Monday, 28 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016

5. Ruth Negga - Loving
Negga is perfectly fine to watch, she has got some nice on-screen charisma, yet her performance is so understated, I forgot it a few days after watching the film. She gives a believable portrayal of a desparate woman, yet there's nothing more to it...

4. Isabelle Huppert - Elle
This is a very brave performance considering her age, but Huppert nails it. In most of the years she would be a frontrunner. But this was such a strong year that even such a first-class performance is ranked the fourth. Another subtle performance, yet this time it fits the tone of the film perfectly. She handled the ambivalency of her character flawlessly and I just have to agree with her nomination...

3. Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
I know it's not a popular opinion, but I just loved Streep's portrayal here. She managed to be funny, without actually humiliating the actual Florence, as she was able to find the vulnerable tones of Jenkins' soul. It is a very sensitive performance and the one that is extremely difficult to execute.

2. Emma Stone - La La Land
I definitely understand her winning. She carries the film on her shoulders and she is the heart and soul of it. Charming, pretty, charismatic, talented. She makes everything she does in the film seem so effortless, you can easily take this performance for granted. She is even able to overcome the occasional pathos of the film.

1. Natalie Portman - Jackie
One of the best portrayals of a real life person ever. Portman disappeared into Jackie Kennedy in front of our very eyes and to top it of, she brings depth and humanity into her performance. This performance earned her the second win on my blog in a very strong year, with only Negga had been replaced, it would have been the best lineup of all times.

My Nominees:
1. Natalie Portman - Jackie
2. Emma Stone - La La Land
3. Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins
4. Isabelle Huppert - Elle
5. Jessica Chastain - Miss Sloane

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Natalie Portman - Jackie

Jackie is a wonderful biopic that really flawlessly shows the depth and inner feelings of the wife of one of the most powerful men in the world back then. Before the film, I wasn‘t familiar with Jackie Kennedy, so right after watching this film I found some footage of an actual Jackie. It was fascinating to realize how excellent Portman was at capturing Jackie‘s gestures, body language or the way she speaks.
I‘ve heard many people‘s opinions, who tend to say it‘s a very cold portrayal, without Portman getting into the character. That is something I absolutely disagree with. It‘s all in her eyes – the moment she tells the reporter how it all happened is a showcase of bravura acting. She‘s great in subtle moments, as well as in the emotionally outbursted scenes.
The portrayal belongs to the likes of Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line, Charlize Theron in Monster, or Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra – all excellent portrayals of a real life people – in any other year she would be a clear frontrunner, with almost no competition.
Portman is also great at creating the chemistry with her colleagues. What I really appreciate about this performance is her chemistry with children. She was able to create a believable relationship with children – it‘s obvious that Jackie does all but to help them and make it as easy for them, as possible.
The chances of winning an Oscar: I guess she was right behing Stone, fighting for the spot with Huppert. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Meryl Streep - Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins is a very nice film. It‘s definitely not a masterpiece in terms of biopics, but I definitely had a good time watching it. It is supported by an excellent leading turn by Hugh Grant (the fact that he was campaigned in supporting category is blasphemious, it‘s as bad case of a category fraud, as was Rooney Mara last year) and another cast member. This cast member could be nobody else, but Meryl Streep.
Streep portrays a person who cannnot sing, but she doesn‘t realize it and still wants to spread it to the world. A person like this is definitely not very smart in mind and doesn't have a self-reflection. Streep is wonderful at executing the simpleness of Florence. Personally, I have not seen such a good and respectable portrayal of a simple-minded person in years.
Streep is also masterful in showing the devotion, which Florence sings with. Her entire body language supports it, as well as the line delivery. The way she responds to the question if she wants to do another take of a song is hysterical: ‚It seemed perfect to me.‘
This performance and the nomiantion itself wasn‘t very popular. Many people blame the hype around it being caused by that great Golden Globes‘ speech, but I don‘t agree with that. I think we all take Meryl for granted. She is so magnificent, we don't forgive her anything simply because we‘ve got used to her being flawless. But the truth is, not everyone would be able to handle this role with such charm and wit.
Streep doesn't even do the overacting that has been typical for her in recent years – she has got many subtle moments and those are a proof of the layers Streep found within the character (the example is the scene, in which Grant finds her in the audience room of Carneggie Hall and she tells him that she booked the hall. Streep doesn't overdo the joy of Florence and I can imagine any other actress doing it. She stays subtle and there is a rather bitter feeling under her line readings and expressions).
Let‘s take a look at her Oscar clip, for example, that reminded me how exceptional this performance is. She was able to express the full scale of emotions through tones, which alone is not easy to achieve. But the tones were not supposed to be right. This is what you call acting. On the other hand she‘s excellent at showing the tenderness and vulnerability of Florence Jenkins.
Let alone the singing scenes must have been very difficult, as she had to consciously sing bad. Meryl Streep makes it look incredibly effortless and it‘s charmingly funny. She delivery the comic parts, as well as the heartbreaking ones.
The chances of winning an Oscar: She was fighting for the fourth spot with Negga.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Best Leading Actress 2016: Ruth Negga - Loving

Loving is a very slow and a bit overlonged film about an interracial couple that is being persecuted for marrying each other. Rather than really digging into the problem, the film coldly watches how it affects the relationship, so you get to watch a four-minute-long sequence, in which you only see a routine of two people being quite.
The most important thing about this film has to be the relationship of the main leads and the chemistry between two actors portraying them.
Unfortunately, the film lets us see the working relationship for a very short time, so the contrast that should appear can never work. Now all we get to see is a non-working relationship. The actors are trying to solve it somehow, but they are unable (though the film doesn’t help them very much).
At first I have to mention that Negga’s performance is very subtle. So subtle, that one might say it’s underacted.
It is, but if you look closer, you can see the emotions underneath. It’s all in her eyes. She does well enough to show us the sorrow, the despair, yet the love she feels. I guess the bore and flatness of the performance is not entirely her fault, since Edgerton is underplaying as well (though not that much) and the entire film is having this slow and subtle atmosphere. So probably the director wanted it this way, which is not the best way to express this story, to be honest. She and Edgerton are at least trying, unlike the supporting cast of lawyer and the family members, who seems to be bored throughout every second they spend on the screen.
So here’s the thing. Negga is a lovely actress and I liked watching her. She’s nice and enjoyable to watch at (presence-wise). But I think this is not enough for an actual nomination.
There is every technical aspect done right, even the accent. Yet she misses something that would elevate this performance between the bests of the year.
The chances of winning an Oscar: She was a fill-in nominee. The last one and happy to be there…