Sunday, January 04, 2009

Rosemarie DeWitt (Supporting Actress Blog-a-Thon)

I was goofing earlier when I put forth EVE as an Oscar contender for "acting" although the love and sentiments expressed (beyond the double joke regarding categorization) were completely sincere... yet I was appalled to notice that nobody in Stinky's big blog-a-thon had touched on either Rachel Getting Married co-star Rosemarie DeWitt or Debra Winger. To briefly correct that, a few words about DeWitt's performance.

From a cold hearted punditry standpoint it's intriguing and not entirely surprising that Dewitt's fate in the Awards race seems to be mirroring her character Rachel's fate in the movie (awards often chase "roles" in a more obvious way than they follow "performances" if you know what I'm saying). Which is to say that though Rachel is the title character and the entire plot theoretically revolves around her moment... her thunder is repeatedly stolen. Her groom stays focused on her but literally everyone else in the movie --including, most tellingly, Rachel herself --shoves her to the side whenever her narcissist sister Kym (Anne Hathaway) needs the slightest bit of attention or care. This need, as you can imagine, appears frequently. This abandoning is there in the filmmaking, too, which gives Rachel/DeWitt a wonderful thank you gift of a final scene but otherwise leaves her whenever Kym needs story time. This, as you can imagine, also happens frequently.

From a acting fan's standpoint this mirrored fate for DeWitt (who has missed out on valuable precursor awards support) is not intriguing at all but upsetting. Anne Hathaway's performance is a brilliantly cut thing, all self-serving charisma (it had to be a movie star in the role) and moments of lucid realization of her own toxicity. Hathaway deserves the Oscar nomination, no question, but what of the valiant support and noteworthy acting choices from the actors playing her family members? The movie, blessed by strong screenplay and direction, would work without ace performances orbiting the star but thankfully it doesn't have to. DeWitt has a tricky task in the movie. Like Hathaway, she has to sell a complex character, but unlike Hathaway who is free to stay all tied up in Kym's head, DeWitt has to illuminate the spaces outside of Rachel, too. Kym's sickness is partially that she can't inhabit these spaces but in Rachel we have to see a distinct personality (DeWitt doesn't sugar coat Rachel's own disagreeable traits, which adds beautiful ambiguity to the conflicts) and the painful/loving/continually renegotiated space between them. Kym has to be Kym. Rachel has to be Rachel and Rachel with Kym.

The star is the star is the star. But this supporting actress sure helps her shine.


For more on Rosemarie DeWitt, check out the Film Experience interview.
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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

YAY Give her the gold!

James Hansen said...

Just when I think RGM's moment is (finally) over... BAM! Here's Nathaniel to bring it back!

I wonder what you're #1 movie of the year might be...hmmmmmmmm...

:)

Kurtis O said...

Easily one of my favorite performances of the year. Though all signs seem to be pointing to a snub, I still refuse to believe it. Poor Taraji Henson. If she - the most undeserving contender - indeed claims Rosemarie's spot, I'll be forced to hate on her.

Anonymous said...

i don't get the henson fuss and love at all,she has no big scenes she plays a stereotype yes an adorable one but the perf bordered on patronising it was harly film lifting work,i really can't see her gettting a nom over de witt,adams or tomei!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

anon you hit on the key note "adorable" --this is often enough for Oscar if they love the film adorable is part of.

still i'd rather see HENSON nominated that ADAMS. Adams can do that in her sleep... at least Henson is a rising star who has been strong in most of her movies and could use the recognition.

still it's a shame the precursors felt the need to reward ADAMS for being perky and innocent again rather than grapple with the more difficult characterization from DEWITT.

mrripley said...

i would prefer to see dewitt,upham or even somone like charlize theron in sleepwalking nodded instead of henson,sometimes some roles are nommed for the adorablity factor and not the perf itself,henson was best in show but i think she'll be snubbed.

ModFab said...

Just want to second your mention of Debra Winger as a worthy runner-up for Supporting Actress attention. I mentioned her in my blogathon installment too...a really wonderful turn.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

Nathaniel, doesn't that go straight to the heart of the lukewarm precursor support for Rachel Getting Married? It is very much a portrait of fully realized characters, something that doesn't lead itself to tidy conclusions. I think that's why they don't know what to do with DeWitt's turn (though, I still think she'll ultimately be nominated).

Oscar favors one-sided caricatures in the supporting categories more so than anywhere else. For every Karen Crowder, there's a dozen Ruby Thewes, Effie Whites and Oda Mae Browns winning these awards. Such is life.

mrripley said...

could supp actress look like this

dewitt
winslet
cruz
tomei
davis

Radio4514 said...

Nathaniel,

Doesn't this go deeper than "perky and adorable?" I have to agree with your on spot discussion that adorable can get you everywhere when chasing an Oscar nomination, however...... seems that Rosemarie can't get the proper recognition for some other reason.

Her perfomance is clearly Oscar calibre in more ways than one, I have an untrained eye and yet have been bowled over by this upcoming relatively new actress. When a performance such as her's in Rachel Getting Married is overlooked with purpose, then the snub becomes the mountain to all.

The the *&$#!^$%@! did she ever do. She is smoking hot, yes has had a failed TV Series, but all one can say about that is the words "Fox Network" and most understand the crap that goes on with them.

So, what is it? Is she not screen testing with someone assocatied with the Oscars? (She has a great boyfriend-I could see why she wouldn't). In quiring minds want to know why not Rosemarie for best supporting actress.

Rick said...

I already commented on this in the "I don't want to be coy" blog/

NATHANIEL R said...

radio well it's nothing conspiratorial. all of these organizations have different memberships. it just boils down to the age old problem.

it all depends on

1) which films voters see
2) which films voters like
3) which characters they "root for" ... this explains a lot of nominations that make people scratch their heads in terms of acting ability shown.
4) reputation. if you're new it's a tougher haul than if you're, say, Marisa Tomei or Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet. People with reputations have the benefit of "assumed greatness" so even their lesser performances start with a 'they're awesome!' gut-level response.
5) groupthink -are other people rooting for this person? (people don't like to go it alone taste-wise. this is where the precursors come in and the more there are of them the more groupthinky they seem to have become as we've seen this past decade)
6) perceived quality of performance

so Rosemarie obviously scores superbly in only one of these areas (perceived quality) since most people you talk to, even the ones who don't like the movie, will agree that the acting is excellent in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED.
sadly, thinking something is excellent/quality is a different emotional/intellectual thing than the urge to vote for it.

Sally Belle said...

Well, I'll be very disappointed if Rosemary doesn't get a nomination and Marisa Tomei does.

I've dropped a few hints about Tomei's behavior on The Wrestler set...but, now Mickey Rourke is actually letting out some hints of his own.

Quoted from London interview..."Rumours have flown about a clash with co-star Marisa Tomei, who did not attend the premiere.
Rourke said working with her was "an experience", and added: "The more heavy emotional scenes were with the very young and talented Evan Rachel Wood. They were the hardest to do. It was all about a father and a daughter. He was more concerned with being on the road and wearing his tights than he was with bringing up his daughter."

Tomei held up production and pulled a bit of a "star" fit. She wasn't at Venice because, before the Oscar buzz, she wasn't going to promote the film. Now, Mickey and Aronofsky are sorry that she is getting the attention over Wood...whom poured her heart out for them.

But, it's all in the final cut, and Aronofsky made the final cut to Wood's role. Hindsight is always 20/20.

18 Year Old Blogger said...

I don't believe that rumor. The whole cast was at a Q&A in LA when I saw the movie and they all got along pretty darn well.

And Marisa Tomei was at the Los Angeles premiere.

But back to Rosemarie DeWitt. She gives my favorite supporting actress performance of th year. And she was fantastic in Mad Men--I can't wait to see how amazing she's gonna be in The United States of Tara.

Anonymous said...

Even though I felt like I was at a former college roommate's sister's wedding (very far removed and bor - ing) I think DeWitt should be nominated for lead actress and Hathatway and Winger for Supp Actress. Michael in DC

Leah<3 said...

I agree, she deserves lead actress for sure! Love u aunt Ro! Its so great to see all these fans, keep on rooting for her!

queequeg0927 said...

Did I just hear you right? Aunt Ro? That's so awesome! She's by far my favorite actress and if you really are related to her, I ahve no problem telling you that I'm jealous.
I've been following Ro's career for several years now and fully believe that her role in Rachel deserves to win. She was brilliant! I saw the other nominated films and as far as acting skills go, she walked all over her competition.
Not that it count's for anything, but she got my vote.