Thursday, 23 January 2014

Best Supporting Actress 2013: Julia Roberts - August: Osage County

I really enjoyed August: Osage County. I definitely must be a masterpiece on the stage, because on the screen it loses a bit of its potential, but it still is very moving and touching film. The reason, why I don't think it should have never been done, is the ensemble. If the film hasn't ever been made, we would never have the chance to see Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson, or Julia Roberts playing such juicy roles.
Julia Roberts plays Barbara, who is actually a co-lead along with Meryl Streep's Violet. So I definitely think her placement in supporting category is another great example of a category fraud, but if she was considered lead by the Academy I don't think she'd get nominated for it. So I don't complain.
All right, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I thought Roberts is just a perfect choice for this role. I can't imagine any other working actress in her age that would be more suitable for this character. It is a self-aware woman, who acts very rationally and doesn't want to live in delusions. She has suffered a lot, she's divorced and has a problematic daughter (and a mother, as well) and sometimes these problems make her overreact the situation a bit, though she thinks she's doing the best and she's trying to do the best she can. She's trying to solve her troubles as soon, as possible and as reasonably, as possible.
What I really love about Roberts's performance is the way she could handle her character. It actually is a very good part for an actress to play. But it must be handled naturally. You have to believe the actress in what she's playing. Because if you don't, the whole conflict of her character disappears. I have witnessed many times that an actor was playing naturally and it became a boring performance. This didn't happen with Roberts's performance. She isn't boring even for a minute. It's a real pleasure to watch her acting. And surprisingly she isn't even overacting. She finds the way between being boring and being overacting and she still can be very realistic and enjoyable.
She is many times acting only with her eyes. There is a quite long and important scene of dinner in the film. In this scene it happens many times that an actor doesn't speak, but there is a cut to him and he has to react with his expression, with his eyes. There is almost the whole cast involved in the scene and it beautifully shows, which actors are really deep-seated in their characters and which are only 'playing' them. Roberts is simply flawless in this scene. You can absolutely see what is she thinking just through her eyes. It's not an easy thing to do and not many actors and actresses would do it with such perfection. You can see, how Barbara's cup of patience is getting fuller and fuller with every minute that she's forced to sit behind the table. And it's always realistic. This is how that woman - Barbara would actually react. I can't even describe it, it's simply a first-class performance.
There is also a rivality between her and her future ex-husband Ewan McGregor. They are trying to fight together for their daughter's attention. It is wonderfully expressed in on particular scene of fight between them, while they are going to get some chairs from a garage (or whatever it is). Both actors handled this scene greatly and though their lines are sometime too theatrical and I don't know if this is how the situation would look like in the real life, in their hands it seems as if they really were a future ex-couple. They actually fix the problems of the script.
I also loved how gently and subtly she portrayed the fact that though her marriage is really problematic, she still loves her husband. You know, love is not an outright feeling and she portrayed it so wonderfully, that I believed her everything. Though she reacts contradictably, it never seems unnaturally or made just by the script. It's there, because Barbara is a human being and she really feels this way.
Before the end of the film, Barbara finds out a secret about one of the family members. In the scene, in which she finds this out, she really is shocked. It won't surprise you that I loved her reaction. This is the way an actual person would react in such situation. And maybe even better is the way she reacts after this scene, now that she knows what other family members do not. It's hard to describe, you need to watch it. Immediately!
The chances of winning an Oscar: Unfortunately, they are not very high. Maybe Harvey could pull her forward in the race, but I still think she's the third at the best. It would be a shock, if she won. But a very pleasant shock in my case...


  1. I was less impressed although this is the most I've ever liked a performance of hers. I did think she did fairly well for the most part, but at the end I think she started to lose her way.

  2. I'm sure she'll win here. I need to rewatch it, but I thought she was great, although she lacked the softer side of Barbara.

    I would say she is 4th in terms of who will win. I think June Squibb has a better shot given her long career and that she could benefit from wealth spreading.