Monday, January 2, 2012

The Verdict -- Best Supporting Actress 1997

#5. Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting: A performance of highs and lows so distant from one another that it hurls the performance into near-awful territory. The problem is that Minnie Driver and Matt Damon don't quite have enough chemistry to make their relationship believable, but at the same time have enough to make the attraction work. Driver is luminous in her early scenes, and cacophonous in her later scenes making for a wholly discordant affair. The script doesn't help, and neither does five years too old for the character appearance. She's the weak link of the movie, and this field.

#4. Joan Cusack in In & Out: Cusack was lucky to receive a nomination for her affable work as Emily Montgomery. It's a broad comedic performance that usual goes unnoticed, and she does a great job making her role funny and lovable. Let off of her leash, Cusack storms through this movie flinging out one-liners and hilarious physical comedy at the viewers, most of which are really funny. But it's that same lack of direction or a real narrative journey that holds back this performance from being one of the great comedic Oscar nominations. She's funny but not hilarious, and too crazy to make any real strong impact.

#3. Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential: I like this one more than most, and that's because Kim Basinger is just so damn right for this role. She looks, sounds, and moves just like this woman is supposed to, and even though this isn't a huge feat in terms of acting, Basinger never makes a false move. Lynn Bracken is supposed to be sexy, mysterious, and not a good actor and Kim Basinger is all of those things. She creates a real atmosphere around the character, one that just rings true to me. It may be more great casting that acting, but I give Basinger more credit than that. She did what she needed to do, and succeeded in my book.

#2. Gloria Stuart in Titanic: Anchoring the weakest section of her film, Gloria Stuart's performance somehow comes out unharmed. Her screentime is very limited, but in that screentime you feel a real connection with this older woman. Every action that Stuart takes is filled with nostalgic power and I felt a real connection between her and Kate Winslet, playing the younger Rose. It is always hard having two actors play the same characters at different ages, but the two of them do it wonderfully. Yes, she may just be a narrator and often her parts interrupt the flow of the main story, but none of this is because of Gloria Stuart. She's just lovely throughout.

#1. Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights: Amber Waves is the most interesting and multi-facted character nominated this year, and thus quite easily walks away as my choice. Julianne Moore's performance is simply one of her greatest, masterfully balancing the motherly and porn star nature of her character in away that quite shockingly works. All of the most emotionally resonant scenes in the film feature her, and whether she is having sex, doing drugs, or taking care of Burt Reynolds you feel the deep sadness that surrounds this poor woman. Moore makes every scene count, and pulls off a miraculous and beautiful feat of acting.

The Year in Review: This year was as weak as every says, but I still managed to find some strengths in each of these performances, and the movies were across the board enjoyable for sure. Driver's performance is the only one I outright dislike, while Cusack, Basinger, and Stuart have varying levels of admiration and distaste. As I said in her review, I'm not usually a huge Julianne Moore fan but here she was just irresistible. What I don't understand is how in this weak of a field the Academy could not find room for Sigourney Weaver's performance in The Ice Storm. This is not just the Siggy fanboy in me speaking, because Weaver won the BAFTA and had many other nominations that season. It's upsetting, because she could have had a shot against Basinger and Stuart for the win. Oh, well. The next year will be up in a matter of days, hopefully less.

All Supporting Actress Nominees Ranking:

  1. Patty Duke in "The Miracle Worker" (1962)
  2. Dorothy Malone in "Written on the Wind" (1956)
  3. Linda Hunt in "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1983)
  4. Anna Paquin in "The Piano" (1993)
  5. Cher in "Silkwood" (1983)
  6. Eileen Heckart in "The Bad Seed" (1956)
  7. Emma Thompson in "In the Name of the Father" (1993)
  8. Julianne Moore in "Boogie Nights" (1997)
  9. Patty McCormack in "The Bad Seed"(1956)
  10. Claire Trevor in "Dead End" (1937)
  11. May Whitty in "Night Must Fall" (1937)
  12. Mildred Dunnock in "Baby Doll"(1956)
  13. Angela Lansbury in "The Manchurian Candidate"(1962)
  14. Gloria Stuart in "Titanic" (1997)
  15. Alfre Woodard in "Cross Creek" (1983)
  16. Anne Shirley in "Stella Dallas" (1937)
  17. Amy Irving in "Yentl"(1983)
  18. Kim Basinger in "L.A. Confidential" (1997)
  19. Shirley Knight in "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1962)
  20. Rosie Perez in "Fearless" (1993)
  21. Joan Cusack in "In & Out" (1997)
  22. Glenn Close in "The Big Chill"(1983)
  23. Barbara Harris in "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971)
  24. Alice Brady in "In Old Chicago" (1937)
  25. Mary Badham in "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962)
  26. Holly Hunter in "The Firm" (1993)
  27. Minnie Driver in "Good Will Hunting" (1997)
  28. Thelma Ritter in "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962)
  29. Winona Ryder in "The Age of Innocence" (1993)
  30. Mercedes McCambridge in "Giant"(1956)
  31. Andrea Leeds in  "Stage Door"(1937)


Fritz said...

I haven't seen Moore yet but I really need to since almost everybody has her as his/her winner. Personally, I LOVE Cusack in her movie.

dinasztie said...

You made the right decision, IMO. Julianne is the clear winner here.

mrripley said...

Weaver should have been nominated and won imo,it is her best ever and that is saying something.

Cole said...

Moore is hands-down the best in the category, and it's a crime that she was overlooked by the Academy!