Sunday, July 4, 2010

Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica"

Felicity Huffman received her first Oscar nomination for playing Bree Osbourne, a pre-op transsexual in Transamerica.

I really liked Transamerica. Even though the story gets a little unbelievable at points, I thought it was very entertaining, funny, and even sad, which kept me engaged. Plus, the acting, all around, is great.

Which brings me to Felicity Huffman. She plays Bree, a man who is in the act of finalizing his sex change. He is one week away from his operation, when he gets a call from a boy claiming to be his son. Due to his therapist's wishes, he goes to New York to see the boy, and decides to bring him back with him on a road trip. Along the way, we discover Bree's struggle, dislikes, and especially his vulnerability.

An acting exercise to be sure, but ironically, it's one of the least showy parts the Academy has ever nominated. It's simply because Felicity Huffman plays Bree the exact right way. He's always prime and proper, and always insecure about how the world will view him as a transsexual. Huffman keeps Bree afloat and alive with quick wit and a no-nonsense approach to the judgmental world around him.

I really don't know what the strong hold this performance has on me. I mean, this could have incredibly terrible had they hired someone who didn't know how to handle such a complex and difficult character. But, Felicity Huffman has an presence surrounding her performance, full of rich characteristics. And again, it's even humorous! Bree handles his sad state with his prime and proper attitude he has adopted for himself. Once Bree becomes a woman, it is not your typical, bland way. He is simply now a she, and ready to live her life the way she always wanted too.

As I said before, I don't know what draws me to this witty and unsuspecting performance. There's effort here for Felicity Huffman to act like a man acting like a woman, but oddly, it never gets in the way. And it's the talent and wit she adds to her performance instead of concentrating on the physicality of her performance. A brilliant performance that still leaves me wanting more.

8 comments:

Louis Morgan said...

Well that ends this contest :)

Celso said...

I usually don't like when the Academy gives away Oscar for actresses who doesn't have an solid film career, but I really love this one and Huffman is an inteligent and brilliant actress. She deserves an award!

Sage Slowdive said...

I wouldn't be so sure, Louis...

Malcolm said...

She wins.....

I want to bring myself to watch this fil, but I have a feeling that I would think of her performance as absurd. Maybe some other time.....

Theron would only be her competition here, though it's a very slim chance.

Sage Slowdive said...

Not absurd at all :)

There is a gimmick attached to her performance, but the gimmick quickly fades from mind, because of the humor and depth she brings to the role.

Zephyr said...

Great performance. I was really surprised how measured and sensible it was. Not over the top at all.

DistinguishedFlyer said...

This could easily have been just a one-note, one-joke role but it's not. My favorite of the nominees, though I guess I liked the others more than you did.

dinasztie said...

I think she deserved to win. I liked her very much even though the movie was too independent for me. I agree with the rating.

Although I did not see the movie, at the time I rooted for her because Desperate Houswives was such a hit and she's on it (now I really dislike DH).