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This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

2006 HUMBY'S: supporting actress

10. Shareeka Epps – HALF NELSON
Drey (Shareeka Epps) is more than just an inner-city student that Dan tries to help. She represents a future that many see no hope for. She is a smart, kind good person that lives in a world filled with poverty, crime and drugs and is fighting against becoming a stereotype. No father… brother in prison… a mother that works all the time to support herself and her daughter. Her only hope lies with a drug dealer friend of her brothers, and a teacher addicted to crack. Epps delivers a mature and heartfelt performance, never slipping into cliché or convention. Drey is a real girl, with real problems and Epps is note perfect in her struggle for a chance at a future. The emotional center of a fantastic film.

9. Emily Watson – THE PROPOSITION
Much like Epps, Watson represents the hope in a hopeless world of the Australian “old west”. A world filled with violence, revenge and savagery. She is the balance for her husband and keeps him human with her love and support. There is an amazing moment in the film where she learns that her friend was raped and murdered and her husband is bartering a deal that might result in the guilty parties walking free. It is a raw and real performance that adds humanity to a dark and reflective western.

8. Rinko Kikuchi - BABEL
Kikuchi is the lead of my favorite section of one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. She plays a deaf young girl that is reaching out for a connection. We feel her pain and her struggle as she does any and everything to reach out and be treated like a “normal” girl. It is a heartbreaking story and a great performance.

7. Cate Blanchet – BABEL / NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Blanchet is one of the greatest actors working today and this year, she delivers not one, but two great performances. In BABEL, she plays a young woman who is shot by a stray bullet while on a tour bus and struggles to stay alive while trapped in a third world country. It is real and it is raw as she lies on a dirt floor trying to fight to stay alive. While all of this is going on, there is a touching tale of her dealing with the deal of her child and her crumbling marriage. In NOTES ON A SCADAL, she plays a teacher that begins a sexual relationship with one of her students and forms a friendship with an obsessive older woman. It is a layered and complex performance in a compelling (but flawed) film.

6. Abigail Breslin – LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is the feel good film of the year and Breslin is the core. A young girl that dreams of being a beauty queen and embarks on a road trip with her dysfunctional family to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. This movie would be a complete failure without a fantastic performance by this young actress, and while I have issues with the film, Breslin delivers a lovable performance that you can’t help but root for.

Karen Eiffel is the all-powerful narrator of the life (and impending death) of Harold Crick. Thompson is a fine actor and delivers a subtle and effective performance here as not only a writer, but also exploring the moral issues of killing her character and in turn, a real man. It is an odd film and a tricky role, but Thompson (like always) is strong and spot on.

Vera Farmiga delivers two fantastic supporting performances in two of my favorite films of the year. In THE DEPARTED, she plays the girlfriend of Colin (Matt Damon), who struggles with the issues of a lack of trust and after being shut out, is drawn to the tortured soul (Billy, played by DiCaprio). In BREAKING AND ENTERING, she plays a prostitute that befriends Jude Law and serves as his sounding board and moral compass in a way. While this might sound like an odd position for a prostitute, she creates a compassionate and flawed character that opens up the eyes of a man that has become lost in his own life. Farmiga has emerged as a true talent and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.

3. Maribel Verdu – PAN’S LABYRINTH
As Ofelia is losing her mother to illness and to her ruthless stepfather, Mercedes (Verdu) emerges as a mother figure of sorts for a girl lost in a world of fantasy and reality. In many ways, she used to be Ofelia until she began to lose her faith and hope and ability to believe. While many of these childlike qualities are gone, there is still a strong and complex woman that not only has belief, but also stands up and fights for it. This is maybe the most complex and interesting character in PAN’S LABYRINTH and Verdu steps up and makes her real and compelling. There is so much love, frustration, anger and drive in her performance, it is impossible not to connect with her.

2. Phyllis Somerville – LITTLE CHILDREN
Somervile plays a loving mother of a convicted pedophile. She refuses to give up on her son, no matter what he has done or what people think, knowing that he is her good boy and is a good person deep down. Through her, we can see Ronnie for more than what he has done and can see him through her eyes as what he can be. The Ronnie storyline in LITTLE CHILDREN is the most difficult I have seen all year and the only reason it succeeds is by the performance of Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley) and that of Somerville. Without her strong performance, Ronnie would be dismissed as a pervert and never given a second thought. She is pure representation of hope and the love of a mother.

1. Jennifer Hudson - DREAMGIRLS
Without Jennifer Hudson’s powerhouse debut as Effie, DREAMGIRLS would have been nothing. She dominates the film and drives it in every possible way. Her presence is magnetic and commands your attention and when she lets loose in her many numbers, you can’t help but be drawn in. To think that this is her fist role in a film is unbelievable. If you have any doubts whatsoever about who the best supporting actress of 2006 is, just watch her show stopping number in this film. From American Idol to Oscar… who would have guessed?


Blogger lucdaring said...

Agreed. Jennifer Hudson was amazing in Dream Grils.

4:45 PM  
Blogger dianne said...

Just happened to catch Epps in the last twenty minutes of Half Nelson this morning over breakfast. Spent the first 15 minutes trying to figure out if I was looking at a documentary or a film. Where is this girl's Oscar nomination. An astoundingly, low-keyed, naturalistic actress! What a performance!

4:35 PM  

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