Suzanne Clément in Laurence Anyways (Best Actress):
Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan is starting to show signs of becoming the world’s next highly-respected auteur, even at the young age of 24. Dolan’s movies have a visual flow and pop to them, but he never forgets his characters. More importantly, neither do his actors. Clément, a regular collaborator with Dolan, plays the highly frustrated Fred in Dolan’s newest gem Laurence Anyways. After Fred’s boyfriend Laurence reveals to her that he’s always felt like a woman deep down and wants to make a physical transformation to birth this inner truth out into the open, naturally Fred’s world becomes out of whack. She copes for a while, then goes ballistic following the couple’s encounter with a bigoted old waitress at a restaurant. It’s there that Fred buckles under the cruelty of society, not wanting any part of the laughs or insults thrown her way on a constant basis. Clément’s range as an actress — to go to so many emotional places with such passion and intensity — is astonishing. There are times when you find it difficult to like Fred, but Clément invigorates this character with such a feverishly intoxicating demeanor that even when you are sickened by the barbs she slings at Laurence, you cannot help but want to forgive Frank immediately, knowing she’s just too good to be so cruel.
Daniel and I both reviewed Laurence Anyways at the respective festivals we covered for the site, and so we’ll sum up our love for Clément like so:
Daniel Ashtiany on Suzanne Clément: “If I could give out an Oscar today it would go to Clément, who if justice was ever to be done in the Oscar race, would see herself firmly at the front of the pack. What she produces here contains such raw power and emotional ferocity that I found myself completely in awe of her. Not once but twice during the film I wanted to stand up and applaud her unflinching treatment of this difficult role, for it was not Laurence that I found myself drawn to, but Fred.”
Joseph Braverman on Suzanne Clément: “As Daniel will most likely attest, the most profound moment in the film occurs at a diner restaurant. What makes the scene so authentic is that you feel your blood rise as the waitress pesters Laurence about his new female attire. As an audience member, you want to shout and scream at the waitress for her cruel-intentioned questions and complete ignorance, but then Fred does it for you and you sit in utter disbelief, thinking: “Is this really happening?” Suzanne Clément delivers the best female performance of the entire year (unarguable, sorry) in this very scene, so vehemently channeled that it will arouse a great feeling of pride — pride for the acting and pride for Dolan’s emancipatory writing…I’d give Suzanne Clément the Oscar for ‘Best Actress’ without a millisecond’s hesitation.”
How’s that for an endorsement, AMPAS? With Laurence Anyways‘ recent U.S. theatrical release (June 28th in select theaters!), Suzanne Clément is eligible to be a “Best Actress” nominee at the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. All she requires is a full campaign and the kind of support she received from the jury at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. That same jury came together and rewarded her “Best Actress” for Dolan’s film, which competed in the Un Certain Regard section of the fest. Like Ryo Kase, I feel the need to stand my ground and make some noise about how unfortunate it would be if a foreign performance of this magnitude falls through the cracks.
That is all for my list of 10 performances from the first half of 2013 that AMPAS must not ignore. What are some other underrated, invisible, or long-shot contenders/performances you’ve seen this year that you feel deserve a proper awards campaign or Oscar® nomination?
Discuss below in the comments, and feel free to also unveil your actual ten favorite performances of the year as well!