Last Year's Winner - Margo Martindale
Rachel Weisz - My Blueberry Nights
Weisz has a way of standing out in bad movies, and, whoo, was this one bad (click the movie above for the details). The only thing even remotely good about Wong Kar Wai's patently false account of love in America was Weisz's boozy and smokin' hot Sue Lynn, who not only drove David Straithairn to the bottle, but also provided the only thing close to real emotion. Even though her character is an archetype as silly and unrealistic as Straithairn's boozer, Weisz brings such power to the role that I wish, god I wish, that Norah Jones had taken out to the road with Sue Lynn rather than Natalie Portman's insufferable Leslie.
Nanou Garcia- Pour De Vrai
I made an internal pledge not to include actors and performances from all the short films I saw last summer, but Garcia really was one of the acting standouts from the Court Metrange Festival, and her appearance in every second of Blandine Lenoir's 22 minute, one-shot, mini-epic, contained more range than most performance this year. She dotes on her kids, rocks out to a garage band, all the while repeating seemingly meaningless phrases. Like so may of the shorts that week, it was breathtaking.
Erika Bók - Satantango
Bok might have had more screen time than all the other acting nominees combined, but her freaky-ass Estike was only really a catalyst for the rest of the town. Despite being partly repulsed and even bored by some of her scenes, I'm still freaked out every time I see her portrait staring out from the front of the Satantango box. It is simply an indelible performance of pure cruelty and alienation, and something that I'm not sure I ever want to see again.
And the winner is...
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Margot at the Wedding
A clean sweep in the female acting categories for Noah Baumbach's tale of one really messed up family. Despite the bitterness, I could have watched Kidman and Leigh trade barbs all day, dropping in sly, and not so sly, hints about the various failures they've each lived through. Kidman gets the meatier part, but Leigh gets more out of the hippy-dippy sister act than was probably in the script. Looking not a day older than her Ridgemont days, Leigh is able to bring some depth and realism to the part, making her tete-a-tetes with Kidman a contest of equals, despite the latter's own formidable skills.
Next up...Best Director