Women in Cinema: ‘The Oscarettes’ (2012)

It’s that time of the month! It’s time to talk about the “Oscarettes”. If you missed the latest edition, here is a little recap of what this segment is all about.

We will travel back a year at a time and discuss those nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress of that year. 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.

This week we will not be traveling back but focusing on the 84th Academy Awards. So, here we go.

84th Academy Awards (2012)

Best Actress:

• Glenn Close- Albert Nobbs
• Viola Davis- The Help
• Rooney Mara- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady*
• Michelle Williams- My Week with Marilyn

The leading actress category has gotten a lot of people talking. Particularly on this site, many have been very passionate about the winner in this category, so passionate that some have forgotten the class that goes into having a constructive debate. But regardless, for some time now Meryl Streep has been quite due for her third Oscar. Everybody has been wondering when it would happen, but many didn’t expect it would happen this year, especially when it seemed like Viola Davis was on her way to winning her first Oscar.

Ever since I saw Albert Nobbs I have had this crazy disgust for it. It was made very clear Albert Nobbs was a passion project for Glenn Close, yet what bothers me is the sloppiness of the story and how inconsistency in character development. Close seemed like an early frontrunner, and let’s just say she played the game very well getting the attention needed to get nominated. But when Streep and Davis began picking up steam she never stood a chance winning. Though, Close did do a fine job displaying how desperate Albert was to have a normal life and her portrayal was absolutely heartbreaking. I wonder though, if the movie had been better, would the race still have been between Davis and Streep?

Viola Davis losing the Oscar this year was devastating. She thought she was going to win, critics thought she was going to win; the only people who didn’t think she would win were the Meryl Streep fanatics. Precursors made many believe she would win Best Actress for The Help and it’s a shame that she lost to Meryl Streep, especially when actresses years before her should have been in that position. Her performance as Aibileen is powerful from beginning to end, as a maid who just wants to be free from life she was born into. Meryl Streep did deserve to win, but Davis deserved to win just a little bit more.

The Academy is all about transformation, and it’s obvious that Rooney Mara has gone through one of the most talked about transformations last year playing Lisabeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When I first heard about Mara taking on this role I was right away intrigued with how she would play the famous character. I think she pulled it off brilliantly and when I was sitting in the theater I kept hoping she would get more screen time. Lisabeth is a broken character who refuses to be broken, and Mara brought a slight vulnerability to such a ruthless and closed in character. Mara is a talented actress who will find herself nominated again one day.

There is no doubt that Meryl Streep is one of the best actresses living today, and there is no doubt that she has been deserving of her third Oscar. After seeing The Iron Lady, I was left disappointed with the sloppiness of the film, but Streep did embody Margret Thatcher in a way I can’t imagine anybody else being able to. She disappears into the role and gives one hell of a performance. I have written previous Oscarettes where I stated that Streep deserved to win for Doubt and Julie & Julia. I will continue to stand by my thoughts on her winning for Julie & Julia. It’s a shame she lost to Sandra Bullock that year, but it should have been then she received her third Oscar. She deserved to win, she always does, but I still believe Viola Davis gave a more deserving performance.

I did not care for Michelle William’s performance in My Week with Marilyn, and I don’t believe Williams embodied Marilyn Monroe the way everybody says she did. I feel that if she was playing a character that wasn’t Marilyn, the performance would be magnificent, but I don’t agree with all the love she is receiving for this role. I believe the one thing she got right was the eyes and the sensuality in which Monroe spoke. Williams is a great actress, and I am always blown away when I see her perform, I hope one day she’ll be rewarded in the way she deserves to be.

Who I wanted to win: Viola Davis- The Help
Who deserved to win: Viola Davis- The Help

Snubs:

• Elizabeth Olsen- Martha Marcy May Marlene
• Charlize Theron- Young Adult
• Tilda Swinton- We Need to Talk About Kevin
• Mia Wasikowska- Jane Eyre

Best Supporting Actress:

• Berenice Bejo- The Artist
• Jessica Chastain- The Help
• Melissa McCarthy- Bridesmaids
• Janet McTeer- Albert Nobbs
• Octavia Spencer- The Help*

Before the Awards season really began each actress, except for McTeer, had a shot at being the frontrunner and taking home the Oscar. Precursors pointed at a head to head match between McCarthy and Spencer with Chastain as a dark horse. But when Spencer began winning award after award, it was clear who the winner at the Oscars would be.

Berenice Bejo gave a wonderful and delightful performance in the best film of the year. It was easy to assume that Bejo would be the frontrunner in this category given how much love The Artist had with critics. Her performance was quirky, subtle, and emotional when it needed to be, and reminded us all why we love silent film. But in the end, she never had a shot of winning with great performances from McCarthy and Spencer being nominated against her.

Jessica Chastain has had one hell of a year. In interviews she’s always baffled that all of her films came out in the same year, but what a body of work. Her work in The Help was definitely the comic relief it needed. Aside from Aibileen and Minny, Celia Foote was a wonderfully written character and Chastain pulled it off with such spunk. Many say she deserved her supporting nomination from The Tree of Life but I think The Help is where she truly shined. She has proven the type of actress she is and we will see much more of her in the future.

Like Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, Melissa McCarthy proved that when you put the work and dedication into making a character into a hilarious scene stealer, you’ll get rewarded. The Academy isn’t big on honoring anything comedic but McCarthy deserved her nomination for Bridesmaids. She took the role of Megan and turned her into a true and memorable character. I felt very strongly about McCarthy because this is a woman who has been around for many, many years playing unforgettable background characters and paying her dues in this industry. She earned that nomination by never giving up and always striving to create great unique characters. Many enjoyed her performance and hoped her name would be in the envelope Oscar night.

Janet McTeer never had a shot at winning. Glenn Close and Janet McTeer were the only reasons to watch Albert Nobbs. Both characters are masquerading as men and share a very touching scene together towards the end of the film. If Close had managed to pick up any awards for Albert Nobbs, McTeer might’ve had a chance.

Nothing was going to stop Octavia Spencer from winning that Oscar. Spencer gave a standout performance in The Help by making the film painful, delightful and fascinating all at the same time. She brought drama and sass to a touching story and turned out to be the winning character in the end.  Spencer is another actress who has worked very hard to get her name out there and she finally did it. Wonderful performance and very much deserved.

Who I wanted to win: Melissa McCarthy- Bridesmiads
Who deserved to win: Octavia Spencer- The Help

Snubs:

• Sandra Bullock- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
• Jessica Chastain- The Tree of Life
• Bryce Dallas Howard- The Help
• Carey Mulligan- Shame
• Shailene Woodly- The Descendants

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. Hope you enjoyed this edition of Oscarettes!!