2013 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: These final weeks leading up to ballots being turned in for several voting bodies that include the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild, and my own two home field teams, the International Press Academy and Broadcast Film Critics Association; I have taken the opportunity to shine a light on several films, performances, and other craft aspects of the year’s films that need/deserve a push. Taking the place of the “Circuit Considerations” – which were run last year, screeners are in full force and many general audiences will likely never see any of these films. It could be because of simple unavailability in their areas or not knowing enough to seek it out.
I am a true admirer of the underdog and unsung heroes getting their deserved recognition, even if it doesn’t come from the actual voting bodies. When Charlize Theron won her deserved Oscar for Monster, rapturous applause filled the room each and every time she mentioned the work of her co-star Christina Ricci, who was equally as afflicting as her counterpart. Hilary Swank would perform a similar mention of co-star Chloe Sevingly during her speeches for Boys Don’t Cry.
This year, a searing performance exists in a film that will reap a lot of mentions during the season but not necessarily for the right reasons. John Wells’ August: Osage County is solidly made and afflicting film featuring one of the strongest cast ensembles of the year. Pundits alike are predicting Meryl Streep to receive her eighteenth Oscar nomination for her work as Violet Weston. On previous podcasts, we’ve spoken frankly about her work in the film and how the focus and success of the picture is being missed due to Streep’s awards magnetism. Julia Roberts revolutionizes her role as Barbara, bringing forth her finest work in over a decade. Yet, she will compete in Supporting Actress to face off against Margo Martindale, who has received some highlights from critics alike, when Roberts herself bleeds the definition of a leading role.
When I think back to Osage County, my fond memories are on the searing work of the beautiful Julianne Nicholson who is in desperate need of awards attention for her turn as Ivy Weston. Nicholson has been on the beat for years, performing and excelling in independent works but hasn’t had the true breakout role for her to be noticed. The emotional richness that Nicholson brings to Ivy is profoundly powerful, enlightening the darkly comic undertones and stealing focus from her mega co-stars Streep and Roberts. It also helps that Tracy Letts’ screenplay adaptation highlights masterfully on her relationship with both her mother and sisters, creating a window of opportunity to actually LIKE her character.
It also helps that Nicholson’s performance becomes fully enriched next to co-star Benedict Cumberbatch as Little Charles, who also deserves a mention in Best Supporting Actor. It’s in their lovely exchanges that the two become the true stars of August: Osage County, demanding the utmost respect from the audience, even though they’ll clearly disagree with their actions.
First catching my eye nearly seven years ago opposite Justin Kirk in Jeff Lipsky’s Flannel Pajamas, Nicholson has made her way onto television sets across America, currently on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” and has a promising future ahead of her, if given the opportunity.
A contending Supporting Actress nomination by several guilds would propel her into the status she achingly deserves and highlight the true brilliance of Wells’ family drama. If you’re looking at August: Osage County as simply the “Meryl Streep Hour” – you’re missing the point. Nicholson is the shining star.
Look for more FYC pleas over the next few weeks. Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments.