The Oscar for actress in a leading role is without doubt the strongest category this year, and it would be nice to finally see the overdue (yes, I know she’s 30) Michelle win!
Annette Bening and Natalie Portman may be the front-runners for the Academy Award, but I think that Michelle Williams is a beyond-worthy dark horse in the Best Actress race. Actually, she shouldn’t even be a dark horse; she should be the main contender. Not only does she have one Oscar nom in her belt (a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Brokeback Mountatin), but her raw performance in Blue Valentine showed that Michelle is a leading lady of the 21st century — and is not just one of the greatest actors her generation, but one of the greatest actors ever.
Very often do awards come down to who can cry the hardest, and who seem the most pained or give the most sensational performance. Michelle outright refuses to give performances this simple or, quite basically, easy. In the penultimate scene of Valentine,when Michelle finally has her emotional breakdown, she does not deliver her performance as an actor who has the tricks in her bag to weep grandiosely or go appropriately over-the-top, rather, she delivers it as a young mother who has been holding it in forever. She is her character.
Too often, or rather always, Michelle’s performances achieve an almost documentary-like feel. Others may rely on accents or physical transformations, but with Michelle these tricks are not necessary. Whereas others would need pages of dialogue to convey a point, Michelle can deliver more feeling in the way she chooses to crinkle her nose or raise her lips than most every other actor.
She is in esteemed company this year, with Jennifer Lawrence‘s tough-as-nails performance in Winter’s Bone and Nicole Kidman‘s amazing encapsulation of bereavement in Rabbit Hole, but she always seems beyond all her peers in her abilities.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see this deserving lady walk away with an Oscar even though—and we all know this—the fact that she has no desire to win awards is what makes her the phenomenal actor she is.