Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Final Conclusions - Best Actress 2010

2010 gave us a great group of nominees for this category, I think most of us can agree on that. There was also an impressive list of runner-ups (unlike the year before) and the 5th slot was quite open for anyone to grab. Quality-wise, I wouldn’t exactly compare it to Best Actress 2006, which was quite close to perfection, but it’s definitely a strong group of performances.

As I started to write about it once the nominations were announced, I had an idea about who was gonna be my choice, but I wasn’t 100% sure. I had seen all films, enjoyed all performances, but I just wasn’t sure how Black Swan was gonna play for me the 2nd time; fortunately for my film experience, it did quite well. But a ranking was not easy, and even to me the race was closer that it seemed, considering my no. 1 actually has a 4.5/5, and no. 2 is a strong 4/5. I’m fine with my No. 3, but 4 and 5 might change places in the future.

Here is how I’ve appreciated them. If you want to go back and read more, just click on their names:

1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Natalie beautifully combines the physicality of the role with a deep understanding of the frailty, the vulnerability of the character. She’s in every scene of the film, mesmerizing with the easiness she displays both the mysterious shyness of Nina, but also the precision of her dance scenes. She truly nails the character arc in a transformation that’s much more believable through what Natalie shows than what the screenplay would’ve suggested.

the highlight: on stage, truly embracing the black swan persona.

It’s similar to the typical frigid, arrogant character she’s played before, but this one is much more complex. As usual, Annette inspires certain intelligence to the character, that feeling of arrogance that feels so justified here, yet somewhat keeping Nic grounded and almost likeable. The scenes in which she surrenders to her emotions are beautifully unexpected, with the one bathroom confrontation scene being in my opinion the best acted moment of the year.

the highlight: confronting Jules about the affair.

Playing both a grieving mother and a wife in a shaky marriage makes for a challenging role, but Nicole is just right for the part. Just like in Annette’s case, Nicole has no problem in nailing the outsider nature of the character, as Becca often finds it hard to fit in with the others. But her best scenes are the quiet ones, the meaningful, both painful and relieving dialogues that she has with the boy – it’s there where Nicole, using little words, beautifully tells us what her character really feels.

the highlight: listening to his confession of driving too fast.

The performance feels as natural as it gets and Michelle is a real charmer. She is adorable as always and she gives certain likeability to a character that otherwise I found a bit difficult to fully rally behind. Also due to the filming style, you can tell she’s very much in the character, and she’s always natural, believable, and having just the right chemistry with her talented co-star. It’s a performance with lots of emotional rides and Michelle manages to make it accessible.

the highlight: their final kitchen argument, she’s had enough.

The more I think about this performance, the more I like it. She gives the most believable performance of this group of nominees, and there’s an easiness to her acting that’s certainly not accessible to every young actress. Even so, she’s more of a vehicle for this film, with not much of a character arc to consider on paper; however, her natural acting style, the native intelligence she puts behind the character and a couple of great scenes make it a worthy performance.

the highlight: the realistic horror of the lake scene.

It was Natalie’s to lose for months now. Even if the race became quite close, Natalie’s win was no surprise, as we all know. Annette is the obvious 2nd (she’s not a lucky lady, as I suspect she’s been 2nd before also for American and for Being Julia). I think Michelle is 3rd because of Harvey Weinstein and because they were more likely to see Blue than Rabbit Hole. Nicole probably had the 4th chance of winning, while Jennifer (and I know many will disagree) was 5th because she’s too young and Winter’s Bone had lost lots of momentum, her last visible campaigning was in late autumn.

To see other BEST ACTRESS years discussed so far, go to the column on the right.

What’s next: A Best Actress surprise in a couple of days.


Deiner said...

I agree with your winner, however my ranking is:
1 Portman
2 Lawrence
3 Williams
4 Kidman
5 Bening

dinasztie said...

Wow, I have a different ranking, but I'm SO glad that you went with Natalie.

Malcolm said...

This was definitely a strong year, even though I haven't seen Kidman yet. For now, Natalie's my pick, but I could pick anyone from the group and I will still be satisfied. I'm really happy that you chose Portman because she deserved it.

I'm excited for the next year! Maybe a recent one too? Or not? :)

joe burns said...

I'm surprised that ytou liked Kidman, given your review of Rabbit Hole, and that Natalie won,though I didn't get to read all of your review!

Shtajner said...

I almost completely disagree:
1. Williams (high ****)
2. Bening (middle ****)
3. Lawrence (low ****)
4. Kidman (low ****)
5. Portman (low ***)

Anonymous said...

When are you going to post your 2010 AIM Awards? I can't wait to read what your personal wins are for this year!!

Alex in Movieland said...

guys, thanks for sharing your ranking :) as we can see (and I've also read other people's rankings) the love is all over the place. :) I guess this is what happens in quite strong years. Definitely a nice way to start the 2010s.

my favorite film of the 5 was Winter's Bone... and you can see Jennifer is 5th. :D while the film also influences, of course, it doesn't do it in such a crucian manner as long as the screenplay is not the one completely screwed.

thanks for the interest :D probably in the late Spring.

Alex in Movieland said...


are you on wordpress?
it doesn't work when I click your link, and wordpress on blogger usually does that.

Deiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.