Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Supporting Actress Battle

Like Daniel Day-Lewis, Anne Hathaway seems to be a lock to walk away with the Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Sunday. Her stiffest competition might come from Sally Field, though I personally feel like Field's performance in Lincoln is anything but award-worthy. Jacki Weaver's nomination for Silver Linings Playbook is the most surprising, and upsetting, as she may have stolen recognition away from Nicole Kidman (in the otherwise completely terrible Lee Daniels' film The Paperboy).

In chronological order, my assessment of these five ladies:

Amy Adams as Peggy Dodd
The Master
First Viewing: September
Amy Adams does not have a signature scene in P.T. Anderson's The Master. This is Adams' fourth Academy Award nomination, and she is all but guaranteed to walk away with her fourth loss. Anderson's film was lauded for its acting (three nominations), and despite a lack of fireworks, Adams performance is electric alongside her nominated cast members Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I really hope that in the future Adams will be able to win an Academy Award for a role that requires her full talent. Peggy Dodd is not her finest moment. Read my review here

Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen-Greene
The Sessions
First Viewing: October
It is a shame that Helen Hunt was the only actor nominated from The Sessions. John Hawkes is the heart and soul of Ben Lewin's film about a man paralyzed with polio who hires a sex surrogate to lose his virginity and to learn to discover sex. Helen Hunt gets naked quite a bit in the film, but she offers such a complex performance that I was thrilled to find her name amongst the list of nominees. This is her best performance since winning an Oscar in 1997 for As Good As It Gets. Read my review here.

Jacki Weaver as Dolores Solitano
Silver Linings Playbook
First Viewing: November
Jacki Weaver was brilliant in Animal Kingdom, the 2010 Australian film that earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination and won her attention and acclaim in North America. Unfortunately, she first parlayed that success into the underwhelming 2012 film The Five-Year Engagement. In Silver Linings Playbook she was a non-entity for me. Her role could have been played by any actress. It required some shouting and even more nagging. There is nothing in the film that suggests Jacki Weaver earned or deserved a nomination except for the widespread love of David O. Russell's film. Read my review here

Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln
Lincoln
First Viewing: November
Next to Daniel Day-Lewis' Abraham Lincoln it would be hard to fault Sally Field for not bringing as much intensity to her role as the president's wife Mary Todd Lincoln. I had very little sympathy for her character. I found her to be too whiny and I found Field's performance to be lackluster. I have very little to say about Sally Field except that I am not surprised to find her name here due to the widespread love for Spielberg's Lincoln. Read my review here

Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Les Misérables
First Viewing: December
Anne Hathaway had the misfortune of playing the role originated by Broadway legend Patti LuPone. Since Les Misérables did not premiere at any major festival before its December release, it was widely assumed that Tom Hooper's film would win the Academy Award for Best Picture - though that no longer seems to be the case. Hathaway delivers a great performance in the film, as the tortured Fantine, and her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream is convincing, I just wish the film had given her character more time on screen in order for her to garner more empathy. Read my review here

Will Win: It would be shocking if Anne Hathaway lost. I doubt there is another actress in this category that could even compete with her. 

Should Win: Without Nicole Kidman to sway me, I believe that Helen Hunt offers the best performance of the five women in this category. The only other contender might have been Compliance's Ann Down, but after seeing Side Effects I might feel differently about her as an actress.

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