Film & Television

Oscar’s Women: This Year’s Best of the Best

Our list of nominees is rounded out by Hollywood’s darling, Jennifer Lawrence, another young but tremendously talented actress. Lawrence is that rare Tinseltown phenomenon: a billion-dollar box office draw with genuine acting chops. She won our notice with her work in gritty indie Winter’s Bone — and our hearts when she tripped up the stairs to accept her Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook. As the mother of a teen, I’ll be forever grateful that she refused to lose weight to play Katniss Eberdeen in the dystopian megahit Hunger Games. This year, Lawrence single-handedly saved the otherwise jumbled and lackluster Joy. But, it wasn’t her breakout in the way that Room and Brooklyn were for their two young stars. So, I don’t expect this to be her year at the Oscars. Not to worry, she has many more ahead of her.

The Best Supporting Actress category represents equally fine performances in somewhat smaller roles. The critics’ frontrunner is another exceptional young actress, Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. It was her performance, and not that of the “girl” herself, Eddie Redmayne, that I found most moving. As the wife of an early twentieth century transexual, Vikander helps us understand how intense passion and equally intense disbelief can galvanize into unwavering support and unconditional love. In her capable hands, we don’t just understand it; we believe it.

Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (who, by the way also holds an Emmy, a Grammy and four Golden Globes) is nominated for her work in Steve Jobs. Winslet is certainly an A-List actress (and has been for virtually all of her career). But like Blanchett in the other category, it’s tough for her to exceed our expectations — she’s already set our expectations so damn high. In the current movie, she plays Joanna Hoffman, Macintosh’s chief marketer and the woman Jobs referred to as his “work wife.” It’s a role that Winslet pursued aggressively and she, as always, turns in solid work. Read More »

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