The Greatest Losers

Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Minggu lalu, The Film Experience memberikan daftar sepuluh penampilan terbaik dari para aktor yang tidak memenangi Oscar di tahun ketika mereka menjadi nomine. Tentu, saya langsung mengingat Travis Bickle, satu karakter yang dimainkan dengan sempurna oleh Robert De Niro. Saya pun baru menyadari bahwa daftar untuk para aktris sudah pernah muncul, dan sayangnya saya belum sempat menyimak A Star is Born sampai sekarang.

Berikut saya kutip empat penampilan yang saya cintai (dua dari dekade kemarin, dua lagi mewakili era mulai empat dekade lalu), yang mewakili seni peran favorit saya sepanjang masa dan uniknya dua pilihan saya dari dekade kemarin adalah jawara pilihan saya untuk memenangi Creme de la creme versi Best Actor dan Best Actress yang sampai saat ini belum sempat saya wujudkan dalam bentuk tulisan. 

You talkin’ to me?

Nick Davis on Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver, 1976)

“Do you ever forget that Travis Bickle was a fictional character, not a historical figure?  He hovers like a ghost of the recent past, closer to a Susan Smith or an O.J. Simpson than a Vito Corleone: radioactive with painful and unresolved contradictions, an inevitable product of grotesque national trends and yet totally, unnervingly singular. Bickle feels more real and deserving of analysis than John Hinckley, the man who horribly, pathetically took up his already-pitiful mantle.  Yes, much credit goes to Scorsese and Schrader, but it mostly devolves to his flawless, poignant, and fearsome interpreter. De Niro’s fundamental isolation, from others and seemingly from himself, has never been put to better use.  Nor has his ability to bond restlessly and eccentrically with dissimilar actors (Foster, Shepherd) or to simultaneously blend into and stand out from colorful crowds.  Winners or losers, this might be my favorite performance ever nominated in this category.”

I am big, it’s the pictures that got small!

Deborah Lipp on Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond  (Sunset Boulevard, 1950)

“The thing about Gloria Swanson’s performance is that you remember it. I last saw Sunset Boulevard several years ago, and indeed my favorite thing about the movie is not her performance, but that when you think about the film, you see her. She is indelible in one’s mind, iconic, terrifying, and tragic. She is repulsive, but you can’t turn away, and you’ll never forget.”

The great Heath Ledger…

Deborah Lipp on Heath Ledger as Ennis del Mar (Brokeback Mountain, 2005)

“In the vast array of great performances, I confined my votes to those I simply could not forget, and I will never forget Ennis del Mar. Ledger did more than give an indelible performance, he gave an illuminating one. I left the theater understanding something about a relationship gone wrong in my own life that I had not before. “Did Ennis remind you of Bob?” I asked a mutual friend. The way he drew himself in. The way his body, as Ennis aged, endeavored to take up less and less space. The way, finally, he could only hold a shirt. It was not just that this was memorable, not just that it was heartbreaking, it was that Ennis showed me a man whom I had never been able to quit, showed him in a way that shed light. To do that is truly gifted, as Heath Ledger was truly gifted.”

Dan… the greatest character of the last decade with the iconic hair color changes. Kate, this is what I want from you. Perfection of acting from every single part: line readings, reaction shots, gestures, EVERYTHING!

Andrew Stewart on Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004)

“By the time Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was released, Kate Winslet had already gained a reputation as an emotionally fearless actress and the go-to when the role required a corset. So, when she appeared in Michel Gondry’s head-tripping, heart-stirring, modern-day masterpiece, shed of the period garb, her hair, a series of crayola-hued concoctions, and full of a new, spontaneous energy, it was a Kate we had never seen before. But, even if we hadn’t been aware of her work previously, Winslet’s Clementine Kruczynski would still be an astonishing achievement. In what could have easily turned into a manic pixie dream girl, Winslet fully fleshes her out –finding the flaws and insecurities behind the quirks. Impulsive, combative, and irrational at times, Winslet never shies away from making her a real, complex–even unlikable–woman. But, despite her faults, we come to realize this “f***ed-up girl, just trying to find her own piece of mind” is someone we’d never erase from our memory.”


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