Ellen Page – Hard Candy
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 4 great performances and one ok one, but two of them led the pack throughout the award season.
5. Keira Knightley
4. Judi Dench
3. Charlize Theron
2. Felicity Huffman
1. Reese Witherspoon
5. Pride & Prejudice – Pretty boring and tedious costume drama that feels too rushed which takes so much away from it. The story gets quite confusing as it moves rapidly between each of the various suitors of the young women without having the chance to develop the girls or suitors properly. The cast of this film is quite good and they elevate the film more than it probably deserves to be. It was great seeing Sutherland and Dench as the parents since it adds so much to the story. Knightley does a fine job with her lead role here even if things move along too quickly and we aren’t given enough time and scenes to really be endeared by her character. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance here and I’m still not convinced that she was deserving of such an accolade.
4. Transamerica – Really fascinating look at identity and how people can deal with it. Huffman is superb in the title role and plays this character to perfection. There is no question about the fact that she deserved her Oscar nomination for Best Actress for this performance. The story is told in an intriguing way and they allow us to get an idea of the various complexities facing people in these kind of situations where they must struggle with coming to grips with their own identities. Huffman carries this film the whole way and that has much to do with the way that she portrays this character. Her chemistry with costar Zegers is great and the banter between them works so well. This is a road trip film that allows the characters to take a journey of discovery and works much better than one could expect.
3. Mrs Henderson Presents – Really enjoyable film that manages to work on so many levels despite its appearance of being risque. Dench and Hoskins are perfect together and help make this story even more believable. Love the way that they give an explanation as to why the title character decided to open up such a theater because it shows ow things were done from her perspective in order to be a symbol and message and not just for profits. Dench deservingly was nominated for an Oscar for her work in this film. The story stays fun and light the whole way through even though there are some very serious issues discussed along the way.
2. North Country – Great depiction of how one must stand up for their rights in order to correct a wrong that has been committed for so many years. Theron is superb in the lead and was quite deserving of getting an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance here. The supporting cast is also great with McDormand, Spacek, Bean, Harrelson and Jenkins allowing us to get a clear picture of everything going on here. McDormand was also nominated for an Oscar for her performance for Actress in a Supporting Role. It’s a bit of a shame that they needed to make this film a fictionalized account of real events because I’m sure that they could have told the real story just as poignantly.
1. Walk the Line – Excellent film that shows the way that Cash lived warts and all. They don’t try to soften any of it and we get to see how a troubled man lived his life for his music and for his family; each separately though. Phoenix is amazing in the title role and should have won the Oscar for Best Actor because he gave by far the best performance of the 5 nominees. Witherspoon is also superb as June Carter and was very deserving of winning an Oscar for Best Actress for this performance. The music is great and really gets the viewer in the mood for this kind of biopic because it shows how difficult life can be for a musician on the road who spends so much time away from family that those on the road start to become part of that family. The story is told in a very inspirational manner which works quite well. On a personal note, this film was able to inspire me and give me hope when things seemed at their worst and will always remind me of those instances in my life.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely! RW is superb in WTL and was the best of the group of nominees even though FH was able to also give a very transformative performance in her role in Transamerica.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!