Oscars Preview: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress Categories
The toughest category for to decide on in this year’s Oscars is the Best Actress category, while the most frustrating category is the Best Supporting Actress category, due to what I believe is a glaring omission.
My favorite female performance was by Michelle Williams, who played none other than Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.” She had the facial expressions, the charisma and charm and the emotions down throughout the movie. Her range was impressive as she played a troubled, but talented starlet. I also enjoyed the movie as a whole, which broke down the filming of a movie directed by Sir Lawrence Olivier in London. The movie featured Monroe falling for a young director’s assistant, who quickly fell in love with Williams’ character.
I was intrigued with how quickly and easily Williams could master Monroe’s public persona as well as her true personality and struggles.
Meryl Streep, continues to be one of the most praised actresses of her time. Her role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” was once again remarkable, but the movie was slow at times and struggled to keep my attention. I love history, but the energy of the film, was not there for me.
That said, Streep, played an aging leader, who truly broke glass ceilings throughout her political career. Street did a wonderful job being that powerful, intelligent, inspirational woman, but she also was able to carry scenes with the illusion of her dead husband. As she battled her hallucinations, she offered a vulnerable side to the character and showed her range to be amazing as always.
In “The Help,” Viola Davis led a series of amazing performances in a movie that is also nominated for Best Picture. Davis excelled as the key person who made the difficult decision to talk with a white woman about the struggles that black women had as they worked for white families, raising their children and caring for their homes. The movie was excellent and Davis’ role was stellar as she slowly went from a shy, quiet voice to a strong, funny woman who helped make things better for those around her.
In “Albert Nobbs,” Glenn Close played a woman who was pretending to a male waiter at a fancy hotel, who was looking to start a life of her own with a female co-worker. The role in and of itself was a challenging one, that she did a great job at pulling off, but what I found so interesting about her character was the obsession she had with saving money, counting her tips and wages and tucking them away under a floor board in her room. She courted a woman in hopes of starting a life with her, and opening her own tobacco shop. Her interaction with Janet McTeer, was very good. McTeer’s character helped Close’s character come out of her shell and go for her dreams.
While the movie was sad to see as someone who felt forced to be someone she wasn’t, it was also inspiring to see someone sacrificing so much for what they wanted.
In a truly entertaining movie, Rooney Mara played the lead in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Her character was dark, dressed in leather, driving a motorcycle and covered in tattoos. But she also showed an extremely caring side and vulnerable side and personal strength. It was a very impressive role, as Mara’s character helped solve a family secret and helped save a the career of a friend, but the emotion was so strong between the two that Mara’s character fell in love only to have her heart broken. I had not read any of the books in the series, but was thoroughly impressed with the movie as a whole, unfortunately for Mara, the competition was just too steep this year.
It was my favorite movie of the year, so I guess it makes sense that I think that Shailene Woodley should not only have been nominated for her role in “The Descendents,” but she also should have won the Oscar.
So, who of the list of nominees would I remove? Melissa McCarthy is truly a rising star and she was very funny in “Bridesmaids,” but I don’t think she was Oscar-worthy. It was a silly movie that made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions, but Woodley’s character was a troubled teenager whose mother was dying, but not before the two had gotten into an argument about a secret that she then had to explain to her father, played by George Clooney. Woodley showed a range of emotions from sadness to a drive to seek revenge, but she countered a terrific performance by Clooney. It’s truly a shame that she didn’t get a nomination from the Academy to go with her nomination at the Golden Globes.
Octavia Spencer took home the Golden Globe and is likely the favorite to win for her role in “The Help.” I thought she was the spark plug in the movie. She was very funny and strong, but she and fellow nominee Jessica Chastain, who was the white woman who was writing the book about the black maids, were part of a great cast in a very good movie. For that reason alone, I would put pick my second favorite performance to win the Oscar.
Berenice Bejo, of “The Artist,” also carried her role without words in a movie that showed the change from silent films to actors who spoke works. Bejo could drop a smile and turn her shoulders and wink and you knew how she was feeling. Bejo became the new force driving out the old, but she did not forget her mentor and her love of whom she had unintentionally left in ruins. I think it would be unlikely for her to win on a night when “The Artist” and its cast will be celebrating a big night.
In a supporting role, Janet McTeer mirrored the same qualities of the role by Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs.” She was a woman who pretended to be a man, married another woman after her divorce and took over her ex-husband’s trade. She was a strong woman who inspired Close’s character to follow her heart and go after her dreams. She was also a friend, who at times throughout the movie showed her softer side.