A weird bunch, this, because two of them should be up for Best Actress, not Supporting. Politics at play, for sure, but I wouldn’t like to call it…
RACHEL McADAMS – “Spotlight”
Good actress, reliable, dependable and likeable, but I just fail to see why this particular performance merits a Best Supporting Actress nomination. She’s OK, and does her best with a script which consistently fails to land any of the punches the subject matter promises. But if they’d removed all of her scenes, I honestly don’t think I’d have noticed. Mark Ruffalo was the standout in this film, and that’s about it. Not much else to say, but if all you need to do to get an Oscar nod these days is turn up on set and deliver lines from a mediocre script in a not-very-dazzling way, then I suppose Kim Kardashian is already making room for a trophy cabinet.
6/10 – She’s fine, but that’s it.
ROONEY MARA – “Carol”
I’ve already mentioned this but Mara should have been up for Best Actress, not Supporting. She has at least equal screen time with Blanchett and, even though the film is called Carol, it’s Mara’s character Therese who the story is really about. Looking very much like Audrey Hepburn throughout, Mara is completely convincing as the young wannabe photographer who falls under the spell of troubled socialite, Carol Aird. Their relationship is a slow-burn of lunches, Sunday afternoons and a road trip to Iowa, before the ‘affair’ is finally consummated in a low-rent motel, a tryst which is secretly recorded by a P.I hired by Carol’s estranged husband in a bid to prove her immorality. As the confused Therese, Mara is really excellent, conveying innocence and curiosity as well as she does ambition and adventure. Of the five nominees, she’s the strongest (just).
9/10 – One Rooney I don’t mind watching
KATE WINSLET – “Steve Jobs”
Always dependable, like Cate Blanchett, Winslet is unrecognisable as Steve Jobs’ marketing ninja, Joanna Hoffman, who is by Jobs’ side throughout his career. Set mainly in the 1980s, there are lots of terrible haircuts, Deirdre Barlow glasses and horrendous ‘fashions’ for Winslet to contend with, not to mention Hoffman’s unique accent which is a mix of Polish, New ‘Yoik’ and West Coast, so she’s worth the gong for voice work alone. Winslet and Michael Fassbender as Jobs work very well together, there’s a real chemistry and I think Winslet made Fassbender look even better than he would have done. She won the BAFTA a couple of weeks ago, but maybe the British Academy was biased. I don’t think she’ll win the Oscar, but it she did, it would be deserved.
8.5/10 – Does a great job(s)
ALICIA VIKANDER – “The Danish Girl”
Just like Rooney Mara, Vikander should really have been up for the main award, not a supporting one, because she shares equal screen time with Eddie Redmayne and is much, much better than him anyway. Alicia Vikander is everywhere just lately – you’ve probably seen her in Anna Karenina, Testament Of Youth and Ex Machina. She’s also dating Michael Fassbender, which makes me want to really dislike her, but I can’t. She’s very watchable in The Danish Girl, but she’s up against such stuff competition, I’m not sure she can compete, especially as the film itself was a bit of a Larry Letdown.
8.5/10 – The real Danish Girl
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH – “The Hateful Eight”
She’s been around forever, so she deserves an award just for surviving in an industry which hates women over 40 (go Charlotte Rampling!). The Hateful Eight is a Western mystery from Quentin Tarantino, a bit Hitchcockian in its premise and execution but with those delicious Tarantino-isms which make his stuff so great (and occasionally dreadful, too). Jennifer Jason Leigh more than holds her own in an impressive cast (great to see Walton Goggins on the big screen, too – love, love, love him), as one of eight strangers travelling in a stagecoach, who seek refuge from a blizzard in an isolated lodge. It’s very theatre-like in its set-up, very Agatha Christie, as each character keeps secrets which slowly unravel and increase the tension as the various personalities fight for supremacy in their claustrophobic surroundings. Leigh is justly nominated, but she won’t win.
8/10 – Outclasses (nearly) all the guys