With the Oscars has finally over (weeks ago), I suddenly feel the urge to share my favorite top ten Oscar nominees and winners. These are only my preferences and I can write anything because it's my blog - ha! Tell me what you think and share me yours alright.
Let the countdown begins!
10. Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet made a great couple for a heavyweight movie like Revolutionary Road. Though I love their acting, what grabbed my attention was Michael Shannon as the mentally-unstable John Giving who opened up the raw and basic meaning of life to the 'Revolutionary Road couple' (Kate and Leo). Although his blatant remarks on their life and how they chose to live their life maybe seemed inappropriate despite his unhealthy state, he still managed to leave a deep scar to the couple making them re-evaluate their life rather than ignore what the insane man had said.
Michael Shannon makes his character believable - enough to make us hate him and at the same time, marvel at his philosophy.
Favourite Scene: When the Givings stopped by the Wheelers household for the second time and leads Frank Wheeler to smack John Giving in the living room.
9. Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich
Those who haven't watched Erin Brockovich is in for a loss big time. Julia Roberts got her Oscar for her leading role in this picture of real-life single mom Brockovich with no legal background, ended up serving in one and solve the biggest court case in the history of United States. She made a great depiction of Miss Brockovich who has three children, no savings whatsoever, struggling to get a job with her limited qualification and juggling personal life and everything else in between.
Favorite Scene: Erin Brockovich giving George her 'numbers' outside of her house. OK, that's funny.
8. Kate Winslet in The Reader
Alright, here is another boobies show by Kate Winslet which finally got her an Oscar after her previous boobies-flashing failed to do so. Tits aside, The Reader is a great movie which tells a woman's ongoing struggle to not let anyone or anything belittle her dignity although it means hiding her flaws (and disabilities) from everyone at all cost. However, I still can't digest the necessity of showing her tits in this movie, as any other movies she did. The story itself is so good to stand on its own. Oh well.
Favourite Scene: Hanna Schmitz being asked in court to 're-write' a letter which was claimed to be in her own handwriting. She decline and and admitted guilty, because she chose not to let everyone know she could neither write nor read.
7. Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl's character, Miranda Priestly, is supposedly a raw impersonation or the closest impersonation of Anna Wintour, Vogue's Editor-in-Chief but she looks much more devilish in this picture, as the title may suggest.
The coldness and the elegant possessed by Miranda in its book version is cleverly transformed into human form by Meryl. She shows how Miranda always took her career seriously and sometimes even more serious than any other things around her, including her marriage and her co-workers, which she coldly back-stabbed so she wouldn't be replaced by her arch-nemesis.
Favorite Scene: Miranda Priestly smirked at Andy Sachs's remark ("This s..s..stuff?")
6. Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
I still remembered watching this movie in GSC Mid Valley with Chong Jin in 2005, not knowing what the movie was about prior to that. When the movie ended, we were speechless. There was so many things to be said but words couldn't describe it.
One of the indescribable things were Rachel Weisz's acting in this picture (OK I finally have the words to describe it). Though her character is minor (she was already killed in the beginning) it was enough to leave a memorable mark to me, at least. The flashback scenes will make viewers feel sorry for her husband, Justin Quayle who was initially a low-key British diplomat sent to Kenya, but later turned aggressive and endured all hardship to solve the murder case of his wife, Tessa (played by Rachel Weisz). It's funny how most of Rachel's scenes involved only of flashbacks but it was proven to be sufficient enough to secure her a Supporting Actress Oscars in the same year.
Favorite Scene: Justin Quayle identifying her wife's cold, motionless body in the mortuary.
6. Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness
In this true story Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a salesman single father who sacrificed everything except his son's well-being to be a stockbroker. He lost all of his savings due to wrong investment, his wife (or his son's mother, I don't know) and eventually his house but still gave up no hope in constantly trying to secure a job at a stockbroking firm.
This true story would bring tears to everyone who watches it if you feel the pain Chris Gardner has to endure but still manages to fake a smile everyday for his son. He lost everything while trying to succeed (which he eventually did) - everything, except his determination and undying love for his son.
Favorite Scene: Chris Gardner trying to convince his son to spend the night in a subway station's toilet after losing his house by pretending they are hiding from dinosaurs in a cave. Waterworks galore at this part *sobs*.
4. Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix supposedly threw a tantrum at the 2005 Oscars after-party after losing to Philip Seymour Hoffman in Best Actor Category. Why he was mad was understandable - this is one of his best performance ever especially when he actually sing in this movie.
Playing Johnny Cash, he showed the mellow and fragile side of the late singer. His obsession for his future wife June Carter (played by Reese Witherspoon and won her Best Actress Oscar), his drug addiction and slurring on stage while being high on drugs were all depicted by Joaquin in close resemblance. I still can't get over Joaquin's face expression especially when he mimicked Johnny Cash's puppy eyes while performing - that's a true star right there.
Favorite Scene: Johnny Cash asking June Carter for an impromptu duet on stage for their song 'It Ain't Me Babe' before proposing to her - and got rejected. Ouch.
3. Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose
Playing someone famous from her 20s up to her death at the age of 47 wasn't easy. You'd always be compared to the legend, your expression delivery becomes challenging under all of those thick make-up and wig and whether your acting is believable enough for the audience. For Marion Cotillard, she nailed all of the above with her own version in playing the legendary Edith Piaf.
The whole movie was in French but it wouldn't stop you from admiring the true beauty of the acting, the story and the songs featured (with some help from subtitles, of course). Edith Piaf was notorious for its childhood turmoils, drug addiction and not the least, her magical voice which earned her nickname 'La Mome Piaf' (The Little Sparrow). Marion channels every stage of Edith Piaf's life brilliantly, including her haunch figure, raspy voice and everything else known about Edith. Another movie which I loved to watch over and over again until now.
Favorite Scene: Edith Piaf wakes up in the morning and hallucinates about her lover, Marcell which had 'died' from an aircrash.
2. Mo'Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Who would have thought Mo'Nique, the standup comedienne is worth of an Oscar? She plays Mary Jones, the abusive and dysfuctional mother to a teenager who is unemployed. Throughout the movie, viewers would love to hate Mo'Nique's character - continuously abusing her daughter mentally and physically. however, towards the end, we would finally realized that Mary is actually mentally-disable and subsequently, feel sorry for her.
Favorite Scene: Mary Jones in Miss Weiss' cubicle with Precious, sobbing.
1. Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Writing about no. 1 is hard because this amazing piece of talent is no longer with us today though his works would live on forever. The great late Heath Ledger played Ennis del Mar, a typical Southern masculine cowboy living in a quiet town of Wyoming who found true love in another person - who is a guy.
Staying true to the movie's tagline, his character (based on the short story with the same name by Annie Proulx) proved that love is indeed a force of nature. Who would have thought that this soon-to-be-married cowboy would fall in love with another guy, let alone in a place where masculinity wasn't something to be tolerated or compromised.
Heath played Ennis del Mar so well, so respectable. He showed that one need not have to be effeminate *cough,gay,cough* to fall in love with someone of the same sex. Love is something pure and simple and when it comes knocking, you know you can't just shove it away. Ennis del Mar tried doing that by marrying his fiancee but he only have one true love with Jack Twist which lasted over 20 years, until his partner was killed - by the latter's wife.
Favorite Scene: Of course it's the scene where Jack Twist told Ennis del Mar "I wish I'd knew how to quit you."