Supporting Actress Smackdown - 1993

The Year is...

And the Smackdowners for the 66th Annual Academy Awards are...
of Alex in Movieland/My Latest Oscar Film

ANDREW of Encore Entertainment
BROOKE of The Performance Review
JERKWOD of Reese Reviews
WALTER of The Silver Screening Room
WAYNE of A Cinema Neophyte
yours truly, STINKYLULU.

Thanks once again to Smackdowner ALEX,
we can whet our actressexual appetites with this extended clipreel:

click image to be routed to video

1993'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.)

Holly Hunter in The Firm
ANDREWIt’s supposed to be that short and effective role that everyone marvels at…but it doesn’t quite live up. A credible performance ...? Barely. When Tammy leaves the screen we don’t really care… and when she returns we don't care either.
JERKWODAn underwritten character that even Hunter can't get out of. Her performance here lacks all credibility and passes way beyond being a human being and enters the zone of cornball caricature – no humanity, no affliction, no trust. A dull, tiring, and repugnant performance.
ALEXA typical plot device. She’s fresh air in all the stiffness of the film and has one maybe two good moments, but truth is she barely makes an effort. I doubt she believed in the character, plot, movie and it shows.
BROOKEHunter is a breath of fresh air in this film, but that’s about all she is. Always interesting, but her character is just an exposition clotheshorse and lacks necessary depth to warrant a nomination.
STINKYLULUI sorta just love this performance (easily the most believable thing in this overwrought melodrama). The performance probably has no business being nominated (and probably wouldn’t be in any other year) but you gotta give it to Hunter for making that “under the desk” scene work so well.
WAYNEAt first Hunter’s sexy secretary seems like a stereotype but, using her expressive eyes (at some moments warm with humour and others frightened with terror), Hunter cranks up the tension of this predictable thriller. An interesting performance not given enough room to become great.
WALTERThe role itself isn't much, but she's a hoot. From early on, she lets on that she's got as much brains as she does boobs. Her terrified determination to see justice done is fascinating: shaky hands, set jaw. Hell yeah.
TOTAL: 15s

Anna Paquin in The Piano
ANDREWIs she acting well…or she is playing herself? Tough call. But her face is what sells me. The candid expressions make up for the somewhat occasional shrill delivery. And despite the flaws it's believable.
ALEXFor a child performance, it’s very good and sometimes interesting to analyze small nuances. As the most normal character, she’s the bridge connecting us to the film. But even so, no difficulty at times in spotting Anna and not Flora.
WALTERShe is quite good, certainly. It is nice to see a mostly unmannered performance from a young girl. But I just don't believe she would betray her mother the way she does. Maybe I just don’t understand the movie.
STINKYLULUPaquin inhabits the character with alacrity and verve, and her easy spontaneity in the role crafts a peculiarly captivating -- by turns sweet, silly, and serious – performance, one utterly essential to the film. I simply can’t think of The Piano without thinking of Paquin.
JERKWODPaquin manages to keep in touch with that childhood innocence and the disconnection from the horrific complexities of adult life, yet consistently taps a darker, more sinister, undercurrent of human morality that becomes devastatingly authentic. The kind of work that hyperbole can't sing enough praises to.
BROOKEPaquin is naturalistic and raw, which is just what this character, and this film, needs. She goes further by giving a complex performance; those monologues illustrate everything we need to know about the character and she does it without missing a beat.
WAYNEA ferociously precocious performance. There's a strange fire in Paquin's eyes throughout, one that sears her portrait into memory, and the mature emotions that play across her young face are at times breathtaking. A fantastic portrayal of a complex individual inside a child's body.
TOTAL: 28s

Rosie Perez in Fearless
ANDREWI know throughout that I'm supposed to be impressed with the performance…but…that “but” keeps coming up. Certainly not a bad performance…but I just wasn’t won over. But I hardly think it's her fault - the film is just inadequate.
WALTERIt's not that Perez is bad in this. But there's something missing. It isn't organic. Perez gets each scene individually, but as a whole, I don't feel a consistent character.
BROOKEPerez trails along the edges of greatness with this performance, she tends to circle the airport in her quieter scenes. However, she achieves a visceral, shocking level of emotion in her bigger moments; it’s a true display of what this underrated actress is capable of.
JERKWODIn a role that could have easily come off as melodramatic and/or campy, Perez holds onto Carla's soul and brings it forth with the urgency of frustration. We understand Carla because Perez allows us to see exactly why she makes the decisions she does.
WAYNEA surprisingly expressive and memorable performance. Perez does a fine job of portraying grief with her dead eyes and immobile face, but it’s her poignant work with Bridges that brings out the sparks. And those last moments in the hallway made me cry.
ALEXThe role is more than Rosie can carry and she drops it a bit in the stewardess confrontation scene. Other than that: terrific performance – emotional, difficult, well-balanced and so natural and down-to-earth! Way above her competition.
STINKYLULUUsing bold, broad, palpably emotional strokes, Perez roots her performance in the erratic rawness of Carla’s inconsolable grief (and inexpressible shame) and, in so doing, crafts a performance that is devastating for its openness. Extraordinary work from a woefully underutilized actress.
TOTAL: 23s

Winona Ryder in The Age of Innocence
STINKYLULURyder looks great, often sounds right, and maneuvers the intricate plot machinations with quiet intelligence – which all makes sense for May and her gift of perfected, banal artifice. Yet, with Scorsese’s heavy directorial hand especially weighted in Ryder’s scenes, Ryder’s artifice becomes a little too banal.
ALEXUnder the calm & quiet image of her character, I could hear Winona roaring for an Oscar scene. May’s innocence was child-play for her and when the juicy part started, the film was over. However the subtle gestures make it a memorable performance.
BROOKECasting is half the strength of this performance; Ryder’s natural innocence works wonders for this character; but it’s Ryder the actress who nails that last scene; a stab so masterfully delivered that the impact doesn’t land until after the credits.
ANDREWIs the character bland and vapid? Or is it she? It's a thin line… It's not as easy a role as it seems and the performance is unfairly maligned. A capable performance but as the years go by I like it less and less…
JERKWODIt's not easy portraying a woman that feels emotionally trapped in her own environment yet fearful of taking a step out of the prison, but Ryder does so splendidly, and with such ease, that she completely engages and fades away into the role.
WAYNEAt first her work feels like a glass vase: empty and pretty to look at. On second viewing, you notice the nuance she puts into her interactions, the way her eyes dull with each dishonest conversation. A subtly sly portrayal.
WALTERWinona Ryder is perfect in this movie. She is sweet and manipulative, but not in a cruel way. The fact that May knows the whole time and says nothing...that's love, baby. And with Winona, we believe every second of it.
TOTAL: 24s

Emma Thompson in In the Name of the Father
ALEXI admire the energy displayed, the honesty and the simplicity of the performance! Great actress! But does she fit into THIS film? Not really. Her trial scene, though impeccable if singled out, threw the movie off-balance. Overcooked the little she had.
WAYNEEmma Thompson’s cool intelligence and dignity create a barrister that anyone would want on their side. It's easy to see why Thompson got a nomination considering the admirable character Pierce is, but the role doesn't demand much. Still, Thompson gives a typically strong performance.
BROOKEThompson shows us why she is one of Britain’s most well-regarded thespians. She gives a good performance, a scathing portrayal of righteous anger, without any clear character arc provided by the screenplay.
STINKYLULUA defining, peripheral presence throughout, Thompson blasts into the film at the ¾-mark to deliver a clarifying jolt of humor and hope to an otherwise desperate tale of outrageous injustice. Better than she needs to be, Thomspon’s is an utterly plausible, absolutely professional performance.
ANDREWThe selling point is her court scene, and as short as it is she thrives. There isn’t much for her to say, so we must look into her eyes to see what she feels and it is through those sensitive eyes we see her character.
JERKWODA character any other actress could have played blandly, but Thompson kicks the viewer in the gut as a demanding, harsh force of nature without growing overly hysterical. Personal demons lurk beneath Thompson's portrayal, which slowly drift from transparency as the film comes to its conclusion.
WALTERThompson is given a character who could very well be a cliché and instead, goes with bad-ass. Consider her first scene with Gerry, where she sits coolly, allowing him to finish his "hardened prisoner" routine. Awesome, awesome stuff.
TOTAL: 22s

Oscar chose...

Anna Paquin
in The Piano
Click above image for video of the legendary acceptance speech.

is compelled
to agree...
Best Supporting Actress of 1993!

SO, lovely reader, what do YOU think?
Please share your thoughts in comments.