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« Naomi's Turn: Exploring Her Role on "Gypsy" | Main | Review: "The Little Hours" »
Monday
Jul032017

C O N S I D E R - Actresses of 2017, 2nd Qtr

With the year's second quarter over, here's a listicle of noteworthy performances we'll eventually compare to what's to come. These are my personal favorites from screenings and releases from April 1st through June 30th (if the film hasn't opened in theaters yet, it's marked with an asterisk). Herewith the 17 best from the year's second quarter, divvied up into three categories. (If you'd like to group them with the women from the first quarter, that list is here). Did these actresses speak to you with their turns?

Disclaimer: Key actress-focused films I missed that I'll have to catch up with later were Beatriz at Dinner, Manifesto, A Quiet Passion and Rough Night. If you've seen them give their MVPs a shout-out.

6 LEADING ACTRESSES

 

Gal Gadot as "Diana" in Wonder Woman

Nicole Kidman as "Miss Martha" in The Beguiled...
I remain confused that Sofia Coppola pulled so much of Martha's big queasy psychosexual scenes from her adaptation as discussed on the podcast but there's something ickily suggestive about Kidman's line readings here that do the work of pulling some of that back in. 

Noa Koler as "Michal" in The Wedding Plan

Zuzana Krónerová as "Hana" in Ice Mother*

Amy Ryan as "Tracy" in Abundant Acreage Available*

Debra Winger as "Mary" in The Lovers

 

8 ACTRESSES IN SUPPORTING ROLES

Nadia Alexander as "Melissa" in Blame*
This was a toss up from the mean girls of this high school drama, so I'll go with Tribeca Film Festival's jury Actress award which went to this damaged hostile queen bee.

 

Elena Anaya as "Doctor Poison" in Wonder Woman

Kirsten Dunst as "Edwina" in The Beguiled

Jessica Grabowsky as "Kaija" in Tom of Finland*
Grabowsky adds some crucial friction to this biopic as the unimpressed yet envious sister to Tom, who is also an illustrator.

Holliday Grainger as "Louise" in My Cousin Rachel

Holly Hunter as "Beth" in The Big Sick
The winner of "Most Likely To... Be Oscar Nominated" from the first half of the year. Crossing our fingers because that puts her in the Diane Keaton realm of an Oscar nominated year in each decade of her career: 87, 93, 03, (and... 17? Maybe? Please?)

Sienna Miller as "Nina Fawcett" in The Lost City of Z

Melora Walters as "Lucy" in The Lovers


3 ACTRESSES IN LIMITED OR CAMEO ROLES

image is not from "The Big Sick"

Vella Lovell as "Khadija" in The Big Sick
It's wonderful to see her on the big screen so soon after her terrific supporting work on Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and with a much different character, too.


Robin Wright as "Antiope" in Wonder Woman
A triumph of casting, really, with another Princess becoming General

image is not from "Sweet Virginia"

Odessa Young as "Maggie" in Sweet Virginia*

 

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Reader Comments (37)

Julia Roberts has also been nominated in every decade of her career!
Is it possible for Kirsten Dunst to finally get Oscar recognition for The Beguiled?
Odessa Young is such a bright new talent. Not to mention she won last year's AACTA Best Actress for The Daughter.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

I thought Nicole was really sensational in The Beguiled, and I'm not even that big of a fan. Maybe my favorite performance of hers since Birth.

I did not pay any attention to The Wedding Plan but now I want to see it.

Did you see Beatriz at Dinner or Maudie? I have not seen either, but am curious about them.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Oh, I see now you said you didn't see Beatriz at Dinner...

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

YAY for Amy Ryan. It's why I like TFE, terrific performances in minuscule films like hers get shout outs.


Surprised at the exclusion of Rachel Weisz but props on the Grainger mention. She does do good work from the sidelines.

Also find it interesting that you feel Hunter has a better chance at a nod than Dunst in the Beguiled (Dunst had MVP raves, no?). I wouldn't expect the big sick to be an oscar film but I've yet to see it - and if she's deserving I hope she gets in!

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

Maybe I'm alone, but I don't really understand why anyone would expect Sofia to keep the incest plot line in her film? It all comes down to how one reads the portrayal of that character I guess, but I personally think its use in the original film is to meant to further show how sexually twisted the headmistress is, basically another form of criticism in addition to making her seem jealous and petty, and Sofia is literally running in the opposite direction of Sigel's intentions (he's on record stating that the intention of his film is to show how wicked and fucked up women are, or something along those lines).

So if you enjoyed that aspect and were actually expecting it to be left in, then I understand the disappointment, I suppose, since Nicole would've sold it. But if anything, the exclusion of the slave character is more surprising than her not including a plot line that sort of invites ijudgement. But whatevs.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Kidman is so bland in this role. There was not one second in which I was not begging for Page to retake the role from hereafter.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

So many great female performances this year:

Sally Hawkins - Maudie
Kristen Stewart - Personal Shopper
Cynthia Nixon - A Quiet Passion
Salma Hayek - Beatriz at Dinner
Rachel Weisz - Rachel at Dinner
Anne Hathaway - Colossal

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Thank you for shouting out Elena Anaya. She is just great. I hope she appears in the sequel. There's a reason they specifically kept her around at the end right?

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Sandra Oh in Catfight. Brought the funny and the pain. But Salma Hayek was the best lead actress performance so far this year.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan.

Great shout-out for Melora Walters. Her heartbreaking last scene in Magnolia is such a perfect Deleuzean time-image example. And truly truly affecting. Can't wait to see her (and Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) in The Lover.

Agree that Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion is mesmerising in an understatedly effective way. Also both Isabelle Huppert and Fantine Harduin in Happy End were memorable but people did not quite warm up to that film. Excited to see Kirsten Dunst in The Beguiled -- I have not seen the film but many reviews singled her performance from a roster of talented women in that film. Not sure if this counts but Fan Bingbing was amazing in I Am Not Madame Bovary even if the film can be an acquired taste stylistically and narratively. And also looking out for Sally Hawkins in Maudie.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Missing Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett from Song to Song.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Dunst more than Hunter seems the most likely Oscar nominee.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

For me, the best actress race so far from what I've seen comes down to either Nicole Kidman for The Beguiled and Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman while Kirsten Dunst deserves some recognition as Best Supporting Actress for The Beguiled as does Robin Wright for Wonder Woman.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I know this will not be popular on THIS site.
For me Kidman did her Stoney walk through performance.
And I do know what nuanced is. Not here.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

Debra Winger and Holly Hunter! I'm usually not that invested in the actress races but those two are long time favorites of mine.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGena

Talking about Best Actress in a Limited or Cameo Role, when are you please, please, please, going to complete the FilmBitch Awards for las year, Nat?

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

People, wake up. Nicole Kidman will not be nominated for Beguiled. The only person receiving critical acclaim for this B movie is Kirsten Dunst.

I would love it if if Gal Gadot was nominated but I am not holding my breath. The top 5 tend to be films released in fall.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterFaye Dunaway

Cynthia Nixon is everything.

Also, Coppola may fetishize the women's depravity, but it's still depravity. I have not seen the original film but the castrating woman trope is prominent in hers.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

the critics really like Blanchett in Manifesto

It made $120,000 in 10 theaters. Are they expanding it?

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

It's starting to seem like my dream I had a week or two ago about Kirsten Dunst being nominated at the Globes for this movie isn't so far-fetched after all.

I've heard some chatter that's literally a quiet whisper, but the kind of "long, respected career; it's time to recognize" industry talk that can lead to nominations. I totally see her getting in like Jennifer Jason Leigh a couple years ago--the kind of "we don't love this movie, but we thought you'd be nominated by now, and it worked out this year, so here ya go" nomination. lol

I hope so. She's been my fav since I was a kid.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Maybe I'm in the minority here but I really don't see anything compelling in Nicole's performance in The Beguiled. Yes, generally serviceable but certainly not award-worthy. Much prefer Kirsten's.

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJans

"Most effectively, though — and largely thanks to Ms. Kidman’s regal, witty performance — it’s a comedy, a country-house farce about the problems caused by an inconvenient guest."
- New York Times

"It has been a good year for Nicole Kidman, with her work in TV’s “Big Little Lies” and four films (including this one) at May’s Cannes Film Festival. She has become a commanding screen presence while seeming to become more gentle and intuitive; this movie takes its rhythms from hers."
- The Boston Globe


"Not to be counted out is Miss Martha, whose stern sense of propriety is undergirded with glimmers of warmth and mischief in Kidman’s delicious performance. The movie’s most memorable scene finds her bathing McBurney as he sleeps, her scrubbing motions becoming vaguer and more hesitant the further south she goes."
- Los Angeles Times


"Nicole Kidman, in a performance pitched deftly between ice and fire"
- Time Magazine


"Just as formidable is Kidman, who plays Martha as a woman who perhaps grasps that her world of genteel privilege is fading away, a realisation that infuses everything she does with bittersweet resignation. But Martha is no shrinking violet: she’ll respond to McBurney’s eventual provocation with steely resolve, suddenly making us question who truly has the upper-hand in this power struggle."
- Screen Daily


"It’s the kind of mood that brings out the best in Kidman, whose performance is deliciously subtle, but with a lemony edge of camp that allows her to twist an entire scene with the arch of an eyebrow or parting of her lips. "
- The Telegraph


"There is tremendous entertainment value in the dinners and musical evenings that the women lay on for their guest. Nicole Kidman’s delivery of the line: “Would you cay-uh for a digestif, corporal?” is one of the most purely enjoyable things at this year’s Cannes."
- The Guardian


"As an ensemble effort, “The Beguiled” is often sublime, with Kidman, Dunst and Fanning offering a formidable take on the three Graces, and Farrell beholding them like a startled woodland creature they’ve just snared. "
- The Washington Post


"Kidman and Farrell engage in a mesmerizing duel of wits."
- Rolling Stone


No critical acclaim?? Come again, Faye Dunaway??

July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJujubee

You picked wisely. Many other reviews do not mention her at all. Look on Rotten Tomatoes
and see the public reviews of the movie.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

Anne Hathaway in Collossal.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

To be completely honest, no one should give a flying fuck about wether Kidman gets awards recognition for The Beguiled. It is a really fun performance to watch. Delicate and rich and delicious. The fortunate of us who fell under its spell are in for a world of delight. The more cynical and closed off can find their delight somewhere else.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

I didn't find out until after seeing the Coppola BEGUILED about the incest plot in the original. Damn, that adds a whole 'nother layer to Kidman's performance, especially her line about having had someone before the war. You know she was thinking about it, even if it was pulled from the script.

Anyway, she's quite good, as is Kirsten Dunst.

I def think Holly Hunter has a shot at an Oscar nod for THE BIG SICK.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

natalie,

Sorry, but do not ever tell me to "look at Rotten Tomatoes" as if it means something. Mention Metacritic or Cahiers du Cinema, then we can talk. if I'm going to judge whether a performance or film is liked by those that matter, I'm going to look on, say, Metacritic, not your basic garden variety critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes allows basically anyone with a pulse and a keyboard to post reviews. It's ultimately useless if you want to use that site for a true barometer on what established critics think of something. Thus I posted what some of our most important and established critical publications thought of the performance. IF you wanna call that "choosing wisely" then, cool. You can post whatever Fred Topel from We Live Entertainment thinks if you think he carries the same weight as the selections I posted above. FD also said that she had received NO critical acclaim, which is categorically untrue. So, bye. Troll somewhere else.

And I also don't particularly care about general audience reaction to a Sofia Coppola film of all things. Like, lmao. No offense, but of course your general audience member who only goes to the cinema for event tentpoles in central Kansas is not going to be here for that film. You might as well bring in Cinemascore into this as if it means anything for a film like this. This isn't a summer blockbuster that cost 100 million and was made to play to the rafters and thus doesn't really mean a goddamn thing. Sorry 'bout it. Try again.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJujubee

@jujubee

I saw the movie myself.

The rest of your "essay". I say SNOB.

I love movies. I do not dissect them

I may.be on the
Wrong site!!!

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

I feel extremely agitated by jujubee's raision d'etre.
I had no intention of saying this. My mom was an actress and I grew up in the
Hollywood world. I find you detrimental to the world of movies.

July 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

I was a bit surprised by the casting of Robin Wright and Elena Anaya in "Wonder Woman"... and I think they eclipse Gaddot and Pine and everyone else, whenever they're on screen...

The obvious main reason for Anaya's casting might be her experience in playing a tortured, masked character in the excellent "The Skin I live in", and I don't rule out her buzz may increase in awards season, if "Wonder Woman" is heavily pushed and remembered... I don't think "Wonder Woman" should be nominated for anything beyond Production Design and Costume, but I agree there's potential for scoring multiple noms (including Picture) if marketed wisely. A longshot at Picture, Director - they're eager to nominate another woman, and Jenkins fits the bill nicely - , Actress, Supp. Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects and Make Up are all in the longshot status (some in the extreme longshot) but if we saw "A Beautiful Mind" nominated for "Best Make Up", I'm open to any surprise.

July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

You HAVE to see Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion before doing any top 5 list !!!!

July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

natalie,

That's all fine, boo. You seem kinda upset at the very prospect of critical evaluation of films in general if your answer is that you simply "love movies" but don't "dissect them" (even though you used Rotten Tomatoes as an attempt to bring down The Beguiled/Kidman's performance lmao) and if you have a problem with discussing films or performances in depth yourself outside of simple sentences attempting to tear them down, maybe you (and so many others who appear to have inundated the comment sections here lately) are on the wrong site? I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. I know the Imdb boards are closed now, otherwise I'd happily suggest that as a good outlet for you! Congrats on "getting" Hollywood more than me, I guess?

And I agree with those re: A Quiet Passion. Cynthia Nixon is immense! Where is her Oscah nom?!

July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJujubee

SNOB. @jujubee

July 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

Sorry for the break in my last comment.
Something you need to realize s that Hollywoo

July 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

Sorry for the break in my last comment.
Something you need to realize is that Hollywood is big business. The critics you seem to put on a pedestal are "paid off" to give GOOD reviews. That is why I suggested Rotten Tomatoes because they are the less important critics and are the people in everyday life who enjoy movies and can grab a quick glance at ratings. Most do not even look at that site.
I could go on forever but neither of us will change our minds.By the way, I did not attack Kidman's performance....although I did not think it was anything special.

July 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenternatalie

natalie -- speaking from the world of criticism I can assure you that people are not paid off to write good reviews. It's not a well paying profession though the large sites quoted pay better than most publications. I know hundreds of critics and it's a common joke to brag sarcastically about the vacation home you bought with your rave review for x... because of this weird nonsensical online notion that studios pay critics.

Critics make the exact same amount of money whether they're writing a negative or positive review, and it's a flat fee determined by that publication or a $ per word price for print sometimes. The only money studios spend when it comes to critics and film reporters are the cost of holding all the pre-release screenings and sometimes junkets or events where you might get a glass of wine or something before you see a movie or interview a star. And at the end of the year of course minor swag like books and posters and tshirts when they're trying to win awards.

July 9, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am baffled that people are speaking so favorably here about Nixon's off-key take on Dickinson. Surely some of the blame for this flop belongs to the writer and director, but I could only cringe at her shallow and tone-deaf readings of these astounding poems. What a shame.

July 12, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlmodaneke

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