Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beyond Actress-dome: Round 3 concludes!

64 women enter. One woman leaves.

A few words on the criteria: I'm only taking into account performances from the past ten years (1996 and onward). Film and television performances count. Match-ups will be judged on the following merits: (1) number of performances I've enjoyed (sheer quantity); (2) whose singular best performance is the greatest (quality); (3) if I had an Oscar ballot, how many nominations would the actress have received since '96 (fake Oscars); (4) if both actresses have co-starred in a film, who gave the better performance (spotlights stolen); and (5) who would win in a physical brawl between the two (girlfight factor).

Round 3 (cont'd)


Cate Blanchett vs. Meryl Streep
Quantity: Clash of the titans, right here. Both average at least one notable performance per year. Both are, while certainly more than capable as leading ladies, able to take a good cameo and work the hell out of it. Streep has been able to stay slightly more mainstream than Blanchett, but this isn’t the place for value judgments. This is where the numbers matter, and here the numbers add up to an exact push.
Quality: Streep's comic brilliance in Adaptation versus Blanchett's Elizabeth turn. I respect the hell out of both, but if I were to choose one performance to watch on a desert island where I somehow had a generator or some other means of powering my DVD player -- and if I could avoid letting the sand scratch up the DVD itself, you see...where was I? Right. I'd choose Streep.
Fake Oscar Nods: Streep: 3 (The Hours; Adaptation; One True Thing); Blanchett: 2 (Elizabeth; The Aviator)
Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.
Girlfight Factor: They both have powers. Political powers. Cate rules as a queen (Elizabeth; Lord of the Rings), while Streep recently showed she can rule from her impeccably-designed executive office. Personally, I'm more afraid of Miranda Priestley. Edge: Streep.
Winner: Meryl Streep 3-0


Laura Linney vs. Renee Zellweger
Quantity: Renee's worked a hell of a lot the past ten years, and up until we all got sick of her, she was actually really good in a lot of those movies. No, not Me, Myself, and Irene. Regardless, she can't keep up with Linney, who's good every single time, and who carries a damn heavy workload herself.
Quality: For the third straight round, Linney's You Can Count on Me performance goes up against a fellow 2000 Best Actress nominee. Oh, that's right. Renee didn't get recognized for Nurse Betty because that was the year everybody was just so fucking in love with Chocolat. Ahem. Anway, once again, Linney bests the field.
Fake Oscar Nods: Linney: 3 (You Can Count on Me; The Squid and the Whale; Primal Fear); Zellweger: 3 (Chicago; Nurse Betty; Jerry Maguire). Push
Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.
Girlfight Factor: Linney may not often want to get her hands dirty, as I've said before, but with Renee I don't think she'll need to. Skinny bitch defeats skinnier bitch. Edge: Linney.
Winner: Laura Linney 3-0


Joan Allen vs. Natalie Portman
Quantity: I'm puzzled as to why Joan Allen doesn't have more quality credits to her name. She's clearly phenomenal. She just doesn't work in an extremely lot of movies. Or at least an extremely lot of movies I've actually seen. It's a list trimmed down enough to where Portman -- who spent chunks of the last ten years attending college and being held hostage by George Lucas -- can catch up and force a push.
Quality: Portman in Closer beats out Allen in The Upside of Anger.
Fake Oscar Nods: Allen: 4 (The Upside of Anger; Pleasantville; The Contender; The Crucible); Portman: 2 (Closer; Beautiful Girls)
Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.
Girlfight Factor: Interesting match. Portman's got the advantage of youth. But, really, Allen's not that old. She's going to be fifty on August 20 (day before mine! My fellow Leo!), and if I've learned anything from that Molly Shannon "Sally O'Malley" SNL sketch, it's that when you're fifty, you like kick, stretch, and kick. She's fifty! Edge: Allen.
Winner: Joan Allen 2-1


Patricia Clarkson vs. Kate Winslet
Quantity: Not even close. Clarkson has double the noteworthy credits Winslet has. Which isn't necessarily a knock against Kate. One just works a whole hell of a lot more often than the other.
Quality: This one isn't really close either. I loved Clarkson in The Station Agent, for serious. But Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is in another league.
Fake Oscar Nods: Winslet: 3 (Eternal Sunshine...; Holy Smoke; Titanic); Clarkson: 2 (The Station Agent; High Art)
Spotlights Stolen: They share the screen in this fall's All the King's Men, but we haven't been able to see it yet. Unfortunately.
Girlfight Factor: I think I've said this before, but there really is something quietly menacing about Patty Clarkson. You can see it in Dogville. You can see it in The Dying Gaul. I think Kate might end up underestimating her, to her peril. Edge: Clarkson.
Winner: 2-2 HOLY CRAP IT'S ANOTHER etc. Honestly, I don't plan on there being a tie in every post, it's just worked out that way. That being said, I kind of like that it's worked out this way. Anyway, help me decide between Clarkson and Winslet. It's a tough call. Vote wisely and once.

Coming soon: the quarterfinals!

10 comments:

adam k. said...

I do love me some Patty Clarkson, but I want WINSLET to win this whole tournament, so I am voting Kate. If she fended off Julianne Moore, she can also fend off Patty Clarkson, right? RIGHT?

This was a hell of a fun round. I seriously couldn't stop laughing when you brought Sally "I'm FIFTY!" O'Malley into it. I kept picturing Joan doing that KICK. STRETCH. and KICK routine on Natalie Portman. SO funny.

Excited for the quarterfinals... sad that Moore and Blanchett missed out.

Sticky Keys said...

Oh Sweet Jesus, WINSLET! Dear Lord, Joe, don't even toy with that match, WINSLET. Kate pwns Patricia. What was that movie she was in where she was kind of gay with that dark haired chick and I think they killed someone? It was her breakout role? I know Patricia has her gay movie, but the Kate one was so much better. Oh, but it was before '96! Dangit Joer!

Still, KATE.

Plus, let's not forget Finding Neverland,or that very awesome Mastercard commercial.

par3182 said...

that whole spotlight stolen category has been nothing but trouble, considering how rarely it's come in play and how often these ties have come up.

perhaps you should go with something really subjective like who'd you like to be best friends with or who you'd like to get drunk with - although in this case they both have their charms.

i'm just gonna say winslet 'cause i love her.

Joe R. said...

Suggestion noted. I'll put it in the giant notebook.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Sticky, You're thinking of Heavenly Creatures.

I say Winslet, but it was seriously this close *puts thumb and index finger mere milimetres apart*.

NATHANIEL R said...

I'm going with Winslet due to Holy Smoke! fitting into the time frame. Otherwise I woulda said Patricia. But I really can't get over Holy Smoke!

Judi said...

I love Patricia Clarkson, but I think that for THIS, Kate Winslet has to win. I really have no strong case as to why; it's more of a gut thing.

NYOne said...

Gotta be Kate. I think she winds the girl fight category. There's just something fierce about Kate that I think would scare Patty. I loved Station Agent and Clarkson's performance in Pieces of April, but ESotSM still trumps all.

Angie said...

It's Kate. I'm so in love with her it's not even funny.

NYOne said...

{sigh} Kate wins the girlfight category.