Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kate Winslet's Year of Disappointing Victories

I didn't run out and watch all the Best Picture nominations from 2008 because I wasn't interested in three of them. I thought Frost/Nixon looked boring, so I still haven't watched it. Slumdog Millionaire always looked like an overly fun romp in the East for even the dimmest audiences. Boy was I right. And The Reader seemed like Oscar bait all the way, which I'll get to later. Of the two I was interested in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was terrible, and the more I think about Milk the less of an impact it's leaving on me, though it had some amazing performances. After There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton and Atonement rounding out the 2007 line-up it was a bloody defeat to people with exactly my taste in film everywhere.

Kate Winslet was pleased.

Unfortunately for Kate she cashed in her acting chips on performances in the stylish but gripey Revolutionary Road and long, uninteresting The Reader. In a year bristling with mediocre films Winslet finally got the Academy recognition she deserved not for her roles in those films, but for outstanding performances in better films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Little Children years before. If I were her I'd be right pissed.

In Revolutionary Road, which won her a Golden Globe for Best Actress, Winslet ejaculates an almost non-stop stream of nags and insults atop Leonardo DiCaprio because of the crushing pain suburban life is causing her. Her range in this film is moot. She screams, and screeches, and has to act flirtatious or uncomfortable a handful of scenes, but this performance an award-win does not make.

In The Reader, which won her not only a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, but a whole Academy Award for Best Actress, her performance is about as good as any highschooler trying to put on an accent in the Spring play. She's angry, occasionally sexy, and then bitter and sad. Maybe confused once or twice. But her performance is as forgettable for me as the film is whenever I try to list all the Best Picture contenders.

Why did she have to go and break her bridesmaid-never-bride award streak with these, is what I'm asking. Can't they retroactively award her for the performances that actually mattered, that actually prove she's a worthy actress?


- Eric T. Voigt, Just Thinkin' Out Loud

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