Categories One-by-One: Best Actress

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Postby Zahveed » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:11 pm

A win for Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side feels like a win for Sarah Palin in anything. It feels dirty.
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Postby Hustler » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:40 pm

I can´t believe that guys! Bullock at the top of predictions? OMG! something serious is happening at the academy. Members are are on the verge of loosing prestige with that commercial vote. Yesterday, while watching the luncheon on internet, when Bullock´s name was pronounced, she received such a big ovation that I started to get goose pimples!. This situation made me think undoubtedly that we have peers voting for peers. No matter your talent. Members follow the "It´s your time" principle, so they are consequent with this conception.

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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:29 pm

OscarGuy wrote:She pulls the audience into her character and brings them along for the ride, even if it isn't the ride anyone wants.

It had this effect on you maybe, but certainly not on me and many others. You are talking about your feelings and your emotions here, Oscar Guy, and this is very nice, very honest even, but of course it doesnt have anything to do with the performance itself - which is objectively unimpressive (and I'm being kind).

I'm not as anti-American as you are, so I still stubbornly want to think that in the end a much better actress will win, for a much better (though definitely not great) acting turn. But it will be a very close race, and in the end, sadly, you could even be right.

Bullock is a pleasant screen presence, and while she will never be a very good actress, I'm sure that in the right role she could give a bearable, mildly interesting performance. A daring director might even one day show us a darker, unexpected side in her irritatingly wholesome persona, with intriguing results. But this hasn't happened in safe, schmaltzy The Blind Side; and yes, compared to Bullock in this movie, Halle Berry and Charlize Theron are Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn.

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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:55 pm

I don't think this will be Bullock's only real chance. As with BJ, I also said the same about Bullock's chances from Infamous forward. While I don't think Bullock's was the performance of the year, I also don't think what Streep does deserves the honor either.

The reason both actresses are receiving attention is that their films would be useless crap without them (I know people here hate The Blind Side, generally, so I really don't need you to debate the quality of the film with me). But a lot of people see The Blind Side as being nothing without the charm and wit of Sandra Bullock. It's not a challenging role by any stretch of the imagination. But, what she does with it is certainly strong and the sign of a wonderful actress (and I do mean sign of a great actress, not a great performance).

I'm not saying this is the best performance of the year and I'm not debating the quality of the film. I'm just looking at it from an angle no one here is. Most people here loathe the film and thus they don't like Bullock in it because they can't see it as anything more than a glorified Lifetime movie. I get that.

But if you step outside your own personal opinions of the film and her performance, perhaps you can see what people see in it. I'm not discounting the box office sensation equation at all. I'm positive that has some measure of impact on the race. But, I think what people see in Bullock is that she carries the film like a seasoned veteran. She pulls the audience into her character and brings them along for the ride, even if it isn't the ride anyone wants. It may not be a classic performance for the ages and it won't be held highly on this board, or very many places at all, but it is definitely the kind of performance that I can see winning the Oscar and think will.
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Postby Heksagon » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:32 pm

Looks like this is going to be the most interesting category this year.

At the moment, I'm tilting towards Bullock to win. I'm sure that the Academy liked her film a lot more than what the people on this board did, and I'm also pretty sure that the voters hold Bullock's career in a higher esteem than what the people here do.

Besides, Streep will likely get another chance at winning sooner or later, but for Bullock this may be the only real chance she will ever get.

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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:02 pm

First of all, I agree with dws that any clamoring that Bullock is somehow "beneath" the Best Actress Oscar is offensive, given where that prize has gone lately. Personally, I liked her in Infamous, and remember writing in my review of that film that if she continued with these kind of roles, she could certainly earn a nomination or even an Oscar. What I object to is a win for a film as loathsome as The Blind Side, and for a performance I don't find remotely impressive.

Obviously, depending on how much you hate Monster/Monster's Ball, your opinions may vary, but for me, Theron and Berry's performances in those films were way above Bullock's in Blind Side. I have to agree with Mister Tee here -- performance alone was definitely not what got these actresses their trophies, but the performances themselves were pretty praised in some quarters. Berry won NBR, and Theron won NSFC, and even if I didn't agree with the Roger Ebert-led edict that both were among the greatest performances in film history, you could tell those rooting for these actresses did because they genuinely were impressed by the performances (even if not everyone here was.)

As far as Bullock goes, it seems that the performance itself isn't even a factor here -- folks want her to win because she's cute and popular and she was in a movie that made a ton of movie and she'll look great on the red carpet and give a touching speech. Very few people seem to be promoting this win because they thought she gave a great performance, which is probably what bothers me most about all this nonsense. (By comparison, although I rooted against Marion Cotillard in '07, I understand why people thought that performance deserved a Best Actress trophy. With Bullock, I'm still waiting for someone to explain why they think this is the greatest performance by an actress this year!?)

I think what's really frustrating about Best Actress recently is that we've seen a number of totally lightweight actresses, who have never remotely been seen as great thesps, take on one dramatic role in a serious movie (though even that term's stretching it with Blind Side) and win an Oscar for it. Meanwhile, actresses like Julianne Moore and Michelle Pfeiffer (and others), who can do greater work in their sleep, struggle to win trophies because their work isn't seen as "revelatory," or "as great as they could be." (Notice which actresses weren't nominated this year?)

Edited By The Original BJ on 1266341742

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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:27 am

Where I'd disagree with you, dws, is this: while I don't think Berry or Theron are especially good actresses, and don't consider their winning performances the breakthroughs that many obviously did, I can at least see what many voters THOUGHT they saw in their work -- both Monster's Ball and Monster offered significant, attention-getting change of pace for their lead actresses, roles that were bound to get notice of some kind (if not quite as much as they did). For the life of me I can't see what's comparably special about Bullock's performance, beyond the gross of the movie that contains it. It's a slightly quieter version of the Bullock shtik, this time lashed to a social-uplift story rather than a romantic comedy. In a mildly better year, there's no way she'd be nominated.

I've been vocally annoyed with the many comparisons to Roberts in Erin Brockovich. I think it's a specious comparison, given that Brockovich was vastly more critically acclaimed, and Roberts herself was singled out by many critics' groups, including LA, whereas Bullock wasn't even mentioned prior to the dread Broadcasters.

But, by chance, the other day I ran across what I do think is an analogous best actress choice. A popular, spunky actress whose roles had never brought her near the Oscars previously, in a corny but popular film where she gets to tell off some snooty people. Your precedent for a Bullock Oscar: Ginger Rogers in Kitty Foyle.

But, like Magilla, I don't think Bullock's going to pull it off in the end. She's certainly more in it than I expected a month or so ago, but I believe cooler heads will prevail, that the nomination will ultimately be deemed enough by most voters, and that the long-long-long-overdue status of Streep will bring her to the stage one more time.

But of course it's the one acting category about which there is any suspense at this point.

Edited By Mister Tee on 1266340259

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Postby dws1982 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:38 am

I still say Bullock wins, inciting yet another barrage of middlebrow snobbery at the fact that an actress such as Bullock could win such a prestigious award, an award that was previously given to such brilliant thespians as Halle Berry and Charlize Theron.

I guess Meryl will have to wait again. I don't think Bullock's a lock, but I'd bet on her.

Edited By dws1982 on 1266332027

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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:21 am

Who says we have to save the best for last?

No other race this year has generated more talk than Best Actress.

Early on the internet was abuzz with predictions of a slam dunk win for newbie Carey Mulligan in An Education with relative newbie Abbie Cornish in Bright Star her biggest threat.

The early precursors dampened both ladies' chances and the televised ones - The Broadcast Film Critics, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards - dashed Mulligan's hope of a win and ended all talk of Cornish.

Suddenly what was old was new again. Perennial nominee Meryl Streep scored the biggest haul of precursors for her impersonation of Julia Child in her half of Julie and Julia. Her biggest threat was not Mulligan or Gabourey Sidibe, the other hot newcomer from Precious, but middle-aged light comedy star Sandra Bullock acting her age for the first time in her career while bringing in tons of moolah at the box office in her portrayal of a real life mother who opens her home and her heart to a disadvantaged football player in The Blind Side.

After her surprise tie win with Streep at the Broadcast Critics Awards, her unsurprising co-win with Streep at the Globes and her triumph over Streep at the SAG Awards, those pesty pundits were now proclaiming Bullock the one to beat for the Oscar.

But not so fast. There are five ladies in this contest.

Helen Mirren, who won her first Oscar on her third nomination for The Queen just three years ago was an also-ran at the Globes and SAGs and completely ignored by the Broadcast Critics for her showy role as Leo Tolstoy's tempestuous wife in The Last Station. She probably has the slimmest chance of all of winning this year.

Carey Mulligan, who was very good as the gamine in An Education, was unfairly compared to the young Audrey Hepburn, an impossible reputation to sustain. At this point she will most likely have to prove herself in another role for the skeptics to be convinced that she is an award caliber star.

Gabourey Sidibe came out of nowhere to spellbind audiences with her portrayal of the hapless put-upon teen mother in Precious. It's a tough role and she handles it with the expertise of a seasoned actress. With her co-star Mo'Nique virtually assured of a Supporting Actress Oscar, it's conceivable she could give the film a one-two punch win in both female acting categories, but only if the front-runners cancel each other out and I don't see that happening.

Sandra Bullock has had the kind of success last year most actors only dream about. She's been around since the late 1980s and a major star since 1994's Speed, but she's never been considered a serious awards contender until now. Hers is the kind of Cinderella story that tends to win Oscars, especially in this category from 1997 on.

Meryl Streep is now the most nominated performer of all time. She broke Katharine Hepburn's record of 12 nominations with her 13th for Adaptation seven years ago. This year she breaks Hepburn's record of the most nominations in a leading category with her 16th nomination overall.

Last year it seemed Streep would win her third Oscar, her first in twenty-six years for Doubt, but Kate Winslet's highly anticipated Supporting Actress nomination for The Reader came in the lead category instead and the six time nominee won an easy victory over perennial nominee Streep.

This year started out looking like it might be the one in which Streep finally gets that elusive third Oscar but Bullock's sudden pull from behind has put her chances in jeopardy once again.

I was the first here to predict a win for Bullock back in November. I still have the scars from the bricks you guys through at me. But that was then, this is now.

The Johnny-come-lately pundits may be calling Bullock the front-runner now, but not me. She has had a nice ride, but it ended with the SAG Awards.

My current prediction: Streep will win her third Oscar and Bullock will lead the standing ovation which will be among the most heartfelt and sustained in Oscar history.

Edited By Big Magilla on 1266382804
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