Friday, October 21, 2005


Give Joan Allen the Oscar.

I know -- as far as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is concerned -- the two most intense months of movie releases are still to come, but as far as I'm concerned, the brilliant actress Joan Allen, who has proved time and time and time again, what amazing range and acting talent she possesses, deserves the Academy Award for Best Actress this year for her wonderful, subtle, mannered and nuanced performance as Terry Wolfmeyer, a woman who must come to terms with the sudden disappearance of her husband, in The Upside of Anger. Sure, the last two months of the year may end up producing flashier performances and even more "socially-minded" performances by women, but I strongly doubt that any of them will match the utter brilliance with which Allen becomes her character in The Upside of Anger. It is extremely rare (Al Pacino in the The Godfather and Godfather Part II is a great example) that an actor can so convincingly become the character being portrayed. And at that moment, it's not acting any more, so much as it is being. Allen's daring performance is simply unmatchable this year. I say daring, because few actresses would dare to play a character as unlikable, at moments, as the character of Terry Wolfmeyer, someone with real emotions, not movie emotions. Allen makes us believe that Terry is real. Not a character in a movie. Someone who lives and breathes and thinks and feels and stumbles. Allen has been nominated for the Oscar three times before -- twice for supporting actress in Nixon (1995), and The Crucible (1996) and once for lead performance in The Contender (2000). Now, she deserves to receive it. Attention critics: support this role with your honors and remind the Academy of the kind of performance for which Oscar was created. Bang the drums for Allen. Make sure she receives what she has long deserved. She is without a doubt, one of the finest actresses working today.

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