Wednesday, November 12, 2008
...but, reader, I couldn't. Remember nine months ago, during a particularly fantastic Best Actress race, when it seemed certain that this year's derby would be even starrier and more marvelous? Winter and spring and then summer failed to add much to the mix, especially since Savage Grace was just as Oscar-unfriendly as everyone had said, and I found Melissa Leo a little hemmed in by the incomplete imagination of Frozen River, though I still think she's got a bright shot at a nomination. Anyway, none of it mattered: we'd have Julianne again! But then Blindness opened. Nicole back with Baz! But have you seen that trailer? Meryl Streep in Doubt! But have you seen that trailer? Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road! But have you seen that trailer? Maybe they'll all pull it off, but I'm putting on my Tim Gunn face and voice to say, "I'm worried." And when it comes to what's already bowed: Angelina in a Clint Eastwood movie and Kristin Scott Thomas in a well-buzzed chamber drama. As you'll hopefully read, I didn't think much of either movie, but more disappointing than that, I didn't think much of either performance, partly because both of their directors seem 105% confident that these actors in these roles couldn't possibly put a foot wrong. But isn't it a director's job to help the actor put her feet right? And, in Claudel's case, shouldn't he be making sure that his world-class star has something actually to do? I'm sure I'll be in the tiny minority on this one, but give me the nervy floridity of La Vie en rose and Marion Cotillard's precise gradations of hysteria and terror any day over the wan, watch-her-exist complacency of I've Loved You So Long and the astringent but finally defeated efforts of Kristin Scott Thomas to find a character inside of this tepid stunt.