' ' Cinema Romantico: The 6th Annual Prigge's: Top 5 Performances Of 2010

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 6th Annual Prigge's: Top 5 Performances Of 2010

By the time the Oscars finally drop in February the backlash and the praise, the condemnation and the acclaim of Cinema Romantico's #1 Performance Of 2010 will have flipped back and forth so many freaking times your head will likely be spinning. Wait, you'll be thinking, I saw the movie and I know what I thought of her but now I can't quite remember. Did I think she was good or bad? Believable or unrealistic? Heavyweight or Bantam? Your thought process on this particular actress's turn will be ransacked by information overload. Pop culture enthusiasts will dissect her Golden Globes "dorky giggle" and decide it is endearing before deciding it is annoying before deciding it has become re-endearing before re-deciding it was annoying before declaring it played out before deciding it is a non-issue before claiming, once and for all, it to be endearing. Maybe. Critics will pour every single piece of minutia that exists and a whole lot of minutia that doesn't exist. Adjectives of all kinds will be employed and references to films gone by and genres, genres, genres, GENRES!!!!!! will be served up and you will lose the ability to keep any of it straight. They will discuss performances like that of Brunhilde Hildebrandt during the reign of Nazi Germany cinema and how her performance is "quoted" in "Black Swan", most especially in the way Hildebrandt seems to be encompassing the "aesthetics" of "vaudeville" while "simultaneously cultivating" a "tangible conviction" in her work as a suffering Third Reich ballernia except you won't be able to find any information for Hildebrandt on IMDB or Wikipedia and so you will wonder if you heard the critic right of if it's all just in your head. Endless articles will digress on her physical transformation, her weight loss, her real life "bodily fragility", and how this is not really "acting", per se, and how it clouds all the emotional relevancy of her work except you'll swear that while watching the movie you never once pondered her physical transformation and that all you thought about was how she gradually enveloped you in her psychosis so that by the time it reaches its nadir you were reaching the nadir with her except you'll wonder if maybe you were pondering the physical transformation sub-consciously and at that point you'll become so irreversably confused you'll begin to hallucinate that, in fact, Jennifer Aniston's work in "The Bounty Hunter" was pretty darn good and, hey, why didn't she get nominated and then you'll get chest pains and collapse on the floor.

All of which is to say, I'd like to advise any and all past and/or forthcoming backlash against this performance to kiss my a--.

1. Natalie Portman, "Black Swan." See directly above.

2. Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone."  Vivid like her film's setting, more heroic than Spiderman, driven by circumstance, she earns implicit empathy without giving a fig newton whether we like her or not.  By the time it all ends we know what it's like to walk in Ree Dolly's shoes.  Nominate her, Academy, or I throw a rock through your window.

3. Edward Norton / Milla Jovovich, "Stone."  Hypnotic, noir-ish poker-faced performances that rely as much on the physical as the verbal. 

4. Steve Evets, "Looking For Eric."  Okay, I'm cheating.  This movie was released in 2009 but I didn't see it until 2010 and I want to include it because it truly meant that much to me.  I will post my full review of it in a few days but he was phenomenal and despite spending a significant portion of the film conversing with an imaginary person he created a completely real human being in so much as really all humans being are - when you get down to it - is an ongoing list of good-hearted, confused, cataclysmic f--- ups.

5. Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole." As a mother dealing with the death of her son this, too, like Norton and Jovovich, is a performance of immense physicality but also one of immense emotionalism wherein she again and again, over and over, makes you want to laugh and cry and empathize and look away in horror all at once.



Castor said...

People should just accept the acting awards they won. Maybe bow, hold a smile for 3 seconds, then walk off stage while everyone expects an acceptance speech.

Now, I didn't think Portman's performance was the best of the year. Sure, it's physically demanding to learn ballet and certainly, it doesn't look easy but at the end of the day, this is a completely one-note performance.

Now, I had no doubt that she would get those awards because this is the type of flashy "it looks hard so it must be really difficult to play" performance that has nearly all the award bodies, critics and bloggers raving.

Nick Prigge said...

I agree whole-heartedly it's a one note performance but it HAS to be one note because the character as written has no personality offstage and the whole film is building to that point late in the third act when it explodes and she metamorphoses. Speaking only for myself, that sameness is one of the reasons that brought about such an exhilirating finale.

I can completely understand, though, if people don't care for it. She does essentially hold that same facial expression for the entire film. It can be wearying. But I think that's gotta be just as difficult as a plethora of different reaction shots. It's like a much, much less comedic version of John Turturro in "O Brother Where Art Thou" holding that same discombobulated look the whole time.

Simon said...

Kim Hye-ja. That is all.

Nick Prigge said...

Damn it! "Mother"! Every year I think I've seen everything I wanted and needed to see and I'm ready to make my lists and then I make my lists and immediately realize, nope, there were still 15 things I wanted and needed to see. Ah, and so it is.

That said, I'm still exceptionally satisfied with this list.

Andrew K. said...

Regardless of whether or not I agree with your assessment (which, naturally I don't. ha) or if I think I you're crazy (which I do) I love how you justify your choices and it's refreshing to see persons having such faith in their favourites.

Extra points for including Nicole.

Chief Brody said...

Great choice to include Steve Evets from Looking For Eric. I put the film top of my 2009 films list and for good reason. I real gem from the year that deserves to be seen by more people.

Nick Prigge said...

Thanks, Dan. That Ken Loach, man, every time I see one of his films I really, really like it.