Thursday, March 02, 2006

Countdown to the Oscars - 2 - Best Actress

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Judi Dench in “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (The Weinstein Company)
Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica” (The Weinstein Company and IFC Films)
Keira Knightley in “Pride & Prejudice” (Focus Features)
Charlize Theron in “North Country” (Warner Bros.)
Reese Witherspoon in “Walk the Line” (20th Century Fox)

Somehow I missed seeing Pride & Prejudice so I have not seen Keira Knightley’s performance yet.
So this is really a battleground between the old rules of the Oscars and the slowly changing new.
In the olden days, Reese would have been guaranteed the Oscar. She’s cute, She’s pretty, She’s A list, and she did a spirited performance in an Oscar type movie: Glossy with just enough dirt for some drama, but still glossy and feel good.
In the new, Felicity takes on a taboo subject with a taboo character in a movie, whose budget probably equaled that of Reese’s wardrobe from her Legally Blonde series. Felicity completely transforms herself in Transamerica, obliterating any signs of Sports Night or a desperate housewife to become a desperate transhouseperson that reunites with an unknown son (Kevin Zegers Air Bud boy grows up good!) on a cross-country trip across America (Trans-America).
If it were the best performance, Felicity would have it (and it would make an interesting year since she also won the Emmy for Desperate Housewives back in September and a Golden Globe in January) locked, but I think the old guard will prevail this year and Hollywood darling Reese will be crowned into this new club of Pretty Actresses that also act pretty well (see Julia (LOVE HER, see you in May!), Gwyneth (deserving when she spots an English accent only), Charlize (deserving), Halle (post-Oscar waste)). I love Reese as she was fantastic in Election, Legally Blonde and Pleasantville but I can’t help but think it wasn’t all that hard to play June Carter Cash and be all buoyant and charming.

Judi Dench and Charlize are both great in their roles, but have been even stronger in their earlier Oscar wins. As for Keira, it’s hard to forget she’s still only TWENTY years old and is usually so superb in her films that we dismiss it as actual Acting, still, this is just a welcome gift to her, so don’t get hurt and make room for the Felicity vs. Reese showdown.
Hey, if they can give it to Roman Polanski for The Pianist instead of Martin Scorsese for Gangs of New York, things are slowly changing...


Dan said...

Hey, I just wandered over here from the LJ Lost Community. I wanted to know if you guys plan to setup your page with an RSS feed. I couldn't get anything to load in my RSS reader, but I'll definitely add it if you guys set it up.

highbrow said...

Thanks for the 411. I think we just did!

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