Friday, April 18, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Actress

Before I get started, let me just say that this was am incredibly hard choice to make in narrowing this down to 5 nominees. If you think Sophie had a hard choice to make, then you have no idea the mental anguish I went through in my elimination process. I don't understand why people keep saying that all the good female parts are gone because I consistently find Best Actress a hell of a lot more interesting than Best Actor (that could also be the actressexual in me). There were 8 genuinely strong, terrific performances that floated around my Top 5 for awhile and I literally had to toss a coin to decide between number 5 and 6.

And the nominees are...

Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose
At once, both an outstanding, once-in-a-lifetime performance and an extremely polarizing one which has no doubtedly caused friendships to fail and caused deeply committed actressexuals to divide into heavily debated and vilified camps. For me, Cotillard's performance is one of a true movie star, going for broke with the up and down nature of the role- something Crawford and Davis in the 40's no doubt would have done.
Key Scene: "Marcel! Oh Marcel!"

Jodie Foster as Erica Bain in The Brave One
From my original rant: "
[The Brave One] felt less like a vigilante film than one in which all of the security and complicity that Jodie Foster's Erica Bain has known before a brutal attack which killed her fiancee and left her in a coma has suddenly been erased. At first it is fear that replaces the security, but eventually it becomes an unleashing of one hell of a violent streak. She doesn't know where it comes from, but becomes a part of her all too quickly and easily (there is a great voice over that Erica gives while leaving one of the scenes of her crime in which she questions herself as to why she didn't just show them the gun so they would back off instead of shooting them straightaway). As this woman with a mission, Jodie Foster gives a career-best performance."
Key Scene: Discovering the drug smuggler Terrence Howard has been trying to convict for years in the elevator.

Nicole Kidman as Margot in Margot at the Wedding
Kidman's never been known as a "funny" lady (just go see Bewitched and The Stepford Wives for proof), but in Margot at the Wedding the most risk-taking (and possibly finest) actress of this decade finds the bitter and uncomfortable humor in her absolutely awful character.
Key Scene: The speaking engagement at the library

Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff in Juno
Page has the unenviable task of turning Cody's delicious dialogue into something that both sets Juno apart as a character and makes her a real human being. That she pulls it off without so much as breaking a sweat is further proof of the brilliance of this performance.
Key Scene: The abortion clinic

Tang Wei as Wong Chia Chi in Lust, Caution
This is a film debut?! Forgive me if I'm a bit stunned, because in Lust, Caution Wei absolutely shines with a kind of maturity most actresses in their 30's haven't yet achieved. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Key Scene: Easing into her "role" with Mrs. Yee

If Only There Were Six: Julie Christie, Away From Her
No, this is not revenge against all the Cotillard-bashers who instead championed Christie. You don't know how much I wanted to include this one. This is, as a matter of fact, the direct result of a coin toss which allowed a certain actress in and Christie out. That doesn't mean I don't like Christie's performance any less- in all of its subtleties, it's one of monumental impact.

Rest of the Top 10:
Carice van Houten, Black Book...Amy Adams, Enchanted...Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray...Keira Knightley, Atonement

Jodie Foster, The Brave One

Tang Wei, Lust, Caution

Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose


Anonymous said...

Great choices for the top three, I like Julie Chrstie in Away from her but that's true there's nothing against the lifetime performance from the beautiful and talented performance of Marion Cotillard in La vie en rose

Kit van Cleave said...

You're right -- as Laura Linney has said, that performance was way, way above the others. But I've been looking at other Cotillard films (she started when she was l6), and of those readily available in the US I recommend:
A GOOD YEAR: Panned by the anti-Ridley Scott crowd among the critics, this film is still playing on HBO and still in rentals at Blockbuster. It's a sweet film about how a good woman can change a shutoff man. But it's Cotillard as the feisty cafe owner who takes everyone's interest. Scott said he chose Cotillard because she could "handle" Russell Crowe, by which he apparently meant she could stand toe to toe with him in scenes. Compare this to:
LOVE ME IF YOU DARE: Here the actress plays someone quite vulnerable, whose feelings are always on her face (a la Julia Roberts). A film many say is their "favorite romantic movie," it was a major step forward in Cotillard's career.
FURIA: As a resistance fighter against dictatorship, Cotillard is caught and brutalized. It's a stunning performance, and hints at where the intensity and passion comes from in LA VIE EN ROSE.
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT: As Tina Lombardi, she is onscreen for nine minutes and wins the Cesar for Best Supporting Actress. I don't think we have seen what this artist can really do. But what we do know is that (to my knowledge) no one has ever won the British, French and American Academy Awards for Best Actress in one year for the same role. An amazing talent; a major artist of our time.

Anonymous said...

Kit, you right about all of those films, and incredible in A very long engagement, she overshadowed Audrey Tautou in the powerful scene from the jail... And yes, I love her in Love me if you dare. With that Oscar she became an international star with talent, beauty and classic european elegance... Like the other three french actresses who won the Oscar Claudette Colbert, Simone Signoret and Juliette Binoche