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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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The Films of 2012. The 13th annual FiLM BiTCH Awards

PICTURE | ACTING | VISUALS | AURALS | EXTRAS | SPECIAL | SCENES

 

 

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain
"Maya"
ZERO DARK THIRTY
Marion Cotillard
"Stéphanie"
RUST & BONE
Ann Dowd
"Sandra"
COMPLIANCE
Helen Hunt
"Cheryl"
THE SESSIONS
Emmanuelle Riva
"Anne"
AMOUR
Here's a puzzle for an actress. A character purposefully stripped of backstory and future, with only one driving force. "I've done nothing else" Chastain does plenty anyway, detailing growing confidence, thicker skin, and weird savior complex.

 Bewitchingly movie-star sensuality and thorny character vanity inform Stéphanie's movements through life. After a freak accident, Marion has trickier terrain to navigate. She never forgets she's the same woman, even as Stéphanie rethinks herself.

 

It's always a treat when a character actor gets the spotlight but Dowd presents a full course. From prickly opening scene, to increasingly incompetent management to that brilliantly dim evasion in the epilogue, she's superb throughout.
Hunt walks into frame with the relaxed "here I am" matter of factness of someone who works in the buff for a living. But the character is no cliché, but infused with a wide range of feeling, curiousity, smarts and visibly shifting ideas about her clients.
Her endearing intelligent first impression make her sudden vanishing at the kitchen table an unthinkable horror. How could this woman diminish? Brave, hypnotic and truthful work follows. "Hurrrrrrts"
 

Finalists: Both Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina and Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea seemed perfectly in sync with the stylized stilted nature of their gorgeous films and commited to their character's defiant self-destruction. In neither case could that have been an easy task.
Semi-Finalists: Emayatzy Corinealdi for Middle of Nowhere, Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michelle Williams for Take This Waltz, Elle Fanning for Ginger and Rosa

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Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis
LINCOLN
Hugh Jackman
LES MISERABLES
Joaquin Phoenix
"Freddie Quell"
THE MASTER
Jean-Louis Trintignant
"Georges"
AMOUR
Denzel Washington
"Whip Whitaker"
FLIGHT
 It's not just the lanky marionette physicality, or the voice (gentle but powerful) but they way each story feels informed by retellings, melancholy recollection, and years of grief and warfare. He builds a complete man and a great one. 
 Wolverine may be his signature role but here is the one he was born to play. Rage, regret, and redemption collide passionately especially during that sublime "Soliloquy" as he wrestles with his demons and the angels to find a new way.
 So uncomfortable in his own skin that he's always contorted and grimacing, refusing to live in it. More fascinating than Freddie's "processing" is the dim half-processing Freddie does with each new revelation from The Cause.
He plays caretaker, not just to Anne but to Haneke's themes and 'monstrous kindness.' Every moment feels like real time, anecdotes half forgotten, bewildering pain as new as a fresh slap, and years of companionship underlining it all.
Denzel commands every frame with medicated bravado, dangerous entitlement and his (& Whipp's) self-awareness of his potent charisma. Watching him intimidate a coworker into covering for him brings it all together in one marvel scene. 
 

Finalists: Denis Lavant was a fascinating shape-shifter in Holy Motors and Garret Hedlund gifted On the Road with exactly the kind of potent free-form libidinal force and lost boy edges that the film itself needed so much more of.
Semi-Finalists: Matthias Schoenaerts for Rust & Bone and/or Bullhead, Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Pena (as a unit) in End of Watch and Logan Lerman for The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Best Supporting Actress

Sally Field
"Mary Todd Lincoln"
LINCOLN
Nicole Kidman
"Charlotte Bless"
THE PAPERBOY
Anne Hathaway
"Fantine"
LES MISERABLES
Diane Kruger
"Marie Antoinette"
FAREWELL MY QUEEN
Lorraine Toussaint
"Ruth"
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
We always knew that Sally could turn on a dime (see Steel Magnolias' cemetery breakdown). She puts that trademark to expert use in this portrait of a bipolar First Lady. Mary swings unpredictably but heavily, an anchor of grief weighing her down
 Charlotte promises to share "exciting correspondence" when she arrives with a box of dirty letters into this Southern Gothic. Kidman delivers the "exciting" part with her genius and risky interpretation of a slutty beautician with a taste for violent inmates.
 In Hathaway's show-stopping chapter and especially in her sung through epic monologue she reinvents a showtune standard and offers up an entire biopic's worth of backstory, emotional detail, and tragedy. Devastating, inspired, & unforgettable. (bonus points: Catwoman)
Kruger excels as the distracted queen, gifting those fickle whims and sensual obsessions with a sense of in the moment train-of-thoughtlessness  immediacy. The queen's heartlessness springing organically from obscene privilege and deadly boredom.
She makes total sense of Ruth's grufflove, confusion and anger towards her children's choices and their emotional distance. Toussaint's thorny edges cut deep. Ruth is absolutely right but if you were her daughter you might also steer clear.
 

Finalist: Eva Green seizes Dark Shadows like the witch "Angelique" she portrays, with  possessed carnality, cracked beauty, and performative magic. If only the film were worthy of her! Olivia Munn graces Magic Mike with unexpected subtlety, humor and self-possessed intelligence. "Joanna" might be slumming but the actress clearly isn't, giving the role everything it asked for and more.
Semi-Finalists: Gina Gershon Killer Joe, Carmen Ejogo for Sparkle and Emma Watson Perks of Being a Wallflower Alicia Vikander in Anna Karenina and Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook

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Best Supporting Actor

Michael Fassbender
"David8"
PROMETHEUS
Tommy Lee Jones
"Thaddeus Stevens"
LINCOLN
Jude Law
"Karenin"
ANNA KARENINA
Samuel L Jackson
"Stephen"
DJANGO UNCHAINED
Matthew McConaughey
"Dallas"
MAGIC MIKE
In a perverse followup to those emptied out men in Hunger & Shame he's literalized the human shell bit with this curious machine. Only a truly gifted actor could fill that shell with this much wit, nuance, and menace. The indelible repetitive cadences of belief and Jones' hilarious gruff obstinance build a thorny heroic character so precise that that 'will he or won't he?' climax of compromise genuinely feels like a nail-biter. In some ways he's the quiet stormy center of this Hurricane of Style movie, casting complex light on the Karenin marriage and shadows on the caged intimacies of not-qute loveless marriage.  This sharply funny portrait of insidious complicity and big fish / small pond desperation is the best work he's done in ages. He hints at what a masterful comedy this might have been with more focus / less bloodlust.
A performance so savvy it glistens from any angle, whether you're thinking about Dallas, Matthew or Magic Mike. He strips down the familiar movie star and we see a revelatory fresh actor. (Bonus Points: Killer Joe)
 

Finalists: Ewan McGregor The Impossible and Jason Clarke for Zero Dark Thirty
Semi-Finalists: Simon Russsell Beale & Tom Hiddleston The Deep Blue Sea Ezra Miller for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Jeroen Perceval for Bullhead

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PICTURE | ACTING | VISUALS | AURALS | EXTRAS | SPECIAL | SCENES