2.25.2007

Supporting Actress Smackdown - 2006



The Year is...



And the Smackdowners for the 79th Annual Academy Awards are...
CRITICLASM of Fag Yer It
KAMIKAZE CAMEL of Stale Popcorn
NICK of Nick's Pick Flicks
SAMURAI FROG of Electronic Cerebrectomy
and
Yours Truly,
STINKYLULU.


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2006's Supporting Actresses are...
(Each Smackdowner's comments are arranged according to ascending levels of love. Click on the nominee's name/film to see StinkyLulu's Supporting Actress Sunday review.)
Adriana Barraza in Babel
Kamikaze Camel - I suppose it’s not Barraza’s fault. Her story doesn’t go anywhere and her big climax is a scene of her crying that lasts all of a few seconds while big loud music plays over the top. With more time and attention it could’ve been a contender...
SamuraiFrog - She’s obviously talented, but since the movie works in broad overgeneralizations and stereotypes, even a talented actress isn’t going to bring any dignity to the proceedings...
Nick -
Does a beautiful job of making Amelia wary when she needn’t be but ironically optimistic as real catastrophes start to unfold. The final pleas with the deportation officer offer a stunning fulfillment of the performance, and of the film...
StinkyLulu - Through simple undistracting detail, Barraza crafts a character who has lived beyond the broad, coloring book strokes of the screenplay. A heart-wrenching human performance stuck in the vast desert of a tediously harrowing film...
Criticlasm - Amazes with the simplicity and emotional connection to the character. She could be anyone you pass on the street--there is no grandstanding or self-conscious emotional flourishes. Everything is in service to the role, and it's spectacular....
TOTAL: (17)

Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal
Nick - Not much wrong with Blanchett’s performance but precious little that’s deeply right about it, either: foolishness and eroticism exceed her grasp, and Sheba’s wild moods and vacillations never really cohere. Way, way down on the list of Blanchett’s achievements...
Kamikaze Camel - I gotta give Blanchett credit for actually NOT reeling this one in. I’m sure she could have stuck to the craft and given a careful measured performance, but instead she went so far overboard she circled back on herself, which I appreciated in this warped acid-tongued ditty. Still, that doesn’t make it awards worthy...
StinkyLulu - Perhaps the year’s worst example of category fraud. But Blanchett’s Sheba is an effective portrait of self-absorption at its most abject. Though it’s always fun to see a powerful performer do their version of completely unhinged...
SamuraiFrog - She’s a supporting role because there’s no center to her tragically self-absorbed, attention-hungry character. Except for one over-the-top moment, she nails it coolly and with surprising gravity...
Criticlasm - Blanchett's basic über-competence and intelligence pull us into what could've been a completely unbelievable role. It's her intelligence that gets me, and creates the tragedy of the situation. We're left wondering how she could've been so daft...
TOTAL: (13)

Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine
Nick - Easy to praise for what she isn’t—overly precious, a blank slate, or pretentious beyond her years—but hard to credit as a full-blown acting achievement on the level I like to see at the Oscars...
Kamikaze Camel - I quite liked Breslin on first viewing, even if I thought it was an easy “kid role”. On second viewing I noticed a few sly looks and twitches. She has the confidence for sure, and she’s definitely an up-and-comer but she ain’t a Ricci or Paquin ...
StinkyLulu - Subtly elevates the film with a vivid, autonomous, and faceted characterization. The antics of her formidable costars would mean nothing without Breslin’s Abigail...
Criticlasm - I can't say anything bad about children in movies, but even with that she gives a great performance. Her final strip tease, even though I saw it coming, was an hysterical paean to naïvete and to the embarrassment of all the adults. Emotionally true, funny, and--gosh-darnit--heart-warming...
SamuraiFrog - She’s the emotional core of the film, and pulls it off. Transcending the “cute kiddie” performance this could have been, she somehow becomes special by acting like a recognizably average child...
TOTAL: (18)

Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls
Nick - Why does Hudson know so much about Effie during the songs—her fears, her layers, her ardor for Curtis—and then squelch all of this in her spoken scenes? Yes, singing is acting. But where’s the rest of the beef?...
Criticlasm - It's amazing she survives the direction. A testament to her performance is that she involves us emotionally in spite of most of her big numbers being chopped and whirled in Condon's blender. And I still can't figure out if that's a help or a hindrance...
SamuraiFrog - Okay, she’s a great singer, but as an actress some of Hudson’s line readings border on embarrassing; if she’s not the focus of a scene, she doesn’t register. If she wins it’ll be for her singing (not a bad thing)...
StinkyLulu - A distressingly incomplete performance. Hudson hits the character’s declamatory heights with palpable power but, in the less showy architectural in-betweens of the characterization, Hudson's Effie is graceless, flat-footed, banal...
Kamikaze Camel - Poor acting? Only a good singer? Well, I’d much rather a flawed diamond that I can’t stop staring at than a superficially perfect but ultimately soulless one that sits amongst the others and doesn’t beg for my attention. Plus, her singing is top notch. Category fraud, true, but fascinating none the less...
TOTAL: (14)

Rinko Kikuchi in Babel
StinkyLulu - Maneuvers her prettiness in productive ways, but it’s an adequate performance in a stupid device of a baity role. Contributes to some haunting images of isolation and despair but stops short of creating an enduring characterization. Feh...
SamuraiFrog - Another actor in Babel not called on to play a character so much as embody another unfocused generality of something indefinable but Really Really Important. Where’s the character? Where’s the performance?...
Criticlasm - A good performance of a strange, disconnected role. She's all urge, and Kikuchi definitely makes us feel her disconnection and need. But her final moment was the one in the film that tipped me over into feeling emotionally manipulated...
Nick - Kikuchi credibly rescues Babel’s most absurdly written character, turning senseless, disconnected screenwriting into a recipe for an erratic, undisciplined character, brimming with irresistible impulses, hazy grudges, errant stabs at sexual confidence, constant unease, and trouble in mind...
Kamikaze Camel - Kikuchi was the ONLY character is even liked, let alone connected to. It’s probably due more to my age and my own personal baggage than anything Kikuchi did, but if I had to watch Kikuchi’s tale played out over a full movie I wouldn’t object. Not at all...
TOTAL: (12)

We'll have to wait until tonight to hear Oscar's choice...

For the SMACKDOWN, though, it turned out to be a close contest between Abigail Breslin and Adriana Barraza -- with that pesky Little Miss Sunshine surprising everyone once again...

Because, indeed, The Smackdown gives it to:
Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine!

Goodness help the child if this actually happens. Poor girl'd never live down the fact that she stole JHud's trophy...

So, lovely reader, tell the Smackdowners what YOU think!
Join the dialogue in comments.

And there's still time to:

7 comments:

J.J. said...

Crap, I forgot to do this! Anyway, I'd give Barraza five hearts, Blanchett four, Kikuchi three, Breslin two and Hudson one. (I'm picking Blanchett to win tonight.)

StinkyLulu said...

Well, that would have certainly mixed things up, JJ...

I'm now really beginning to wonder about JHud's lock on this...

Nick Davis said...

I'm wondering, too, but not really. Adriana Barraza=Shohreh Aghdashloo: interesting to consider as a possible winner, but it ain't actually gonna happen. Abigail Breslin is possible, I guess, but I'll still be really surprised.

I love the strings of all the tallied hearts, by the way!

JS said...

You made the right choice and said the right things. =)

I'd give my opinion on each of them but I regretfully have yet to see Notes on a Scandal. =(

But as for Heart Stamps:
Breslin 4
Barazza 3 (bad finish aside)
Kikuchi 2 (the material REALLY let her down as it was in her arc where one of Babel's big problems became very noticeable: whoever wrote the screenplay didn't know how to end their stories!)
Hudson 1.5

Kurt said...

I don't want Abigail Breslin to get the Oscar, because it will destroy her career. And I don't want Jennifer Hudson to win - no matter how good she was - because there are too many actresses who have worked hard for them to give Oscars to Idol winners. I didn't see Babel, so I have to root for Cate Blanchett.

newland said...

I can't believe Breslin won, though I really liked her performance. I haven't had the chance to see Blanchett in "Notes...", so my heart goes with Adriana Barraza for providing the best performance in "Babel". The fact that it looks effortless only proves how great she is in the film.

My ranking:

1.Barraza
2.Breslin
3.Hudson
4.Kikuchi

not seen: Blanchett

MovieMania said...

The WORST Supporting Actress winner: Jennifer Hudson.

Pretty embarassing.