Wednesday 23 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012

5. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
This is not a bad performance by Chastain. She is trying to do, what she can, but the film just doesn't give her many acting opportunities. This character could've been played as a strong and self-minded young woman, but Chastain never knows, what she wants to do. Sometimes she is trying to go with this portrayal, but then she takes a step back and portrays Maya as a shy and unexperienced woman. There are some fine seen, but in the rest of the film she is just too lackluster...

4. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
This is a very enjoyable performance by Lawrence. She definitely enjoys playing Tiffany and so do we enjoy watching her. It's a quite remarkable performance that is going to be iconic, in my opinion. Some of her scenes are really powerful, but on the other hand there are some extremely overacted moments, which are just too unnatural and which are taking her the points away.

3. Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Though in the second part of the film she doesn't have many things to do, the first half can easily give her so many points. She shows the motherly love flawlessly and we are completely with her. We care about her and her children. The scene of the tsunami is the best of the film also because of her. You will certainly remember this portrayal a long time after watching the film.

2. Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
I never thought that such a young girl will ever be able to give so complex performance. Every scene is a joy to watch, because of her. The is the soul of the film, which is - by the way - also very great. Her chemistry with Dwight Henry is just fabulous and their common scenes are wonderful. Her portrayal of a little naive, but strong girl, which thinks that the world is spinning around her is so great, that some older actresses should learn from her.

1. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
An old likable lady and a little likable girl were fighting for my win, with the first one winning, finally. Her character gives her many acting opportunities and she uses them perfectly. There's just no way you won't like this performance. Her chemistry with Trignant is also very great and helps her a lot. I know she is not going to win, but she definitely should.

My Nominees:
1. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
2. Quvenzhané Wallis - Beats of the Southern Wild
3. Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone
4. Naomi Watts - The Impossible
5. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook

Best Leading Actress 2012: Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

Amour is a great film about the marriage at the end of the life, when one suffers from an illness and the other one takes care of him. It's really a beautiful story full of emotions and it's really disturbing, especially for a young man like me to watch something like this. I don't want to talk too much about it, so I wouldn't spoil the experience of those, who haven't seen it yet.
Emmanuelle Riva play a woman, which suffers from multiple strokes and her husband must take care of her. The film wonderfully show the love of the married couple. Even after all those years. Riva's character changes throughout the film. At the beginning she is an ordinary nice old lady that is extremely easy to love. After her first stroke she is the same old lady with some physical disorder, but the more of them she has, the more disordered she is. What I'm trying to say is, that this character gives her many acting opportunities. I mean, if this film was made in Hollywood and Riva's character was played by someone else, no one would have doubts about her winning. But this way she should be happy even for her nomination...
The worst thing about great performances is, that it's hard to talk about them. They're great and that's it. When you're talking about a bad performance, you can name the bad things about it, but you can't name what was good about good performance. The great was everything. How wonderfully she handles every scene, how greatly she shows the love to her husband, how greatly she shows the pain of her character, how great the chemistry between her and Trignant is, how well she handles the character and how you just love her performance because of her.
This is that kind of performance, which you can't say is not good. It's so remarkable and powerful, that you just can't resist it and deny the fact, it's excellent. For instance, Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream, or Kathy Bates in Misery also belong here. I don't know what else to say, this is the truly perfect and flawless performance...

Sunday 20 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012: Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild

In every awards season, there is a small independent film, that gets more attention, than expected (Winter's bone, Vera Drake). This year it is probably Beasts of the Southern Wild. I usually don't like these pictures, but this one I consider one of the bests this year. The focus of its attention is the relationship between a little girl Hushpuppy and her father played by Dwight Henry.
Quvenzhané Wallis was five-year-old when she came on casting. She was lying about her age, because one of the rules to come on casting was to be at least six. She was so overwhelming, that the jury gave her this role anyway. I have to say I can't imagine anyone better in this role. Seriously, I doubt, if a child would be able to handle this role so perfectly. Many people criticise this performance, that it was not Wallis's work, but the directior's. I can't agree with them. It's true, that the director helped her a lot with building this character, but if she didn't have the talent, the director would not be able to do a thing. Therefore I will consider her performance, just like any other.
Hushpuppy is an extremely lovable character. She's a few years old girl and therefore you would say everyone loves her, because she's cute. Of course, she is cute, but that's not the only (or the main) reason I loved her performance. There is a wonderful chemistry between Henry and her (I've heard somewhere, that they really are father and daughter, so no wonder) and every Wallis's scene is a pleasure to watch (not just, but very much) because of her.
She portrays a girl, which thinks the world belongs to her. Her portrayal of a normal little girl, which has to confront some abnormal circumstances. She has to live in a world, which is not the best for a rising girl, but she also has dreams and imagination, which she shows wonderfully. Hushpuppy is a little girl just like any other, deep inside. She hates someone, when he drive her angry, but when the same person is kind to her, she loves her in a moments.
You may also say, that it didn't take her any effort to play this role, because she was playing herself, in a way. But who cares? Jack Nicholson won one of his Oscars for playing himself. I mean, why should we care about that. The only thing, we should give a damn about is that she really was perfect in front of the camera.
I can hardly choose her best scene, because she is equally great throughout all of the scenes. Probably the final scene, when the beasts finally come would probably be the best. But anyway, giving such a compelling performance in this age, is really extraordinary. Her nomination certainly is deserving. She may not win (and she probably won't), but who cares? I don't think she cares. Her nomination is a success itself and it pushed her carrier the right way. And that's beautiful...

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012: Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

I usually like films based on true events. This one, unfortunately, makes the exception. Apart from really going into depth of this topic, it just says some stories of finding some unknown people, which we don't absolutely care about. Never mind that, it has its place at the Oscars anyway.
I never couldn't get rid of the feeling that Mark Boal included Jessica Chastain's character Maya in the script because her character just was there when it happens. You may say I'm insane, because she really is the leading role, but no one lets her go into the depth of her character. It's a very strong character, which would very probably be excellently played and used. But here it just misses the emotions. Chastain has nothing to do with it. Many scenes she is in, she just there to be there.
But not to be so negative, I have to say that there are a few (something about three) scenes, in which there is something to play and Chastain handles them perfectly. But that's too small for a two and a half hour-lasting film. In the rest of her scenes she is not bad, but could be much better.
To make it absolutely clear, I think, this character could've been very hopeful. The script and the directing of the film just doesn't want to focus on one character perfectly and deeply, but chooses focusing on every character a little bit, instead. And that's the reason, why the film misses the emotions. Even the last scene misses them. If it's so, Chastain couldn't do much with it and she does, what she can, but I just cannot get off the feeling, that another actress would do more with it. Not much more, because she could have not, but more. (I hope you understand, what I'm trying to say.)
It was not a bad performance. It was just a wasted character. And that's a pity. And I also think, this types of roles don't fit this Jessica Chastain. It's a very complicated and very dramatic character for her. I liked her more more in The Help, which didn't want so complicated performance from her.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I think they're very big. She might be the second after Lawrence. And if she doesn't win this year, then she'll win someday. That's for sure...

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012: Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook

Shooting romantic comedies is a very dangerous thing to do. I personally split them into three categories:
1) bad or annoying ones, which have nothing new or interesting to offer (The Mirror Has Two Faces),
2) the ones with full of cliché, but so adorable, you can't resist them (Pretty Woman),
3) the original ones, with a really intelligent and fleshly plot (Juno).
Fortunately, Silver Linings Playbook belongs to the third category.
Jennifer Lawrence's performance in Silver Linings Playbook is very self-confident. Lawrence chose this way of portraying (which that is, I'm going to write about later) and we just have to reconcile that.
Lawrence's character (Tiffany) is actually more of a supporting. The focus of the film's attention is Bradley Cooper's character Pat, which suffers from bipolar disorder. The directing of Silver Linings Playbook is really great, because it allows us watch the film just like Pat see the world. The camera and the editing are really disordered and so on.
The character of Tiffany is a person you would probably had a hard time getting along with. Jennifer Lawrence hasn't decided to play her as a believable person. Many of her scenes are overacted and over the top (especially the scene in the restaurant). Her portrayal is completely unnatural and even unbelievable. But I don't think it's a thing we can blame her for. I had a feeling she completely knew, what she was doing. I think this way of portraying has its reason. We have a very mixed feelings from this performance. If her character was a real person, I think a person with a bipolar disorder would be very disturbed and disorganized from her presence. I think, Lawrence did this non-complexity on purpose. She wanted the audience to feel this way. And she succeeded.
It's a hard thing to choose her best scene. It may be the scene of a dinner at the beginning, or some of her later scenes. As the film goes on, her character becomes more and more likable, therefore I think she has the biggest chance to win an Oscar. It is (or will be) an iconic performance, that will be loved by many, just like Dianne Keaton's Annie Hall. It is also technically not very good performance, but we cannot blame the actress for choosing this way (though I did it with Dianne). Lawrence was completely aware of what she was doing and this is probably the best way this character could be played. Therefore I really won't be angry or sad, if she wins...

Saturday 12 January 2013

Best Leading Actress 2012: Naomi Watts - The Impossible

I don't like disaster movies. I don't have a rational reason for that. I just don't like them, probably because there are so many bad disaster movies that I got annoyed watching them. I also don't like films, which beg you for your tears. Despite of that fact, I really liked The Impossible. Probably because it's not actually a disaster movie and it's doesn't beg you for your tears. And I can say I wasn't crying. I just felt really sorry for the film's characters.
The Impossible has got many great performances. One of them is given by Naomi Watts. She plays a loving mother and wife in the family that got threatened by the tsunami. Watts's portrayal of this character is very realistic. We never stop believing her, in any moment. There are some moments in the script that seem a little bit illogical. But Watts can handle them really greatly, that they almost seem completely reasonable.
Everything really works wonderfully in this performance. There is a moment in which her character, Maria, is in the middle of tsunami and spots her son floating away. In a second, she starts trying to go behind him, even though she threats her life. It's just what a mother would do - anything to save her son. this scene could've been played the very unrealistic way. But not in Watts's hands.
We completely consider her as the leading character, though, in my opinion, there is not a leading character in the film. I don't think she even has the most of the screentime. I don't even think, she has much more of it, than Ewan McGregor. Her performance is just so strong, that we feel her, even when she's not there. We regard her as the leading character and that means something.
Even though all of that, I have a blame. It's not actually Watts's fault, but especially in the second half of the film, when it concentrates on McGregor's character and when she doesn't have so many scenes, she doesn't have very much to do. Just lying on the bed and suffering, or just lying on the bed doesn't give you many acting opportunities.
But anyway, Naomi Watts gives a wonderful performance in The Impossible, there's nothing to argue about. It's definitely worth watching, because it may be one of the most realistic performances I have ever seen, that don't get boring from their lifelikeness. And that's not a little...
The chances of winning and Oscar: It may be sad, but I think she has the least chance of winning. This is not a role that the Academy use to reward and they will probably be waiting for her Princess Diana's protrayal next year. That could be it!

Next Year: Best Leading Actress 2012

The Nominees:
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook (predicted winner)
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Quvenzhané Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild

I'm going to finish best supporting actress 1945 soon, but for some time I'm putting it under ice. It may took some time to do best leading actresses of this year, because of the school, but I'll do my best. So, please, comment. Who was snubbed? How would your nominees look like? Who would you like to win? Who do you think I'll let win? And how do you think I'll rate these performances?