Previously at the Halfway Mark:
• 5 Favorite Pictures and imaginary Oscar scenario
• 11 Costume Design Honors from couture to the puritanical with swimwear on the side
• Cinematography & Production Design Sunset Song, etc...
• Heroes & Villains from Deadpool to Shere Khan
• 23 Male Actor Honorees in 5 categories
Cue fireworks. It's the grand finale. Our brief Halfway Mark Review honoring the best of the 50+ movies we've seen that have been released between January 1st and June 30th, is now at its end. But don't worry. The listing impulse fully never goes away and there's more excitement soon as we'll start updating the Oscar charts tomorrow. Naturally we're ending with BEST ACTRESS if five categories -- the same categories we previously did for the men.
If I had a ballot (hey, I do... albeit not an AMPAS ballot) here's what I'd honor from the year thus far -- January through June releases only though I've seen some July & August titles. [Disclaimer: The most noticeably actress-led film I haven't yet seen this year is The Meddler so please dont read anything into the absence of Susan Sarandon.]
Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Sally Field as "Doris" in Hello My Name is Doris
Doris is a CHARACTER but Sally never fails to humanize her written eccentricities making sure that she's the endearing source of the laughter rather than its target.
- Tilda Swinton as "Marianne Lane" in A Bigger Splash
The "vocal rest" was her idea -- imagine an actor purposefully losing all their lines! -- and the result is you see Tilda's face and body alone capturing and reflecting the drama and auteurist impulses
- Anya Taylor-Joy as "Thomasin" in The VVitch
That angelic face is sensually attentive and her behavior innocent but mischievious. So many possible Masters (God, Lucifer, Herself, General Teen Hormones, and Restlessness)
- Rachel Weisz as "Short Sighted Woman" The Lobster
What a tricky tone to master, but she's in control. Her voiceover is beautifully at odds with her meekly submissive than overtly romantic screen self
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as "Michelle" in 10 Cloverfield Lane
Sells shifting (dis)belief in this strange new reality while doing right by primal horror. Nails the only real in-script details about this character -- whip-smart instincts and a "Flight or Flight" response
Choices in 4 more categories after the jump...