Last week we looked into this years’ nominations for Best Lead Actor and picked our favorite. Now it’s the ladies turn! Here are our personal favorite from this years’ nominees for Best Lead Actress, and the roles that stood out most in our minds.
I have truly appreciated Julianne Moore’s varied and eclectic performances throughout her career. Whether she is a bizarre performance painter looking to have a child with The Dude in The Big Lebowski or she is the new iteration of the determined FBI Agent Clarice Starling in Hannibal, Moore conveys a balance of passion and fire with calm and grace, a sometimes broken, sometimes resilient character ready to fall apart or save the world given the circumstance. My favorite performance of hers comes from P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia, a movie about love, loss, and forgiveness. While there is difficult language in the film, I think Moore captures what it really looks like to have buckle under the burden of unbearable regret and sorrow.
There are many impressive things about Witherspoon, but the most impressive thing may be her versatility. From the naivity of Legally Blonde to the charm of Just Live Heaven to showing off her drama chops in the award-winning Wild, Reese Witherspoon’s attention at the award ceremonies is long overdue. The performance of hers that first mad me a fan was Sweet Home Alabama. The film’s plot, with a woman falling back in love with her husband, is one that excites me as a Christian, and she handles the role beautifully. Whether it’s a sappy rom-com or a compelling drama, Reese Witherspoon can do it.
Again, the pool of Oscar nominees for Best Lead Actress is a veritable powerhouse of talent, and each nominee is at the top of her craft. Marion Cotillard, in addition to being immensely talented, possesses an undeniable mystique that sets her apart–a trait recognized and utilized by directors such as Woody Allen (in Midnight in Paris) and Christopher Nolan (in Inception and in The Dark Knight Rises). She won her first Academy Award for her role as Edith Piaf in the 2007 biopic La Vie en Rose, which is a beautifully sad story of artistic expression–and the human spirit–enduring and thriving in the midst of struggle and tragic circumstances.
Cotillard has played a wide variety of roles, from the femme fatale (A Very Long Engagement, The Dark Knight Rises) to the tragic heroine (La Vie en Rose, The Immigrant) to the mysterious love interest (Midnight in Paris, Inception). Her complete immersion in each role she plays makes her sparkle on the silver screen.
My choices were down to two and as I looked at the list of movies that I enjoyed and would give a “thumbs-up” to compared to a warning about possible disappointment in a film, the leader of my list quickly stood out. Reese Witherspoon may not have as many films to her credit as some actresses on this list, but 90% of her films are things that I have enjoyed, recommended, watched multiples times, and even purchased. Reese covers the screen from romantic comedies, to dramas, and even romance. She has played such sweet roles as Melanie Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama, to an intense loving and talented wife as June Carter, to quirky wife Kate in Four Christmases. She truly has a down to earth type personality that comes forth on the big screen in her roles.
My favorite movie, and it was truly tough to decide, because I love her as Jennifer in Pleasantville, but it came down to Marlena in Water for Elephants. Honestly, this was a movie that I didn’t really want to like. I’m not a big fan of her co-star and was rather disappointed when I found out that she was taking on this role. When I watched an interview about how the book touched her and how passionate she was about Marlena, I was convinced to watch it. She captures the movie. She is a Big Top beauty as the circuses use to advertise and her passion is intense. She wants happiness in her life, while she also wants to do what is right. Her compassion continues to through and I don’t ever feel like she is ever anyone but Marlena. She brings the best out in her co-star in this movie and it’s a movie that I can say I was truly glad that I gave in and saw. If you haven’t seen it, take my word for it and see it, Reese does not disappoint.
I was really searching for something to cling on to for either Felicity Jones or Rosamund Pike, but nothing jumped out at me. Jones is younger in her career and thus doesn’t have quite the resume as Pike, but neither have stood out to me much in what I have seen of them. Therefore, I’ll follow the crowd here on LTBM a bit and go with one that has been chosen already, and that is Marion Cotillard. My first exposure to her was in 2003’s Big Fish as the supportive wife, Josephine Bloom. After that it was A Good Year, Public Enemies, Inception, Midnight in Paris, Rust and Bone, Dark Knight Rises… as you can see she’s often been in major blockbusters has thus far been one of those actresses who most people would just recognize her face. My favorite aspect of her acting is the mystery or intrigue she brings. She can sell you a look in a way that makes you buy into her motives, but still makes you wonder if there isn’t more going on under the surface. That served her well in The Dark Knight. Before her Oscar nomination for Two Days, One Night, she also won awards for The Immigrant. Here is a cool interview of her from The New York Times talking about transitioning to English films and the English language in general.
So we left a couple out, but we’d love to hear what you think. Who are your favorite actresses from this years’ nominations for Best Actress?