Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another List You Don't Need

This list is prompted by the lengthy conversation over in an earlier post about whether or not I am insane for not feeling the lurve for one best friend 'o' Nicole Kidman. And now... a list you don't need. that you didn't ask for. because i have a problem.

Best Actress Shortlist From Hell
or: Nathaniel's least favorite nominations for lead actress (2000-2005)

UPDATE: Actor Version and Supporting Hell versions of this list now available, too!.

UPDATE #2: Halfway Mark Oscar Article Has Begun

Juliette Binoche Chocolat (2000)
smile warmly. be pretty. get a nomination. waste a slot when there are at least five actresses acting their asses off that same year. hardly a year that calls for slot wasting.
Salma Hayek Frida (2002)
be a star. play another famous person reasonably well. get a nom. (note: not a bad performance at all. but i had to choose five)
Felicity Huffman Transamerica (2005)
gimmicks = respect. it's the Oscar way. thank god she didn't win --I couldn't have handled another Helen Hunt tv-star-wins-oscar-leaving-actual-film-actresses-empty-handed situation.
Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby (2004)
not because she's bad. she's not. but because she won. I'm petty like that.
Naomi Watts 21 Grams (2003)
cry and scream. repeat. for two whole hours. that's your character.

And the winner is Hilary Skank because it's actually a good performance (just the least of those nominated for real in 2004). But since this is a scenario from hell the winner is Naomi Watts who holds the strange double distinction of having not just my least favorite Best Actress Oscar nomination of the decade but ALSO enduring my least favorite snub in the same category in the same timeframe. How about that?

Now, in the comments: Which five of the past 30 nominees make up your shortlist from Oscar hell?


NicksFlickPicks said...

Juliette Binoche/Chocolat: For reasons you have covered (i.e., Why?)

Judi Dench/Mrs. Henderson Presents: Basically the same question: Why? Good at punchlines but terrible at feeling, and only a minor variation on earlier roles.

Salma Hayek/Frida: I think she got it for working so hard to produce the movie, which people obviously liked, at 6 noms. Plus, for the first time in recorded history, they didn't feel like nominating Meryl Streep, even though she stretched and delivered much more in The Hours than in, say, Music of the Heart.

Naomi Watts/21 Grams: Squeaking in past Theron for North Country, and for reasons you have covered (i.e., Settle, Naomi!)

Reese Witherspoon/Walk the Line: To quote a famous person, "Be a star. Play another famous person reasonably well. Get a nom. (Note: not a bad performance at all. but i had to choose five)"

Anonymous said...

My list isn't really that different.

Juliet Binoche
Felicity Huffman
Hilary Swank
Naomi Watts

Haven't Seen:
North County

P.S. I'm not bald ... not yet!

Sam said...

Juliette Binoche. Pleasant actress, but why her and why that year?

Judi Dench. Love her, liked the movie, but that performance was not a stand-out.

Charleze Theron, North Country. "We gotta fill five slots. Any respected babes make a movie this year? Oh yeah..."

Reese Witherspoon. Legally blonde goes Nashville. Really. That's it.

Julia Roberts. Love her, liked the movie, but come on, she beat THAT field? She's not really my least favorite nom, more like my least favorite win.

StinkyLulu said...

StinkyLulu's WTF nominations for the last 5 years:

4th Runner Up:
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider -- cute kid, sweet movie, whutevah

3rd Runner Up:
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents -- A case of BOTH the actress AND the nominating committee "phoning it in"... even Dame Judy looked amazed to be there...

2nd Runner Up:
Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby -- scrappy doo, part deux.

1st Runner Up:
Renée Zellweger, Chicago -- The casting alone's the real crime of the century...

Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones's Diary -- oh. just. ew. ew. a 1000 times. ew.

And it's not that I hate but she makes it soo soo hard to even like her work...

Anonymous said...

Salma Hayek (Frida)
It's good work, but unremarkable. That it trod on one of my favourite turns of the decade (Streep in The Hours) to get a citation didn't help. The nomination was clearly for the commitment and tenacity in getting the film made, and for that I salute her.

Diane Keaton (Something's Gotta Give)
I love Diane. Love her. But I just didn't understand what was so extraordinary about THIS performance. And it was Charlize's biggest competition that year? Get outta here!

Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
In time, the projectile vomiting pains induced by her speech have subsided. But the performance remains the least special in an otherwise delightful line-up. And - oy - that speech!

Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)
Still impossible to watch without cowering behind something in embarrassment. In all honesty, I thought she better in Swordfish. Stop laughing.

Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
I can't get past the fact that it's a SUPPORTING performance, and I can't get past the fact that I couldn't have cared less that she won. Seriously. It wouldn't make my Top 10 Kidman performances. It's effective in quiet moments of contemplation, but her outburst during the scene on the station platform feels awkward and forced to me. Then there's the nose...

Of course, you'll all immediately discount all of the above when I tell you that I LOVE Juliette Binoche in Chocolat! To be that effortlessly charismatic takes considerable acting chops and we don't see her break sweat for a second. I have her 4th that year (Burstyn, Linney, Roberts), and it was a damn good year.


Javier Aldabalde said...

Halle Berry, "Monster's Ball"
Hilary Skank, "M$B"
Charlize Theron, "Monster"
Charlize Theron, "North Country"
Renee Zellweger, "Chicago"

I'd rather watch Binoche doing nothing at all than Theron trying oh so hard and not getting anywhere.

John T said...

Hilary Swank-The great travesty
Charlize Theron (North Country)-I was bored five minutes in (but at least she was better than Woody)
Felicity Huffman-I cannot for the life of me find one thing here that means Oscar.
Renee Zellwegger-The role of a lifetime, and she blows it being cutesy poo
Salma Hayek-famous person, why isn't this Meryl?

I'd pick Charlize for the win out of these five, because at least she was trying-Swank is the worst

Anonymous said...

Juliette Binoche - For reasons already mentioned

Halle Berry - Such an uneven performance. It's either too downplayed or too overplayed. There's no balance.

Salma Hayek - I do think it was a bad performance not worthy of getting a nomination. I commend Hayek for her effort, but the result is well...poor. It's not a performance much better than what you see in Mexican soap operas.

Hilary Swank - Almost cartoonish in its goodie-goodie "Oh I'm pure heart and life has been so hard" approach. Just shamefully manipulative.

NicksFlickPicks said...

@Anon (most recently): I agree with you that Hayek is actually not good in Frida... I'm curious what your fifth pick is?

@Rob: Actually, it's a relief to know that there are people who like Binoche in Chocolat, and why; I admittedly don't really "get" her a lot of the time.

c.p. iñor said...

Juliette Binoche - Chocolat (Ugh)

Keisha Castle-Hughes - Whale Rider (The youngest nominee shoul've been Evan or Scarlett)

Nicole Kidman - The Hours (really good... but I think it's SUPPORTING)

Caalina Sandino Moreno - Maria Llena Eres de Gracia (wtf)

Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby (well... I think everyone has said it)

Anonymous said...

john t.: which zellweger nom are you referring to? Bridget Jones or Chicago?

J.J. said...

1. Julia Roberts
2. Reese Witherspoon

The shortlist from hell begins with Julia and ends with Reese -- two women who received Oscars solely for pluck. Reese's year was a weak one, but 2000 was certainly not. The AMPAS, apparently, was too struck by Roberts' Brockovichian hysterics to notice the sterling work of real actors. I refer you to Ellen Burstyn's "I'm alone" speech (a mini master class in film acting) in Requiem for a Dream, and to the final confirmation hearing scene in The Contender, where Joan Allen defends her integrity with a quiet defiance that puts to shame the hollow theatrics of Brockovich.

Anonymous said...

to Nick Davis:

I guess my fifth pick would be Charlize Theron for North Country. There wasn't anything wrong with her performance, but I don't see anything remotely memorable or special about it. It was a by-the-numbers performance; nothing that you wouldn't see on a Lifetime movie.

adam k. said...

Charlize in North Country - Cause yeah, why? It's not like with Binoche, where they were ordered to vote for Chocolat and hence to vote for some of its actors, or with Huffman, where there was a gimmick to fall for... there was just no reason for it to be there.

Juliet Binoche in Chocolat - For knocking out Renee, Michelle, Michelle, Bjork, Gillian, etc... a waste of a spot indeed.

Keisha - for stealing Evan's nom

I don't really mind Salma stealing Streep's nom, cause they gave her another nom that same year... I think they must've been thinking, "do we really need to give her two noms at the same time that we're giving her the record for most noms ever? why not throw Salma a bone?"

And least favorite YEAR has gotta be 2003, in which I didn't care one bit about any of the 5 nominated perfs. Not-a-one. I guess my favorite was Samantha Morton, but I wouldn't even have nommed her in supporting, which is where she belonged, so there ya go.

Anonymous said...


I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that you chose Salma over Renee for 2002's most unworthy nom.

While it's true Watts' performance in '21 Grams' was rote, one-note, and every other word that ends in -ote, damn it if it didn't affect me all the same. (I think the fact that it was mixed in with Penn, Del Toro, and the brilliant score, played into that lingering feeling.)

However, that said, for the top slot, it's a brawl between Juliette Binoche for 'Choco-[gag a]-lat' and Judi Dench for her 2006 fluff film and, rounding it out, Charlize Theron for 'North Country,' La Zzz... for 'Chicago,' and Hayek for 'Frida.' (Although her tits did look mighty fab.)


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Roger Ebert has a large pull over Academy voters - either that, or he is just strangely in tune with how they're going to vote. Because it seems like everytime he endorses somebody for being nominated for an Oscar - such as Charlize Theron in North Country - that person is nominated, no matter how little buzz there's been for that perf otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I've only seen 17 of the 30, but I'd go with: Kidman in the Hours, Binoche, Hayek, Catalina Sandino Moreno (*yawn*), and the winner -- Halle Berry. puh-leeze.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Re: the Allen/Roberts comparison, I think it's really a Laine/Erin comparison. Laine Hanson is all about tact and disciplined refusal (except that awful one-liner about how no pre-menstrual woman should have her finger near a nuclear-weapon button). Erin Brockovich is a grandstander and makes herself larger than life, even when she's in the right, even when it's to her detriment. No reason not to prefer one performance over the other, but I do think the characters require different approaches.

[For the record, I am all about Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, whereas Burstyn just missed my worst list.... too, too much, that performance, at least in my book.]


my thing with LaZell is that even though she bugs me I do admire the fact that she rose to fame and Oscar nominations with romantic or musical comedy material. which is rare. So up until Cold Mountain I was (too some extent) on her side.

I don't think she's truly excellent in Chicago but I don't really have a problem with her nomination. It just irks me that she was cast when she clearly can't dance.

pattonjr5 said...

nathaniel. you really should go back & watch 21g again. watts screams 3 times in the entire film (for a few seconds each) out of her 1hr20min in the film. i have timed it.) most of the time she is depressed & very quiet. a few times she is a normal mother (at the therapy session, making cookies w/her kids, discussing math w/paul, giving him water, etc.) the 3 times (unlike laura dern in we don't live here anymore) are (1) when she mixed chemicals w/alcohol against her better judgment & she runs into a
van (if you knew anything about
mixing chemicals & alcohol...) (2)
when she finds out paul is a stalker, & (3) when she finds out
that jack not only hit & run but left her children to die & wants to kill them & regrets that she did not change the shoelaces. as
inarritu said, who lost a child in a similar circumstance (HENCE THE MOST REALISTIC FILM FOR NORMAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST CHILDREN IN SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES), saying it's the little things that bother some people the most.

my sister also lost a child under similar circumstances & said she is surprised that her character did not lose her cool more than she did. afterall, she had earlier told her sister not to press charges.

like a lot of people, i think 21g was her best role--way ahead of the stupid character in mulholland dr. the fact that she could pull off such a bimbo (like the only other bimbo she has ever played in huckabees) is a tribute to her & lynch. but she was also better in ellie parker (which i suppose you have not seen since it is an indie), we don't live here anymore (where dern was cristina lite & watts was very quiet), & king kong.

not only did she get an oscar nom for 21g but not for md, but obviously sags & bafta agree that
21 was her greatest role. had it not been for a surprisingly good (though overwrought perf, as opposed to watts's by theron, she would have won the oscar for 21g).


anyway--not that you should care--but i have done copious research for popular culture papers & the consensus (like the high profile awards)is that watts was better in 21g than md--though i am not sure critics agree w/my other 2 pix. you obviously like actresses playing bimbos not intelligent women.

Andy Scott said...

Joan Allen - "The Contender"
Juliette Binoche - "Chocolat"
Judi Dench - "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman - "Transamerica"
Charlize Theron - "North Country"

I haven't seen "The Contender" in awhile but I remember thinking Allen's nomination was pointless, especially when she got in over Renee and Bjork. Same goes for Juliette Binoche.

Judi Dench, too, was a waste of space, although you could say the same thing about her performance in "Iris" as well (why is the Academy so obsessed with her? I don't get it...)

And then we have the 2 disasterous nominations from last year: Felicity Huffman and Charlize Theron. Thank God for Reese Witherspoon is all I have to say about Felicity. And I love Charlize so I guess I'm happy that she was nominated again, but why did it have to be for such a crapfest film like "North Country"? Ugh.

Runner up: Salma Hayek - "Frida", although I understand why they nominated her considering the race was, from what I can remember, pretty weak.

Joe R. said...

You know, Nat, I have been meaning to talk to you about this liking bimbos instead of intelligent women thing. It's become a concern.


i am *so* ashamed.

I will have to revoke all of Jessica Alba's filmbitch awards and-- oh wait, she doesn't have any.

Anonymous said...

Interesting what you wrote about Huffman. Maybe TV actresses should just stay where they belong and stop taking roles from "actual film actresses".

DL said...

Halle Berry in Monster's Ball, Salma Hayek in Frida, Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider, Felicity Huffman in Transamerica, Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents, Charlize Theron in North Country.

Anonymous said...

1.) Charlize Theron in North Country
2.) Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby
3.) Keisha Castle Hughes in Whale Rider (in an especially good year for young actresses like Scarlet Johanson, Sarah Bolger, and Evan Rachel Wood; this performance was the one that was signaled out.)
4.) Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents
5.) Annette Benning in Being Julia (good performance but not on the same level as Julie Delpy in Before Sunset or Nicole Kidman in Birth).

Anonymous said...

Binoche (I love her but more or less agree), Huffman (agree), Hayek (sure), Swank (um- yeah the other nominees where more deserving), Watts….


Here we go again. I’ve tried to get past it yet my favorite cinematic scholar continuous to bash on. First in 2004, then in 2005 (“…it was like the second half of the Mulholland Drive gig only delivered with less inspiration”) and now this?

One of my few issues with the masterful Nathaniel R. was his vicious response Naomi Watts’ shattering work in 21 Grams. He obviously (as did many others did) had issue with the movie- plus some left over animosity about her Mulholland Dr. snub and how the Academy choose to honor her work in Grams instead of Mulholland. I’ve re-read Nathaniel’s initial reaction to 21 Grams many times and I DO understand it.

21 Grams is a difficult film and hardly flawless. I’m sure the appeal just isn’t the same for certain people. Like Penn’s closing VO work- to me- imbued the films final images with a spiritual, haunting beauty. I found it poignant and phenomenally moving. Meanwhile I’m sure Nathaniel was fuming with “the show don’t tell” argument.

My point is I think HE JUST DID NOT like the film and decided to attack it at all angles, including Ms. Watts. Yes, I’m aware Watts’ jaw- dropping last scenes in Mulholland Dr. prompted Alejandro to ask her to play the part. But to say she merely “cranked the volume up” is a deplorable generalization.

“cry and scream. repeat. for two whole hours. that's your character.”

I really DON’T get how someone could say that having witnessed her hospital scene; Her eyes speaking volumes, her lips trembling as the doctors inform her of her family’s demise…crumbling in the arms of her father…
It’s one the most visceral and raw reactions I’ve ever witnessed on film in regard to discovering a loved one has died. Then there’s the kitchen counter breakdown- which clearly was a “tightrope” and she nailed it.
I will admit that she over did it during the “get the fuck out of my house sequence” A shame because the work which preludes it - “I didn’t like you saying that…” was genuinely shattering.

And I think the editing has a lot to do with Nathaniel’s hostility as well. Narrative wise, If that’s just not your cup of tea, it’s gonna be hard to really soak up the performances. Although I’m glad Mr. Film Bitch did not disregard Del Toro

Nathaniel R. is like a hero to me- and his passion for the cinema is intoxicating. However his continuous lambasting of a genuine, achingly beautiful performance just does not sit well with me at all.

Anonymous said...

And now the 5 best Best Actress nods of the 00's:

Julianne Moore - Far from Heaven
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake
Laura Linney - You Can Count on Me
Sissy Spacek - In the Bedroom
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

John T said...

Nathaniel-out of curiosity, who would you have wanted to play Roxie Hart in 2002? Kristen Chenoweth?

Anonymous said...

> Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)
Tilda Swinton or Naomi Watts deserved that spot.
> Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents)
Joan Allen or Gwyneth Paltrow deserved that spot.
> Salma Hayek (Frida)
Maggie Gyllenhaal or Meryl Streep deserved that spot.
> Samantha Morton (In America)
Scarlett Johansson or Uma Thurman deserved that spot.
> Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace)
Nicole Kidman or Julie Delpy deserved that spot.


roxie hart was all about Toni Collette. Even for Rob Marshall. Nobody talks about this of course. But... supposedly (rumor-wise) that's how it went down. He wanted Colette. Studio (Miramax) said "no. bigger star."


ryan --i appreciate what yer saying. I didn't want to reopen old wounds but the idea for a post occurred to me and I thought it would make for a good discussion. and it clearly has. and I don't want to keep harping on it but it's just the way I see it. It's true I did hate the film. But I thought Penn and DelToro were both terrific in it... so I can see past the film being bad. but this wasn't meant to be a "bash Naomi" session. merely a discussion. Again I really love her work in MD (gold medal) I liked her in Tank Girl before anybody knew who she was! and she came sorta back in my favor for King Kong. But that doesn't seem to be enough for people who genuinely love her. but to each their own. I mean, I L-O-V-E Burstyn's work in Requiem which Nick dislikes. And we're good friends. Agree to disagree.

but back to overal topic:

it's interesting that even though individual lineups change in this 'from hell' list everyone seems to take the same issues with why the academy gets it wrong.


1 charismatic/warm but nothing special
2 nominations for other reasons
3 WHY. When so and so was in the same year?

I should've added one more category. I had my least favorite within the five. the best within the five. But I shoulda added the "still scratching my head" one. and that's for BINOCHE. I generally reallly like her as an actress. I don't hate that performance but there's just nothing to it. It's the only one of the 30 performances that I remember NOTHING about. Just totally blah; a weird and pointless nomination. If she'd been passed over for English Patient it woulda made a kind of "we're sorry" external sense but as it stands now. Just perplexing. when they coulda had

PFEIFFER -arguably best thriller perf since actress winning Silence of Lambs.
YEOH -arguably best action performance since actress nominated Aliens.
ANDERSON -tv star making good and they like that (see also: Hunt & Huffman)
BJORK -dramatic spectacle and also other important contributions to the film to reward by praising (see also: Hayek in Frida)


pattonjr5 said...

i agree with ryan. if there is any one of the 3 scenes in which naomi screams that can be criticized, it is the 'get out of my house' scene--but even that is a minor part of that scene. the thing is that nat is evidently one of these people who only remembers the trailers or the excerpts from awards shows.

& the problem is that nat allowed the editing to throw him off. he does not realize that a later scene when the leaf-blower tells cristina that jack left her daughter dying is what caused her to change her attitude & to use revenge to kick-start her life. i had a copy of the original script & the online schedule from the filming, which was done chronologically.

i remember discussing the editing in depth w/newark star-ledger critic stephen whitty. he hated the editing & said it would not demonstrate watts's range, as well as a chronological version would. for example, the red shoelaces in the laundry room came before her picking up the kids clothes in another scene when she was not crying more often than screaming--in fact she was laughing while listening to her husband's message.
(whitty, who voted for naomi in the ny critics circle, hated md but thought naomi's audition scene was the best acting in a scene he had seen for decades.)

i did a chronological version on video so i could analyze 120 scenes. in 10 she was happy, in 27 depressed, in only 4 rage/revenge, & 4 passionate. she might have screamed in the love scene, but she did not. charlize said in ew that it was one of the most effectively emotional love scenes she had ever seen on film.

why go through the 120 scenes? (1) i write papers for popular culture conferences & i think it was one of the best perfs i have ever seen. nytimes's terrence rafferty proclaimed her the most eloquent sufferer in the history of sound film. glenn whipp of the daily news (in la where she won the critics associations to split the most won w/charlize theron), like about 30 other critics, proclaimed her the best of her generation.

some people just don't like suffering on film. i have discussed this w/nat before. my wife thinks (from his writing) that he must just be a cold human being. (of course she hated md & huckabees, but loved 21g & anymore.)

(2) & i have time for it because i have a lot of time to write as i just retired to collect social security.

pattonjr5 said...

i love burstyn's work in requiem too.

Yaseen Ali said...


Halle Berry, Monster's Ball: She obviously worked very hard and I commend her for that, but it's still not very convincing. It screams "I want Oscar!" the whole way through.
Salma Hayek, Frida: This nomination should have gone to Alfred Molina, who acted circles around her.
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica: Blech, don't get me started. I hate this performance as much as Nathaniel hates Swank.
Charlize Theron, North Country: She's probably the best thing about the hideous film, but considering the race that year, she didn't deserve to be anywhere near the top five.
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams: Already covered. Didn't buy it.

Thought Swank was overrated in Million Dollar Baby, but still liked her. Also enjoyed Binoche, who is good in everything she does. I loved Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson; certainly not nomination-worthy, but she saved that film from total inconsequence. Liked that Witherspoon was able to fill out and give dimension to boring saviour figure in Walk the Line.

And I adore Zellwegger in Bridget Jones; despite a strong actress year (Watts for Mulholland, Spacek, Kidman and Dench), I'd still have voted for her in every ballot.

Anonymous said...

Charlize Theron - North Country
Charles Theron - Monster
Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge

NicksFlickPicks said...

@PattonJr5: I think your descriptions of what you like about Watts' performance are really interesting, and they are triggering memories about the movie that I had forgotten. I wish you'd be more careful, though, about turning your obvious disagreement with Nathaniel about this performance into such a personal thing: "my wife thinks he must be a cold person" and "you obviously like actresses playing bimbos rather than intelligent women" and implying that he doesn't see "independent movies" are all flagrantly disproved by the content of this site, and they come across as a little mean-spirited, at least to me. (I'm not speaking for Nathaniel, and don't have any idea how he feels.)

What's interesting to me is to see the difference in how we all respond to certain performances: the hotly divisive love-it-or-hate-it perf's (Watts, Burstyn, Huffman, Theron in Monster, etc.), the perf's that haven't shown up yet on anyone's worst list (I thought, for example, that Knightley/P&P or Kidman/MR might have shown up on somebody's by now).

I'm also curious what the people who didn't like Sandino Moreno specifically didn't like.


er -- winslet AND kidman?

*ducks. runs for cover*
it's about to get ugly in here.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Yeah, dude - scratch that comment I just made about no one picking Satine!

Someone else who hasn't been mentioned yet is Diane Lane in Unfaithful, whom I considered putting down - I thought she was fine, but I didn't believe the long centerpiece close-up on her face on the train, and I thought the range of that perf was a little limited.

My five favorites are probably Roberts, Linney, Moore, Theron (Monster), and Winslet, with Sandino Moreno a close runner-up.

Anonymous said...

[cry and scream. repeat. for two whole hours.]

Ridiculous. You must have seen a different movie. Or you just made it up.

Go see Fay Wray in King Kong (1933), or Laura Dern in We Don't Live Here Anymore, or Charlize Theron in Monster, and you'll know what screaming after screaming is all about.

adam k. said...

Well, in all fairness, I didn't really hate Naomi in 21 Grams either... it was really the editing's fault, and there was the one "get out of my house" moment, but otherwise, she was fine. Mostly I was just annoyed by how everyone so obviously seemed to making up for her Mulholland snub, when I found her far superior in Mulholland and wished they'd just honored her then.

And it annoyed me that all her attention surely contributed to the rude passing over of the (IMO) superior work of Evan Rachel Wood, who delivered a similarly histrionic turn... there can only be so many dark histronic nominees at a time.

I really did love Naomi in both MDr. and Kong (in Kong, she was just perfection... it seems like a generic "blonde girl" type of role, but I really can't think of anyone else playing it now).

And I used to not get the Satine love either... it used to totally perplex me how she got all the love when none went to Ewan and Jim Broadbent, when they were kind of better... but I get it now.

Anonymous said...

Renee Zellweger (Chicago) oh the backbone! the muscles and um more bones!!

Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) well um she has a great crying moment but other than that...

Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) She's good but not great

Salma Hayek (Frida) she was ok and so was the movie but ok aint good enough...

Charlize Theron (Monster and North Country) Heck I just hate her...

hey winslet and kidman do not belong in this category!

adam k. said...

Yeah so pissed about Toni and Chicago too. I would've made just as much money with Toni... and would've kicked her career into higher gear... and would've won her a globe and an oscar nom... and oh, it's just too painful to think about anymore.

Yaseen Ali said...

Although I would have loved to see Collette in Chicago, I appreciate Zellwegger more and more with each more viewing. It's a pretty gutsy performance despite the flaws, and Roxie Hart is supposed to be an awkward wannabe singer-dancer. She is far from terrible - I save that distinction for her "work" in Cold Mountain. That's when it all went downhill; I mean, has anyone seen her in Cinderella Man? Yikes.

As for Watts and her 2001 snub, I utterly blame the campaign. They were trying to push her into SUPPORTING initally - I still can't believe it. By the time they rectified her placement, it was too late.

Jason Adams said...

Just a couple of points, I have - I like Naomi Watts a lot, but I HATED 21G, everything about it, Penn, Del Toro, Watts, that bullshit editing, EVERYTHING. I felt like I was sitting in Freshman Filmmaking again. OOh Birds!!! Jesus.

I've said it so many times I think I need to take a vacation from it, but Ellen Burstyn in RfaD is the best acting performance I've ever seen. Ever.

Toni Collette in Chicago probably, maybe, could've made me like that movie. Even with having to watch Zeta-Jones. But Collette makes a lot of the impossible possible.

I really wanted to dislike Theron in Monster, but was really in awe of what she did with it. Uglied-up Oscar-grab b.s. aside, she became Wournos. (and I know I'm way in the minority with this one, but I thought Christina Ricci's perf. was really misunderstood and really very good).

Kate Winslet in ESotSM is sheer bliss.

Nicole Kidman... I really do like her, and always think she's very good... it's a tie between The Others and Birth that I think are her best recent performances. Her best ever is To Die For. I love me some Moulin Rouge, but I really don't think of anyone as being particulary "good" in it... which I enjoy as sort of the point. Was that blasphemous?

I really ought not to be writing so much after four cocktails...

Beau said...

yeah, there's a tad too much dissing towards watts's turn in 21 Grams for my tastes. what you should be dissing is the role, not the actor. the part calls for her to wail hysterically, and she does so, gloriously. it was one note to an extent, i can see how you might say that, but i had no problem with her whatsoever in that part. I should heed my own advice, however... I'm one of the few people who was furious that Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar last year. Not just because I felt Heath Ledger gave a legendary performance, heaps and bounds above Hoffman's, but because what he did was a stellar imitation. I have no problem with actors taking on famous personalities so long as they add something to the individual, some dimension that adds to the persona and doesn't come off as mimickry. I felt this worked brilliantly with Kidman in The Hours (who I'm still astounded to this day has dissenters towards that wonderful turn) and, to a lesser extent, Cate Blanchett as Kate the Great.
Jamie Foxx was an imitator. That Oscar was BULLSHIT.
And Hoffman I felt did a good job not overplaying the tics of his character, but at the same time the script abandons him from the get-go. What we're left with is an uncompromising, unsympathetic inhuman character who rivals Napoleon Dynamite as being completely unbearable. I had so many issues with Capote that I'm still surprised to this day many people saw that film and didn't catch what I did. The fact that you had one of the most celebrated authors of the twentieth century and you twisted him into a confusing mix of self-hatred and self-pity. It bugged the fuck out of me.

But onto the actresses...

Juliette Binoche - Chocolat

-you were charasmatic. you were. i love that. but it's hardly oscar worthy.

Keisha Castle Hughes - Whale Rider

-i never got the hook of this perf. same thing with Evan or Catalina, I felt both were overrated (though I did check out Maria Full of Grace again and found her to be much more compelling and impressive)

Felicity Huffman - Transamerica


Salma Hayek - Frida

Simply for the fact that you STOLE Meryl's deserved spot. Boo.

Judi Dench - Mrs. Henderson Presents

Well, at least Ziyi Zhang didn't snag the spot. Such a mediocre performance.

And am I the only person who never got the fascination with Zeta-Jones's perf in Chicago? It was good and enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but more worthy than Moore in The Hours??? I think not.

pattonjr5 said...

nick...w/regard to being mean-spirited, this has something to do w/old wounds opened a couple of years ago. 1. when i said that thing about indie & ellie parker, i meant REALLY indie--really primitive. shot by 8mm as naomi was driving in her honda at that time--between mulholland dr shoots.
obviously md, 21g, & anymore are indies, & in spite of the ring & kong, naomi prefers indies. (somerset maugham's painted veil in september & cronenberg's eastern promises w/viggo about her exposing a russian sex trade ring. perhaps a remake of haneke's funny games. indies, but not as extreme indie as ellie parker. inarritu said he picked naomi for 21g because she showed so much more range in ellie parker than mulholland dr.)
2. my wife's comment had to do w/his attack on cristina being emotional about her whole family being wiped out. perhaps we love italian verismo/realism opera (21g) as well as french or german opera (mulholland dr). & i have told you the real world situations.
3. liking bimbo characters. here again, i read the 2 (or 3 if md is 2) characters he liked the best. this was the first i had read about his seeing king kong. he saw a comparison between cristina & edith in his putting naomi 50. i thought the comparison w/cristina
& terry/laura dern/cristina lite was better. i have to fast fwd everytime i get to the terry v.
jack scenes. unlike cristina's, they are the same each time.

but i think your criticism of those comments is legit & i would pull back a little now that he has.

still i want to produce his review of mulholland dr to show that it hardly praised naomi as betty/diane as he says he has.

we have also disclosed her outfits & hair, but that does not make much difference since she experiments w/that as she does w/acting. he said she deserves a rest. thankfully, that rest will soon come to an end--w/or w/o a child or marriage for a 37yr old later bloomer.

on my part it is respect, hardly love. i love my dog & my wife--in no particular order. but i also love writing my papers.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm changing my list. Here's the whole she-bang, starting with the best (imho):

1. Staunton (Simply brilliant)

2. Theron, Monster (Substance over style, totally ... especially when you compare her to Halle Berry in Monster's Ball)

3. Kidman, The Hours (She was magnificent, nose and all and I don't care how small the part was)

4. Linney (It's been a while since I watched this, but I recall her being a revelation)

5. Kidman, Rouge! (What can you say, her and Baz Luhrman together resurrected a dead genre ... Ewan helped too, of course)

6. Bening (Ferociously over-the-top; she's also a personal favorite of mine)

7/8. Roberts & Witherspoon (I believe there is something to be said about movie stars pulling off personal bests in decent films, which includes being over-rewarded for their efforts. That's just how I feel.)

9. Zellweger, Bridget Jones (I don't care for her or her squeaky voice, but she helped create a great and memorable film character)

10. Winslet (I don't think this was her best work, but she's so fresh and confident

11. Spacek (Under-stated, quite good)

12. Morton (see Spacek comments)

13. Moore (She so adaptable to different film-making techniques, it's frightening)

14. Allen (Solid performance, but it's been a while since I saw it)

15. Keaton (She has AMAZING comic timing, though I don't think she has the greatest range)

16. Burstyn (She's great in a film that I didn't care for, though, she comes close to becoming a caricature)

17. Lane (I go back and fourth on this one, especially the train scene; this is a performance that will probably not age well...Streep should have gotten her slot for The Hours, though, no question.)

18. Zellweger, Chicago (She didn't embarress herself)

19/20. Newbies Moreno (restrained and beautiful) & Castle Hughes (Adorable)

21 -25. Haven't Seen Dench in Iris or Mrs. Henderson, Hayek, Knightley, Theron in North Country,

26. Berry (She had some moments that took me in the first time I saw her. But I lowered my critical faculties and once I saw the mechanics at work, I was disappointed. She used an acting coach on set! Need I say more? I'm sorry, but that's WRONG! Dialect coach: okay. Style/ historical coach: fine. Acting Coach? No, no, no, no, no, no.)

27. Watts (She's got a great, screechy voice, (which they used to shrewd effect in the King Kong trailer) but that movie, along with all the performances were over-praised)

28. Swank (I agree with Nate. She's been recognized enough for two lifetimes. Or am I just jealous that we are both the same age and grew up in the same county and her career is going much better than mine?)

29. Huffman (I'm with Nate on how he feels about TV actresses on film. Damn YOU Helen Hunt!)

30. Binoche (The Power of the Weinsteins knows no bounds ... well, except if it involves Cold Mountain ... *sniffs*)

Anonymous said...

NR- Thanks for the response. Don't get me wrong, I love this discussion topic. You know how to pick em!

(big fan of your web sight- I love scrolling through your in depth reviews. Although still awaiting one of your delicious ones for Brokeback- to further explain the “B”)

Anyway, I also noticed Lane was dodging the mud and then you mentioned her- I was a bit surprised because her nomination is one of the few that I believe was genuinely all about the performance. (And I was on cloud nine when she snagged a FB Bronze metal)
I loved her work and thought that train scene (credit owed to Anne V. Coats) was a work of art. But your comment “I didn't believe the long centerpiece close-up on her face on the train, and I thought the range of that perf was a little limited.” Troubles me a little bit- I don’t quite understand what you meant. I usually find your comments / reviews fascinating and would love for you to elaborate on it.


pattonjr -- just so everyone can see what you're talking about here is my review of Mulholland Dr. I'm not really proud of it because I've improved over the years as a writer but it is what it is.

As for not discussing Naomi much in the review. -- i don't see what the point is? honestly I don't. When you're dealing with a David Lynch film isn't David Lynch the star? (answer: to me, yes)

Why is there this weird question of "proof" that I liked the performance when you can look here and here to see her (yeah, TWO) gold medals that year from me.)
this converation is starting to weird me out.

i was having trouble even following pts 1,2,3. but then it finally occurred to me what the problem is here with you and your wife gettting offended by my comments and this might help clear things up:

I don't judge 'CHARACTERS' in films. I am judging the PERFORMANCES of the characters. If you realize that, you'll be less offended. Of course anyone who loses a child will be miserable and misery is often a one note thing in real life as are many overpowering emotional states. But acting is different than being. Or at least it is when it's good. I'm only concerned with the portrayal of misery in the film. Not with the misery itself. I don't think Naomi PORTRAYS the misery in a way that is carefully shaped or revelatory, she portrays it heavy handed and one note. That's my take.

You see the difference?

I'm big into modulation and character arcs. I kinda live for them. [shameless movie acting fanatic right here!] so if I feel an actor is getting a lot of credit for something that isn't really about shaping their performance it irks me.

This also might be why I'm not so gungho on mimicry. Yeah, you can act like the person! so what? TELL ME something about your character. Shape it for me.

I hope this makes sense to all. it was actually good to get this out since it helped explain it even to me. ;)

adam k. said...

Just for the record, re: Binoche...

I think I understand why she was nommed. It's because they were doing exactly as they were told. "Nominate Chocolat! Nominate its star!", Miramax said. So they did. What I find infuriating is that Renee even WON the comedy globe over her, and gave that great endearing speech, and was owed already, and still they gave it to Binoche... just cause that's what they were supposed to do. Argh. I understand that Michelle, Michelle, Gillian and Bjork just never got traction, but Renee had traction, and they still passed her over. Annoying.

Yaseen Ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yaseen Ali said...

Nathaniel, you should do a "From Hell" shortlist for every acting category. Look how much discussion this one started!

adam k. said...

That actually seems like it'd be hard, cause with the other acting categories, they haven't made that many terrible choices. Not the best ones, but I can't offhand think of 5 really awful and annoying choices to fill the ballot for any other category this decade.

Anonymous said...

Can't really list five performances... Just the one for Hilary Skank. She is a poor actress that had two really good roles/directors, a monkey could have gotten a nod for Boys... IMHO.

Joe R. said...

Adam, I can think of five annoying and awful nominated performances in Supporting Actor, and that was just from last year. Well, okay, Jake was simply mis-categorized. But still.

Emma said...

The Worst:

01. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!)
02. Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)
03. Naomi Watts (21 Grams)
04. Charlize Theron (North Country)
05. Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Glenn Dunks said...

I haven't seen North Country or Iris. Those are the only two films to get Best Actress noms that I haven't seen.

Halle Berry, Monster's Ball - I hate this performance. I hate this movie too. Just deplorable. The only of these five that I can say I truly hate.

Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider - umm... blah much? I don't see what's remotely nominatable about this perf? But at least it was actually Lead and not Supporting, which would've been the silliest thing ever.

Felicity Huffman, TransAmerica - I don't mind this perf, but the role itself irks me. If it were actually a man playing the role it would be seen as being camp, but here it's ACTING!

Samantha Morton, In America - Just... undeserved. Nice perf, but Best Actress in a Leading Role? Hardly.

Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby - The performance ain't that bad, but I ranked 13 other female lead perfs that year above her (including people such as Lindsay Lohan and Gina Gershon). Most undeserved win since Berry.

With honourable mentions going to Sissy Spacek and Juliette Binoche, but at I don't feel particularly insulted by Juliette's performance and Sissy I just didn't find special at all (especially compared to Tom Wilkinson).

I personally quite like Selma in Frida (more, I liked the movie). With the only other option for them (with their limited capabilities) being Streep (who I actually liked more than Hayek) it didn't bother me. Plus, she worked hard for that nomination. I really liked Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents too, and her nom doesn't annoy me because we all know Theron and Huffman were the ones who didn't deserve their spots.

I loved Reese in Brigdet Jones and while I didn't love her in Chicago i did like her and the movie was great, so her nod there didn't bother me. As Nat said, good on Renee for getting two noms in a row, one for a British rom-com and the second for a dark musical. Cold Mountain is another story.

Oh, and lastly, I *runs and hides* really liked Watts in 21 Grams. Penn was better (and in this than Mystic River I might add), but I still liked her. I still remember the scene they used for her Oscar clip vividly. TAKE IT EASY?!?!? If ever a role was written to have dialogue followed by "?!?!?" that was it.

M$R? Winslet AND Kidman? Crikies...


I think "crikies" is, like, the most brilliant word. I wish we used it here.

Anonymous said...

Keisha Castle Hughes (Whale Rider) - Cute but boring, she cried well in one scene.

Juliette Binoche (Chocolat) - Love the actress but let's be real, it was a charisma performance alone.

Charlize Theron (North Country) - Nothing special, stole Joan's nomination.

Renee Zellwegger (Chicago) - She works awfully hard and has been really good before but I just don't like this performance, hard to watch.

Nicole Kidman (The Hours) - Love the movie, she is good but this is not a lead role and her two co-stars were much better.

Anonymous said...

Judi Dench "Mrs henderson Presents"
Why do they nominate her for everything? It wasnt that slow of a year for actresses.

Salma Hayek "Frida"
A good performance, but should have been pushed out of the race by Meryl Streep in "The Hours".

Nicole Kidman "Moulin Rogue"
I only say this because that year she deserved a nomination for "The Others".

Felicity Huffman "Transamerica"
I dont know what it is about this performance, it just didnt grab me.I think she's much better on Desperate Housewives.

Keisha Castle Hughes "Whale Rider"
What? What was so magocal about this performance? Jennifer Connelly should have snuck in past this little kid with her big performance.

Glenn Dunks said...

"Cute but boring, she cried well in one scene."

Absolutely Correct. I loved that the clip for her that they used during the ceremony barely featured her at all.

Nat, you could definitely start using "crikies" although, I'm pretty sure it's only Steve Urwin and I who say it, and I'm cooler than Steve Urwin so let's just forget about him :P

Anonymous said...

Excuse, but the winner is Charlize Theron in Monster, the über dyke, not enough the gain weight and the make up ,her role is inspired in that 80's movie "One of the guys"



you can now play this same game with the actors HERE

Anonymous said...


Just followed the link(s) over to your FB awards from way back in 2001, and let me say "hosanna" and a hearty "thank you" for the shout-out to an underrated performance in the form of Brooke Smith in 'Series 7: The Contender,' who so deserved that semi-finalist slot you gave her. I know that's a non-sequitor, but I happened to catch the movie recently on cable and was rivited by the a very tricky -- tonally and otherwise -- role she played and parlayed into a great star turn in a brilliant pitch black comedy. Love your edgy taste.


Anonymous said...

Joan Allen -- The Contender
Dear Joan: We are sorry we did not acknowledge your great performances in The Ice Storm and Pleasantville and have instead decided to recognize you for this pile of blah. Sincerely, The Academy.

Kate Hudson -- Almost Famous
In light on Raising Helen, Le Divorce, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, this nomination should be rescinded until we see any evidence that Hudson can act.

Holly Hunter -- Thirteen
Holly Hunter is good in Thirteen, but not nearly as good as the actress who plays her daughter, Evan Rachel Wood. This was an unremarkable performance.

Charlize Theron -- North Country
Does Theron have to be nominated every time she gets ugly on screen? She was decent in Monster, but in no way deserved to be nominated for North Country.

Diane Keaton -- Something's Gotta Give
Keaton gave her stock performance in Something's Gotta Give. She is good at playing neurotic yet lovable women. Wait, wasn't she already rewarded for this act with an Oscar for Annie Hall?

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, you are an idiot. Juliette Binoche is an amazing actress with a great dynamic range and just because somebody does not act "their ass off" it does not mean that the actress is not doing a fine job. Who are you to make such idiotic judgements anyway? Are you some world-renown acting teacher or actor or director? I think not. Acting's art is in it's subtlety and not in it's flashiness. GET A JOB

Anonymous said...

I gotta defend Catalina Sandino Moreno for a second. Her work in maria full of Grace was only upstaged by Winslet's breathtaking performance in Eternal Sunshine. Otherwise, it was the female performance of the year. She was subtle, quiet and reserved but that doesn't mean that her character wasn't filled with nuance, charisma and humanity. The movie, which was excellent, only worked because the character of Maria was believable and, more than anything else, empathetic. Moreno well deserved the nomination. Swank, on the other hand, was given too much credit. True, her performance was touching but was it really as strong as Kidman's role as a tortured widow in Birth? Was it really was luminescent as Delpy's performance in Before Sunset? No. Million Dollar Baby was the best film of that year and the Academy honored it by giving Swank the award. It wasn't anything appalling like the Crash win, but the award was more for Eastwood's film than Swank's performance.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how a lot of you guys are claiming Nicole's role is supporting in 'The Hours' and somehow deserving of this list. I think there's some discrepancy as to what makes a role supporting, meaning minimal screen time does not equate into the role being a supporting one. The film is about three separate women's journeys and stories and how they relate to one another and what not. In short, I mean to say that Kidman, Streep and Moore are all leads and in no way do they support any other lead actors in this film.

Anyways, my 5 worst are:
5) Charlize Theron (North County): With a weak Best Actress category the academy decided a little fluff was in order. This was just a snooze-fest. Not a bad performance but definitely not an outstanding one. Theron didn't even redeem herself by wearing a hot dress, well maybe next year.
4) Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents): I laughed when I saw that she got her nomination.. you know the laugh when you find out the inevitable ended up happening, whether we wanted it to or not. She plays this role so 2 dimensionally and then we're supposed to feel and empathize with her during that moment of truth and revelation. Spare me. She was pure filler this year. Mediocre performance from a brilliant actress.
3) Renee Zellweger (Chicago): I really didn't think this was good casting at all.. you can only stretch the 'but Roxy is supposed to be sucky' idea so far until it becomes apparent that Renee was out of her element and definitely out of her league here. You'd have thought some acting might've redeemed her.. but it seemed Renee missed out on the character arc of Roxy and hit one note throughout her entire performance(a very, very sour note).
2) Reese Witherspoon: Forget about Kidman in 'The Hours' this was a supporting performance, and not a very good one at that. Give me gimmicky acting(Huffman) over this forced yet lazy performance any day. 'baby, baby, baby'.. what? she won..? dear lord. Return to glamour my ass, this was another A list celeb giving a mediocre performace and winning b/c America's sweet heart did a serious role. I do however love Reese and would've loved to see her get a nom for 'Election' or even for 'Freeway' but not for this performance in this category.
1) Halle Berry: I don't know how or why this happened, I think Berry's a fine actress but this was just a showy, slobbery mess. It was almost painful seeing Berry's characterization.. or lack there of, there's just a lot of mechanical crying and moaning on perpetual repeat. If I were Spacek or Kidman I would've bitch slapped the academy for that faux pas.


Cinecittà said...

Juliette Binoche only pretty? You sucks.

Anonymous said...

In no particular order:

Juliette Binoche in "Chocolat" - capable but nothing more, completely unexciting, just like the film she was nominated for

Charlize Theron in "North Country" - same as with Binoche; nothing even remotely exciting going on here, the definition of a throw-away nom

Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby" - went against the grain, stuck with my gut, and just hated the film, which no doubt colors my perception of her work in it... but, come on, you really bought her schtick? Every time she said "boss," I died a little inside.

This is reaching back into the vaults but... Ellen Burstyn in "Same Time Next Year." Sure, it was a nod to reward her versatility, but her caricature of an aging hippie is the stuff of nightmares.

And here's one that's always nagged at me, since I first saw and fell in love with "American Beauty" in 1999. Annette Bening in "American Beauty." Adored the movie then, saw it again a few months back. Doesn't hold up as well you'd like, but it's still genius in fits and starts. But I've never once bought into Bening's performance. It's just too broad, too much. Which would be fine if she could make the emotions genuine during her breakdowns in the last half hour. But that never happened. I never believed in her character. She just never seemed as real as everyone else (hell, even Peter Gallagher rang truer to me as the uber-confident real estate sleaze). I never for one instant believed I was seeing anyone on screen other than an actress, screaming and crying and turning the histrionics up to 11... but with only marginal results.

And dishonorable mentions to Salma Hayek and Halle Berry, for all the reasons already mentioned.


people hating on me for the juliette binoche thing. listen up: it helps to actually READ the whole thing -- not just look at the pictures because you're missing that I like Juliette Binoche quite a bit as an actress. she's good in tons of things. But THAT performance is the very definition of nothing special. there's no meat to it. no genius to it. no challenge to it. n-o-t-h-i-n-g. it'd be like me nominating pfeiffer for Wolf or Dangerous Minds just because i love La Pfeiffer.

Just because someone is pretty and a competent every time out does not mean they should be nominated just because they were their lovely selves in a movie people like.

adam k. said...

I just wanna know what people are doing on this website if they really hate Nathaniel and his opinions that much.

...and he HAS a job.

Glenn Dunks said...

*enters room to see couple in bed*
"Get a room!"
"We have one! You walked in on us!"
"And don't you forget it"

That sketch was funny, but nobody would any idea what I'm on about so I'll leave now

(That anonymous person was hilarious. They should get a prize or something)

Anonymous said...

Halle Berry - Worst Win ever for that porno that she did!

Juliette Binoche - Because althought I do adore her, that slot belonged to Bjork.. We all know that. Thank God for the swan dress at least.

Diane Lane - Ok, that scene in the train... not that impressive.

Renee - Chicago. Overkill, I was sick of her already. There's still a place for you Renee.

Laura Linney - THE HORROR! Not because she's a bad actress, just because whenever I seee her I sooo want to punch her

adam k. said...

Anonymous, why do you wanna punch Laura Linney...?

She went to my college, yo. She is our most famous alum. Nobody will punch her while I'm around.

NicksFlickPicks said...

(@Glenn: It's true that I don't know what you're quoting, but that was hilarious.)

Anonymous said...

Glenn, what are you on about? I spit Iced Tea on my monitor when I read that. Please elaborate on the sketch. Bril!


Anonymous said...

Whilst many of you have already expressed what you think of the unjustified nominations of Charlize Theron (North Country), Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents), Felicity Hoffman (Transamerica), Keira Knightly (Pride & Prejudice) or even Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), ie. all the 5 nominations of the year,
now let me say this, one of the biggest crimes in the Academy Awards history is their nominating these unjustified 5 and not at least giving one of the slots to honour the most justified best performance of the year: Naomi Watts for King Kong.

Anonymous said...

Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider (really? over other "youngsters" Scarlett and Evan Rachel? Really?)

Judi Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents...(must be the perk of being a dame)

Salma Hayek in Frida (you're watching her watch herself play Frida)

Juliette Binoche in Chocolat (Miramax formula performance in a Miramax formula film)

Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge! (Unfortunately, she was never able to quite rise enough above the crap surrounding her. It couldn't have been easy, though, especially having to act against Ewan McGregor. She did manage to escape with dignity, though, so I guess it wasn't a huge loss.)

Can I throw in Meryl Streep for "Music of the Heart," too, just because, well...you know.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I agree Naomi Watts (King Kong) deserved to be in any of the 5 nomination slots than any of the nominated five actress.

adam k. said...

I would definitely have nominated Watts. She was my third favorite behind Reese and Joan... but I didn't even bother seeing Dench, Huffman, Theron or even Paltrow, so who knows if I'd like them better.

Anonymous said...


Many of my choices for "What the hell were you thinking nominating her?" come with a companion film by the same star that was alarmingly ignored in a different year.

How can they nominate Joan Allen for The Contender and NOT nominate her for The Upside of Anger?

or Juliette Binoche for Chocolat and NOT Damage?

Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jone's Diary and NOT Nurse Betty or Jerry Maguire?

Nicole Kidman for The Hours and NOT Meryl for the same film?

Also why did the Academy feel the need to nominate Sissy Spacek for In the Bedroom (great film, got most of the emotional terrain right, but cannot believe that she was a choir teacher), Samantha Morton for In America (definitely deserving of a nomination that year...for Best Supporting Actress), Felicity Huffman (nominated more for name recognition than for any acting chops that she displayed on screen), and Keira Knightley (she is cute as a button, but has not proven she has the depth as an actress to deserve a nomination for anything. How was her performance in Pride and Prejudice any different than her work in Pirates of the Carribean?).

Anyway, enjoy your site. Have a good day.


Anonymous said...

1. Julia Roberts - playing a tough bitchy woman who gets what she wants was by no means a stretch for her.

2. Charlize Theron - How desperate for an Oscar can you get?

3. Samantha Morton - so many others worthier than her

4. Hilary Swank - I liked it but again, so many others who deserved it more

5. Halle Berry - you're black, let's give you an Oscar so we don't lool racist!

Anonymous said...

2005 - Judi Dench - Mrs. Henderson Presents (I mean, COME THE @#$% ON!!!) In all honesty Joan Allen deserved that nomination!

2004 - Of what I've seen I liked. Kate Winslet should have won but Hilery Swank was wonderful (I thought)...I have not seen the others but I will say that my favorite performance of that year was Scarlett Johansson's performance in 'Love Song for Bobby Long'

2003 - Samantha Morton or Keisha Castle-Hughs...both were great performances but should have went supporting. Scarlett should have been nominated for her performance in 'Lost in Translation' and I'm sorry but I was FLOORED by Naomi Watts performance in 21 Grams and feel she should have won...get this...HANDS DOWN!!!

2002 - Nicole Kidman...I'm sorry, not only was it supporting but it was boring. Diane Lane should have won, no questions asked. She delivered one of my favorite performances by a leading lady, ever!

2001 - I'd have to say Sissy Spacek or Judy Dench. I just feel they robbed Naomi of her deserved WIN that year. Another I feel was sorely overlooked mostly because the movie was recieved as a teen flick was Kirsten Dunst who blew me away with her powerful performance in Crazy/Beautiful, and I'm sorry, she deserved a nomination!

2000 - I have not seen Chocolat so I won't say Juliette Binoche, I will say Julia Roberts ONLY because she shouldn't have won. Ellen Burstyn should have won the gold...but thats the Oscars for you!

Anonymous said...

-Salma hayek: A mini Clooney-Gibson-Costner type of thing, and beat out Merryl.

--Charlize Theron(Monster):Well, the gain a lot of weight, and get uglier, let's give her the nod

Renee Zellweger (Chicago): Nice but not great. I think that Roxy Hart is a mix between Suzanne Mareto and Satine

Julia Roberts (Erin Brocovich), and i also think that pretty woman was not worthy, but is an iconic role.

Anonymous said...

1. Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven - MOST. OVERRATED. PERFORMANCE. EVER. I cannot stress how happy I am that she lost.
2. Julia Roberts - Erin Brokovich - Yawn.
3. Renee Zellwegger - Chicago - Why not get someone who can sing and dance?
4. Keisha Castle Hughes - Whale Rider - Most overrated performance since...Julianne Moore in ...anything.
5. Charlize Theron - North Country - The girl sure knows how to Oscarbait.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge. That was Naomi's Spot! That was such a mess. That film made me feel sick. Overrated!

Hilary Swank in anything. She is not bad but where is the light. The girl has no layers. She beat Ms. Bening twice once for being a boy and once for playing a stock character. "feel bad for us!" we get it! Benings characters might not have been as likabe but they were far more complex!

For the person that thought Julianne Moore was overrated in far from heaven.... GIVE ME A BREAK! It is the best thing from 2000 to 2006! Nothing compares to it. Watch some Douglas Sirk and maybe you will get it. It was a tour de force.

Anonymous said...

Keisha Castle-Hughs!!! Should have went to Uma Thurman for Kill Bill.

Anonymous said...

"For the person that thought Julianne Moore was overrated in far from heaven.... GIVE ME A BREAK! It is the best thing from 2000 to 2006! Nothing compares to it."

thank you for providing an example of why i think it's overrated. ugh, fanboys...is there anytihng worse?

Anonymous said...

glad to see the ill-intended naomi watts hell has turned out to be naomi watts heaven ;)

Anonymous said...

My worse experiences of leading actresses the decade so far:

Binoche in Chocolat
Berry in Monster's ball
Hayek in Frida
Swank in Million $ baby
Theron in North country

Anonymous said...

My worse experiences of leading actresses the decade so far:

Binoche in Chocolat
Berry in Monster's ball
Hayek in Frida
Swank in Million $ baby
Theron in North country

Anonymous said...

Ok, here's the summery so far of 90 something comments....
The top 5 of the bottom-best leading performances by actresses according to this blog:

1. Charleze Theron - North Country
2.-3. Juliette Binoche - Chocolat
2.-3. Salma Hayek - Frida
4. Halle Berry - Monster's ball
5. Hilary Swank - Million dollar baby

The honorable three performances who are not mentioned here as top 5 worse performances not a single time:

Ellen Burstyn - Requiem of a dream
Judi Dench - Iris
Imelda Staunton - Vera Drake

(excuse me if i'm wrong - Burstyn has been mentioned "almost" in botton5, but not exactly, the same thing with Dench in Iris, but Staunton is absolutely clean!!!)

Anonymous said...

5. Keisha Castle-Hughes - All those GoldDerby chatters got her noticed and cheered when she was nominated. Then, they turn around three years later and say she didn't deserve it. It's a well-directed performance, but not a uniquely well-acted one.

4. Annette Bening - She was "ACTING" so much in Being Julia that I had absolutely no reaction to the character or the performance. Her one powerhouse scene toward the end was not enough to save Mrs. Beatty and definitely should not have earned her a nomination.

3. Nicole Kidman in The Hours - I know, it's like beating a dead horse... she was pouty and withdrawn (the exact opposite of Julia in EB or Reese in WtL) which made her seem like a "serious actress". But she was actually much better that year in The Others.

2. Halle Berry - Just ick. Watching Monsters Ball, I had the feeling in every scene that Halle was standing outside the character, commenting on her.

1. Sissy Spacek in In the Bedroom - Every criticism that has been written about Naomi Watts in 21 Grams should be levelled at Sissy instead. WAY over the top to the point that she made me laugh more than once (especially in the scene where she slaps Marisa Tomei). Chain-smoking and screaming is not "acting".

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman in The Hours - First of all, it was a supporting performance. Second, nobody would even be considering her if she didn't hide behind a gimmick (the "nose"). If what Huffman did was a gimmick, what Kidman did was more of a gimmick.

Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge - The singing grated and everything fell apart. Should have been Naomi Watts in this slot.

Felicity Huffman - and people seriously thought she was Reese's biggest competition that year?

Diane Keaton - I remember loving this performance when I first saw it, but having recently seen it again on HBO...that must have been a really lean year.

Keisha Castle-Hughes - a good performance, but there were A LOT of better ones in that year.

Anonymous said...


1. Halle Berry, Monster's Ball: A film about racism with soft porn and hate, with a over-the-top actress with a little bit of Showgirl ingredient. And she's an Oscar Winner!!!. "Halle you had that Oscar because we dind't give it to Whoopi for The Color Purple"... Thornton and Ledger are by far better that her. The worst Oscar of those years.

2. Salma Hayek, Frida: I'm mexican and I like the film but I'm sorry, salma didn't deserve that spot. Ofelia Medina had a better performance in a mexican film. that spot deserves to Huppert, Morton and Streep.

3. Reese Witherspoon: Generally 2005 was THE WORST year and any female performance (Unleast in English Language) of the year was outstading, but WTF??!! Elle Woods with dark hair goes to Nashville and she's married with Comodus. One of the most overrated Oscars of those years. Unleast she sings. And for me, Huffman is better instead her.

4. Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovitz: De-glam factor, a dirty white trash, single mom... Oscar Wirthy performance. I like her, but Why? Nath, I don't understand you, you hated that kind of roles but you like Roberts... she stole Burstyn and Linney's Oscar. Whiterspoon, Roberts, paltrow and Hunt stole Oscars because they're pretty STARS...

5. ¨Keisha castle-Hughes, Whael Rider: Good film and performance but no way she's better instead Evan Rachel Wood or Scarlett Johansson.

Dishonorable Mention:
- Judi Dench, Mrs henderson Presents: Good Performance but any Oscar Worthy... But weak year - Where's Joan Allen? where's Emmanuelle Devos? Where's Connie nielsen? Even Paltrow and Watts?
- Joan Allen, The Contender: She's a great actress but it's her worst performance, even Binoche is better.
- Nicole Kidman, The Hours: It wasn't a bad performance, in fact is the opposite, but that Oscar belongs to Julianne Moore. Kidman should have won in 2001.

The Best:

1. Bjork, Dancing in the Dark: She takes the Joan Allen place and voila! my perfect top five. fantastic, the best debut performance of those years. One of the best performances in the history of cinema and she was completelly ignored by AMPAS

2. Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger: The most awfully snubbed performances of this 2005. she deserves that spot and maybe she could win that Oscar, not Reese "Elle Woods" Witherspoon.

3. Naomi Watts, Mullolhand Drive: Another awfully snubbed performance, this time in 2001. She's perfect in a magnific Lynch film. she superb and subte and never overracts.

4. Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace: Beside my love for Kidman for Dogville, I think the colombian actress has a very deserving place in the top five of 2004, with a outstading debut performance only inferior with Bjork. She was my wishful thinking for win.

5. Julianne Moore, Far from heaven: Juli should have won that 2002 Oscar, she's fantastic and beautiful like a 50s housewife with a closeted gay husband.

Honorable Mention:
- Nicole kidman, Moulin Rouge!: Cliched character? YES, but well acted by Kidman and with McGregor create one of the most important couples.
- charlize Theron, Monster: Fantastic like Wournos. YES, it's a de-glam character but she's not a fake or indiferent imitation like Foxx or Hoffman.
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Freaky Friday: My wishful thinking, but I think she's better instead Keaton