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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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FYC: Ruth Wilson for Best Lead Actress, Drama

Each member of Team Experience was asked to celebrate a dream pick for the Emmys. Here's Jose...

At first, Ruth Wilson’s Alison Bailey in The Affair seems to be the kind of person you'd never really notice. And yet for some strange reason we, like the male lead (played by Dominic West) are immediately drawn to her, perhaps because of how she seems careless and worried at the same time, or perhaps because of her effortless beauty which she seems to carry with shame, as if she’s concealing something. Whatever the reason, Alison owes her appeal to the magic of Wilson who in less than a year had a two-punch breakout success with this show (for which she won the Golden Globe) and her Tony nominated Broadway turn in Constellations.

Wilson is a two time Olivier Award winner so her breathtaking ease onstage was no surprise to people who knew her work in the West End, audiences on our side of the pond however were given the opportunity to discover a fresh new face that Hollywood had been using for silly or underchallenging supporting roles in films like The Lone Ranger and Saving Mr Banks. What remains most surprising about Wilson is that without any physical transformation she makes you truly believe she is the two very different women she's playing in The Affair and Constellations.

The same is true even within The Affair, which often repeats events from two sides (a "he said/she said" kind of thing) so Wilson has to approach each scene in a two different ways. When the events are seen through Alison's perspective they carry an aura of both helplessness and tenacity in the face of adversity, but those same moments seen through the eys of her lover, sometimes practically turn her into a femme fatale.

Whichever version of events you believe, trust this: We are only starting to discover what Wilson can do.

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Reader Comments (5)

She was a powerhouse on Luther. Happy to see her doing great. Very talented.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

100% endorse! There's something about Ruth's screen presence that feels sui generis. We haven't seen anyone quite like her before. She plays her characters as if they hold multiple secrets (the way some people keep hidden stashes of money all over the house). The closest I can link her to is Blanchett, who similarly always seems tough even when most wounded. Both actresses have a bit of camp about them, too. (Did you catch the nearly unrecognizable Ruth in "Anna Karenina"?) I hope her momentum keeps building -- I want much more actressing!

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I haven't watched The Affair, but I enjoyed her work in Luther. She reminds me of Emma Stone's sinister stepmom.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

I adored her Anna Karenina.

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I predict a long career for her. I agree with SanFran that there's something about her persona that is all at once vague, withholding, troubled, creepy, sexy, fragile, clever, and yes, dangerous, but I like it!

June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

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