Meryl Streep – The Manchurian Candidate
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with some great performances, but two of them gave outstanding performances that both could have won, eventhough one of them was very dominant during the Awards season.
4. Sophie Okonedo
3. Laura Linney
2. Virginia Madsen
1. Cate Blanchett
5. Closer – Interesting idea that just doesn’t work well enough. The cast is superb but the way that the story is presented just makes things too confusing. None of the characters feel sympathetic enough and there is little reason to care about any of them or what will happen as the story moves along. The dialogue is crisp and sometimes witty but even that can’t make up for the messiness of the plot.
4. The Aviator – This is a great idea for a story because there is so much to explore here. That is also the problem with the way that it is presented since the film clocks in at nearly 3 hours and it feels that way. There are too many scenes that move along too slowly and keep the pacing of it all at a breakneck crawl. Great cast helps this along with Blanchett becoming to first actor to win an Oscar for portraying an Oscar winner. They do a wonderful job showing the eccentricities of Hughes but this would have probably been much better if it was tackled as a miniseries instead of a long feature length film.
3. Hotel Rwanda – Great film that is able to showcase the acting talent of Cheadle. He is able to carry this film so easily on his shoulders while still showing that he can play such a powerful and emotional role so successfully. The movie shows the impact that the Rwandan Civil War had on people who just wanted to live a normal life. The characters don’t feel like caricatures at all and manages to be quite impactful as we see the lengths certain people were willing to go to in order to help their fellow countrymen. Besides Cheadle, the supporting cast is also great with Nolte, Phoenix and Okonedo also giving great performances. Cheadle and Okonedo were both nominated for Oscars for Lead Actor and Supporting Actress for their performances here, but neither manages to win.
2. Kinsey – Extremely interesting and educational film that gives us some much detail about information that is widely known now but was sorely missing from the world 70 years ago. Neeson and Linney are great together because we get a kind of closeness yet distance between the two that works great as their dynamic chemistry together. The supporting cast is superb with O’Donnell, Sarsgaard, Hutton, Lithgow, Curry, Platt and Sadler doing great jobs here. The subject matter should feel slightly uncomfortable, but they are able to present it all in a very assuring, educational and adult manner that it flows so easily the whole way through.
1. Sideways – All 4 of the main actors are superb here because they give the film such a realistic feel to it. The story and plot is so down to Earth that it is quite easy for most people to relate because it shows what a real true friendship could be like. The characters have flaws but still we root for them all to get what they want. One doesn’t need to be a connoisseur of wine to like this film because all you need to know is explained properly. Clearly the beat film of the year IMHO and it was beaten out slightly for Best Picture that year by Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes! CB does an amazing job impersonating Hepburn and narrowly beats out VM who is superb in Sideways.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!