Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pretentious Film Awards 2009--Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Pretentious Film Awards! Like last year, the first category to be announced is Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. And the reliable women are:

Jennifer Coolidge in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Years of reliable yet undemanding supporting work may still have made this turn surprising for some people who don't realize how tonally perfect and welcome she is here.

Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
For imbuing what could read as a stock character with a predictable plot "twist" (Oh my God, she's married?!) with intelligence, sexiness and zeal. I called this wrong. I NEVER thought the Academy would go for something this finely hewned and understated. And they (probably...knock on wood) will.

Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air
For imbuing an unnecessarily and unrealistically obnoxiously written character with humanity, layers and heart. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Mo'Nique - Precious
The film sidesteps one of Mary's greatest transgressions in Sapphire's novel, possibly glossing it over because the audience may not be able to handle it. Therein lay a great challenge for any actor. Horrifyingly portray an unspeakable act that takes place off screen. And yet, for all of Mary's frighteningly loud hostility (handled with aplomb), Mo'Nique provides unprecedented chills with a hauntingly pitch-perfect reading of "Come take care of mommy, Precious."

Samantha Morton - The Messenger
For wisely resisting the urge to overplay the sadness and resignation. Her scene in the mall is memorable and miraculously never dips into realms of preachiness. She deftly handles a role that could have read as ill-fitting as her character's clothing.

Diane Kruger and Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds. Both are sensational and handle Quentin Tarantino's dialogue with skill and finesse. But how to choose between naughty fun treason and quiet meticulous vengeance, respectively? Marion Cotillard is fabulous in Nine, both comparatively and in her own right.

Kate del Castillo can't really keep up with Tilda Swinton in Julia, but she puts forth a valiant and respectable effort. Rosamund Pike is a welcome breath of fresh air in An Education, even if it happens to be all surface.

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