Last week, I started prepping the 2012 "film bitch" awards pages and while staring at the rough draft of the acting awards which will be posted the week before the Oscar nominations, I kept thinking "something is wrong here." I slept on it. The next morning I realized with complete horrror that I had left Nicole Kidman off of my rough draft nominee list for The Paperboy. I, a self-described Kidmaniac, had forgotten "Charlotte Bless." If *I* was able to forget Nicole, how could I rage at the non-adventurous critics and staid Oscar voters a month and a half from now when they presumably forget her in their year-end polling.
The Thanksgiving to Christmas movie season is filled with "Best of" Noise: big glitzy openings, highbrow movies, lists everywhere you look, forum discussions, critics org announcement. They're all reflecting "Oscar Buzz" whether or not they mean to. Oscar buzz is noisy and the noise can, paradoxically, drown out actual conversations and thoughtful consideration of who might qualify for the word "best"... not who is in the best movie or who is most likely to be nominated. It's understandable human error. Fact: it's easier to remember names you hear every day than names you don't.
This past week while staring hard at the Supporting Actress Chart (since revived), I kept staring at Nicole Kidman's photo and cursing the world that this amazing actress's about-face work as a trashy convict-loving beautician wasn't more firmly entrenched in the discussion.
People started talking about Nicole Kidman's work again. Undoubtedly because Kidman herself starting talking. (And this, dear reader, is why Oscar campaigns happen.) I was lucky enough to be one of the people she talked to. "Nathaniel, it's Nicole!" she said with a hearty Aussie laugh earlier today on the telephone when she called me an hour ahead of schedule. The interview will be published next week but I can't tell you how sky high I felt talking to one of the true greats.
Luckily I'm not the only voice screaming for her nomination. Amy Nicholson at MovieLine likes The Paperboy far less than I do but she writes beautifully about why Nicole should be nominated and how blasé the Oscar lists can get when voters only draw from the 'prestige' pool:
...And people, this is why the Oscar season is boring. This formula guarantees a chase to the middlebrow, and it's why every Best Picture Oscar winner since Silence of the Lambs is something your grandma would see at an arthouse matinee.
There's only one thing we can do to save the Academy Awards: nominate Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy.
It's so true. And it's always been true. If you remove the movies that are intensely problematic, super weird or just terrible and then, on top of that, you remove all of the genre movies from the discussion because they aren't "serious" you lose half of the performances that should be in the discussion of BEST.
Because let's face it, Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables aside, if all the expected-to-be-nominated characters were to walk into a room with Kidman's "Charlotte Bless" sauntering around in her too high heels, she'd be the only one you could look at. Frankly, Kidman is just working on a much higher level than the bulk of the actresses being talked up. Hell, you'd have to bring Daniel Day-Lewis's Honest Abe into the room to give her a worthy opponent for impossible commitment to the role.
So before you cast your own ballots, whether official or un, really consider the work that's out there. Sometimes Oscar buzz is just so much noise. Shut out the noise. Vote for the best even if they're under the radar. Vote for the best even if the character is off their rocker. Charlotte Bless, people. Charlotte Bless.