Best Actress 2006

1998 through 2007

Best Actress 2006

Penelope Cruz - Volver
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet  Little Children
Total votes: 64

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Re: Best Actress 2006

Postby Cinephile12 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:22 pm

Great lineup, which is rare.

5. Penelope Cruz - Volver.

She's actually very good and would have been a lovely winner in other years. But this is more Almodovar's achievement than Cruz's. She's luminous and carries the film wonderfully, but she's also kinda miscast and both her and Pedro rely too much on her "hotness". Which is fine, but I think that - despite her very strong and impressive work - both Carmen Maura and Blanca Portillo are the MVP of the film.

4. Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears Prada.

This is actually one of Streep's best nominated performances. But she's supporting here. There's limited character development, and it's Hathaway's story. She's deliciously icy and gives a hilarious yet brilliantly controlled performance. She's quite unlucky because there are three career-best turns from Dench, Winslet and Mirren.

3. Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal.

Judi's best performance to date. Deliciously evil, menacing, lonely, pathetic and disgusting at the same time. I love Dame Judi but never found her Oscar-worthy. This is an Oscar-caliber performance, though. If I could give a three-way tie to Dench, Mirren and Winslet, I'd do it. But I can't. The campy quality of her film makes me put her at #3.

2. Helen Mirren - The Queen.

Mirren is terrific. Here you have an example of an extremely talented actress giving an exceptionally technical performance, without overdoing it at all. If anything, Mirren's performance is triumphantly subtle and quiet. I do think her film is quite entertaining, but lacks depth. There are several moments when it feels like a TV movie (Frears' direction is rather dull really). She's a fantastic winner and the best winner of the decade. Quite easily.

1. Kate Winslet - Little Children.

This should have been Winslet's Oscar (or maybe second Oscar, because that woman was absolutely sublime in Campion's "Holy Smoke" and Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"). Now, "Little Children" is a very interesting film, but the execution itself is a mixed bag. The film is inconsistent and doesn't really know where it's heading. Is this a sarcastic social commentary? An erotic thriller? Alas, it turns from a sophisticated art film to an over-the-top ridiculous film in a matter of seconds!
Still, Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley are brilliant. Winslet is terrific. She creates such a complex character despite the lack of strong material. Her Sarah Pierce is a sad loner, a shy dreamer. When she buys that bathing suit, her facial expressions are priceless. Her comic timing when she's spying on Wilson and Connelly is fantastic. The fascination and desire during the more sensual moments are beautifully portrayed. Her snobbish attitude towards the lousy neighbors, her neglect to her child, the contrast between her intellectualism and her immature choices, the final breakdown in the playground. This is one of the richest, and most complex nominated performances. It's this kaleidoscope of various emotions and dimensions that makes me put her at #01. Exquisite performance.

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Re: Best Actress 2006

Postby bizarre » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:15 am

1. Judi Dench
2. Penélope Cruz
3. Helen Mirren
4. Kate Winslet
5. Meryl Streep

Dench is tops for me. A camp classic after only a few years in existence, but Dench grounds her character's shenanigans in real need. It is surprising revisiting this film and seeing how deep she dug here.

I'm not generally a fan of Almodovar's pictures or the performances he gets from his actors, but Cruz was very good, natural (quelle surprise!) but with a hardness that I was surprised to see in her. And, yeah, she lip-synched, but it was still breathtaking. A nice nomination, but this was a weak year - no one out of this five really stood a chance.

Helen Mirren's film and performance were a letdown after the massive hype, but revisiting them she really doesn't do anything too new. It is fairly standard mimicry with some standard-issue 'quiet moments' chucked in there, but even where the script makes allowances for more subtly actorly innovations Mirren manages to reestablish the 'showcase' in irritating ways. She manages to overplay underplaying, basically the exact opposite of what she achieved in Gosford Park (probably my favourite of her performances, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I just don't like her acting very much).

Winslet works hard against a script and a director seemingly hellbent on sabotaging any chances the film or its actors have at being successful. That being said, she's miscast, never finds the magnetism that the character is supposed to have (she substitutes a sort of sarcastic detachment that is funny at points but... doesn't make a good stand-in for sexy and adrift) nor does she generate chemistry with Paul Wilson (though, in her defense, who could?). This was yet another role that fed into her 'free spirit' persona but this time she just couldn't cut it, and coming down from Eternal Sunshine especially the cracks really do show.

Not on the Streep train with this one, no sirree, I find her character's icy, bored demeanour to provoke the same feelings towards the film in me. Regal and bitchy can be done well if you relax enough to avoid blocking connection with your costars, but Streep once again overthinks everything. Not once, however, does she think out of the box - the result is a comedy performance that isn't funny, and only has 'emotional depth' because the writer included one scene where Miranda isn't spitting pithy putdowns at her subordinates. The scene in the limo with Hathaway is like soap opera acting. Blame the box office for this nomination.

My personal nominees:

1. Amber Tamblyn, in "Stephanie Daley"
2. Judi Dench, in "Notes on a Scandal"
3. Jennifer Aniston, in "Friends with Money"
4. Hannah Herzsprung, in "Four Minutes"
5. Ashley Judd, in "Bug"

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Postby flipp525 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:03 am

The Original BJ wrote:That's all.

Ha! I just got this!
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Postby Precious Doll » Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:25 am

Great line up which included 4 career best performances.
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Postby ITALIANO » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:24 am

The outcome was, by Oscar night, definitely predictable and even tiresome - but when it's an actress like Helen Mirren, nobody should complain, especially these days. A good, subtle performance, as one should expect from her; I'm sure that she could do even more, but that wasn't the movie - or the role - where it could have happened, and it's still one of the best Best Acress Oscars in recent memory.

The others didn't have a chance, but were generally good or very good. And this was the year when one of the best directors ever of actresses finally saw one of his stars getting a nod. Penelope Cruz succeeded where Carmen Maura, Marisa Paredes and others had failed, and for reasons which don't have much to do with talent. But she's good in Volver (sexy, I don't know - I'd say it's more like a good imitation of sexy).

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Postby Hustler » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:53 pm

Mirren´s finest performance.

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Postby Big Magilla » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:52 pm

Mirren had long been regarded as a marvelously versatile actress. Her characters and corresponding performances in her most celebrated works, Cal; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; Gosford Park and TV's Prime Suspect and Elizabeth I were all very different. She seemed to be able to play anything except a quietly dignified woman. That she could bring off such a subtle, nuanced, revelatory portrayal of a public figure we all thought we knew, was more than we ever thought possible. It was astounding, the one unanimously rewarded performance of the decade worthy of the accolades.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:12 pm

Big Magilla wrote:there was a reason Mirren won everything is sight this year. She was simply fantastic in a role unlike anything she had ever played before or is likely to play again.

And this is the part I truly don't get. Even were I to have voted for Mirren -- and she was under consideration -- I'd have selected the performance as representative work, well within the range I'd expect of Helen Mirren. The "seeing god/something brand new" reaction you describe is something I'd reserve for very few performances: Taylor in Virginia Woolf, Fonda in Klute, Swank in Boys Don't Cry, Moore in Far from Heaven. That people put this solid but muted work into that category is what I can't grasp.

Maybe, like Dench '97 and Blanchett '98, it's another case of royal worship.

Damien, it sounds as if you were familiar with Notes on a Scandal as a novel, and we all know that affects one's response to a film. It just surprises me you see Eyre's take on it as serious. I, like others here, saw it as a hoot from start to finish (I also echo Okri: I like the movie on the whole alot). I'd found Iris so dour I openly wondered where Eyre had gone to learn about comedy and pacing in the intervening years.

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Postby Okri » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:29 am

I don't get Cruz. I don't see how everyone suddenly fell for her. She's sexy in Volver, and Volver's is a fine enough film, I suppose, but nothing incredible. I'm still startled that she has three nominations this decade.

Winslet is interesting. The film is not.

Streep is good. The film isn't anything special.

So it's between Dench and Mirren. Like everyone else, Dench surprised the hell out of me. I'm still startled by her vicious performance. But I also really like Notes on a Scandal as a movie. The Queen is a lesser film, truth be told. It plays like a TV movie and has very limited terrain. I've only seen it once and have no desire to revisit it (especially in light of Morgan's later writing). But Mirren is indeed wonderful.

Oh, and I'm glad to see Damien mention Julia Jentsch. Along with Sandra Huller in Requiem, my favourite performance of the year.

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Postby mlrg » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:24 am

Helen Mirren - The Queen

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Postby Reza » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:56 am

What a relief to come across a good list after the last few years.

Voted for Mirren. She perfectly captures the Queen's vulnerability and makes her human.........NOT something apparent from the monarch's public persona.

Dench and Streep are a hoot and Cruz very sexy a la Sophia Loren. I like Winslet........PERIOD.

My top 5:
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Kate Winslet, Little Children

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Postby Eric » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:19 am

Cruz. An astonishingly sexy performance. Not a major fan of Mirren's performance here (she'd come in 4th for me), but only Winslet's really doesn't belong here. And it might just be my overall antipathy toward the film talking.

My top five would be:

Penelope Cruz, Volver
Laura Dern, Inland Empire
Luminita Gheorghiu, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
Catherine O'Hara, For Your Consideration
Amy Sedaris, Strangers with Candy

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Postby Damien » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:26 pm

Mirren's is a great, seamless performance, and she gets my vote, although Streep is a close second. She's priceless, a terrific comic bitch performance, although the movie is only surface deep.

Volver is ingenious, fun and surprisingly moving, but Cruz here seems to be used well by Almodovar rather than contributing much in the way of acting chops.

The other two are in dreadful films. Little Children is an utterly banal movie brimming with tired, ham-fisted, cliched misanthrophy. Once again, it's mundane hell in suburbia, with only Jennifer Connelly creating anything like a real person. Winslet's lousy, facile performance is perfectly in keeping with the smugness of the whole damn enterprise.

Notes On A Scandal is entertaining but makes little sense. This is preposterous material that could only work as absurdist or black comedy (which the novel was), but Richard Eyre directs it humorlessly as slice-of-life realism/psychological drama. And its misanthrophy is as wearisome as that in Little Children. As for Dench, what might have been a memorable comic performance in the proper circumstances only comes off as off-kilter and ludicrous.

My Own Top 5:
1. Julia Jentsch, in Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
2. Maggie Cheung in Clean
3. Helen Mirren in The Queen
4. Maggie Gyllenhaal in Sherrybaby
5. Kirsten Durst in Marie Antoinette
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Postby Big Magilla » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:25 pm

I agree all five nominees were deserving. This was the strongest group of the decade with Dench, Cruz, Winslet and Streep giving the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th best performances of the year, but there was a reason Mirren won everything is sight this year. She was simply fantastic in a role unlike anything she had ever played before or is likely to play again.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:59 pm

Well, I'm one of the cranky ones, so annoyed by Mirren's putsch through the entire awards season that I voted for someone else.

This was the best year for mainstream women's performances this decade. In addition to the five nominees -- all of whom deserved their slots -- Naomi Watts gave a full-bodied performance in The Painted Veil that surely would have been noted most other years. (Even if the film itself was old-fashioned and faintly dull) It was bizarre to me to watch every critics' group act as if no one else had done a movie that year. A favorite memory of that season was at the BAFTAs, when Ricky Gervais opened the envelope for best animated feature and read out "Helen Mirren...this is getting ridiculous"

As for the competition: I'm right with BJ on Penelope Cruz -- I'd never got her appeal even a little, but in Volver I thought she was sensational. She hasn't matched the performance in English yet (though I don't share the hatred many have here for Vicky Christina), but this film alone makes me take her seriously.

Winslet is somewhat miscast -- her character should be the sort of frizzy-haired ethnic for whom Patrick Wilson represents the unattainable WASP ideal, and Winslet, try as she might, can't be un-beautiful or un-WASP. But she breezes past that by showing the restless soul underneath. This is a far better performance than the one for which Winslet was later awarded.

Meryl Streep is flat wonderful as Miranda Priestly -- not just slyly funny much of the time, but hugely touching in her more serious scenes. I was mad enough she lost this year; had Prada been the vehicle rather than Julie and Julia, I'd have hurled things at the screen. I agree with BJ: her best work this decade, even slightly above Adaptation.

Mirren is just fine, no doubt. I understood the impulse to lionize an actress who's done so much good work in the past decades (and carried the colors for older actresses in the bargain). I wouldn't lead any campaign to strip her of her Oscar. But, again, the lemming-like unanimity of the prize-giving struck me as faintly mad.

So I vote for Dench. A year prior (and some other years, too), I was annoyed with Dench being given a spot by rote. But here she did something very new and inventive -- created a character I'd never before seen from her. I think it's her best work since she emerged to the mainstream a decade or so ago, and worthy of my vote in this year.

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