Award Season Recap: Actresses who were snubbed…

Although the award season is months to come, it still lingers in the back of my mind what to expect in the up and coming year of award shows. Over the years, actors portraying real people have earned themselves nice shining statues: is this a bad thing? No, but is it repetitive and verging on boring? Yes.

I often find that origional films that achieve great critical success along with a strong commercial box office suffer in times of award recognition: not that it’s a director’s aim to win a best director award, but it would, of course, be nice to be recognised for your origional work. Here I turn to actresses who haven’t claimed the rightful trophy recognition that they deserve.

In 2013, no doubt Anthony Hopkins will be nominated for his portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock or even Scarlet Johansson (this could be her shining performance) as Janet Leigh. But do actors and actresses have to play the part of a real person in order to achieve awards? For me what is lacking in the award catogories for acting are origional characters: origional, being a word I keep refereing to as it allows the actor to create there own vision of a character and to stand by that when recognition can be awarded. It is the actors character.

Over the past few years a handful of actresses have been snubbed in terms of award seasons, when their heart and soul is clearly in the character they portray along with the film. Some people worth mentioning include: Mila Kunis for her portrayal as the antagonist Lily in ‘Black Swan’, Gemma Jones for her realistic portrayal of an elderly woman trying to find love in ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’, Rachel McAdams’ possible best role to date as a spiteful fiance to Owen Wilson in ‘Midnight in Paris’ and Elena Anaya for her sophisticated role as Vera Cruz in Pedro Almodovar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’.

These talanted actresses are just a few worth mentioning but my top six actresses snubbed during the award season are:

1. Lesley Manville as Mary in ‘Another Year’:

Depending on where you’re from, the film ‘Another Year’ may be unknown to you as it didn’t have a large release internationally: that doesn’t mean it should be snubbed of course. In the film, Manville plays Mary, a woman in her late forties/early fifties, with no husband, no lover, no children, no home to call her own and most of all, nothing to live for. The way in which Manville portrays Mary as a woman who, at first seems to enjoy her life, slowly knowing that she is breaking down, is remarkable. She really shines at the end of the film when she realises she’s alone in this big world of ours and that she’s a lost soul. Manville was probably one of the biggest surprises to us Brits in terms of Oscar nominations: her critical praise for her character towered over some of the nominations of that year. Does this say that ‘Another Year’ is too British for the Oscars? Is the kitchen-sink drama not deemed as talented in the eyes of the jury? Either way, Manville’s performance was outstanding and overshadowed the likes of Meryl Streep and Maggie Gyllenhaal for that year

2. Brit Marling as Rhoda Williams in ‘Another Earth’:

First of all, this girl is a shining talent: not only did she star in one of the best films of 2011, ‘Another Earth’, but she co-wrote it as well as co-produced it. In ‘Another Earth’ Marling captures the essence of a young woman who has everything to take, and loses it on a bad gamble. The main thing in ‘Another Earth’ that stood out for me was that Rhoda really captured our hearts: even though she had caused the death of a woman and her young son, we sympathise for her, even when the character doesn’t want sympathy at all. The way Marling manages to speak without saying anything was also captivating. I won’t lie, I was very suprised when Marling, along with the whole film, was snubbed during the main award shows. The creativity in the plot, characters and genre was enough to make it a contender for best film and Marling topped it off right with a performance I don’t think many young actresses of our time could even try to match.

3. Nicole Beharie as Marianne in ‘Shame’:

People who’ve read my last ‘On the Box’ review for ‘Shame’ will know that I thought Beharie was completely under-rated for her performance as Marianne. I think the reason I felt this way was the suprise of seeing her on screen: the film only really promoted Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan so when Beharie entered the picture as a leading character, she really caught my interest. Beharie was classy and subtle when playing the role of Marianne: something that was charming to watch. Her portrayal as an every-day working woman was believeable in all aspects and she strook me as an actress to watch in the future. Should her portrayal have been nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes? For me she would have been a strong contender for the best supporting actress.

4. Kirsten Dunst as Justine in ‘Melancholia’:

Yes she won the prix d’interprétation féminine at the Cannes Film Festival for best actress: some will be asking what more does she want? Hands down, Dunst deserved the best actress award at the Oscars but she wasn’t even nominated on the short list. Is it becuase she took part in a Lars von Trier film: a masterful director who has a solid film portfolio behind him but becuase he may say the wrong things he is dismissed from most of the award ceremony’s? To me it looks that way. Dunst deserved greater recognition for her performance in this film and actually, the film also deserves a great deal more. Watching a male or female struggling with depression can sometimes become quite cringe-worthy due to the emotional control of the actor surrounding their character. Watching an actress portray a woman struggling with being melancholic from the beggining of her journey to the climatic end is something probably very hard to do, yet Dunst pulls it off in one of her most chilling performances. Dunst set the bar for best actress recognition very high, yet she wasn’t short-listed? To me there’s something wrong with the jury.

5. Diane Kruger as Bridget Von Hammersmark in ‘Inglorious Basterds’

The two movie stealers for Quentin Tarantino’s war epic ‘Inglorious Basterds’ were Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger. The problem with ‘Inglorious Basterds’ actually lies with Waltz whether you see it as a good thing or bad: people saw him as being the best thing in the film and didn’t really pay much attention to anything else (for me this is similar with Heath Ledger and ‘The Dark Knight’). Kruger’s Hammersmark was one of the best female portrayals and characters of that year. She was the leader of the ‘basterds’, not Brad Pitt’s Aldo: she came up with the plan of ending the war and she intended to see it followed through. The character, and this goes to Tarantino, was second to none: an instant classic. Kruger however, came into her own in this film and showed what a ‘real’ actress she was. The film was nominated for best film and best supporting actor, for Waltz, among many other things; the one it missed was best supporting actress, one it could have very well won.

6. Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in ‘Casino Royale’

Quite a few could disagree with me here: “a Bond film being nominated for an Oscar, don’t be stupid” is what many of you will probably think but at the core of ‘Casino Royale’ was a smart story with a new take on an old format. ‘Casino Royale’ re-invented the Bond franchise: it’s more realistic and modern unlike your Brosnan shambles. Eva Green was at the heart of the film. As the seductive femme fatale Vesper Lynd, Green showcased her hidden talents in acting to the world. It’s rumoured that a Bond film can damage an actor/actresses career and I believe that to be true, but a performance such as Lynd’s has taken Green to new heights. She was sophisticated, she was mysterious, she was enigmatic: she was all these things and more. Put the Bond element to one side in ‘Casino Royale’ and you actually have a love story: a doomed one none the less but this is why Craig and Green really raised the bar for the Bond franchise. There has been no better actress portray a ‘true’ Bond girl such as Vesper recently and I doubt many will match her stunning acting performance. Should she be nominated for Oscars? Myself, I don’t see why not, others may feel differently and I’m sure they will.

I do hope the jury’s of these award ceremonies look at the bigger picture of talent on display in 2013: you may be able to portray a real person very well but still, there are origional characters in films that deserve to be recognised and actors should be awarded for their performances. Just to end, actresses I want to see nominated for awards in 2013 include: Kara Hayward for ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, Charlize Theron for ‘Prometheus’ and Anne Hathaway for her remarkable performance in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’