THE 2009 LULUs: StinkyLulu's Best Supporting Actresses of 2009

Continuing a tradition begun just last year, I offer the 2009 LULUs - recognizing those actresses at the edges who most impressed me in 2009. Once again, the LULUs embrace the perennial question of "what's too big" and "what's too small" to be considered "supporting" actressness and, to that end, the LULUs offer recognition in three supporting actress sub-categories: Long Form, Short Form, & Traditional Scale. Each category acknowledges the different work being done by the increasingly broad array of performances that find themselves, rightly or wrongly, gathered under the umbrella of "Supporting Actress." (Please note that -- as of this writing -- I have yet not seen the following films and, thus, do not rank performances contained therein: The Messenger, In the Loop, Public Enemies, The Stoning of Soraya M., The Maid, The Last Station, etc.) So, without further ado...
Best Supporting Actress - Long Form
excellent performances from women at the center of their films,
in what might arguably be leading (or co-leading) roles

Emily Blunt - Sunshine Cleaning
Keeps it simple; makes it great.

Marion Cotillard - Nine
An unfailingly generous performance.
Penélope Cruz - Los Brazos Rotos/Broken Embraces
This portrait -- of an actress who seems to star in (but who somehow stays "at the edges" of) everyone else's story -- soars with comedic light while plumbing devastating depths.

Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Steady verve and ready wit anchor this memorable breakthrough performance.

Mélanie Laurent - Inglorious Basterds
A deft, haunting and deceptively beautiful portrait of rage-curdled grief.

* * * * *

Best Supporting Actress - Short Form
memorable work by women in a mere handful of scenes
Mariah Carey - Precious
Solid. Sincere. Shows the glimmer of formidable chops.
Julianne Moore - A Single Man
A delirious, messy blast of color and life.
Rosamund Pike - An Education
Undeniably dim. Brilliantly witty. Utterly believable.
Carrie Preston - Duplicity
Preston's precision and pluck scene-steals the movie right out from under her megawatt costars, if only for that moment or two.
Deborah Rush - Julie and Julia
A tiny, inconspicuous performance that somehow stirs great depths of feeling within both the film and its star's turn.

* * * * *

Best Supporting Actress - Traditional Scale

a pivotal character, essential to more than a handful of scenes,
though in less than 30% of film's total screen time

Penélope Cruz - Nine
Staggering. Sexy and tragic (while delivering the only genuine laughs in entire the movie).
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Gorgeous and glib yet also heartbreakingly human.
Kerry Fox - Bright Star
A stirring, sweet and cliché-smashing portrait of sensible motherlove.
Mo'Nique - Precious
Not since Carrie has a mother's "love" been so voracious, so vicious, so contradictory, so monstrous yet so real.
Olivia Williams - An Education
An uncommonly subtle, complex characterization of an all-too familiar character.

* * * * *

StinkyLulu's Best Supporting Actresses
my favorites, in roughly descending order

1. Penélope Cruz - Broken Embraces
2. Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
3. Olivia Williams - An Education
4. Kerry Fox - Bright Star
5. Mélanie Laurent - Inglorious Basterds

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


Parker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
StinkyLulu said...

Thanks, Moviemania, for the note. Error corrected.

Slayton said...

Olivia Williams was indeed excellent in "An Education". Good on you for including her!

Brook Brooks said...

I love that you included Penelope Cruz in Broken Embraces here; she's the part I remember most about the movie and she was the best thing about it. She's really had a great tail end to the decade; a total turn-around from what, Vanilla Sky and All the Pretty Horses?

Love her.

Criticlasm said...

Love several of those. I thought Cruz' work in Broken Embraces was great. And loved her and Cottilard in Nine as well.

Love that you mention Rosamund Pike and Olivia Williams - such great work. And Deborah Rush, a lot. I keep hoping Melanie Laurent will be nominated. I know it's a long shot, but she's the coaster I'd pick for Inglourious Basterds

Michael Shetina said...

"Deborah Rush - Julie and Julia"

YES! From that first moment in the train station, Rush had me.

jakey said...

I thought "Precious" had so many great small yet ethereal performances (the Each One Teach One girls, the principal,even Sherri freaking Shepherd) . Glad to see Carey get some love here.

So many movies I need to see before the Oscars!

Alex in Movieland said...

how come you didn't LOVE Emma Thompson in An Education? :) I thought she was fabulous

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

To say I disliked Anna Kendrick's performance would be an understatement, nevertheless I do enjoy reading your picks. Cara Seymour seemed like an obvious choice for short form, but alas no.

If you ever see Public Enemies I'd love to hear your thoughts on Marion.

StinkyLulu said...

I thought Cara Seymour and Emma Thompson were both very good, but they didn't stick with me in the same way as the others in short form (the most crowded sub-category).

And I was scraping a little for long form, hence the presence of Kendrick and Blunt.