Best Actress 2017

Vote for the best of this bunch

Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan - Lady Bird
Meryl Streep - The Post
Total votes: 23

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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby mojoe92 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 pm


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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:18 am

The first time I saw The Post I must have dozed off for longer than I thought. Having stayed awake through my second viewing, it's clear I didn't miss much. I thought I must have missed all of Meryl Streep's big scenes the first time. I didn't. There really weren't any. Katharine Graham may have been a very nice lady, but she's not a very interesting screen character. The Pentagon Papers story might have been better served by making Daniel Ellsberg its central character. In any event the story itself was overshadowed in its day by the Watergate story which was given its due in All the President's Men. Even that, though, pales in comparison to what we're living through now.

Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes gets my fifth slot behind McDormand, Ronan, Hawkins and Bening over Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game and Michelle Williams in All That Money Can Buy.

Stone, who I was underwhelmed by in La La Land, really impressed me as Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes. Like Streep's Kay Graham, Stone's Billie Jean is a character who is passive in some situations and aggressive in others, but always relatable. Steep's Graham is not. There's more than one scene in which you expect her to tell some jerk off, but she just sits or stands there and smiles or says something nice to disarm them. Most people in a situation like that would be seething underneath if not outwardly hostile, but she just seems to take it as though she were expected to. It's not relatable.
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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:44 am

flipp525 wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:No one else comes immediately to mind.

Have you seen A Quiet Passion? Cynthia Nixon gives an incredible performance, one of the best lead female performances of the year.

Yes, and I wrote a glowing review in my 7/25/2017 DVD report, but I've kind of forgotten it.
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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby flipp525 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:49 pm

Big Magilla wrote:No one else comes immediately to mind.

Have you seen A Quiet Passion? Cynthia Nixon gives an incredible performance, one of the best lead female performances of the year.
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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:32 pm

Too bad the work of Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan and Sally Hawkins was all in the same year because they are all worthy of a win as is Annette Bening as Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool.

Meryl Streep in The Post, Kate Winslet in Wonder Wheel and Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul are also-rans for me this year in about that order. No one else comes immediately to mind.
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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby ksrymy » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:01 am

I admire that Meryl is getting work (even if she's taking every role for women over 50 for herself), but I've been bored by every single thing she's done since Doubt. She just puts on a wig and reads her lines in a manner that would befit an American dame. I actually have the same feelings about Tom Hanks but going even farther back. I'm so utterly over him playing Important American Men™. I don't get a feel for who Katharine Graham is or what she cares about apart from what the script tells us.

I very much like the other four nominees.

Margot Robbie has been an actress I've followed closely since her breakout turn in The Wolf of Wall Street. I, like most, saw the raw star potential in her and eagerly awaited her breakout. While her performance is very good, I do think she was mostly nominated for that final courtroom scene; and even though it is her best scene and I enjoyed her performance overall, Robbie never wowed me like the other three performers.

Frances McDormand is excellent in Three Billboards. I walked out of the theater both times impressed by her more than Rockwell (who was getting earlier raves than she). The phrase "two-time Lead Actress Oscar winner Frances McDormand" is never something I expected to hear in my life, but I'm glad we have it. She's been one of our best players over four decades, and I'd actually put this above her work in Fargo. Mildred Hayes is a great character which gives McDormand the opportunity to spew vitriol and use her stoic face to her advantage. It's no surprise that McDormand is best in black comedies. I'd probably rate her performance higher here if some of her lines didn't seem very scripted and unnatural (the scene with the deer, Jesus...). But these are minimal and her performance, overall, is great.

Sally Hawkins getting two nominations in five years makes me very happy. She's a versatile, excellent actress and deserves more mainstream cred (she's a delight in the Paddington movies). Her expressions are breathtaking. Previous Oscar nominations for mute performances are very cartoonish or very stoic (John Mills vs. Jane Wyman, for example). And it's more these films and their archaic viewpoints that mute people are either simple or so dignified that their voices are too good for this world. Hawkins, thanks to Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, gets an actual character with actual purpose whose story doesn't revolve around how hard it is to be mute. It's an amazing performance that we'll look back upon fondly.

But my favorite performance of the year goes to Saoirse who is one of my most favorite people working in Hollywood today. Her characterization of Christine is so much more than the typical angsty teen movies of yesteryear. Much credit goes to Greta Gerwig's script for getting these perfect lines in existence, but Ronan's understanding of Lady Bird, her motivations, and her shortcomings (e.g. realizing, in that amazing end monologue, that she was able to be such a little shit because the support group around her was outstanding) weave this intricate portrayal of a young, modern kid. Maybe it's because I was eleven during the time this movie was set, but I knew so, so, so many young women like this and Ronan just nails it. She's a two-Oscar caliber actress. I will await everything she puts out now.

After Ronan, my second favorite performance of the year was that of Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread. I don't know whether Oscar didn't care because she wasn't a big name or were put off by her enchanting Luxembourger accent, but she's more mystifying and seductive than Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville, and that's some stunning company up with which to keep. And rounding out my top five would be Daniela Vega's eye-opening, brave turn in A Fantastic Woman. It's a movie all about the struggles of being trans and nothing about the struggles of being trans. It's a film that reminded me of the great Italian neorealist films of Rossellini and De Sica.

One more performance that took me by surprise was Aubrey Plaza's turn as a mentally ill young woman in the Taxi-Driver-for-the-social-media-age flick Ingrid Goes West. It is not only an accurate portrayal of mental illness, but Plaza avoids her usual schtick (e.g. omg i'm soooooo awkward and crazy) to push through and deliver some very memorable work.

And it pains me that I can't include Haley Lu Richardson's performance in Columbus, the most underrated film of the year. She plays the bored midwestern girl with such depth that you'd think she's actually from there. That and her character is basically every girl I had a crush on in high school. It's role I very much admire and a movie I'm very glad was made. Her chats with John Cho are mesmerizing.
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Re: Best Actress 2017

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:40 pm

Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game would be my top alt, though the year offered bountiful options in this category.

It took me a second viewing to appreciate that Streep was more than a default nominee -- her delivery of "Let's go, let's publish" is a really crowd-pleasing piece of acting -- but the role just isn't enough of a barn-burner to win.

I was thoroughly impressed by Robbie's leap to the big leauges in I, Tonya, finding her both very funny and deeply moving -- her courtroom breakdown used as her Oscar clip is excellent -- and a strong fit for the film's odd tone. I'll be eager to see what she does next.

Mute roles have often been awards magnets, but Hawkins brings such impish charm to the character, as well as deep wells of humanity, that you have to give more of the credit to the actress than the sure-fire nature of the part. Really enjoyed seeing her in another strong lead role again.

I've admired Ronan's work over the past decade, but Lady Bird showed an entirely new side of the actress, namely a gift for comedy I'd never have anticipated based on her Brit lit period pieces. I'll be eager to see her ascend to the podium at some point.

But I have to endorse McDormand, for such a prickly, troubled, yet empathetic creation, impressive both in the quiet moments (like her Oscar clip scene with the deer) and as she's spouting off McDonagh's angry verbiage. Perhaps the finest work from a very fine actress.

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Best Actress 2017

Postby bizarre » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:39 pm

This is perhaps the strongest lineup of a decade with pretty consistently strong sets of nominees in this category - with quite a few strong on-paper contenders crowding for a last spot that ultimately went to the least interesting performance of the final five (hi, Meryl).

I saw a joke recently that if people think only men can do drag, they haven't seen any of Meryl Streep's last 15 or so films. She's essentially doing the same thing in every film these days, but The Post easily has the least stimulating backdrop for her increasingly Ethel Barrymore-in-a-wig-shop autopiloting.

I like the other four performances to pretty similar degrees, but it's hard for me to pick a personal winner. I'll cast McDormand out first - I was hoping a winless actress would take the gold but I understand why she won. McDormand's persona (and I do think it's a persona to some degree, on-screen and off) is an appealing mix of salty, cynical and motherly, and here she oversalts. She has immense charisma here and works every scene with the conviction that it's punchy enough to be cut into a trailer, but there's something synthetic about it that makes her outbursts and her introspective scenes seem the same level of glib. She's a lot of fun though, I'll definitely give her that, but I was rarely moved in the way I think I should have been.

Lady Bird is the film I like the most from these five, and Ronan is probably our next major talent, playing a career narrative akin to a more sincere and iconoclastic 90s Kate Winslet. This was a better gamble for Ronan than Holy Smoke for Winslet was in expressing her talents towards more complex, everyday characters, and she keeps the whole thing together perfectly. That being said, there's some kind of 'wow' missing for me that I know registered for other people. I may owe this a rewatch.

The Shape of Water shouldn't work, and does to a large extent, but most of that success has to be due to Sally Hawkins. This is someone who has delivered one of my favourite performances of recent times (Happy-Go-Lucky) but was nominated for one of her personal leasts (Blue Jasmine) and I could easily vote for her here. Her emotional transparency is the role's largest (perhaps only) requirement, but the way she expresses is clarion as a spiritual vision, even as the bells & whistles of the film's design and flights of fancy threaten to swallow her. It's great silent-film acting, and not because she doesn't speak.

It won't be the popular pick but I'll vote for Margot Robbie. The film around her oscillates between fun-mess and awkward-mess registers (and Janney, honestly, is a bit of a drag) and there is the sense of a project built around the aggressive urge of a young actress to be Taken Seriously, but she takes her portrayal of Tonya in some breathlessly human directions, especially in her Oscar-clip arraignment scene, and as a result makes her more complex than the movie surrounding her is prepared to let her be.

The last spot was probably a race between Streep, Jessica Chastain (Julia Roberts-ing in Molly's Game, the one successful awards play from her baity 2017 resume - The Zookeeper's Wife, Woman Walks Ahead), Judi Dench doing colonial apologia with a twinkle in her eye in the unnecessary Victoria & Abdul (which would have made a perfectly typical nominated twosome with Gary Oldman in lead, so we can chalk the success of his campaign down to being previously-unrewarded). But I had an eye on Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes, breathing complexity into a well-known figure within a generally vapid picture, much like Robbie. For some reason that picture, a reasonable BO success, didn't get a boost from the female-led political narratives of the year.

In the conversation at different times were Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project), Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World), Annette Bening (Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool), Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Salma Hayek (Beatriz at Dinner) and one actress whose strong word-of-mouth early in the year didn't translate into a strong individual campaign and, surprisingly, failed to be noticed in even the smaller precursor groups - Daniela Vega in A Fantastic Woman who doesn't deliver just a strong debut but a fully-realised portrait of a complex character by a confident talent. Still, it was good to see a trans actress on the radar at all (she may be the third after the leads of Tangerine to get even a minor campaign).

And condolences to two Oscar gambits that blew up spectacularly, even if the performances have their fans - Jennifer Lawrence in mother! and Kate Winslet in Wonder Wheel

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