Friday, March 12, 2010

Addicts 2009: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Leonie Benesch in Das Weisse Band (The White Ribbon)

The wave of impersonality in The White Ribbon (a feature that plagues the film as much as it benefits it) makes Leonie Benesch's task as an anxious teenager wooed by an older teacher all the more cavalier. Like many of the younger characters Eva navigates Haneke's constrictive, uniform world in a way she thinks is expected of her, wary of the unwritten protocol that limits perspective. The self-empowering aspect of Benesch's Eva is working with the script, but her hunger for change, passion, evolution feels much more evident and desperate (even in its tentativeness) and offers a relatable, humanist approach to independence that's painfully missing elsewhere. Eva does not want to take anything for granted, allaying her suitor's premature attempts at intimacy with sincere regret, and Benesch conveys the shrewdness of her character's small-scale ambition of happiness beautifully.

Ginnifer Goodwin in He's Just Not That Into You

Goodwin navigates the negative connotations of her character's desire for testosterone, and is refreshingly aware of Gigi's emotional openness and the problems that it poses, promoting it as positive and worthwhile even though it leaves her exposed to hurt. She is responsible for the film's ultimate reverence of romance, indulgent of dating and how it's undeniably fun, even though 95% of it ends in the disappointment of not meeting the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Taken from my Supporting Actress Blogathon post.

Samantha Morton in The Messenger

The reaction of Olivia Pitterson to the loss of her soldier husband is completely different from the response of the grief-stricken "NIK"'s before her, but feels by far the most genuine. That's not to say that Samantha Morton's Olivia doesn't bear anger or bitterness (a later scene puts that theory to bed) but her own feelings about the war are a lot more shadier than most of The Messenger's erratic set of characters. One feels that Olivia had already consigned herself to a widow's life, even as she deters others from following in her late husband's footsteps. Was she against his decision in the first place or did her political stance change like so many others? Morton is rounded and recognisable enough to depict Olivia's ready acceptance of Foster's Will as both natural and unhealthy and becomes one of the most valuable parts of the film.

Rosamund Pike in An Education

Rosamund Pike is saddled with one of the roles pigeon-holed by the hand of Nick Hornby, but rises (not unlike a Phoenix with that fierce blonde mane of hers) from the ashes of mediocrity to create a memorable and solid woman. Helen, attached to Jenny's boyfriend's friend, shows Jenny how to be a socialite without really doing a lot. She seems rather like a bimbo at first, content to sit during an orchestra recital thoroughly bored, even as her face eagerly tries to maintain the dignified grace of high-brow culture. Her lack of interest in this area as a whole opposes Jenny's stance, but it's interesting to see Pike flaunt Helen's ease, wisdom, and knowledge of the social scene, especially as Jenny excels in every other comparative area. You can't teach that.

Blanca Portillo in Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces)

Portillo has what might be traditionally deemed the "Elsa Lanchester role" as Judit, the business partner and former lover of famous film director Mateo Blanco. But such with Almodovar things aren't always that simple, and it emerges that Judit has enough to be sore at Blanco about, even as she continues to bail him out in the way that women always seem to be able to. Judit's contempt for Mateo (and perhaps men in general) is evident when she pretends to ignore his paranoid auteurial indecision, but there's never any doubt that she reveres Blanco's talent, fuels that talent, and will continue to do so. Portillo creates a rather devastating portrayal of a woman that will settle for emotional connection through the reliability of celluloid (what can be more constant, right?), indicative of Almodovar's reminder that relationships can be superficial and exclusive. The camera lies, and so do we.

Winner: Blanca Portillo
Runner Up: Leonie Benesch

Best of the Rest: Juno Temple seducing her stepbrother in Mr. Nobody, Leslie Mann layering Sandler's sympathetic ex in Funny People, Marion Cotillard in Nine produces the only character work worthy of holding a candle to 8 1/2, Melanie Laurent's ass-kicking Jewish revenge in Inglourious Basterds, and Mo'Nique's excellently-played final scene in Precious.

Other Delights
: Olivia Williams in An Education, Anyone in Whip It!, Alison Janney in Away We Go, Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air, Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds, Julianne Moore in A Single Man, Alycia Delmore in Humpday, and Paula Patton in Precious.

1 comment:

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