I won’t belabor the introductions to these acting awards, I think most people are familiar with what a supporting actress is and what reasons they tend to get chosen after all. I will note however that I find it interesting that both here and with the various awards bodies this is the award that’s least mired in biopicitus this year. Most of the people being honored in this particular acting award are being honored for creating characters from scratch.
- Patricia Arquette- Boyhood: Pretty much all the actors in Boyhood deserve a certain amount of credit simply for being able to function within the crazy means by which the movie was made. However, there is a reason why Arquette in particular seems to have stood out and I think it has a lot to do with the way she expertly prevents the character from being a stereotype. There are so many ways that a single Texas mother could have been one-note but Arquette instills the character with so many ambitions and transitions her through so many changes in life and does it in a way that makes it seem effortless.
- Agata Kulesza- Ida: I can’t say I’d heard of Agata Kulesza before she showed up in Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida, but she seems to be a veteran of Polish cinema and it’s great that she’s finally been given a platform for international audiences to see her talents. Kulesza plays the aunt of the main character, a hard drinking judge who essentially guides this young nun through a journey into her past while being a pretty damaged person herself. The character seems to have had a rough past that isn’t detailed but which seems to have left her with an underlying sadness that she covers up with a sort of world-weary cynicism. That’s a tough performance to layer but Kulesza pulls it off and with a great presence to boot.
- Marion Bailey- Mr. Turner: Mike Leigh seems to have a real knack for creating rich characters out of sweet old ladies. He did it in Secrets and Lies, he did it with Vera Drake, and he does it here too when creating the character of Sophia Booth, Mr. Turner’s twice widowed second lover. Booth lives outside of Turner’s usual social circles and is different from pretty much everyone else in the film. Bailey really brings this character’s sweetness to the forefront and gives you a good idea of why Turner would be attracted to her, but she doesn’t go too far with this and drive the character into caricature.
- Stacy Martin- Nymphomaniac: This year’s winner of the “most impressive debut” award would almost certainly go to Stacy Martin, who hadn’t appeared in a single movie before jumping straight into the deep end of acting by taking a large part in a particularly crazy Lars Von Trier movie. Playing the younger version of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s character, she is onscreen for most of the film’s first volume and is involved in a lot of the film’s sexual material. I’m not just giving her this nomination because it’s a brave entrance into the world of acting though. Martin earns this nomination through her ability to keep a rather crazy movie grounded during some of its wilder portions.
- Melisa Sözen- Winter Sleep: Sometimes a great performance bursts out of the gate at full stride while others sort of creep up on you slowly. In the first hour or so of Winter Sleep Melisa Sözen seems like something of a quiet presence, a younger wife of the main character who certainly has a distinct personality but not a whole lot of places to go beyond the character’s slightly smug veneer. However, as the film goes on and as the character comes out of her shell and the drama really starts playing out she goes to some fairly powerful places.