the 2011 nominees for best supporting actress: helena bonham carter, melissa leo, jacki weaver, hailee steinfeld and amy adams)
"Winter's Bone" is, by far, our favorite movie of the year, and we'd love to see it win for Best Picture, but it's way too depressing and gritty for most people's tastes, so we'll just have to live with the satisfaction that it got a nomination.
(jacki weaver and joel edgerton)
Another nominated movie, "Animal Kingdom", intrigued us because we hadn't heard anything about it, and had never heard of its star, Australian actress Jacki Weaver. It's the story of a family of criminals who go to extraordinary lengths to protect their way of life, and without giving anything away, we'll just say that Miss Weaver plays "the mother of all mothers from hell". She's only in a few scenes, but the ones that she's in are frightening. And then, late in the movie comes her "Oscar scene". Ever since Beatrice Straight won an Oscar for one, single harrowing scene, we've become accustomed to watching for that one scene in a movie which elevates an actor's performance from "cast member" to "Oscar nominee". For much of "Animal Kingdom", we kept scratching our heads, wondering how Jacki Weaver scored a nomination, and then came the "scene". And that scene is epic. Again, we won't give away what happens, but let's just say we wouldn't want to meet this woman in a dark alley somewhere. Jesus!
"Animal Kingdom" also features Guy Pearce in an understated, but great performance. We don't see nearly enough of this underrated actor; we really wish he'd work more. The actor who really got our attention, though, was Joel Edgerton. We'd never seen this guy before, but when they talk about an actor having "it", no one ever knows what "it" is, but Edgerton definitely has it. He's got so much charisma, he's one of those actors that you can't take your eyes from. He demands that you stare at him and watch his every move. A couple of years ago he played "Stanley" in "A Streetcar Named Desire", which is appropriate, because Edgerton has that animal magnetism thing nailed down tight. Next up for Edgerton is another testosterone-laden family story, "Warrior", with another fast rising sex symbol, Tom Hardy.