Thursday, 24 April 2014

On the fear that Amy Adams will become the female Leonardo DiCaprio

Read the comments under Cate Blanchett's Oscar acceptance speech video and you'll find a bunch of angry fans of Amy Adams.
This year at the Oscars Amy Adams got a Best actress nomination for "American hustle" and lost out to Cate Blanchett for her performance in "Blue Jasmine". Previously, she had had 4 nominations for Best supporting actress: in "Junebug" (lost to Rachel Weisz in "The constant gardener"), in "Doubt" (lost to Penelope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), in "The fighter" (lost to Melissa Leo in the same film) and in "The master" (lost to Anne Hathaway in "Les misérables").
The fans complain about her having been nominated 5 times and never won, and fear that she'll be the female Leonardo DiCaprio.
Before continuing, I should note that I do like Amy Adams, and find her the best thing in "American hustle", better than Christian Bale, who in this film has a pale, unremarkable performance, better than the overrated Jennifer Lawrence and the always-the-same Bradley Cooper and better than the film itself. Her Sydney has all that is required: sauciness, confidence, manipulation, emotional depth and a drive for survival. She lets us see the tragedy behind the character, the vulnerability underneath that mask of confidence and total control, though sometimes makes us wonder whether she's sincere or using people for some plan. Jennifer Lawrence's character should be the more interesting part, the driving force, but Amy Adams becomes the emotional centre of the film. 
However, the idea that she could defeat Cate Blanchett or that she deserved the Oscar more, is absurd. I say this not because I'm a fan of Cate. Daniel Day-Lewis was great in "Gangs of New York" and Adrien Brody's career has gone downhill since his win, but Adrien Brody's performance in "The pianist" has greater emotional depth and therefore deserves the award. Last year Daniel won for "Lincoln" and I'm glad he did, but if the Oscar had gone to Joaquin Phoenix instead, I would have accepted it calmly, without spite, since Joaquin Phoenix's phenomenal in "The master". I think Meryl Streep's performance in "Doubt" is excellent, though not more remarkable than her previous ones for she's always excellent, is much greater than Kate Winslet's performance in "The reader"- a lovely actress who was miscast and unable to go beyond the miscasting, but if I find it sad that Meryl didn't win for the heartbreaking film "A cry in the dark", I can't disagree with the Academy's decision to award Jodie Foster, who was unforgettable in "The accused". Which is to say, my admiration for Cate has nothing to do with my judgment. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Jasmine is 1 of those flawless, outstanding, jaw-dropping, phenomenal portrayals of very complex, multifaceted and deep characters, performances which can't be topped and which definitely win. Such performances are not common- 1st it depends on the writer to create such a character, then the rest is done by the actor. Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver linings playbook" isn't. Sandra Bullock in "The blind side" isn't. Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the line" isn't. Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in love" isn't. Frances McDormand in "Fargo" isn't. Jodie Foster in "The silence of the lambs" isn't. I don't mean that they don't deserve their Oscars- what I mean is that there are some performances that must win, because the idea that they don't is unthinkable, unimaginable, incomprehensible, and the ones mentioned aren't like that- in another year they might not have won. The performances I consider phenomenal can be such as Marion Cotillard in "La vie en rose", Hilary Swank in "Million dollars baby", Meryl Streep in "Sophie's choice", Vivien Leigh in "A streetcar named Desire" and "Gone with the wind"... and now Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine". 
To go back to Amy Adams, I have no comment on the 1st nomination, as I haven't watched "Junebug" and "The constant gardener". In "Doubt", her character doesn't give her (or anybody) a chance to shine and she's overshadowed by Viola Davis (nominated in the same category), Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In "The fighter", Christian Bale and Melissa Leo take turns to steal the show, pushing everyone else to the background. In "The master", next to the wonderful Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, she manages to create a strong and deep impression on me, with her sweet, calm voice and piercing, lunatic eyes, which another person might not have done, but Anne Hathaway's heartbreaking in "Les misérables".
I don't know what her fans have to complain about.

As someone who does like Amy Adams, I hope she gets truly fascinating roles (unlike that one in "Doubt") and some luck (unlike the way Hugh Jackman and Joaquin Phoenix, whom I both like, got a role of a lifetime and were nominated the same year with Daniel Day-Lewis). But angry because she got 5 nominations and never won? That's absurd.

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