Wednesday, 1 July 2015

2004 Best Actress nominees

Rank the 2004 Best Actress nominees:

1. Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
3. Annette Bening, Being Julia
4. Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
5. Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

Kate Winslet, A Little Chaos

Kate Winslet, A Little Chaos

I don't think I've ever had as much trouble putting into words my love for a performance as I've had with Winslet's Clementine Kruczynski. What's more, all of the words are contradictory: she's ethereal, yet entirely flesh-and-bone; she's illusive, yet relatable; she's spacey, yet forthright. Only Winslet could take all of these elements and create a cohesive living, breathing character. What's most remarkable, though, is the complete open-heartedness with which Winslet approaches Clementine. Even in her most maddening moments, she's completely charming and endearing. This is probably my favorite performance of the Aughts.

Staunton empties out her soul in one of the most open and tender performances I've ever seen. Her work here is absolutely devastating. This would make a list of my 10 favorite performances of the Aughts.

Bening does diva histrionics better than any other living actress, but always hones in on character - the glimpses of the woman beneath "Julia Lambert" she provides are honest and complicated. Sashaying through her film like a luxuriously-frocked hurricane, there's only one noun big enough for her: virtuoso.

Sandino Moreno is quite good in her very memorable and naturalistic debut.

While Swank is completely committed to the role, it would take an actor much more intelligent than she and a director actually interested in exploring his characters to overcome the irony: the entire film is nothing but ham-handed sentimentality, yet Swank's character's only desire is to pummel other women in a boxing ring. One of my least favorite wins in the category.

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