Women In Cinema: The “Oscarettes” (2011)

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Every year when the Academy Awards come around, we predict who will get nominated, react to the nominations, predict who will win, then react and talk about the winner until the following year. But, for die hard movie followers like us, we never stop talking about previous winners. We, for years talk about who should have been nominated and who should have won. We react to it like we know these people. It’s important to us, just like a sports team is to a diehard fan.

So, I figured at the start of each month, we will travel back a year at a time and discuss the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actresses of that year. Let’s call it “Oscarettes”. I will recognize who was nominated and who won, and I will share my opinions about them, but I want yours. I want to know who you thought deserved to win and be nominated those particular years.

83rd Academy Awards (2011)

Best Actress:

Annette Bening- The Kids are All Right
Nicole Kidman- Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence- Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman- Black Swan*
Michelle Williams- Blue Valentine

I had written about Natalie Portman stating that I feel she deserved every award she received playing the demented ballerina Nina Sayers in Black Swan. Well a week doesn’t change anything and I don’t think my opinion will ever change on the matter. Natalie Portman gave, in my opinion, the best performance of 2010.

There was a lot of speculation about Annette Bening being due for a win; therefore she should have won Best Actress. But I have never agreed with an actor being awarded because it’s “there time” or “their due.” If you are going to be awarded with one of the highest honors, a performance should be given that is deserving of such an honor. While Bening is one of the great actresses working today, her role as the controlling lesbian mother and wife was not the performance she deserved to be awarded for.

For me, if Natalie Portman didn’t win, I would have loved to see Michelle Williams win. Her character as a wife, who wants out of her marriage, left me with mixed emotions. I wanted to feel for her, but I also wanted to hate her for how she handled the situations in her life. But the way she handled the character was so beautifully heartbreaking. Williams continues to surprise me in each film she’s in. I used to watch her on Dawson’s Creek and I’m thrilled that she took her career in a more serious direction. I felt she deserved to win for Brokeback Mountain, but if she continues to make great films she will get that statue.

I’ve never thought Nicole Kidman was anything special. I enjoyed her in Moulin Rouge, hated that she won an Oscar for The Hours but since The Hours she hadn’t put out a good film until Rabbit Hole. Her performance was touching and heartbreaking as a grieving mother. I think what made her performance even more emotional and meaningful is that she is a mother, which I feel helped her connect to the character better than any other film she’s been in. She deserved the nomination but not the win.

Jennifer Lawrence is a sexy, beautiful, and talented actress who proved she can be gritty and masculine in a film that calls for it. She showed she can act and carry a film and I can’t wait to see what she will do with the rest of her career. I definitely plan on seeing her name on the Oscar Nominee list again.

Who I wanted to win: Natalie Portman
Who I feel deserved to win: Natalie Portman

Snubs: Halle Berry- Frankie & Alice, Lesley Manville- Another Year, Julianne Moore- The Kids are All Right, Hailee Steinfeld- True Grit and Hilary Swank- Conviction

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams- The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter- The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo- The Fighter*
Hailee Steinfeld- True Grit
Jacki Weaver- Animal Kingdom

The Supporting categories are always the toughest to predict. One second one actor can be the frontrunner and then it will all change come the Oscars. Sometimes the name you hear isn’t what you expected. This year it was anybodies game.

Many felt Amy Adams deserved to win because of her departure from doing happy, upbeat roles. While she gave an outstanding performance, if Leo hadn’t been nominated the Oscar would have been hers. Well maybe, but as we know that wasn’t the case. I think Adams’ role as the tough and sassy supportive girlfriend is one of the better roles she’s done. And I feel what makes it so good, is that you know she stepped way out of her comfort zone. Adams, who has never really shown her tough side like she does in this film, does a spectacular job and really creates someone human and relatable out of what is otherwise an underwritten character. She deserved the win, as well as the other actresses in this category, but she’ll get her Oscar.

Carter was in the Best Picture of the year, but her performance wasn’t the best in the movie. I think that’s all that needs to be said about that. Carter is such a unique actress, but if she thinks continuing to star in Tim Burton’s movies is going to get her anywhere, she’s needs a smack on the bum.

I was on Team Leo this past year. She made you hate her character as the overbearing mother who, while being tough is also naïve. Her desire to see her kids rise to fame blinds her from the truth. Her character could have gone the completely one-dimensional villainous way, but Leo adds certain humanity to the character which just makes her seem more sad than vicious. While I was impressed with Adams performance, Leo sold the character to me. Leo was no longer recognizable. She transformed into Alice Ward, and that is why she got that Oscar. While many may disagree with me, this is where I stand.

I think every moviegoer feels that Steinfeld was placed in the wrong category and should have been considered leading actress. While that didn’t happen, Steinfeld was the only person standing in Leo’s way of winning. The 14 year old gave such a tough performance in True Grit. After watching the movie, I was blown away that she was only 14. Supporting is the one category young actors find themselves in and usually win in; this year that wasn’t the case. Like I said previously, this was anybodies game, and while I would have been upset if Leo lost, it wouldn’t have bothered me to see the Oscar go to an upcoming young actress who gave an outstanding performance, holding herself brilliantly with an award winning cast.

There are always actresses in each category that after their name is announced nomination morning; a saying goes along with it, “they should be happy to be nominated.” A nice way of saying, there is no chance you are winning. Many people expected to hear other actresses names announced nomination morning, but Weaver was one of the more underrated performances of the year. While she messes with your mind through Animal Kingdom, it’s not until the end of the movie, where she kicks it up a notch and becomes flat out frightening. I don’t want to say anything mean but, while this was an unexpected nomination, it was deserved.

Who I wanted to win: Melissa Leo
Who I feel deserved to win: Melissa Leo

Snubs: Mila Kunis- Black Swan, Barbra Hershey- Black Swan, and Julianne Moore- The Kids are All Right

Well there you have it folks. Some of you may disagree with my opinions, but tell me how you feel about these women who were nominated, who got left out and who won. The first week of June we will look back at the 82nd Academy Awards, so be prepared to hit me with your opinions. Hope you enjoyed this edition of Oscarettes.