Judi Dench: Mrs. Henderson Presents
Charlize Theron: North Country
Keira Knightley: Pride & Prejudice
Felicity Huffman: Transamerica
Reese Witherspoon: Walk the Line (winner)
Since I’ve started this project, I haven’t missed a Friday and I won’t start now, even if my regular blogging will be down to one or two movies per week. It seems like 2005 is one of those years where the Academy had to stretch a little to fill the nominations. I genuinely like only a couple of these as potential winners, but there’s not a ton of actress performances I would think about adding. I might consider Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener at least as a performance I like better than one or two of the nominations, but she won in a supporting role. I love Catherine Keener in Capote, but she was rightly nominated in a supporting role. The other movies from 2005 that I like (Brokeback Mountain, Good Night and Good Luck as examples) are male-dominated and feature good female roles, but not in leading parts.
Weeding through the Nominees
4. I think kind of the same thing about Reese Witherspoon and Walk the Line. It’s a good performance, but I don’t really see her as a winner. Again, I don’t really object to the nomination. I don’t know enough about June Carter Cash to know how accurate she is to the real person, but it’s a convincing performance. I guess I don’t object to her being on the list, but I genuinely don’t see how she won against a few of the other nominations here. Good shouldn’t be good enough to walk away with a statue.
3. I love me some Judi Dench and I enjoyed Mrs. Henderson Presents, but for the third time, I don’t see this as an Oscar-winning film. Dench is pretty much always worth watching, and I think in a lot of cases, when she’s in the movie someone is thinking that it’s nomination-worthy. There’s an earthiness to her performance and character here that comes across as natural, and that says a lot for Dench’s performance. I can’t put her above third, though, even though I’ll watch Judi Dench make spaghetti and consider myself entertained. Still, she’s not better than third.
2. Charlize Theron has rightly been nominated for a couple of Oscars and probably should have been nominated for a few more. North Country is not the sort of movie I would want to sit down and watch again any time soon, but Theron carries a great deal of it on her shoulders. She gets a lot of help from a very good supporting cast, but the story is hers and she handles it perfectly. Were it not for the last nomination here, I would hand this to Theron in a heartbeat, and she would be my choice in a few other years. It’s a genuinely great performance, but not quite good enough to win for this year.
1. Bluntly, Felicity Huffman got robbed. She is transcendent in Transamerica and this is even more surprising because it seems to come out of nowhere. I was more familiar with her in the television show Sports Night, and she’s generally better-known for Desperate Housewives. So where the hell did this performance come from? No matter where it did, Huffman’s portrayal of a pre- and post-operative transsexual is one of the truly great performances of its decade and the best single performance of its year. She should have won this in a walk with virtually no competition.