yet incredibly heart-breaking story. It once again shows how stupid the Golden Globes are that they nominated this movie as a Comedy. The Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay is one of the most deserved one ever to be given out (I can only think of Annie Hall, Hannah and her Sisters and Chinatown that are as good as this one). And in my humble opinion, Jim Carrey was cheated out of the nod (once again) as he was more deserving than 60% of the field. But I can mention the wonderful supporting cast as well. They are all memorable.

Recently, I have developed a huge crush on Kate Winslet. You know, she's a wonder woman (figuratively and literally, too since that fire in September) who shows greatness in each of her roles. Every time she injects an astonishing amount of talent into her role and she's so incredibly versatile. I can only think of Jane Fonda who's as versatile as Kate. For Kate, it's no big deal to play a Nazi guard after an unhappy housewife or the self-sacrificing Mildred Pierce before the drunken, constantly puking wife in Carnage. The unusual, strange role of Clementine Kruczynski fits perfectly into that group. Kate's self-admittedly looking for very different part and that's something that I admire most about her.

Her role as Clementine is said to be Kate's personal favorite and this work of hers has a huge amount of fans among movie buffs and Oscar fans. Why exactly? I would say because she creates a modern day Annie Hall, a girl who's so easy to fall in love with. Clementine is not a huge beauty, she's not very kind, she's weird, she's imperfect and yet so irresistable that you just feel it's completely appropriate that Jim Carrey's Joel cannot (and doesn't want to) forget her. However, Kate's part is far from being that "easy". Actually, she plays two Clementines (to perfection). One of them is the real Clementine we get to see after she erases her boyfriend from her mind. The other one exists in Joel's mind and I dare say she's probably even more fascinating than the real one.

It's always very hard to play such a tricky character because you can never rely on the reality or your mind. You have to really listen to your own instincts that tell you how to play that person. I feel that Kate's instincts worked wonderfully in this case. She has no big dramatic scenes, no huge, showy breakdowns, she just has to work with her charm and wit. She wonderfully shows how outspoken and sometimes annoying this character can be and she's never afraid of making her really unlikeable. The funny part of her performance is really nailed by her: she shows Clementine as a weird girl and yet she never seems to be an idiot or stupid. Kate wonderfully found the balance in this aspect. She shows so many sides and faces of this character. She's selfish, she's loving, she's loud, she's quiet, she's beautiful, she's ugly, she's lovely, she's annoying and she basically shows all the features of a human being. Clementine wears her heart on her sleeve and yet there's a mysterious feeling in her. We don't really get to know Clementine's personality and yet what we see is enough to fall for her.

There's a scene around the middle of the movie when Clementine asks Joel if she's ugly. That's probably the most wonderful scene of the whole movie. In the end, Joel says that he doesn't want it to end and the lack of Clementine becomes so incredibly painful. Kate added this irresistable bittersweet feeling of the end that's impossible to forget or even communicate. You just feel heartbroken because of her.

Another thing that I admire about Kate here is that she's so playful while also taking her job extremely seriously. This comes through especially in the scenes when the memory of Clementine and Joel hide in Joel's childhood memories. Kate is so delightful and (again) wonderfully bittersweet. She even gets to play a very small girl and she's so incredibly funny and moving there. I just felt like hugging her or something.

Although Jim Carrey is the real lead in this movie, it's Kate Winslet who makes the movie. She's the heart and soul of it and every little secret of it is in her character. Basically, Clementine becomes a symbol of love and life. She's occasionally hateful, painful and you just want to get rid of her and yet in the end, she makes it all worthwhile. Every tiny movement of hers is sparkling with the creativity of Kate Winslet who's quite simply astonishing here.

This performance has a lot of enthusiastic fans and I'm happy to say that I'm one of them: Kate Winslet is nothing short of brilliant as Clementine Kruczynski, the complicated young woman. She evokes all the great feelings of Diane Keaton's Annie Hall without shamelessly copying her. Kate's Clementine is an utterly fascinating, unique creation bursting with creativity. Kate solved her task flawlessly and she deserves nothing but praise for it.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Next Year


So the nominees were:
  • Annette Bening in Being Julia
  • Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full of Grace
  • Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake
  • Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby
  • Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A race with a really unpopular winner and four performances that have tons of fans. We'll see how I'll appreciate these ladies. :)

What do you think? What's your ranking? What's your prediction for my ranking?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebration time!

It's a wonderful accident that I got to the 200th review when this blog turned 2 years old. Moreover, I started this blog with a review of Gaslight and Angela Lansbury had her birthday yesterday. So the remember the reviews and the lots of fun, let's honor my winners once again:

The brilliant winners were:
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia

Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station

Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story

Leslie Caron in The L-Shaped Room

Joan Fontaine in Rebecca
Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry, Wrong Number

Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence

Julianne Moore in
Far from Heaven

Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata

Special award winner :)
Jane Fonda in Coming Home

Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind

Judy Garland in A Star is Born

Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys

Kathy Bates in Misery

Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class

Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter

Bette Davis in The Little Foxes

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Diane Keaton in Annie Hall

Anna Magnani in Wild is the Wind

Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

Helena Bonham Carter in The Wings of the Dove

Penélope Cruz in Volver

Liza Minnelli in Cabaret

Julie Walters in Educating Rita

Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves

Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth

Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Sigourney Weaver in Aliens

Isabelle Adjani in The Story of Adele H.

Halle Berry in Monster's Ball

Charlize Theron in Monster

Sophia Loren in Two Women

Mary McDonnell in Passion Fish

Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker

Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette

Liv Ullmann in Face to Face

Jane Fonda in Klute

And in the end, a very carefully worked on, brand new ranking (with lots of changes):
  1. Jane Fonda in Klute
  2. Diane Keaton in Annie Hall
  3. Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata
  4. Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves
  5. Sophia Loren in Two Women
  6. Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  7. Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind
  8. Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
  9. Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys
  10. Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story
  11. Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
  12. Jane Fonda in Coming Home
  13. Natalie Portman in Black Swan
  14. Charlize Theron in Monster
  15. Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
  16. Halle Berry in Monster's Ball
  17. Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom
  18. Leslie Caron in The L-Shaped Room
  19. Brenda Blethyn in Secrets and Lies
  20. Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity
  21. Penélope Cruz in Volver
  22. Liza Minnelli in The Sterile Cuckoo
  23. Judy Garland in A Star is Born
  24. Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker
  25. Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  26. Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter
  27. Sigourney Weaver in Aliens
  28. Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette
  29. Ellen Burstyn in Resurrection
  30. Liv Ullmann in Face to Face
  31. Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence
  32. Julianne Moore in Far from Heaven
  33. Bette Davis in The Little Foxes
  34. Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class
  35. Kathy Bates in Misery
  36. Diane Lane in Unfaithful
  37. Jane Fonda in Julia
  38. Joan Fontaine in Rebecca
  39. Anna Magnani in Wild is the Wind
  40. Sissy Spacek in Carrie
  41. Helena Bonham Carter in The Wings of the Dove
  42. Frances McDormand in Fargo
  43. Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station
  44. Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine
  45. Jane Fonda in The Morning After
  46. Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist
  47. Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry, Wrong Number
  48. Katharine Hepburn in Long Day's Journey Into Night
  49. Geraldine Page in Interiors
  50. Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
  51. Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  52. Isabelle Adjani in The Story of Adele H.
  53. Julie Christie in McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  54. Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass
  55. Jean Simmons in The Happy Ending
  56. Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins
  57. Julie Walters in Educating Rita
  58. Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
  59. Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth
  60. Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly, Last Summer
  61. Simone Signoret in Room at the Top
  62. Glenda Jackson in Sunday Bloody Sunday
  63. Kim Stanley in Seance on a Wet Afternoon
  64. Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine
  65. Irene Dunne in Love Affair
  66. Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
  67. Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia
  68. Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  69. Patricia Neal in Hud
  70. Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight
  71. Mary McDonnell in Passion Fish
  72. Catherine Deneuve in Indochine
  73. Meryl Streep in Silkwood
  74. Faye Dunaway in Network
  75. Anne Bancroft in The Pumpkin Eater
  76. Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge
  77. Jessica Lange in Music Box
  78. Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl
  79. Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
  80. Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin
  81. Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away
  82. Carey Mulligan in An Education
  83. Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary
  84. Barbara Stanwyck in Ball of Fire
  85. Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based On the Novel Push by Sapphire
  86. Judi Dench in Mrs Brown
  87. Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth
  88. Geraldine Page in Sweet Bird of Youth
  89. Emma Thompson in Howards End
  90. Greer Garson in Mrs. Parkington
  91. Susan Sarandon in Lorenzo's Oil
  92. Olivia de Havilland in Hold Back the Dawn
  93. Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People
  94. Susan Hayward in I Want to Live!
  95. Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl
  96. Rachel Roberts in This Sporting Life
  97. Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman
  98. Diahann Carroll in Claudine
  99. Liv Ullmann in The Emigrants
  100. Doris Day in Pillow Talk
  101. Irene Dunne in I Remember Mama
  102. Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets
  103. Cicely Tyson in Sounder
  104. Valerie Perrine in Lenny
  105. Bette Davis in Mr. Skeffington
  106. Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style
  107. Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
  108. Faye Dunaway in Chinatown
  109. Helen Mirren in The Queen
  110. Kate Winslet in Little Children
  111. Barbara Stanwyck in Stella Dallas
  112. Kate Winslet in Titanic
  113. Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy
  114. Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda
  115. Greta Garbo in Camille
  116. Lee Remick in Days of Wine and Roses
  117. Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment
  118. Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God
  119. Dorothy Dandridge in Carmen Jones
  120. Bette Davis in Dark Victory
  121. Anouk Aimée in A Man and A Woman
  122. Geraldine Page in Summer and Smoke
  123. Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field
  124. Jane Wyman in Magnificent Obsession
  125. Louise Fletcher in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  126. Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right
  127. Piper Laurie in The Hustler
  128. Deborah Kerr in Separate Tables
  129. Luise Rainer in The Good Earth
  130. Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give
  131. Ida Kaminska in The Shop on the Main Street
  132. Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment
  133. Greta Garbo in Ninotchka
  134. Maggie Smith in Travels with My Aunt
  135. Marie-Christine Barraul in Cousin Cousine
  136. Carol Kane in Hester Street
  137. Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider
  138. Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina
  139. Anne Bancroft in The Turning Point
  140. Shirley MacLaine in Some Came Running
  141. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman
  142. Helen Mirren in The Last Station
  143. Olivia de Havilland in The Snake Pit
  144. Jane Alexander in Testament
  145. Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc
  146. Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story
  147. Greer Garson in Blossoms in the Dust
  148. Joan Fontaine in The Constant Nymph
  149. Marsha Mason in Cinderella Liberty
  150. Anjelica Huston in The Grifters
  151. Isabelle Adjani in Camille Claudel
  152. Sissy Spacek in Crimes of the Heart
  153. Nicole Kidman in The Hours
  154. Elizabeth Taylor in Raintree County
  155. Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer
  156. Natalie Wood in Love with the Proper Stranger
  157. Vanessa Redgrave in Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment
  158. Janet Suzman in Nicholas and Alexandra
  159. Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!
  160. Greer Garson in Goodbye Mr. Chips
  161. Ingrid Bergman in For Whom the Bell Tolls
  162. Joanne Woodward in Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams
  163. Judi Dench in Iris
  164. Jean Arthur in The More the Merrier
  165. Janet Gaynor in A Star is Born
  166. Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were
  167. Diane Keaton in Marvin's Room
  168. Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient
  169. Shirley MacLaine in The Turning Point
  170. Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman
  171. Greer Garson in Madame Curie
  172. Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve
  173. Glenda Jackson in Hedda
  174. Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mamie
  175. Julie Christie in Afterglow
  176. Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married
  177. Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues
  178. Joanne Woodward in Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
  179. Meryl Streep in One True Thing
  180. Joan Fontaine in Suspicion
  181. Geneviève Bujold in Anne of the Thousand Days
  182. Grace Kelly in The Country Girl
  183. Ellen Burstyn in Same Time, Next Year
  184. Deborah Kerr in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
  185. Shirley MacLaine in Irma La Douce
  186. Lana Turner in Peyton Place
  187. Vanessa Redgrave in Mary, Queen of Scots
  188. Debbie Reynolds in The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  189. Emily Watson in Hilary and Jackie
  190. Bette Davis in The Letter
  191. Martha Scott in Our Town
  192. Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
  193. Talia Shrie in Rocky
  194. Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love
  195. Naomi Watts in 21 Grams
  196. Samantha Morton in In America
  197. Gena Rowlands in Gloria
  198. Renée Zellweger in Chicago
  199. Salma Hayek in Frida
  200. Ann-Margret in Tommy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Final Conclusion - Best Actress 1971


So the much anticipated ranking is:

Although I cannot deny that Vanessa's radiant presence impressed me, I cannot say the same thing about her performance as Mary Stuart. For some reason, I felt that she was lost in this character despite the fact that she completely understood this character. I had no connection to the character whatsoever but there's still something about Vanessa that holds me back from being really negative about her here.

Janet added some irresistable pride and even a bit of arrogancy to this character that never ceased to impress me and eventually, I don't have negative thoughts about her, I'm just disappointed and a bit angry about the wasted potential. It's almost haunting work and really great, it just could have been even better.

Glenda Jackson is just excellent as Alex Greville in Sunday Bloody Sunday. She shows lots of aspects of this character and she nails all the emotions of this character. Although I was never totally amazed by her, I was impressed by her work, especially in the scenes where she showed the demons of Alex.
Despite the obvious limitations of the screenplay, Julie Christie was able to put on a wonderful, unforgettable and otherworldy performance as Constance Miller, the opium-addicted madam. Although it's a very unusual character for Julie, she played her exceptionally, making this one of her most memorable efforts on the screen.
I hope there was no question about it. First, I wanted to write a review only with the sentence "Best performance ever. Period." BUT then I thought that it wouldn't say enough about this stirring work of Jane and wouldn't be able to communicate what I felt as a viewer. I was moved, I cried, I even laughed at the small hints of humour that make her work even more amazing. Honestly, I just want to keep praising her and say as many superlatives about her as I can.
So I can proudly announce
my 40th winner is...
Jane Fonda
The best of the best.

Final thoughts: A good year. There wasn't much suspense as Jane killed her competition (plus she became my third double winner after Barbara Stanwyck and Liz Taylor). However, Julie and Glenda were also great and in another year, Julie would have got much closer to winning. Janet Suzman was the pleasant surprise for me and Vanessa was an unexpected disappointment for me. Really, there isn't much to say about this year as Jane is so easily the best. I admit that the others didn't have a chance though I was trying to be as impartial as possible.

Omissions: Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude; Mari Törőcsik in Love, Lili Darvas in Love; Glenda Jackson in Mary, Queen of Scots

About the next year: I know I owe some of you years to do but given my circumstances, I'm just not able to search for films so I'm going to do a readily available year. I'll decide next week.

What do you think? Any thoughts on your mind?