Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away from Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno
Winner: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
What a phenomenal year this category had! Of course, by now you all realize that Cotillard and Page are favorites of mine, and it was their respective performances here that first introduced me to them. Cotillard's victory came as a huge surprise, since Christie and Page had dominated the precursors and her performance is entirely in French, but she is a marvel as French singer Edith Piaf. And Page, too, is a revelation in the superior Juno (naysayers be damned, I love that movie!), announcing herself as a brand new talent that would be here to stay. She creates an original, realistic character (yes, I said realistic: by my own experiences, Diablo Cody's dialogue is not too quippy, that's how I and other teenagers I know talk) that's easy to get behind, and she alternates between hilarious lines and devastating moments expertly. Then, of course, there's the legendary Christie, who does excellent work as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's, slowly losing her mind and herself. It's an incredible performance from a woman with an incredible career, and sadly did not ignite the career rejuvenation she deserves. Linney, another favorite of mine, does great work in her film as a woman struggling with her personal life while coping with her dying father and arrested-development brother. She knows how to juice a scene for all it's worth, and she does so every time she's on screen. The only one I wasn't crazy about this year was Blanchett (who was far better in I'm Not There). It's a fine performance, but the mediocrity of the movie she's in brings her down, and unfortunately she falls into the Braveheart trap of giving a rousing speech to her troops amidst gloomy skies and soaring music. She's good, but not necessarily Oscar-worthy.
It was a really, really tough decision choosing between Cotillard and Page, but here's how my ballot looks:
1. Ellen Page, Juno
2. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
3. Julie Christie, Away from Her
4. Laura Linney, The Savages
5. Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
*One day I'm going to write a defense of Juno. It's gotten a bad rep in recent years that it doesn't deserve.