Best Actress: a tough call

Posted by · 9:27 am · January 17th, 2009

Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting MarriedRarely does the lead actress category provide more suspense than leading gentlemen and rarely is it as packed with fine performances as it is this year.  I can remember years when it was a struggle to come up with five nominees for best actress, 1975 and 1992 springing to mind.  It might have less to do with quality female performances than it does the amount of quality female roles Hollywood provides.

But the Academy won’t have any trouble this year.  There are going to be excellent performances left off the list of nominees this year due to uncharacteristically heated competition, that is a sad fact, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it except continue to love and support the performances snubbed. In fact it is not even that they will be snubbed, it’s just that there is only room for five ladies, and this year, selecting those final five must be proving an enormously difficult task for the Academy.

With her two Golden Globe wins, Kate Winslet seems to be a shoo-in for her superb performance in “Revolutionary Road,” a truly heartbreaking piece of acting that is sadly underseen at the moment.  Meryl Streep, meanwhile, will be nominated for the 15th time for her tyrannical nun in “Doubt” and Anne Hathaway will get a welcome to the big show for “Rachel Getting Married,” in which her caustic turn as Kym has altered the course of her career and announces her as a serious actress in the industry.

And then it becomes tricky — those final two spots.

Sally Hawkins deserves to be nominated for her wonderful performance in “Happy-Go-Lucky” and now is armed with the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, but will enough Academy members have seen the film to nominate her over Angelina Jolie, who was terrific in “Changeling?”  Furthermore, Hawkins won’t have the Brits on her side, which certainly helped push “Atonement” into the final five last year: she was snubbed by BAFTA.   Jolie, meanwhile, has the advantage of being among the most famous women on the planet, working for a beloved director in a film they may honor with this solitary nomination.

Though I have disliked just about everything else she has ever done, I cannot deny that Kristen Scott Thomas deserves to be nominated (and perhaps win) for her haunting work in “I’ve Love You For So Long” as a woman just out of prison for murder trying to reconnect with her family and society.  Thomas is breathtaking in the role, giving one of the greatest film performances ever, but I fear she won’t make the cut.

Melissa Leo, adored by the critics in “Frozen River,” is also deserving of a nomination.  But the category is getting full.

Could Winslet be nominated for “The Reader” only?  Not likely, seeing as her work in “Revolutionary Road” is simply too good to ignore and the Academy has an opportunity to recognize her performance in Stephen Daldry’s film in the supporting field.

There is no chance that Streep will be snubbed (famous last words).  She is revered by the Academy and gave a fine performance (not her best), but truth be told, Thomas and Leo should be there before her.

Hathaway gave such a different performance, breaking down the image audiences had of her with a scalding piece of work, brave and fearless. Though I think the Oscar belongs to Winslet, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Hathaway walked away with it.

Jolie could be the actress left off the list, and as we get closer to the announcement, I personally don’t think she’ll be nominated.  She was excellent in the film, but again, not as strong as Leo, Thomas or Hawkins.

Thursday morning I suspect it will look something like this: Streep, Hathaway, Winslet (also for supporting), Hawkins and Leo.  Thomas will have to be happy with the finest reviews of her life and a performance that will be discussed for years to come.  At least she is in good company.  Michael Douglas felt the sting in 2000 when his lauded work in “Wonder Boys,” a performance many felt was Oscar-bound, was unceremoniously snubbed.

What is exciting this year is the number of excellent roles for women, not just as leads but in the supporting category as well.  There is a change happening.  Can you feel it?  As she nears 60, Meryl Streep is among the top box office draws on the globe thanks to performances in “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Mamma Mia!”  With up-and-coming writers like Jenny Lumet writing strong parts for women, we could see wonderful work like 2008’s crop for year’s to come.

Who are your predicted five Best Actress nominees?  Tell us in the comments section below!




→ 50 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

50 responses so far

  • 1 1-17-2009 at 9:45 am

    andrew said...

    I feel the same about Thomas, she was better than Streep. She has a an outside chance of making it in, with the Globe and BAFTA nom, but you never know, Laura Linney made it in last year with next to no precursors and Thomas has more than she did so who knows, although last year was a weaker actress race too (still ticked Cate Blanchett got nommed for the Golden Age over Helena Bonham Carter or Amy Adams)

  • 2 1-17-2009 at 9:46 am

    N8 said...

    I agree 100% with your predicited five:

    Winslet (winner)
    Hathaway
    Streep
    Hawkins
    Leo

    But don’t forget to mention Cate Blanchett’s astonishing work in Benjamin Button. If I were a voter in the Academy, my ballot would look like this:

    Winslet
    Hawkins
    Hathaway
    Blanchett
    Jolie

  • 3 1-17-2009 at 9:51 am

    James D. said...

    I am glad to see you have respect for Leo, but I don’t see how she makes it. Kristin Scott Thomas deserves to win, and I expect the Academy to find room for her.

    My prediction is: Hathaway, Streep, Winslet, Thomas, and Hawkins. Granted, this isn’t the five I would pick. I thought Streep was cartoonish in Doubt.

  • 4 1-17-2009 at 9:57 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, I’m hovering around the same five. But part of me wonders whether Winslet might actually get the lead nod for “The Reader” instead … the precursors have been all over the map.

    It saddens me that Michelle Williams has barely entered the discussion this year … she’s so wonderful in “Wendy and Lucy.” For my money, Williams, Hawkins and Thomas are in a different league to the other contenders.

  • 5 1-17-2009 at 10:00 am

    J.S. said...

    Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
    Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
    Angelina Jolie, Changeling
    Meryl Streep, Doubt
    Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road

    Alt. 1: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
    Alt. 2: Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long
    Alt. 3: Kate Winslet, The Reader

  • 6 1-17-2009 at 10:11 am

    MARK said...

    going on all counts streep and hathaway are easily in the n winslet it is her year next jolie she cannot be snubbed twice even bafta recognised her last spot scott thomas the actors will love her in the film,no hawkins no leo.

  • 7 1-17-2009 at 10:47 am

    Hugo said...

    Good lists, but I think the best actress category for long until the end is the hardest hit.
    To my regret I must be in line with previous comments, poor Sally Hawkins was the great sacrifice of the entire season of Oscar buzz.
    She won very good reviews on the one hand and on the other, first ignored by SAG, then the biggest snub of BAFTA, I do not understand trying to secure Kate Winslett two candidates is too outrageous to win a BAFTA for fear, in itself Kate’s candidacy is strong, but sacrifice to other??…
    Well this year’s best actress nomination we will:
    Kate Winslet in Revolutionary
    Meryl Streep
    Anne Hathaway
    Angelina Jolie, but I do not like this at all precursor lists this year do not believe in a snub to her and says good hearing and money to AMPAS and BAFTA.

    Finally the last option is the dispute Melissa Leo, Kristin Scott Thomas and Sally Hawkins, and if there is something of justice should be the nomination for Hawkins, it would be a good way to wash their honor after so many desaires, omissions and all that really do not deserve.

  • 8 1-17-2009 at 11:20 am

    JAB said...

    Streep
    Winslet
    Hathaway
    Hawkins
    (brace yourselves) Blanchett

  • 9 1-17-2009 at 11:38 am

    Aaron said...

    Hathaway
    Hawkins
    Jolie
    Streep
    Winslet

    …don’t count out Jolie…people, I know she received the same accolades last year (except the BAFTA) and was snubbed, but this year she’s in an acclaimed Clint Eastwood film that is bound to be loved by many Academy voters. She makes it. Hawkins, IMO, is the most vulnerable. The BAFTA snub is very, very hurtful. If she cannot receive a BAFTA or a SAG nod, are the actors in the Academy really rooting for her? My guess is she barely makes it in, but do not count out Kristin Scott-Thomas or Melissa Leo, or I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Cate Blanchett come swinging out of the gates with a best actress nominatior for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

  • 10 1-17-2009 at 12:18 pm

    JC said...

    Whenever I hear the title “I’ve Loved You For So Long”, I keep thinking of that Asian prostitute Cartman was possessed by on South Park. Wasn’t it “Me love you long time?” or something? And I don’t even generally WATCH South Park.

    I think it’ll be Streep, Winslet, Hathaway, Thomas, and Leo…and Winslet will win. Viewers are very divided on Happy-Go-Lucky (I was lukewarm on it, and I know many folks that thought it was weak), if they get around to seeing it at all.

  • 11 1-17-2009 at 12:28 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Funny episode JC, but South Park certainly wasn’t the first to have the quote.

  • 12 1-17-2009 at 12:29 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    But you might already know that.

  • 13 1-17-2009 at 12:44 pm

    JC said...

    Well, it probably spread the quote further into the mainstream, at any rate.

  • 14 1-17-2009 at 1:01 pm

    Roger said...

    Besides the tree Locks, there are two ways to see things: Either you believe in the Percursor Run and then You’ll definitely have Angelina Jolie and Sally Hawkins, or you trust the Ampas use of Surprise and go for Either Leo or Thomas… I honestly feat that due to her publicity Jolie might be Snubbed inspite of being in every one of the Awards so far, like last year for A mighty Heart… But then Again, they might feel that Changeling deserves Something and that she was good last year too. ANyway, i still believe she’ll make the cut:

    Streep;
    Hathaway;
    Winslet;
    Jolie;
    Hawkins.

    Or Thomas

    P.S. You Cannot forget the love that Academy has for Cate Blanchett!! Like Winslet, 5 Nominations… Almost every single Major part she had… So, Who Knows??

  • 15 1-17-2009 at 1:16 pm

    Michael said...

    Kate Winslet was not “too good to ignore” in RR. She was horrendous and overacted right along side DiCaprio. Her work in THE READER is the work that is too good to ignore.

    And sorry, Kristin Scott Thomas did not give that great of a performance. It was way too subtle and had one explosive moment that happened too late into a dull film.

  • 16 1-17-2009 at 1:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m sticking with SAG on this.

  • 17 1-17-2009 at 1:18 pm

    jog said...

    Jolie will be nominated, and you will have to shut up your biased mouth.

  • 18 1-17-2009 at 1:19 pm

    Silencio said...

    Winslet for The Reader…hoping, hoping…

  • 19 1-17-2009 at 1:28 pm

    John Foote said...

    Wow jog…don’t hold back — insult me again and look like a fool. You obviously forget that I am a huge fan of “Changeling” and quite admired her work in it — as I state in the article, some very fine work is going to be left out, and in my humble opinion, Jolie might be one of them, and then again, she might not…as we all know, biased or not.

  • 20 1-17-2009 at 1:44 pm

    face-it said...

    I am with Kris

    Hathaway
    Jolie
    Leo
    Streep
    Winslet

  • 21 1-17-2009 at 2:08 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    Has “Rachel Getting Married” even opened in the UK? Will that hurt Anne Hathaway’s chances?

    I can’t see Kate Blanchett being nominated. The Oscar nominating process places extra value on the enthusiasm of the voter’s support. Being one of the five on the list isn’t enough. You have to be high enough on the list to count. Kate Blachett didn’t even get a SAG nomination, for which wide (but not especially enthusiastic) support is enough to get a nomination. Her movie is one that many people might admire for the skill of the people involved, herself included, but it’s not the sort of movie that a lot of people will be completely ga-ga for. I think that might hurt that movie in general, actually. If not enough people listed David Fincher as their number one director last year for “Zodiac” — probably the best movie of the year — to get him a nomination, who’s going to put him number one this year for “Benjamin Button,” a less successful film in artistic terms? Who’s got Brad Pitt in their top one or two slots. Or, God help us, the screenwriter?

    I’m not sure who is going to benefit this year the way Laura Linney did last year, from a small but very enthusiastic group of supporters. Clint Eastwood, probably, on the men’s side (at the expense of — Brad Pitt? that’s what Kris is predicting). Obviously, this is what has gotten Woody Allen nominated a couple dozen times.

  • 22 1-17-2009 at 2:12 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Not even a mention of Blanchett’s terrific work in “Benjamin Button?” She certainly stands a good chance.

    I’d say:

    1. Streep
    2. Winslet
    3. Hathaway

    After that it gets a little difficult…

    4. Hawkins

    5a. Jolie
    5b. Blanchett
    5c. Leo

  • 23 1-17-2009 at 2:25 pm

    thinkgreen said...

    I can see Cate Blanchett getting in, especially in a year where the Best Actress race is wide open. She likely will be the only actress in a Best Picture nominated film. And the Academy’s rank choice selection helps since she has the name recognition.

    I just don’t think enough Academy voters have seen Happy-Go-Lucky or Frozen River.

  • 24 1-17-2009 at 2:37 pm

    Vance said...

    I can see Kate Winslet ending up in the lead category for The Reader. It is, after all, a lead performance. And those Globe wins aren’t going to help her here since they occurred right before the ballots were due for the Oscars.

    I’d like to see Angelina Jolie shut out since I didn’t like her performance or the film. I thought she was much more tolerable in A Mighty Heart and they didn’t nominate her there. Alas, I think she’s in this year. Ratings are down. The Academy knows this.

    As for Cate Blanchett; I would be very surprised. Actually, I think Pitt and Henson are in danger of getting the boot from their respective categories. Ben Button will be the most-nominated flick, but it could also end up being the biggest loser in Oscar history since it’s the front-runner in only one or two categories. I would not be surprised if the actors for the flick get shut out on Thursday morning.

    That leaves Melissa Leo, Sally Hawkins and Kristin Scott Thomas. If Academy members have actually seen their movies, they’d all be strong contenders. But chances are, to choose just one, it’d be smart to assume they’re going to actually try and catch the flick that’s gotten the most ink; Happy-Go-Lucky. The Academy likes itself a breakout star.

    My predictions:

    Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
    Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
    Jolie, Changeling
    Streep, Doubt
    Winslet, The Reader

  • 25 1-17-2009 at 2:43 pm

    Speaking English said...

    How is it anything BUT a Supporting role? Michael is the Lead, we see everything through his eyes, he is the center of the story, he is the protagonist. Everyone crying foul for category fraud has gotten way out of hand. Ridiculous.

    ***it’s the front-runner in only one or two categories.***

    It’s really kind of how you look at it, but I’d say it’s the front-runner in Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography, Makeup, Visual Effects, and Score. So I’d disagree.

  • 26 1-17-2009 at 2:54 pm

    Vance said...

    Well, it’s a tricky call. Ralph Fiennes and David Kross play the same character, so it’s harder to define who’s the lead in that one. They both play the lead character, but who gets the lead credit? Winslet doesn’t have another actor playing her part, and her character drives the story nearly as much as Fiennes and Kross do (sorry, I forgot the character’s name).

    I can see what you’re saying but at the same time that’s like saying Diane Keaton wasn’t the lead actress in Annie Hall because the movie is seen through Woody Allen’s eyes. Winslet’s got more than ample screen time and enough of the film’s focus to be considered for the lead category. Ditto Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt. Where it gets murky this year is with people like Dev Patel.

    As for Benjamin Button, I’d be shocked if it didn’t end up with more than ten nominations this year. But I can’t see it winning much beyond some combination of Costume Design, Makeup, Visual Effects and Art Direction. I think Slumdog is going to steamroll it.

  • 27 1-17-2009 at 3:02 pm

    McGuff said...

    It’s strange, I just can’t get over the feeling that Michelle Williams will find a way onto the final five, however unlikely. I admit, this is only my second go-around tracking the Oscars closely, so it may be a naive inkling, but it just feels like the category most ready to yield a left-field upset. I think Streep, Winslet (for RR) and Streep are assured of their spots, and despite the disdain in some corners for her performance, I think Jolie will get in after being shut out last year. Dislike Jolie all you’d like, but Changeling was a step up from A Mighty Heart for her.

    And Williams just seems like a nice way to finish the final five. She’s indie enough to be hip (like Leo), but mainstream enough — especially in Heath’s year — to have the fame that AMPAS might want (like Blanchett). And, she’s American (unlike Scott Thomas and Hawkins). Last year contradicted the opinion that such a thing matters, but that’s precisely why I think it might this year.

    My guess: Winslet, Hathaway, Streep, Jolie, Williams.

  • 28 1-17-2009 at 3:11 pm

    John Foote said...

    Why no love for Blanchett you ask? As good as she is, and she is brilliant, I am not sure the film has enough admirers to see her get a nod for best actress, not with the strong field we have this year and let’s not forget her nomination last year for Elizabeth: The Golden Age was not really deserved was it? She was the best thing in the film, but not among the five best performances of last year — I loved her in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” but do not believe for a second she has a chance of cracking the tough competition this year. Yep they love her, no argument there, but not enought to nominate her this year.

  • 29 1-17-2009 at 3:13 pm

    Speaking English said...

    “As for Benjamin Button, I’d be shocked if it didn’t end up with more than ten nominations this year. But I can’t see it winning much beyond some combination of Costume Design, Makeup, Visual Effects and Art Direction. I think Slumdog is going to steamroll it.”

    But really the only place where Slumdog and Button overlap (in techs) is Cinematography. I guess if you count Editing, maybe Sound, Score I suppose… but Art Direction and Costume Design shouldn’t be a problem, nor should (what seems certain wins) for Makeup and Visuals.

  • 30 1-17-2009 at 3:17 pm

    Roger said...

    I tottaly forgot Williams… I might agree with you (MCGuff) on that… Academy always have a surprise for us! And Unless they suddenly choose to remember a Movie like Defiance i think the Actress field is very likely the place where it will Happen… Either for Williams or Blanchett i Believe that it might Happen… But i stick with my gut, if anyone gets in, it will be Academy Sweetheart Blanchett… Specialy when she’s the only Actress in a likely Best Picture Nominee…

    I’m sorry for the Ignorance, but does anyone Know if there was ever a Best 5 Actress race and none in a Best Picture Nominated Movie?

  • 31 1-17-2009 at 3:20 pm

    face-it said...

    Why people think that we will have another Linney this year. That wont happen this year.

  • 32 1-17-2009 at 3:21 pm

    Tim said...

    Unfortunately I think Jolie will be nominated this year. With Clint’s support and her “snub” last year people will want to honor her this year with a nomination. Bleh. The nominations will likely be…

    Kate Winslet (for Rev. Road)
    Meryl Streep
    Anne Hathaway
    Angelina Jolie
    Sally Hawkins or Melissa Leo

    Though if Ben Button support is strong Cate Blanchett could ride that momentum to a nomination. I wouldn’t be surprised. If I had my way I’d pick…

    Kate Winslet
    Kristin Scott Thomas
    Sally Hawkins
    Michelle Williams
    Cate Blanchett

    But maybe that’s just me.

  • 33 1-17-2009 at 5:12 pm

    Billyboy said...

    I’m with those who think Winslet will get only one nomination : Leading for The Reader. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    1. Kate Winslet -The Reader
    2. Meryl Streep
    3. Anne Hathaway
    4. Angelina Jolie
    5. Sally Hawkins

    With Leo, Blanchett and Thomas as major threats.

  • 34 1-17-2009 at 6:09 pm

    Anthony said...

    Winslet (RR)
    Streep
    Hathaway
    Jolie
    ….

  • 35 1-17-2009 at 10:49 pm

    dma said...

    Winslet
    Streep
    Jolie
    Hawkins
    Thomas or Leo

    Hathaway possibly this years big snub?

  • 36 1-18-2009 at 3:58 am

    R.M. said...

    Keira Knightley got in for Pride & Prejudice WITHOUT the BAFTA support, so you’re argument for Hawkins not getting nominated doesn’t hold…

  • 37 1-18-2009 at 8:20 am

    Alex said...

    I think that Hathaway will win the Oscar.

    Also, don’t be surprised if Blanchett or Williams pop up in the nominees like Tommy Lee Jones did last year for Best Actor…not entirely expected but highly deserving.

  • 38 1-18-2009 at 8:36 am

    Alex said...

    And may I say that Winslet has always bugged me, except for maybe in Heavenly Creatures and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Her American accent bothers me quite a lot (though for some reason seemed to work in ESOTSP). Also, I don’t find her very risky – she may do these Oscarish movies that have seemingly interesting and daring roles but you’d be hard pressed to find a point in her career where she actually took a risk (maybe in Hideous Kinky and Quills) but not lately. Even though Kidman has had her fair share of stinkers, she has done interesting films like Birth and Dogville or Margot at the Wedding (playing a deeply unlikeable character) that were not made to gain Oscar traction. Although she may get everyone else’s applause, this irksome actress certainly doesn’t get mine.

  • 39 1-18-2009 at 11:08 am

    William said...

    McGuff that would be a dream come true. I believe that academy members are going to be smart enough to leave out one of these women for Williams extraordinary performance in “Wendy and Lucy.” It is certainly up there with the other best performances of the year; Miss Anne Hathaway, and Miss Kate Winslet. can they all just tie for the win?

  • 40 1-18-2009 at 3:04 pm

    Aaron said...

    @ Roger: I remember for 2004 the nominees were
    Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider, Diane Keaton for Something’s Gotta Give, Samantha Morton for In America, Charlize Theron for Monster, and Naomi Watts for 21 Grams.

    And in 2006 Dench, Huffman, Knightley, Theron, and Witherspoon were all in non-Best Picture films.

  • 41 1-18-2009 at 3:20 pm

    Josh said...

    Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
    Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky
    Meryl Streep – Doubt
    Kristin Scott Thomas – I’ve Loved You So Long
    Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

    If there is a surprise “snub” I think it will be Hathaway. The surprise nomination will either be Kate Beckinsale or Michelle Williams.

  • 42 1-18-2009 at 8:44 pm

    Alex said...

    If Blanchett can be nominated for Elizabeth II she can be nominated for Benjamin Button.

  • 43 1-19-2009 at 9:01 am

    Ivan said...

    Kate Winslet
    Anne Hathaway
    Kristin Scott Thomas
    Sally Hawkins
    Meryl Streep

  • 44 1-19-2009 at 9:06 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Alex: “Holy Smoke!” was a pretty adventurous choice, as, of course, was “Eternal Sunshine.”

    I agree that nothing she’s done since has really lived up to that sense of risk-taking. I like Winslet more than you do (and think she’s very good in “Revolutionary Road,” if not “The Reader”), but I agree that Kidman is the far more interesting actress.

  • 45 1-19-2009 at 9:49 am

    JAB said...

    I would be so happy if Michelle Williams made it in for Wendy & Lucy, my picks for nominations remain the same,
    Streep
    Winslet
    Hathaway
    Hawkins
    Blanchett

    my personal 5:
    Streep
    Winslet (RR)
    Hathaway
    Blanchett
    Williams

  • 46 1-19-2009 at 2:04 pm

    Ross said...

    I think it’s Meryl’s Oscar. She’ll get the nomination, while Winslet could be snubbed in lead. I still think Kate wins supporting.

  • 47 1-19-2009 at 4:12 pm

    Alex said...

    Guy, ‘Holy Smoke’ is minor Winslet (to quote Jeff Daniels from Squid and the WHale) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind is one of my favourite movies but on the other hand if it is 2003 and you are offered a Charlie Kaufman movie, after John Malkovich, Human Nature and Adaptation, then there isn’t necessarily much risk.

    It’s a shame that Kidman got knocked up and had to drop out of The Reader. Having seen Birth, which has some parallels to The Reader, I’m sure she would have brought a bit more depth and intensity to the role. She was annoying but fine in Revolutionary Road, but something was really missing in The Reader. For playing an illiterate pederastic Nazi, she didn’t really bring much to the role.

    This is what she said on Ricky Gervais’s Tv show Extras when asked about her reason for starring in a fictional Holocaust movie: “God, I’m not doing it for that. I don’t think we really need another film about the Holocaust, do we, it’s like how many have there been? It was grim. We get it! Move on! No, I’m doing it because I’ve noticed that If you do a film about the Holocaust, you’re guaranteed an Oscar.”

    Hathaway is the kind of role that should win. The film is daring and doesn’t feel forced, and her electrifying performance subverts the archetype she normally plays, rather than playing against type or wearing a costume like some Oscar seeking actresses tend to do.

  • 48 1-19-2009 at 4:55 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Ha! That “Extras” sketch has been at the back of my mind ever since I heard she’d been cast in “The Reader.” I agree Kidman would have brought more more danger and sensuality to the role. (My word, she was so robbed for “Birth.”)

    I can’t agree with you about Hathaway, though. I think she does some fine work in the film, but I just think she had a very interesting or expansive arc, and don’t think she found quite the same level of nuance in Lumet’s rather flat writing that Rosemarie DeWitt did.

    I liked her, but I must admit, my first thought as the film ended was, “God, Winona Ryder would have absolutely KILLED in that part in the early 90’s.” I’m sure you’ll disagree.

  • 49 1-19-2009 at 4:57 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    * Tht should read: “I just DIDN’T think she had… “

  • 50 1-19-2009 at 8:09 pm

    Alex said...

    I agree about Winona Ryder, though if she were to be in the film at this point it would almost be another case of The Wrestler, where there is almost a reflexive subtext to the casting.

    I do wonder what Nicholas Cage would have brought to the role. I’ve forgotten what a serious performance from him is like – though Adaptation was pure bliss.