Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Muriel Awards: Best Breakthrough Performance

"[Hudson's] character has the most difficult arc in "Dreamgirls" and she plays it flawlessly. Funny and poignant, brash and tender, sometimes all at once. Oh, and did I mention she can sing her ass off?" ~ Jason Alley

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11 comments:

Kza said...

I see my half-jokey (three-quarters jokey?) vote for Martin Campbell, for directing CASIOTONE ROYALTY, was either left off or you thought I meant Daniel Craig. That's i-ight -- it was a joke, cuz I didn't know who to fill out the ballot with. But really -- I didn't think Campbell had it in him to do 007 as straightedge as he did, or go b&w&grainy in the opening scene.

Kza said...

Oh, and that Jennifer Hudson "And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Leaving (Without My Oscar)" pic that I've been seeing everywhere sooooo makes me not wanna see DG.

Paul C. said...

Yeah, I only included nominees who I thought were actually eligible- acting performances, in this case. But I feel you on Campbell's direction of CASINO ROYALE- after the Zorro movies, it's hard to believe he could do straight, hard-hitting action like that.

And my use of Hudson singing "And I Am, etc." is only truth in advertising. Like her performance or not, that song is a gift-wrapped Oscar™ clip.

James said...

I must take credit for the Daniel Craig vote. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate, but the role has certainly cemented at least a small place in film history.

I thought she could sing well (although I'm sure the sound studio didn't hurt), but Jennifer Hudson failed to convince me that she could act her way out of a wet paper bag. Nonetheless, it certainly has gained her no shortage of attention.

Should the votes in that category be cast for actors who made a splash, whether or not we liked their work, or is the vote intricately linked to the voter's view of quality and talent?

Jenny Sekwa said...

When a performance, whether it be singing or acting, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up while simultaneously leaping to my feet to give a standing ovation (along with the entire audience) to a screen character in a movie theater, I'd call that a damn thrilling Breakthrough Performance.

What vote, btw, ISN"T intricately linked to the voter's view of quality and talent?

James said...

I think they all are, with the possible exception of this one. As much as I'm not bowled over by Hudson, it would be spurious for me to claim that this hasn't been one hell of a starmaking role for her.

Perhaps I'm just getting too wrapped up in semantics, though. My top vote was for Rinko Kikuchi in this category. The film's climax had that hair-raising effect on me that Dreamgirls did on you (though no applause followed).

Jenny Sekwa said...

James,

I had Rinko Kikuchi and James McAvoy as my other picks, so we're not as far apart as it might appear.

Truth be told, I'm really not enamored with the movie Dreamgirls (it didn't make my Top 10 list), just Jennifer Hudson's multiplex roof-raising moments.

Jason_Alley said...

Whoa, I got quoted! Sweet!

"Dreamgirls", and Jennifer Hudson, really grew on me the more times I saw it.

I saw it at a press screening with my boyfriend the first time and thought it was just-ok. Then (having no other options), I took my niece and nephew to it and liked it a bit more. Third time, my boyfriend and I took my Mom and I downright LIKED it.

I can't decide whether Hudson can really ACT, or if she just has that innate confidence and charisma in front of a camera that can LOOK a lot like acting (like, say, Eminem in "8 Mile"). I think it's a little of both, actually.

Whatever the case, her performance is striking, enjoyable, and fearless. Not "fearless" in the way that playing a dyslexic coke whore would have been, but in the way that just exudes pure confidence and raw likeability, and that's why I voted for her.

Paul C. said...

To answer Steve's question, I guess I was leaning toward the voters' views of quality and talent, but the pop culture impact of the performance is no doubt a factor as well. I had originally envisioned this category as a kind of "Rookie of the Year" award, but given how few actors manage to distinguish themselves in their first film, I opted to broaden the field.

Whether or not you believe Hudson can act, or even whether she has a future in non-musical movies, the impact of her performance is undeniable. How much of this impact is hype and how much is the actual performance is debatable, naturally, but the fact of the matter is that DREAMGIRLS has kicked her stardom up numerous levels. In terms of coming from relative obscurity to making waves on that scale, only Craig and Sacha Baron Cohen (who was mostly a cult figure prior to '06) came that close this past year.

Paul C. said...

D'oh. I mean James' question, not Steve's.

James said...

Jenny,

Good call on James McAvoy. I thought his performance in Last King of Scotland was sadly overlooked, a crime I'm guilty of even in my own review. He made it easy to view Amin from all sorts of conflicting angles.

Jason,

I suspect she has that Eminem-esque look. No doubt her next performance should shed some light.

Paul,

I debated whether or not to vote for Cohen's performance in Borat, but did so for the reason you mentioned; he was basically a cult item until the film rocketed him to the It List. And people will now be watching at least one Daniel Craig film for the remainder of my lifetime.