January 22, 2012

MOVIES: Best of 2011 -- Actress

The runners-up (and there are only four; the pickin' was slim this year):
  • Sareh Bayat, A Separation
  • Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy
  • Elizabeth Olson, Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
The nominees:
  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist -- a smile that brightens the room, some perfectly played physical comedy, moving emotional moments -- what more could you want?
  • Vera Farmiga, Higher Ground -- the pain is palpable as Farmiga struggles with the realization that she is losing the faith which has always sustained her.
  • Adepero Oduye, Pariah -- the joy of first love, the pain of watching a marriage disintegrate, the fear that secrets will be discovered -- all of these things feel fresh again in Oduye's quiet performance.
  • Yun Jung-hee, Poetry -- another very quiet and understated performance, capturing the struggle of a woman to find her own voice, and a way through her moral labyrinth, in a society that doesn't take women (especially old women) very seriously.
The winner:
  • Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia -- the smiles in the opening scenes can't hide the terrifying knowledge that her demons are back; this is as good a portrait of crippling depression as we've ever seen.

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