And the Academy selected:
- Kathy Bates in Primary Colors
- Brenda Blethyn in Little Voice
- Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love
- Rachel Griffiths in Hilary and Jackie
- Lynn Redgrave in Gods and Monsters
5. Brenda Blethyn as Mari Hoff in Little Voice
Ghastly is a good way of describing the following performance: Brenda Blethyn as hateful and abusive but funny (?) mom in Little Voice. Going over the top is one thing, but Blethyn is like a walking cartoon with a voice that could stop moving traffic. It might have actually been a juicy part had they not stuck such a shrill ham in the part.
4. Rachel Griffiths as Hilary Du Pre in Hilary and Jackie
Hilary and Jackie is obvious Oscar bait and it's an insufferable mess that is constantly boring me out of my head. Rachel Griffiths gets the less loud part of the two sisters, Hilary, who lead a normal life while her sister became a star. Both of the actresses are on the same level - an overall level of blandness effects it all and it never becomes an impressive achievement. She's not as bad as Emily Watson, but being nothing special next to bad isn't something too spectacular to be applauded for.
It's the same sort of cartoon Brenda Blethyn goes for, but Lynn Redgrave manages to find a better note for her character Hanna, but not by much. She is just the same kind of broad, quirky comic relief that if done right can be pleasing, but for me and especially here, it really has to be special. She throws stuff and has an interesting accent, but other then that, it's not a performance that needs to be praised.
2. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love
Judi Dench's very short performance as the imperial Queen Elizabeth is something that is often criticized today. She does have a charm that she holds throughout her performance, but it hardly makes a full impression. When she is on-screen, she commands it, and fully brings everything she can to such a small role, but it is simply not enough. Maybe if the role had panned out more, but not this little.
1. Kathy Bates as Libby Holden in Primary Colors
In the end, this weak year is capped by a terrific, wonderful performance from Kathy Bates. Libby Holden is a feminist in every sense of the word, and Bates fills the screen with her unusual, downhome acting style that results in a wonderful, funny performance that just sticks out amazingly in this hideous year. It is a terrific performance of a strong, unusual woman.
Honorable Omissions: Beverly D'Angelo in "American History X".