Saturday, June 5, 2010

1993 Best Actress Rankings

5. Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Days - 3 stars

There are some critically acclaimed films that I disagree with here and there. But there's only about 3-5 I just can't sit through. They are Out of Africa, The English Patient, and The Remains of the Day. For whatever reason I could not get through either of these films on a first viewing and quite frankly even after multiple viewings. I just could not get into them. Are they boring? Well maybe to some. I won't go that far as I know many people like them. I did give The Remains of the Day another try and while I still found it painfully dry I could appreciate the performances by Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Thompson gives a subtle and thoughtful performance as Miss Kenton.

4. Debra Winger, Shadowlands- 4 stars

Man that Winger knows how to get me to cry! I teared up at different points in all 3 of her nominated performances. That to me is a sign of an actress who realizes how important it is to strike a bond with her audience. Where I was bored with The Remains of the Day I was incredibly moved by Shadowlands which also stars Anthony Hopkins. Winger projects a quiet empathy in creating Joy Gresham, a woman who has fallen in love with author C.S. Lewis through his writings. Like in Terms of Endearment, illness strikes Winger and it makes for some incredibly sad scenes at the end. Her scene with Hopkins in the rain where she tells him "the pain then is part of the happiness later" is incredibly well done and moving. Starting here with Winger, any of the above women in this category easily tops anyone in the 1992 and 1994 Best Actress fields.

3. Angela Bassett, What's Love Got to Do with It?- 4 1/2 stars

I usually am turned off in biopics when an actor portrays a singer and lip synchs. But Bassett is so fiery and convincing as Tina Turner it's easy to overlook that one fact. Bassett's performances of the songs are so much in synch - not just lip-synch, but physically, and with personality and soul -- that it always seems as if we're watching Tina at work. Bassett has so many incredibly scenes especially the scene where she goes to a motel after being beaten by her husband and begs them to take her in. Compare this performance with similiar and rather pedestrian performances that WON Oscars like Jamie Foxx and Reese Witherspoon and you realize how great it truly is.

2. Holly Hunter, The Piano- 5 stars

The Piano is as haunting a movie as your gonna see. The performances are as original as the characters. Hunter's Ada is pale and grim at first, although she is capable of warming. It is interesting to note that all of Hunter's piano playing in the film is actually Hunter herself performing in front of us. You can visually and aurally feel the mood of Hunter's character through the music she plays. She does more with her facial expressions than twenty actors can with a thousand words. Her stature, her presence, her determination are so intense. One could feel sorry for her in places. She has been ripped from her world for reasons we cannot fathom. She has been deemed expendable. When she arrives she expects to be treated properly. Holly Hunter's outstanding performance conveys impressively a woman's ability to express herself without words.

1. Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation- 5 stars

This was a tough one. I really love Hunter, Winger, and Bassett. But I also felt Stockard Channing was phenomenal as Ouisa Kittredge. Ouisa discovers a new side to her own self in front of our eyes as she is charmed by a mysterious young man played by Will Smith who has entered their wealthy upper west side lifestyle. It is a performance of guts and beauty. Through Ouisa Kittridge it teaches us how mundane our everyday events are, that we all need something drastic to happen to bring us out of sleepy everyday into a fun, exciting, new being. What sealed the deal for me was Channing's ending dinner table scene where she says her piece to her husband and walks down the street a liberated women.


  1. Seems like a very strong year. Haven't seen all of them yet but I doubt that anyone can beat Hunter for me (but never say never!)

  2. Wow, Channing? Another one I don't get.