Another chapter about acting categories of upcoming “Oscars” will introduce ladies to the show. Some of them have already won the award and are considered legends and some are new faces among the nominees. Whoever wins the “Oscar” in this category will be interesting winner, but I have my list of favorites which will be explained in the following text. Nominees in this category are Emma Stone, Keira Knightley, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette. If leading actor was a difficult category to choose because of exquisite performance from all included nominees, this is difficult for all another reason. Here, I really don’t see any performance which was so good that I would consider it much better than the rest. Let’s start and I’ll try to explain why.
Meryl Streep: When I heard that Meryl was nominated for her performance in “Into the Woods” I said at half-jokingly: “I will put Meryl on the nominees list every year until she retires. I will probably be right every single time, because she just must be nominated in every movie she makes.” I haven’t seen “Into the woods” at the time, but after I have seen the movie I must say that this nomination was totally undeserved. Yes, Meryl was an ideal cast for the role of the witch in the movie and her performance was memorable, but I don’t see that performance as good enough to be nominated. Meryl was good, but she is always good that was never in question, but I think that this year, her name should’ve been omitted from the list. She had better roles which went without the award, and in that context nominee is given just to beat her own record.
Keira Knightley: For me personally Keira Knightley was the weakest acting ling of “Imitation Game”. Her performance lacked acting depth of her male counterparts and in the specific scene near the end in which she confronts Turing, already beaten by the press and his own depression, her performance showed all weaknesses in that regard. I can’t think any reason why she should win the “Oscar”. Her role was cliché, it wasn’t convinced into her emotions and I don’t think that specific performance did deserve to win, all things considered.
Laura Dern: Proclaimed as “the movie mother of the year”, Laura Dern spent 2014 fighting cancer on the screen. In “Wild” and “The Fault In Our Stars” she played an emotional character whose hopes were crushed by sneaky and fatal disease. In the beginning of “Wild” Bobbi (Dern’s character) is an ambitious mother and she handles college and motherhood in style. In a very emotional scene she talks to Cheryl about Erica Jong and when her son comes to the house asking for dinner, she cooks the dinner for him saying “if I can’t be a mother at the same time I’m not in college either”. Cheryl and Bobbi talked in the scene about “zipless sex” and their relationship was “zipless” and open like that of a friend, more friend than mother and daughter. Her character development in “Wild” is stunning and for me she’s one of the best plot devices in this year’s “Oscar season”. She would be my first likely candidate for the award, together with the next two actresses.
Emma Stone: Emma Stone had a nice little role in “Birdman”. She played Riggan’s daughter and she was likeable from the start to the very end of the movie. In an emotional conflict scene when Riggan finds marijuana in her possession to the problems of father daughter relationship Stone grows with the movie. Her conversations with Edward Norton on the top of the theatre were whole new drama within the basic plot of the movie. Artistic spit from the top of the building at the head of an average Joe symbolized the art made for people who can understand it, art above the ordinary which is also true enough to take the risk. Stone was a nice surprise for me and her acting was emotional when it needed to be and devilish too when the pilot asked her about it. Wonderful in all aspects and my second favorite for the award.
Patricia Arquette: For me, Arquette’s character was the central character of “Boyhood”. She grew up with her children and she became a college professor with a degree in psychology. She managed a bunch of psychopaths, molesters and drunkards, but she pulled through. She sent her children to college and she succeeded to find her ground in all of the sand that life threw at her. In 12 yearlong span of “Boyhood”, Arquette’s acting was consistent, her “mom” act was convincing and I would like to mention her quote to Samantha:
“Why don’t you say goodbye to that little horseshit attitude, okay, because we’re not taking that in the car.”
That sounded so real to me, along with “smashed head up the wall” quote that after the movie I was sure she was my “Oscar” favorite.
None of these performances, however, is not in the range of those which they male counterparts gave. Simmons and Norton in particular. However, I managed to make the list. Leading actresses are much more interesting with some great performances along the way and some that aren’t even nominated, but I’ll cover that in the next chapter of this “Oscar” warm-up.