Let the rest of the world have Julia Roberts, my favorite Georgian movie star is Holly Hunter and she's celebrating her 49th today. For those who've wondered why I can so regularly be found bitching about ubiquitously cast actors it's merely this: There's so many brilliant thespians out there who we hardly ever get to see. I want the wealth spread a little bit.
I shouldn't lie and say that I'll see anything with Holly in it (I have skipped a few --often because her roles are wee or she's playing third fiddle to people less talented than her pinky) but for the most part, she's a huge draw. Her best work rivals anyones. I miss her.
Ten Favorite Holly Hunter Performances
10 I'm reserving this spot (or a higher one) for...
"Wanda Halloway" in The Positively True Adventures of the Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom (1993)
Full confession: I have never seen this all the way through but I already love the performance. I laugh every time. I am interrupted every time I try sitting through the damn thing. Hunter won the Emmy for this. 1993 was definitely the peak of her career (see also #9 and #1)
09 "Tammy Hemphill" in The Firm (1993)
I have virtually no memory of this Tom Cruise legal thriller other than that Hunter (Oscar nominated) and Gene Hackman provided the spark and charisma whilst Cruise ran away with the credit for its huge hit status.
08 "Elastigirl" in The Incredibles (2004)
I hate the modern trend of animated voice casting (only celebrities allowed!) but at least Pixar knows how to do it without offense. You won't find them casting a celebrity just for a name. They have to have a memorable character specific voice, too. The Incredibles is great fun (2004 top ten list) and Hunter grounds the super family with maternal fire, sass, confidence and her own impeccable (one might say incredible) comic timing.
07 "Helen Remington" in Crash (1996)
David Cronenberg's freaky adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel about a community that sexualizes vehicular carnage turned off many viewers. I saw it twice in one week, marvelling at its bravely and in your face eroticism. I particularly loved Hunter's blend of self-horror and fearless compliance. Her face in the car when she exposes her breast. The way she navigates that sex scene with Rosanna Arquette's troublesome leg. Always this blend of subversive comedy with actual dramatic potency. How does she do it?
Have I mentioned that I love Holly Hunter, yet?
06 "Jane Craig" in Broadcast News (1987)
The performance that made her a star. She'll meet us 'at the place near the thing where we went that time.'
05 "Claudia Larson" in Home For the Holidays
Nobody loves this movie like I do. Well, maybe Nick.
04 "Judith Moore" in Living Out Loud (1998)
Nobody loves this movie like I do.
03 "Melina Freeland" in thirteen (2003)
I've talked about this performance several times before: 2003 top ten list and supporting actress gold medal for Holly's powerhouse work as a desperately loving single mother.
02 "Edwina 'Ed' McDunnough" in Raising Arizona (1987)
One of the best comedic performances in one of the greatest comedies ... ever. I love her work in Broadcast News but she was Oscar nominated for the wrong performance says me. It's her absolute commitment to Edwina's rigid worldview that just shoves the comedy into even funnier places. And it's already hilarious to begin with. My personal favorite moment (so many to choose from) is her instant staccato sobbing when meeting her (stolen) baby "I...love...him...so...much"
01 "Ada McGrath" in The Piano (1993)
One of those rare awards sweepers (like Mirren in The Queen) that deserved to dominate. I've been asked to write more about this movie as part of that fundraising offer so I'll do a retrospective on The Piano in April. Stay tuned.
I showed you mine. Now show me yours. Which Hunter charms you most?