Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race. We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks. And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS, HFPA, SAG, Critics Group voter, take note! Here's Margaret on Gone Girl.
David Fincher's Gone Girl has been praised, and deservedly so, for excellence in casting its leads. Certainly Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck are immensely successful in their chilling game of spousal one-upmanship, both turning in career-best performances. But looking a little further down the call sheet, some of the best work is being done by arguably the least known in the cast. Carrie Coon, Chicago-based stage actress and recent Tony nominee (for playing Honey in the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), made her film debut in Gone Girl, but blends in so seamlessly you'd never guess.
Carrie Coon plays Margo Dunne, twin sister of Ben Affleck's Nick. Frank, wry, and loyal to a fault, she quickly becomes the heart of the movie as the central couple reveal themselves to be less and less reliable. Margo functions effectively as an audience stand-in, but she's much more than that. Coon's lived-in, effortless rapport with Affleck creates a believable and affectionate sibling relationship that emphasizes the ambiguity, and keeps Nick from being too easy a villain. Her pointed observations and bluntness are a steady source of humor, welcome in Fincher's grim universe, and essential in keeping the movie from tipping too far into the unpleasant. Not even the source novel's pickiest devotees could find anything wanting in her performance. She's perfect.
Carrie Coon's Margo Dunne has neither the narrative heft of near co-leads like Rene Russo in Nightcrawler or Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year, nor the scene-grabbing outre of Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer, but her contributions to Gone Girl are no less potent. She makes everyone with whom she shares a scene better, and she makes the movie as a whole better; it's a true supporting performance.