January 29, 2013

MOVIES: Best of 2012 - Actress

The runners-up:
  • Linda Cardellini, Return
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Meryl Streep, Hope Springs
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz
(I will note that Walliis is here among the runners-up, and not among the nominees, mostly because I'm never entirely sure whether a child this young is really capable of acting or is simply following directions very well. That said, she has a remarkable presence, and should she choose to continue acting, I look forward to seeing what develops.)

The nominees:
  • Nina Hoss, Barbara -- Here, Hoss faces one of the actor's greatest challenges -- when your character can't let anyone know what she's thinking, how do you let the audience know -- and handles it beautifully. A lovely study of what it means to live in a society where everyone is legitimately paranoid.
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions -- Get past the nudity (though Hunt's blunt comfort with it certainly helps to sell the role and the movie), and you find a performance of great emotional simplicity and honesty.
  • Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks -- Playing a woman who is quite literally someone else's dream, Kazan's slow awakening to her own personality and desires is utterly convincing, and when the confrontation with her creator finally comes, it's a scene of wrenching tension and pain.
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour -- Riva captures her character's physical and mental deterioration beautifully, but even more painful are the horror and anguish of watching herself go through this nightmare.
And the winner:
  • Ann Dowd, Compliance -- Dowd is spectacular, never setting a foot wrong as she struggles between two visions of right and wrong, trying to find a way to balance her own sense of decency with the desire to please an authority figure.

No comments: