Monday, March 08, 2010

And the Winner Is... Sandra Bullock (Confusing Actress Math)

Oscars in Review: worst & weirdest moments, most wonderful moments and all 09/10 awards season posts

I like Sandra Bullock. I feel like I have to start from there. Her Oscar win should have seemed inevitable to me from the first moment I heard about the movie. For, you see, I am almost never happy with the way this category pans out (as opposed to Supporting Actress wherein I apparently have more Oscar-friendly taste). Unlike the mega-millions of other people who like Ms Bullock, I didn't spend the season trying to justify nor am I OK with her being an Oscar winner. It's BEYOND weird to me that Kate Winslet, an Oscar level actress if ever there was one, had to endure such vitriol from fans and non-fans alike for winning an Oscar last year for one of her minor performances but Sandra can coast along to Oscar on little more than being "likeable" and elevating bad movies and people are happy for her! I don't get that math at all and I wish people would be more consistent about why they got angry about the Oscars. Not that it's easy to be angry about Sandra Bullock who is gracious and loveable. And gives good speech! More on that in another post.

And now for my split screen envelope opening emotional projection obsession!

"and the winner is... | ...Sandra | Bullock" (it sinks in)

Gabourey Sidibe and Carey Mulligan seem genuinely nervous before the name is read. I don't imagine either expected to win per se, but if it's your first time through it's probably easier to believe that anything is possible. Even if you don't want to believe it for fear of disappointment, Carey. Dame Helen Mirren (of the spider tattoo... thanks Michael Sheen) seems totally bored. I'm guessing she was thinking "Meryl or Sandra? Oh okay, Sandra" -- no emotional fuss whatsoever. Gabby appears to be waving to the camera in the last still but it's actually just a strange way of clapping parallel to your body rather than the normal perpendicular way. Meryl seems to be doing the turn your head to avoid the camera seeing your disappointment thing but in truth, Sandra is just across the aisle to that side of her and they've been uh, flirtatious, throughout awards season. She was just looking at her. Meryl is a good loser. The Best actually. She's perfected it over the past 28 years. She always seems utterly delighted to be there even when losing. She's so good at it you'd think she doesn't even care about winning. But that seismic blast of joy when she won the SAG for Doubt last year indicates otherwise. La Streep WANTS to win a third. And who could blame her after all she's done for the cinema?

So the Oscar Math goes like so when it comes to the Best Actress category:

Swank is > than Streep who is = to Bullock who is > than the following combined:
Pfeiffer, Close, Weaver, Turner, Moore, Allen, Deneuve and Linney.

Oscar Actress Math never computes.

But here are my favorite Best Actress Oscar winners from the Oscar decade just ended

I'm only half kidding. And I didn't even want Julia Roberts to win that year because I was rooting for Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream (who would make my nominee list even if the Oscars were only once a decade). My point is this: I am almost never happy with how Best Actress turns out. Almost never ever. The last time I had the same #1 as Oscar? Thirteen years ago when Frances McDormand won for Fargo. Even when one of my all time favorite actors does win (like Nicole Kidman & Kate Winslet) they win for the wrong performance!

I was going to do the same thing i did for best actress that I did for supporting and list the top 5 but it was EXCRUCIATING to even narrow it down to 12. Horrible horrible... actual physical pain.

Nathaniel's Top Dozen Best Actress 2000-2009
  • Björk, Dancer in the Dark (snubbed)
  • Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream (nominated, lost)
  • Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal (nominated, lost)
  • Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher (snubbed)
  • Nicole Kidman, Birth (snubbed)
  • Julianne Moore, Far From Heaven (nominated, lost)
  • Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake (nominated, lost)
  • Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada (nominated, lost)
  • Tilda Swinton, Julia (snubbed)
  • Uma Thurman, Kill Bill (snubbed)
  • Naomi Watts, Mulholland Dr (snubbed)
  • Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine (nominated, lost)

I'm sure you noticed a pattern. Half were snubbed by the Academy altogether and none of the nominees won. In an entire decades worth of Oscar! Even my favorite of Oscar's winners (Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich) isn't in my top 12! I have no idea why Best Actress continues to be my favorite category. It will lead me to the madhouse.

Do you have any categories that you love in this masochistic way?


Femme Fatale et Noire said...

I like Sandra Bullock, but yes, I am still confused about the win. Good for her, anyway.

Calum Reed said...

The only one who looks genuinely disappointed is Sidibe, although I think that Meryl will almost certainly be. She'll get it eventually though.

Julia Roberts is my favourite BA winner of the decade too (by far!) and as a top five I'd probably go with...

Bjork - Dancer in the Dark
Lena Endre - Faithless
Sandra Huller - Requiem
Isabelle Huppert - The Piano Teacher
Diane Lane - Unfaithful
Tang Wei - Lust, Caution
Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Yeah, I couldn't stick to five either.

John T said...

I think we all love Foreign Language Film in a masochistic way-year after year of banality, all in the hopes that they'll return to the Bergman and Fellini roots.

Mine would be:

Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me)-Gold
Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!)
Nicole Kidman (The Hours)-Silver
Uma Thurman (Kill Bills)-Bronze
Julie Christie (Away From Her)

Alts.: Winslet (Eternal Sunshine), Bening (Being Julia), Staunton (Vera Drake)-I'm still not sure who I should have voted for that year.

James T said...

I like angry Nathaniel :p

And I agree about Sandra's speech!

xixi said...

I too adore Sandra Bullock. She is so charming, so cool, so savvy.

But it is blatantly unfair that she can coast to an Oscar victory on a merely 'better than expected" performance while talented actresses such as Julianne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laura Linney and Glenn Close remain Oscar-less despite multiple great performances.

NoNo said...

Anoter bad bit of math:

Reese Witherspoon & Sandra Bullock > Rosalind Russell! Why didn't she of all Rom/Com Queens "Walk The Blind Side"?

If you watch Ryan Reynolds on the red carpet, he summed up Bullock's win perfectly. It was something like: "It would be a great story. I can't think of a nicer person to get an Oscar."

If Meryl truly does want to win another then I think she should use this loss as a lesson. She needs to do a film where she is the lead lead not not be in films where she's not just the saving grace (Prada ; Julie & Julia).

I also think it's time she started working with some great filmmakers. Do something a little edgier! Scorcese! Lee! (Ang or Spike doesn't matter) The Coens! Polanski! You have Hollywood at your feet! That fake piece in The Onion rang some truth to it.

I'm also never bought into the "She wasn't going to win for a comedy." If Meryl can't win for a comedy, than who can?

Fernando Moss said...

I love this category in a very msochistic way too... My favorite NEVER win and they are usually snubbed:

2009 Gabourey Sidibe (lost)
2008 Anne Hathaway (Lost)
2007 Ashley Judd (Snubbed)
2006 Penélope Cruz (Lost)
2005 Maria Bello (Snubbed)
2004 Kate Winslet (Lost)
2003 Uma Thurman (Lost)
2002 Maggie Gyllenhaal (Snubbed)
2001 Naomi Watts (Snubbed)
2000 Burstyn/Linney (both Lost)
1999 Kate Winslet (Snubbed)
1998 Fernanda Montenegro (Lost)
1997 Tilda Swinton (Snubbed)
1996 Madonna (Snubbed)
1995 Nicole Kidman (Snubbed)

and that's just the last 15 years... before that I actually didn't follow Oscars...

Burning Reels said...

Meryl and Polanski - that would be far too dreamy to ever come true!

xixi said...

on second thought, maybe we are expecting too much justice from a flawed institution like the Oscars. * sigh*

Clarence said...

If I remembered correctly, I saw Tang Wei on your top 12 list like when you unveiled it around Decemberish? I guess Tilda kicked her out of that list :(

Hide and Seek said...

Some people said Sandra has been using the kiss to campaign all these while, which is actually quite true haha~

I think Meryl Streep was a tad bit nervous after Stanley Tucci's lovely tribute and when Sean Penn was talking... She was only half-smiling and her facial expression somehow tells you that she was hoping that her name could be called, but alas too bad :(

And yeah she did hide her disappointment (if any) well, after all she's the best actress... :)

RJ said...

Let's start right now: FYC Carey Mulligan-Never Let Me Go and Jeremy Renner- The Town. It's NEVER too early!!!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

She was just looking at her. Meryl is a good loser. The Best actually. She's perfected it over the past 28 years. She always seems utterly delighted to be there even when losing.

Streep has not always lost. She already has two Oscars under her belt - one for "KRAMER VS. KRAMER" and the other one for "SOPHIE'S CHOICE". Why do people act as if she has never won an Oscar?

But it is blatantly unfair that she can coast to an Oscar victory on a merely 'better than expected"

Dear God! Has the backlash started now? Jeez!

adelutza said...

I can't understand it either, what exactly was it that won this Oscar for Bullock. Yes, everybody likes her, she gives great speeches but Streep is very liked as well, has maybe even better speeches and she can act too. I just hope that I will live to see a Bullock performance that will justify this. I give her the benefit of the doubt, future tense.

As for the best actress performance of the decade , for me it's between Penelope Cruz in Volver and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill . And what great movies, too!

James T said...


1) Meryl is much better than many actresses who have two Oscars. It's been a very long time and she deserves to have at least three Oscars

2) Nathaniel (among others) has stated his disagreement with Sandra winning long before the actual win. And he really has every reason to be unhappy about that.

James T said...

I think the reason Meryl didn't win was because her movie was very light (and bad, in my opinion).

jbaker475 said...

Wow, now that you mention it...Best Actress is also a bad category as far as my picks lining up with AMPAS:

2000 - Bjork - Dancer in the Dark
2001 - Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge!
2002 - Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven
2003 - Samantha Morton - In America
2004 - Nicole Kidman - Birth
2005 - Felicity Huffman - Transamerica
2006 - Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
***2007 - Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
2008 - Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
2009 - Tilda Swinton - Julia


Unknown said...

Let's talk about masochism: I'm a sucker for the Best Song category. Oh my god. MASOCHISM. But at least last night's winner was deserving and last night's losers, which are the sludgiest of the sludge Oscar has nominated, weren't performed.

This decade, Oscar has made the right choice 3 times:

2000: "Things Have Changed" (Bob Dylan)
2004: "Al Otro Lado del Rio" (Jorge Drexler)
2010: "The Weary Kind" (Bingham & Burnett)

And like Best Actress, this category is well distinguished in snubbing songs that are 12684 times better than the actual nominees ("The Wrestler"in 2009, etc.).

The Taxi Driver said...

Meryl would win again if she'd stop getting nominated for bad movies that having but her going for them.

RJ said...

"This decade, Oscar has made the right choice 3 times:

2000: "Things Have Changed" (Bob Dylan)
2004: "Al Otro Lado del Rio" (Jorge Drexler)
2010: "The Weary Kind" (Bingham & Burnett)"

HOLD UP. 'Falling Slowly,' anyone?

brandz said...

i say let the Sandra backlash begin. worst Best Actress win since Helen Hunt in 1997 and Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998.

Unknown said...

I'm not wholly opposed to "Falling Slowly" or a couple other winners ("Lose Yourself" & "Into the West"), but they weren't my first choices, so, clearly they shouldn't have been Oscar's either. :-)

Ryan Ray said...

Well, I'd prepare yourself for another non-fictional uplifting film that could sweep the heartland in Betty Anne Waters. Swank's 3rd Oscar?


The Dude said...

I really think she hasn't won one because she pretends she doesn't care. Look at this season, she had the role, the buzz, the support, the timing, the competition, a la Sissy Spacek...EVERYTHING!!! Keeping silence while Bullock made a pretty terrific and strong campaign switched her buzz to Bullock. Acting like, "it's alright, I don't care if I love", well, then voters are obviously not gonna feel guilty if they give an Oscar to Sandra freaking Bullock instead of her. *sigh*
Let's jsut hope the collected buzz for "Streep's third!!!" that began in 2006, and grew so strong in 08 and 09 pay off for at least, one more goddamn win.

CanadianKen said...

I managed to get my 2000-2009 Actress list down to five:
1. ASHLEY JUDD "Eye of
the Beholder"
* most sources call it 1999
but it languished on the shelf
for ages before finally
squeaking into cinemas
in January 2000)
"Lovely and Amazing"
"Far From Heaven"
"The Notorious Bettie Page"
"La Vie en Rose"
Cotillard was a trophy winner,
Moore a nominee; the rest
were left out in the cold.
Cutting the list down to five,
I had to say very reluctant
in "The House of Mirth" and
"I've Loved You So Long".

Unknown said...

Naomi Watts, Mulholland Dr. **
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine
Ellen Page, Juno
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill
Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!

probably in my top 5 ever


NoNo... yeah their rom-com thing is frustrating because, though i have nothing against rom-com acting (when it's great it's great just like acting in any genre) i feel like Meg Ryan for example is one of the best rom-com actors there ever was and she tried lots of things to get nominated and they would never give her the time of day.

and though it's totally not fashionable to like her now and she was never one of my "favorites" i think Ryan is a much better actress, film to film, than Sandra Bullock is.

people probably don't believe that now because the consensus is that the world is over Meg Ryan but whether or not someone is fashionable has nothing to do with whether or not they actuall have the skill.

ah well.

i guess she's not "loveable" in quite the same way.

/3rtfu11 said...

The worst best actress win of the last 20 years is Gwyneth Paltrow. Why? I hate her that’s why. She’s a bore and was never someone the public chose but what the industry tried to force on us.

The Oscar didn’t ruin her. Hype without chops causes flops and the juicy jobs begin to dry up and when nobody misses you – were you really beloved to begin with?

NicksFlickPicks said...

This math is weird, but baby (Mo'Nique voice), you've admitted that your math is weird this season, too:

Meryl "needing" a 3rd > Gabby or Carey, whose perfs you liked better

The math isn't necessarily AS weird, but everyone's got their skewing biases.

Cluster Funk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cluster Funk said...

Am I the only one who thinks Gwyneth Paltrow deserved her Oscar? It's a sublime performance that gets overshadowed by her bitchy off-camera persona.

Helen Hunt is on par with Sandra Bullock in the egregious win category, yet the latter's likeability is supposed to validate her Oscar? That's what the People Choice Awards is for! (Good speech though.)

/3rtfu11 said...

Helen Hunt won because she was Jack Nicholson’s co-star. For every Nicholson win – 3 in all – his female co-star wins in her category – he’s a take me and my female co-star kind of guy.

Had he allowed the Academy to make him the male Katharine Hepburn – Kathy Bates would have her 2nd and Catherine wouldn’t have one at all.

Arkaan said...

Why do I not hate Bullock's win but do hate Winslets?

1. I haven't seen Bullock's film.

2. I loathed The Reader with a passion.

There, the math works for me. I can't hate Bullock's win on it's own terms. I can hate it because it represents something I dislike (the extra-cinematic reasons for voting for someone). Whereas, Kate Winslet hit the jackpot of loathing with The Reader. Terrible performance in terrible film with terrible writing that was terribly boosted to oscardom by Weinstein, while attempting to commit category fraud while oscar baiting via soft core Holocaust porn.

The Blind Side looks like a mediocrity, so I won't be sitting through it.

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

If Katharine Hepburn can wait 34 years to win her second Oscar and Patti Lupone can wait 29 years to win her second Tony then I think Meryl can stand to wait a few more years for her third Oscar.

Andrew d said...

Although Sandra Bullocks performance was somewhat memorable, there are many other actresses in the fold that could have tackled the role and come away with a performance just as good or hopefully better than; Roberts and Witherspoon come to mind.

On the other hand, how many actresses can be named that could have portrayed Julie Child as well as Meryl Streep? I can not think of anyone. She is a chameleon, completely changing to fit the surroundings of the performance.

Yet, as much as I felt Meryl deserved the oscar for Julie & Julia, not as much so as she did for "Doubt". I am still holding contempt for the powers that be that cannot make a decision as to where Kate Winslet belonged lasted year. Revolutionary Road was the oscar performance that should have gotten her the actress gold, not The Reader.

I would have been terribly ecstactic to have seen Gabourey Sidibe walk of with the Gold and a hat trick for Precious!!!!

A few snubbed in my opinion, yes, Tilda Swinton for "Julia" and Shohreh Agdoshloo for "The Stoning of Soraya M".

On an end note, What does Meryl Streep have to do for a third Oscar??? A re-imagining of "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" a la Tim Burton... Meryl=Baby Jane / Bullock+Winslet=Blanche. "You mean, after all these years we could've been friends."

Thanks for listening

Bing147 said...

You're doing better than me... last decade, in its entirety only 5 of my 50 nominees managed an Oscar nomination. None of my winners managed a nomination and one runner up did. In fact, 2 of those 5 are people I nominated in weak years and I'm pretty sure will eventually fall away when I catch more films from their years.

Those 5 are:

Laura Linney-You Can Count On Me (#3 of 2000, behind Juliette Binoche in The Widow of St Pierre and Lena Endre in Faithless)

Julianne Moore-Far From Heaven (#3 of 2002, behind Samantha Morton in Morvern Callar and Oksana Akinshina in Lilja 4 Ever)

Naomi Watts in 21 Grams (My #4 in 2003, behind Nicole Kidman in Dogville, Liv Ullmann in Saraband and Marion Cotillard in Love Me If You Dare)

Kate Winslet-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (My #2 in 2004 behind only Emmanuelle Devos in Kings and Queen)

Kate Winslet-Little Children (My #5 in 2006 behind Laura Dern in Inland Empire, Naomi Watts in the Painted Veil, Sidse Babette Knudsen in After the Wedding and Kseniya Rappoport in The Unknown Woman)

A little better though, 14 of my nominees this last decade in Lead Actress did get an Oscar nomination in the decade. Taking into account that I only nominated 40 different women last decade (10 slots were repeat nominations) in lead actress and 28 of my 50 were in foreign language films, giving them next to no shot, they do tend to honor the right people, just usually in the wrong films. Not exactly a glowing review but it is what it is.

derek said...

Kidman in Margot at the wedding and in Dogville should be on your list, Nat.

Iggy said...

Looking at the captions, Sandra Bullock's face in the third one reads to me as "finally, this is over" mixed with a first realisation of the weight/pressure winning an Oscar has. You can almost feel a grey hair coming out.

cal roth said...

> Winslet is not really minor in The Reader. It's a very good performance in a bad movie. You even nominated her!

> I'm sorry, but Streep needs better movies. She's not like Winslet or Kidman, that always looks for risky projects, even when they turn out to be bad. I'm really sorry, but someone who works in the same year with the worst directors of Hollywood (Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron) don's deserve a thrid Oscar. I wouldn't giver her.

> See, Streep wants Ephron and Meyers... Why not Bigelow or Campion if she wants to work with female directors?

ASH said...

Top 10 (2000-2009)

Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)
Isabel Huppert (The Piano Teacher)Nicole Kidman (The Others)
Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me)
Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive)
Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine...)

ASH said...

Top 10 (2000-2009)

Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)
Isabel Huppert (The Piano Teacher)
Nicole Kidman (The Others)
Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me)
Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven)
Julia Roberts (Closer)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive)
Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine...)

Ramification said...

With regards to Kate Winslet I think people expect Kate to get nominated again in the future so why are they giving her the Oscar now for what is preceived lesser performance (I personally loved the performance) when they can award her in the future, but with Bullock I don't think many people expect her to get nominated again so its ok if they 'give it to her now' as it is their only chance to do so. It is weird math!

Paul Outlaw said...

@ cal roth
I'm sorry, but Streep needs better movies. She's not like Winslet or Kidman, that always looks for risky projects, even when they turn out to be bad. I'm really sorry, but someone who works in the same year with the worst directors of Hollywood (Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron) don's deserve a thrid Oscar. I wouldn't giver her.

> See, Streep wants Ephron and Meyers... Why not Bigelow or Campion if she wants to work with female directors?

Have you heard of Nora Ephron's Bewitched or Nancy Meyers' The Holiday?

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

You know what, she's certainly charismatic off-screen, but on-screen I don't even like Sandra Bullock. And still I was happy she won.

One reason for this is - I haven't seen the performance, so I can't know for sure that it is as devastatingly misjudged as Winslet's in The Reader (though I was happy enough to see Winslet win too - I like watching her give acceptance speeches - it's the freaking Oscars - it's "Best Actress", not you know Really Best Actress).

The other reason is that Bullock winning meant that Streep didn't win. Even though I enjoy Streep's acceptance speeches, it would have been criminal to reward her for the monstrosity that was her Julia Child. With all that jittering, eyelid-flapping and goose-mimicking, I'd argue she surpassed Cate Blanchett and Frank Langella to deliver the decade's most grotesque major performance in a prestige mediocrity.

Charlize Theron is my favourite Best Actress winner by a gargantuan margin (probably of the past two decades - which isn't saying all that much really), though I never saw Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf.

My five favourite performances by an actress this past decade would be:
Anamaria Marinca - 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Emmannuelle Devos - Kings and Queen
Bjork - Dancer in the Dark
Charlize Theron - Monster
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky

Honourable mentions would go to Isabelle Huppert (Piano Teacher) and Naomi Watts (Mulholland Dr)

cal roth said...

@Paul Outlaw

Yes, Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman had their missteps, but, you know, I haven't heard anything like Meryl Streep starring something like Dogville or Holy Smoke.

And Bewitched of The Holiday are not the movies in which you see Kidman and Winslet everyday. The always look for something different, daring directors...

Most of the time has only the prestige drama mode (Doubt, Evening) and the stupid comedies mode (Mamma Mia!, The Devil Wears Prada, Prime). It's so rare to see her accepting a role in a movie directed by Robert Altman, for example...

It's a career full of Musics of The Heart and One True Things and The House of the Spirits...

She's great, love her in Prada, Doubt, etc, but I only see her in awful movies most of the time.

Anonymous said...

@cal roth Meryl did accept a movie directed by Robert Altman (A Prairie Home Companion)

Deborah said...

Honestly, I am glad Meryl didn't win this, although it would have been a perfect Oscar win: One of her genuinely worst performances. Which for Meryl means it was good. But there were several times when a lot of Meryl showed through Julia, and I never want to see that. Had Meryl won on Sunday it would have been Michael Caine in Cider House Rules or Pacino in Scent of a Woman, just an ACHINGLY wrong performance.

The categories that drive me mad in this way are the screenplay category. I always think, "It's just a screenplay award! Surely they can stretch to award something interesting and real!" I always think that. I always think it's the place for excellence instead of audience appeal. I'm always wrong.

Kev said...

Well, if you're really going there to compare Sandra Bullock's win to Kate Winslet's, I know that I sure as hell thought that Bullock was more deserving than Winslet was for an Oscar. Not a difficult concept. If anything, I know in my mind that there were stronger candidates than Bullock was in her lineup, but so was Winslet's lineup. I find "The Reader" to be vile and offensive in a way that I don't for "The Blind Side," and that goes a long way to make one win more "acceptable" than the other. But in my book, Anne Hathaway (or the snubbed SALLY HAWKINS) and Carey Mulligan would have the Oscars that both Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock are enjoying right now.

Lucky said...

I sense a need to recognize younger actresses over older ones in this category. Winselt and Bullock over Streep, Cotillard over Christie, Roberts over Burstyn, Berry over Spacek... or maybe it's because the others were previous winners.

What I don't like is that although we all agree that Bullock's win is undeserved, nobody seems to mind (me included) because she's nice. And that's wrong, because better actresses get a lot of shit for their wins (Kidman, Winslet), and they weren't even in bad films.

Anyways , off the top of my head my list is:

Nicole Kidman - Margot at the Wedding
Judi Dench - Notes on a Scandal
Naomi Watts - 21 Grams
Penélope Cruz - Volver
Meryl Streep - Devil wears Prada

2006 was goood...

Steolicious said...

Kate Winslet - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Judi Dench - Notes On A Scandal
Helen Mirren - The Queen
Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
Tilda Swinton - Julia

15 Runners Up:
Björk - Dancer in the Dark,
Nicole Kidman - The Others,
Judi Dench - Iris,
Nicole Kidman - The Hours,
Meryl Streep - The Hours,
Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven,
Charlize Theron - Monster,
Jennifer Connelly - House of Sand and Fog,
Felicity Huffman - Transamerica,
Kate Winslet - Little Children,
Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road,
Sally Hawkins - Happy-Go-Lucky,
Kristin Scott Thomas - I´ve Loved You So Long
Sissy Spacek - In the Bedroom
Julia Jentsch - Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage

The Pretentious Know it All said...

I was in the grocery store last night and I overheard a conversation with the checkout person and the girl in front of me.

Checkout guy: Did you watch the Oscars?
Girl: Yeah. I did. It was fun.
Checkout Guy: Yeah. I'm happy for Sandra.
Girl: Me too. I mean, she's not a great actress...but I'm glad she won.
Checkout Guy: Oh yeah, totally. She deserved it.

Doesn't this pretty much...sum it up?

MRRIPLEY said...

The Winslet hate astonishes me.

Lara said...

@know nothing... That's hilarious.

Somebody said it before in this thread, hopefully Sandra will come up with something in the future that will justify this win, because there's for sure nothing in her past. But I doubt it, since she simply is not talented enough.


Cluster -- i think Paltrow is FANTASTIC in Shakespeare in Love. I don't get the hate either. But it was really taht recent viewing wherein i realized how good she was. I prefer her to Blanchett in Elizabeth.

*ducks from flying objects*

though obviously both should have lost to Fernando Montenegro or Ally Sheedy.

cal roth said...

Anon, I knew Meryl worked with Altman. But that was I said. So rare.

Paltrow is marvelous in Shakespeare in Love, marvelous. Did you all realize how her perfomances are aging so much better than Cate's?

notanotherblog said...

cal roth - The movie Elizabeth isn't aging well neither. But it'll take a lot of ice cream and pyjamas for me to watch Shakespeare in Love again.

Catherine Zeta Jones - Traffic
Naomi Watts - Mulholland Drive
Meryl Streep - The Hours
Nicole Kidman - Dogville
Uma Thurman - Kill Bill 1/2
Maria Bello - A History of Violence
Kate Winslet - Little Children
Hiam Abbas - The Visitor
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Abbie Cornish - Bright Star.

And yeah, the Winslet vs. Bullock thing pisses me off too.

Arena said...

2000 Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich

2000 Ellen Burstyn - Requiem For A Dream

2002 Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven

2004 Imdelsa Staunton - Vera Drake

2008 Kate Winslet - Revolutionary Road

Peggy Sue said...

Best Actress is my favourite category and the source of SO much pain every year!

Alex said...

Ok, I actually really LOVE Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets, despite her fabulous company that year. I've never understood the hate on that one. She's so much better than Nicholson in the film. One of my favorite performances of the 90's.

(ducks several punches)

But I think Ally Sheedy deserved it in 1998, so I'm safe.

Cluster Funk said...

Helen Hunt's performance in AGAIG isn't *bad* per se -- she's the warm center of an otherwise cold film -- it's just not in-the-same-league *great* like Helena Bonham Carter's in TWOTD.

And my belief is that Paltrow's blubbering Oscar speech, which WAS embarassing I admit, is a principle reason why many dismiss her SIL performance now.

Perhaps Sandra's aplomb at the podium will engender enough collective goodwill to make an ordinary performance seem extraordinary in retrospect? God forbid but it's possible.


Cluster... i actually think that already happened near the begining of awards season which is why so many people were rooting for her to win. She's RIDICULOUSLY likeable.

but that still doens't make it a great performacne.

Cluster Funk said...

I meant a decade or so from now when people look back. Were Hunt's or Paltrow's wins as hated in the moment as they are today?

Also, how does Bullock's stack up again Witherspoon's (another dissed win)? I thought Reese did a fine job, although Joan Allen had a MUCH trickier role...and pulled it off!

Cluster Funk said...

P.S. Bullock's standing ovation is still jarring to me. Knew she was liked by her Hollywood peers, but my God *that* beloved?

Alex said...

I think the Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon wins hold up, an though neither are the best of their respective years, they were good enough to win, and I think the performance did actually play into it (neither of those being true of Sandra).

Rick said...

The worst Best Actress winner since Reese Witherspoon!!!!

For Bullock to go down in the book of Academy Award winners is an insult to an industry I love ... she was my 4th choice for the Oscar.

Aaron said...

Okay...I am SICK of all this "deserving" an Oscar schtick. Even when it involves Meryl's this kind of mindset that rewards mediocre performances in mediocre films because actors are "overdue" or "deserve" it...

...I just pray to god this year that someone wins truly because of the performance--this year a "likeable" actress won and last year a great actress won for the wrong performance (REALLY wrong performance I might add). I don't want to see it happen again--it's a domino effect! I know we all want the Moores and the Benings and the Streeps to win their respective Oscars, but please let it be for their best performances, and not out of sheer, psycho crazy fan-dom... far as the best actresses of the decade, Charlize Theron in Monster is a no-brainer for me. One of the best performances I've ever seen, and easily the best Oscar performance of the decade.

I can't narrow it down to five, but the runner ups would be:

Julia Robers, Erin Brockovich
Nicole Kidman, Birth
Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Anamaria Marinca, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom

Aaron said...

Oh god and Tilda Swinton in Julia, how did I forget that?!?! She's probably #2 on my list!

Arkaan said...

Firstly, I don't care for Paltrow's performance and I think the film is a mediocrity. But what hurt her more, I think, is that her post-SiL career has been very underwhelming. Whatever you feel about Blanchett, she followed up Elizabeth with a number of great roles, got four more oscar nominations, heads a theatre in Sydney etc, Additionally, SiL "upset" SPR for honors and that seemed indicative of Harvey's hucksterism more than anything, which soured the victory, I think. I think Blanchett's performance in Elizabeth stands up to scrutiny, if only for her obvious command of the screen and iconic charisma.

I have to admit, though, I take issue with Nathaniel's Oscar math. Obviously, situation plays a huge role here. Would Bullock have upset Winslet last year, all things being equal (Bullock heading a massive hit, Winslet's two films, etc). Would Bullock have won if there was a five film instead of ten film line-up in best picture. By that math, would could say the following...

Brokeback Mountain > Citizen Kane + Vertigo + Pyscho + Trouble in Paradise + the works of Andrei Tarakovsky + the works of Wong Kar Wai + the works of Jean Luc Godard.

Franco Marciano said...

Cate Blanchett "Elizabeth": We'll never forget!

I'd also throw in Catalina Sandino Moreno in "Maria Full of Grace" for the aughties.

Lara Jane said...

Julia Roberts was my least favorite of all time! I was absolutely furious that year.

I don't think people deserve it for a one-off "worthy" performance. Roberts, Witherspoon, Bullock... not Oscar-caliber actors, not by a mile. Very likable, and certainly capable, but not stellar. No way.

French Ketchup said...

Sandra Bullock got this award because it's a huge risk to play someone who exists, is the opposite of you and on top of it is still alive. Period.

I lost faith in the best actress award myself with Julia Roberts. I will say this though: Sandra Bullock did show us that she's a pro with her acceptance speech. It was actually one of the best ones I've seen from an actress. She was sincere, yet controlled just enough and went from tears to making us laugh with her wit and her perfect timing. I think we do underestimate how good of an actress she is.

michaeltn said...

I'm so happy Sandra Bullock won the Oscar. So happy that all the naysayers and people who feel she is not an Oscar caliber actress, who have bashed her leading up to the Oscars can now only consider Sandra part of Oscar winner history. They can whine all they want. Sometimes Movie Stars deserve to win too. If the acting categories were filled with Tilda Swintons and Abie Cornish there would be nobody watching the Oscar telecast.

Thomas said...

C'mon, people. I have trouble believing any of you when you say that Winslet's win was worse than Bullock's. Let me break down the Oscar math--

Winslet > Bullock

Winslet =(?) Bullock

The Blind Side > The Reader

Need of an Oscar:
Winslet >> Bullock

Collection of performances:
Winslet > Bullock

Winslet beating Hathaway > Bullock beating Sidibe

Amount of "dues" paid:
Winslet > Bullock

Number of instances she was unfairly snubbed or her superior performance lost:
Winslet >>>> Bullock

LaMANA said...

My top 2000-2009

1. Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
2. Helen Mirren (The Queen)1.
3. Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich)
4. Charlize Theron (Monster)
5. Nicole Kidman (The Hours)

6. Kate Winslet (The Reader)
7. Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
8. Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)
9. Halle Berry (Monster´s Ball)
10. Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)

caracolillos said...

I still can´t believe that Sandra Bullock has won the Oscar. I'm shocked. I don´t like her in The Blind Side. And I don´t understand the obsession comparing Julia Roberts and Sandra. In Erin Brockovich Julia did a terrific perfonmance and she carried the film on her shoulders (though I think she was even better in MBFW, Closer or Stell Magnolias, her real deserved win).

Cluster Funk said...

Agree, the Julia Roberts/Erin Brockovich thing is interesting. Many seem LIVID about her win but is it performance-based or simply vis-à-vis her competition that year? Because it *was* a dynamite star-turn in a better-than-you-remember film. Not in the same league as Björk, Ellen Burstyn, or perhaps Laura Linney, but still pretty great in any year.

Cluster Funk said...

Oh, and while we're on the subject, when did "deserve" come to mean amiability as opposed to actual merit? Just because you *like* Sandra Bullock, how does that mean she "deserves" an Oscar? It's performance, not personality -- that's what the People's Choice Awards are for!

Philip said...

I love Sandy, and I know her win wasn't justified, but the saddest part is...she's receiving all this backlash, but I'm pretty sure she understands that it was bs...

Also, I don't understand the Gwyneth Paltrow hate. Sure, the Academy's love of SIL helped her win, but it was a good performance. And I didn't find her speech to be that embarrassing at all.

Another one I don't get that hate for ---> Reese Witherspoon...she was reallyyyy good in Walk the Line. She's like...the justified Sandra Bullock.

One performance that I think goes widely unnoticed would have to be Halle Berry in Monster's Ball. I think she was just...AMAZING in it and she totally deserved the Oscar and SAG she received.

Yeah...I feel like I had so much more to say, but it slipped my mind. Haha.

Cynthia said...

I disagree with the particular gentleman/lady who said Gwyneth's performance in SIL has held up more than Cate's in Elizabeth. I don't think SIL has aged well at all. I tried watching it the other day and was severely disappointed. I was bored out of my wits and honestly, Gwyneth's SIL/Proof/Sliding Doors monochromatic acting style lost it for me. It feels as if I'm watching a carbon copy of the same performance but with slightly different dialogue. Cate Blanchett, however, was iconic as Elizabeth I and to this day people consider that decision to give Paltrow the Oscar one of the Academy's worst travesties. Heh, I've just read 3 publications this last week stating that very thing. Anyway, I wouldn't call myself a huge Cate fan (NOT a fan of her Hepburn caricature AT ALL), but that was a performance for the ages and it has stood up very well since its debut. Speaking of Blanchett as an actor, I don't really care for her more technical approach to performances but at least she gives us something different each time whether you like it or not. Too bad for me that I dislike most of them.

Winslet is an actress I feel has progressively lost her touch. I think she lost it for me after Eternal Sunshine when her performances became redundant like Paltrow's, even in a comedy such as The Holiday-there was nothing original or indellible about her performance which sets apart Kate Winslet as an actor vs. everyone else. I loved her back in the early days with works like Holy Smoke & Quills-now THOSE were sublime performances filled with passion and profound eloquence! I hope she can get her mojo back soon, I want to see the Kate Winslet I fell in love with not this uninteresting replacement.

Meryl's performances have recently lost their edge that they once had in the 80s to early 90s for me. I distinctly recall the feeling of awe I had coming out of the cinema after having seen Sophie's Choice. Now, it seems she has fallen into this niche where she can get away with a subpar performance in a mediocre role/film (a very cartoonish Julia Child & her role in Doubt) and still be worshiped/nominated because of the sheer lack of competition. I love Meryl, I really do, but where's the intensity and power she once had? I feel like she's working on autopilot, resting on her laurels without any true & deep passion behind what she does and it disappoints me. Is it because these roles nowadays are lacking? Or is the pool of talent shrinking that much in size as of late? The direction cinema is going has severely taken a downturn and unless it can start producing quality work again, I feel this entire decade will have no substantial work of art to represent itself for ages to come. Truly heartbreaking.

Cluster Funk said...

I prefer Blanchett to Paltrow overall, no question, but think about the tricky and inspired work the latter did in SiL. She had to create a singular character with no template (unlike Queen Elizabeth I, whose moods and manners have been chronicled for ages) *and* one that would believably inspire multiple iconic Shakespearean heroines. No easy feat, yet she delivered a warm, lived-in performance that seemed like a one-off 'til Iron Man. Well, that's how I feel anyway...

notanotherblog said...

When I was young, I saw Shakespeare in Love, especially the scene that unfurled Gwyneth Paltrow's non breasts. That scene turned me gay.

William said...

Charlize Theron in Monster is the greatest Oscar winning performance of the decade easily for me. When a man or older woman gives a performance of that caliber, they get recognized more. Shame such a great performance is dismissed as a stunt simply because it's given by a glamourous actress.

A lot of people say Uma Thurman in Kill Bill now. Cool role, but I don't think of her as a great actress.

The other lead actress winners I did not agree with at all. So I'm similar to you Nathaniel.

Melissa said...

Sandra won for three reasons: 1) being likable as you said, Nathaniel, 2) running a huge campaign telling everyone she's going to lose while kissing Meryl Streep's behind and 3) the moola the Blind Side made. Which also helped garner its best picture nomination.

Regarding Meryl Streep, she didn't deserve to win last year or this year. Kate Winslet's performance in the Reader was great. More people considered it great until it won then things got nasty. I don't get why people behave as if Meryl is so entitled. Because she's nominated everytime she hiccups in a film? Meryl Streep's got 2 at home. Feel bad for Peter O'Toole. Streep should win for a much better performance than the hammy ones she gave in Doubt and Julie and Julia.

Stoney said...

Winslet got flack because she practically begged for her Oscar, and said she hates losing. Bullock on the other hand was extremely flattered and humbled to be nominated for an Oscar because she never saw that coming in a thousand years.
Case Closed.

Anonymous said...

There is no real "best" actor, actress or anything. This is all subjective. There will never be an unanimous agreement on who deserves to win and who do not. All one can do is express an opinion or vote. But no opinion or vote can really dictate on who really gave the best performance of the year. Not really.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the particular gentleman/lady who said Gwyneth's performance in SIL has held up more than Cate's in Elizabeth. I don't think SIL has aged well at all. I tried watching it the other day and was severely disappointed. I was bored out of my wits and honestly, Gwyneth's SIL/Proof/Sliding Doors monochromatic acting style lost it for me. It feels as if I'm watching a carbon copy of the same performance but with slightly different dialogue. Cate Blanchett, however, was iconic as Elizabeth I and to this day people consider that decision to give Paltrow the Oscar one of the Academy's worst travesties.

And I have to disagree. I have seen both "ELIZABETH" and "ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE". I don't consider Blanchett's performance as Elizabeth I to be iconic. I think it's pretty good, but slightly marred by over-the-top mannerisms that would make even Bette Davis wince.

Simon Warrasch said...

My Choice out from the Nominees (2000 - 2010)

2000: Annette Bening - American Beauty
2001: Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich
2002: Nicole Kidman - Moulin Rouge
2003: Diane Lane - Unfaithful
2004: Naomi Watts - 21 Grams
2005: Hilary Swank - Million Dollar Baby
2006: Charlize Theron - North Country
2007: Penelope Cruz - Volver
2008: Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
2009: Kate Winslet - The Reader
2010: Gabourey Sidibe - Precious

Simon Warrasch said...

My Personal Favourites 2ooo - 2o1o

Hilary Swank - Boys Don't Cry - Boys Don't Cry
Annette Bening - American Beauty

Björk - Dancer in the Dark

Naomi Watts - Mullholand Drive

Isabelle Huppert - The Piano Teacher
Diane Lane - Unfaithful

Naomi Watts - 21 Grams
Sibel Kekilli - Gegen die Wand
Oksana Akinshina - Liljia 4-ever

Nicole Kidman - Dogville
Nicole Kidman - Birth

Charlize Theron - North Country
Vera Fermiga - Down to the Bone

Nina Hoss - Die Weiße Massai
Penelope Cruz - Volver

Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose
Marketa Irglova - Once

Kate Winslet - Revoultionary Road
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married

Ashley Judd - Helen
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Antichrist
Birgit Minichmayer - Alle Anderen
Tilda Swinton - Julia

Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine