Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Fifties for 2010: Best Supporting Actress

Five splendid supporting performances by women, four of them directed by women, and four of the actors essentially new to me with these performances, since I didn't pay much mind to Mia Wasikowska watching her dad get eaten by a super-sized alligator in Rogue, and I don't remember which headcase Dale Dickey played in the Changeling asylum. Two shortfalls of perspicacity, I'm sure.

Dale Dickey for Winter's Bone, who enters as a tough scene-stealer, then surprises by returning (and how, tossing coffee!), then keeps showing new sides of this tough bird;

Ann Guilbert for Please Give, because her director coaxes tart but not especially daring performances, and yet Guilbert gives odd, risky edges to her mean, ailing old bat;

Elina Löwensohn for Lourdes, who manages to underplay bitter resentment, quietly seething over her mothlike charge's strange epiphany, wondering why it bothers her so;

Mia Wasikowska for The Kids Are All Right, giving the film's subtlest and most consistent performance, radiating an annoyed sadness as she realizes that her family cannot be trusted; and

Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom, who looks like she knows she rocks, but fair enough when you forgo pyrotechnics, kill with kindness, and play the car-window scene so softly.

Can I just say, that's yet another lineup I'd be happy to preserve through the end of the year? Still, honorable mentions to Patricia Clarkson for using her voice and her intensity to swat Leo across the face in Shutter Island, coming remarkably close to bringing the film to life; to Alice de Lencquesaing for playing a girl both introspective and precocious in The Father of My Children, not unlike the one she played in Summer Hours, but nicely blurring the line between shell-shocked grief and adolescent preoccupation; and to Kierston Wareing, who is vivid enough as the blowzy good-time mom in Fish Tank that one wishes she had more opportunity to expand upon her lewd, cat-grinning, unreliable presence.

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Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

nice choices. It seems we're never lacking for valuable players from the year's first half. Too bad so many are tossed aside later on.

re: Jacki -- now i have to try and remember the "car window" scene. my memory these days. argh.

mia -- agreed with your take here. the thing that cements it for me is her beautifully played exit, such a big jumble of familiar "leaving home" emotions and yet it's not muddled at all but perfectly distilled.

4:35 AM, September 01, 2010  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

The car window scene is when (spoilerish?) Smurf leaves her visit with two boys in jail, walks out onto the sidewalk where the lawyer is waiting for her in his car, and from outside the window, announces her plan for something that she thinks needs to happen, in order for her family to hold together. She's quite matter-of-fact about it, and still sounds half-distracted by what it felt like to see those two characters in jail.

10:37 AM, September 01, 2010  
Anonymous goatdog said...

Among the many things I loved about Mia Wasikowska in TKAAR was her drunk scene, which was a most strikingly accurate portrayal of peevish post-adolescent drunkenness. Reminded me painfully of an ex, who spent a lot of time that way.

7:55 PM, September 01, 2010  

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