Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oscars of the Aughts: Best Supporting Actress 2008

I've decided to start another new series here at The Entertainment Junkie blog. I've been working on The Movie List for a while, and since it encompasses most of the Aughts, I figured, why not check out all of the major Oscar nominations of the decade? So here it is: a year-by-year, category-by-category look back at the past decade in Oscar. For the sake of my sanity and schedule, I'm only going to cover Best Picture, Best Director, the acting categories, and the writing categories. And if this turns out to be successful, I'll take a trip even further back, covering other decades as well. Since I've already covered 2009 in previous posts, this will start at 2008, and work backwards. So, to start off, let's have a look at the Supporting Actress nominees in that year.
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Amy Adams, Doubt
Viola Davis, Doubt
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
The Winner: Penelope Cruz
I'm going to be honest: I thought this was a rather weak category, probably the weakest acting category of that year (compared to when I thought it was the strongest in 2009). Tomei, who I generally like, didn't have much to work with in The Wrestler, since it was mostly The Mickey Rourke Show (see: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart). Same goes for Henson, who did decent work in a small role; Cate Blanchett seemed like a better bet for a Benjamin Button nod here but she probably entered the Best Actress race instead, though Tilda Swinton could have taken her place, easily. And Penelope Cruz, I love her, I really do, but there was just something about this role that I couldn't get behind. I think she's a fantastic actress, and this was good work, but I wouldn't call it Oscar-worthy. The only two performances here that I really loved came from the Doubt women. Amy Adams, another actress I adore, is perfectly cast as the innocent, doe-eyed Sister Jane, a naive nun who has to question her world view. And nobody made better use of such little screentime than the jaw-dropping Viola Davis. Even though she was only in the film for about 10 minutes, she made every single one of those minutes count, delivering a heartfelt, difficult performance that encapsulated the entire moral conflict of the film. If that's not a great supporting turn, I don't know what is.
Here's how my ballot would have looked that year:
1. Viola Davis, Doubt
2. Amy Adams, Doubt
3. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona
4. Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler


Simon said...

Lovely idea.

I'm with you on Davis, she made the most out of the little she was given. But I thought Tomei and Adams were rather...obvious. Like Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones.

Jason H. said...

The crazy thing is (and I may be the only person in the world who thinks this way) I rather enjoyed The Lovely Bones and Stanley Tucci's performance. Yes, the sentimentality was very heavy-handed, and Stanley Tucci was much better in a number of other films (including Julie & Julia), but I don't argue with his nomination.

Adams, though always reliable, is in danger of typecasting herself as the naive woman. That's why I'm kind of psyched to hear she may be playing Janis Joplin in a new movie. Considering, of course, that this one gets made; if not, we'll always have Jenna Malone's Jackie Jormp-Jomp (30 Rock, how I love thee).