Friday, February 20, 2009

Best Lead Performance (Female), 2008

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married (170 points/24 votes)
“Kym, a possibly reformed drinker and drugger, is so busy defending herself to herself in front of others that she misses the beauty of everything we're admiring. We're in Kym's head from the start. We share her panic, her self-fulfilling fear of drowning in embarrassment and inferiority. Jenny Lumet's flawed, pat script has brought the great Jonathan Demme from the 1980s back to fictional films - Rachel Getting Married is undeniably a fantasy, but it's the fantasy of family life that Kym, and many others, feels is always just around the corner, or behind the cabinet – eluding her and them.

“With Kym, Anne Hathaway has been given the part that many self-conscious young starlets attempt every year to varying degrees of success. Hathaway, from The Princess Diaries to Havoc to Brokeback Mountain to The Devil Wears Prada, clearly wants to be a great actress, perhaps too clearly, but she isn't – not yet. Hathaway's roles strike me more as experiments than calculations, leaps into something she hopes approximates brilliance of effect, but she's always nice, slight, and too studied. I root for Hathaway, but she never quite pulls it off, and she has an unfortunate tendency to lose scenes to her co-stars. Kym, however, plays into Hathaway's qualities: the eagerness to please, the not-quite-channeled talent, the delicate, sometimes ghostly beauty, and it's the surprising parallel between role and star that gives Kym bite. Kym is a scriptwriter's device, and she has a lousy, needless, skeleton in the closet, but Hathaway's unexpected empathy sidesteps the stunt. The actress's palpable, human hunger drives the character's hungers to places of real need.

“Kym is potentially the kind of role that's too obviously ready-made for awards for my comfort, but that is the trick. Hathaway's performance is a performance within a performance, a show-boater - a ready-made Oscar winner - that's masking the sort of trembling frailty that few actresses, of any age, are willing to plumb – Kym is a real Joker. The performance of the film is the under-looked supporting work of Rosemarie DeWitt, but even her role, while not as showy as Hathaway's, at least commands conventional empathy; Hathaway is the veiled nucleus of Rachel Getting Married - she must hold a funny, messy, humane film - the best of 2008 - together while seemingly threatening to tear it apart, for that, she more than deserves Best Actress.” ~ Chuck Bowen

“Who would have thought the star of The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted had this performance in her? It's not unheard of for a child star who came to fame as an "America's sweetheart" type to tackle edgier material in making the transition to adult roles (Jodie Foster springs to mind), but it's still a little startling to see just how willing Hathaway is toss aside any concerns of likability in the role of Kym, sister of the bride in Rachel Getting Married. Intelligent yet neurotic, vulnerable yet self-absorbed to the exclusion of all other considerations, spewing sarcasm fueled by a cocktail of perceived hurts and resentments, she's the worst thing that could happen to a girl on her wedding day. When I say I had to watch her toast to the bride and groom with my fingers over my eyes, it's definitely meant as a compliment to the actress who brought one of the most vivid characters of 2008 to life.” ~ Scott Von Doviak

Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky (149/22)
Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy (93/14)
Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road (82/14)
Meryl Streep, Doubt (60/10)

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RACHEL looks to be sweeping--not a bad thing at all--although I'll really think something's up with the tabulation if it wins Best Actor. ;)

I've got a sneaking suspicion PSH will win that category given the love for SYNECDOCHE--or maybe Sean Penn--but I sure hope Rourke pulls through. Can't wait for tomorrow's results.

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