Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beyond Actress-dome: The Quarterfinals conclude!

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).


Quantity: Close race. In Kidman's favor: Moulin Rouge!, The Others, The Hours, Dogville, Cold Mountain, and Birth. Half a dozen. In McDormand's favor: Half a dozen plus one. Let's pretend it was her consistently underrated turn in The Man Who Wasn't There that put her over the top. Edge: McDormand

Quality: McDormand as Sheriff Marge Gunderson in Fargo versus Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Both won the Oscar, and deservedly so in each case. I feel weird making this call, but I think it has to be Kidman. I know, I know. What kind of pretentious douche picks the lilting dramatics over the hip Coens comedy? Well, this kind of pretentious douche, at least in this instance.

Fake Oscar Nods: McDormand: 3 (Fargo; Almost Famous; The Man Who Wasn't There); Kidman: 3 (The Hours; The Others; Dogville). Push

Spotlights Stolen: They've never shared the screen.

Girlfight Factor: Nicole Kidman has spent this entire tournament getting her ass kicked. Up the hill and down the hill, around the block and back, she's gotten the Botox beaten right out of her. That is, until she stepped into the quarterfinals, where she...got pummeled yet again. Come on, dudes, it's Frances McDormand. It's not even a contest.

Winner: Frances McDormand 2-1

Quantity: Collette's collection is more than respectable, and it just got a bump this week with my screening of The Night Listener. Still not enough to topple Streep, who added a pair of 2006 credits (Prairie Home Companion; Devil Wears Prada) herself.

Quality: Well, I've decided. I like Toni best in Velvet Goldmine. One of her smallest roles on the list, but she makes such an indelible impression. It's not, however, more indelible than Streep's Adaptation performance, a slippery comic adventure hidden under cover of an existential crisis. It was as fun as it was unexpected.

Fake Oscar Nods: Collette: 3 (In Her Shoes; The Sixth Sense; Velvet Goldmine); Streep: 3 (Adaptation; The Hours; One True Thing). Push

Spotlights Stolen: Meryl and Toni co-starred in The Hours, though they're never onscreen together. It's a wonderful moment for Collette, definitely the best of the many second-tier characters the film offers. I'd love to give it the upper hand here. Problem is, Meryl is SO good in the movie. She blows everyone else away, and if it wasn't for Nicole Kidman, she'd walk away with the film. She even manages to perform a nervous breakdown in a way that's not too showy. Love it. Edge: Streep.

Girlfight Factor: They seem pretty evenly matched. Toni's more the scrapper, Meryl's more the covertly vicious type. We'll give this match-up to Toni, but partly because I think Meryl, the victory in the bag and the semi-finals in sight, was trying to keep her fingernails clean for this one.

Winner: Meryl Streep 3-1

Coming soon: The semifinals. Linney. McDormand. Streep. And...who else? Keep voting in the Allen/Witherspoon race!


RC said...

woa...i'm surprised to see McDormand beat out Kidman...i think they're both great and it's certainly a tight race there.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Sticky Keys said...

I don't know what I hated worse, The Hours, or Meryl Streep in The Hours. In fact, the only good thing about that movie was Toni Collette, her husband, and Nicole Kidman's nose (it has staying power). I just have a real bad, hate/hate relationship with that movie.

That said, I think it was a very interesting race. Meryl is still pumping along so I guess she deserves the win, though I'm becoming more enamoured with Toni on a daily basis.

Aren't there a bunch of matchups left? Are we already to semis? My how time flies...

adam k. said...

So you don't consider Portrait of a Lady, Peacemaker, Practical Magic, or Eyes Wide Shut to count in terms of Nicole's output. No arguments with the middle two, but Eyes, and Portrait definitely have their fans. She DID after all exist before 2001. Still, not surprised McDormand won. Even with you throwing Kidman that "quality" bone.

As for Collette, there is definitely a case to be made that she was better than Meryl during the screen time she was given, but 5 minutes vs a well-acted lead role? Tough not to give that one to Meryl. And why do I feel like Toni wouldn't be that fierce against Meryl, it's not like the Winslet situation, where she was beaten arguably unfairly ; ) by the actress tournament equivalent of a "bad call". She would be understandably pissed at Linney. But Collette, I think, would take it with grace, and I just can't see her and Meryl beating the crap out of each other for some reason. Anyway, much as I love Toni, she was lucky to even make it this far. But I suppose if they were both heavily drugged up and hungry for it, Toni would win that fight by a nose, mainly due to youth.

Phew. That's all. Nice round. Though I wanted to see the two Aussies take each other on, as it wouldn't been more evenly matched all around.

Joe R. said...

Portrait of a Lady: haven't seen yet. Patiently waiting for Netflix to get its act together in that regard.

Peacemaker: Not so much.

Practical Magic: Ditto.

Eyes Wide Shut: Haaaaate!

DL said...

Bummer. Too bad these weren't ties because my vote would've went to Toni Collette and Nicole Kidman.

Kamikaze Camel said...

My Nicole is out? *world crumbles*


At least it wasn't to some bitch I don't like.

You know what McDormand perf I absolutely love way more than I should. Lone Star. She's in it for, like, 10 minutes but she blew me away there. And obviously Fargo, The Man Who, Almost Famous (the only thing I reallyliked about that movie) and so on...