Scott, To Be Certain


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Swank 2 Winslet 0

In these polarising, unstable times, you can count on S2BC to shine a spotlight on the important issues.

That Kate Winslet is still without an Oscar is one of those issues.

It's hard to believe that not one of these stunning, unforgettable character creations has been recognised by the Academy:

Clockwise from top left:
'Juliet Hulme' in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (1994)
'Marianne Dashwood' in Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility (1995)
'Iris Murdoch' in Richard Eyre's Iris (2001)
'Clementine Kruczynski' in Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine... (2004)
'Sarah Pierce' in Todd Field's Little Children (2006)
'Rose DeWitt Bukater' in James Cameron's Titanic (1997)
'Maddy Leclerc' in Philip Kaufman's Quills (2000)
'Ruth Barron' in Jane Campion's Holy Smoke! (1997)

Kate's first starring role was in 1994 in Peter Jackson's harrowing film based on true events, Heavenly Creatures. It was a star-making performance, full of such impressive actorly skill and control that within a year she was snapped up for the lavish period production Sense & Sensibility, holding her own alongside Emma Thompson and earning her 1st Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. To date, it is probably the closest she's ever been to Oscar, winning the lead-up SAG but eventually losing out at the Oscars to Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite. (And hasn't Mira's career just kicked on fabulously after that win.)

Kate's first true attempt at mastering the American accent for the big screen was her effervescent performance in Titanic, for which she earnt her 2nd Oscar nomination and 1st for best actress. She lost out to the dreadful Helen Cunt Hunt for As Good As It Gets in a result that will forever embarrass Hollywood: Hunt was the only American woman nominated that year and owed her victory entirely, it appeared, to parochial voters. (Dame Judi Dench was the biggest loser, having delivered by far the best performance in Her Majesty, Mrs Brown. So immediately embarrassed was the Academy that they felt it necessary to award Dame Judi's undeserving 8-minute Shakespeare in Love performance in a fit of guilt the following year.)

The success of Titanic made Kate one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, but she's an actor's actor and it was unsurprising that her next big gig was a low-budget vehicle for a true film-making auteur: Jane Campion's Holy Smoke!. Kate added a perfect Australian accent to her repertoire in the role of Ruth, a girl who has a spiritual awakening while travelling through India. It was a tour-de-force performance worthy of an Oscar, but no-one noticed, despite (or perhaps because of) Harvey Keitel flopping his cock out yet again.

More period fare followed in Quills (opposite Geoffrey Rush's hammy Marquis de Sade) and Iris, the latter of which earned Kate her 3rd Oscar nomination as best supporting actress. She played the young Iris Murdoch, the famous author who developed Alzheimer's disease in later life. Kate lost the Oscar that year (2001) to A Beautiful Mind's Jennifer Connelly (whose onscreen husband Kate would later attempt to steal as revenge in this year's Little Children).

Kate's 4th Oscar nomination came in 2004 for her best performance to date in the complex, heart-breaking Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was such a charismatic, energetic and insane performance imbued at times with such tenderness that Clementine remains perhaps Kate's most memorable and fully realised creation. She lost that year to Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.


In the context of Kate's consistently brilliant filmography, it is difficult to swallow that this piece of white trash has somehow managed to claim 2 Oscars.

Now, I won't begrudge Hilary her 1999 Oscar for Boys Don't Cry: although I maintain that Kate should have been nominated for Holy Smoke! that year, Swank was deserving in her absence. But for her to win a second time just 5 years later for playing someone from a trailer park AGAIN - come on, it really is not much of an acting challenge for her - is just shithouse form on the part of the Academy.

Unfortunately, Kate's drought is going to continue - she will lose a 5th consecutive time on February 26th. (Fortunately, she will be losing to a worthy winner this time: Ilyena Vasilievna Mirinova, aka Dame Helen Mirren.)

A win for Kate can't be far off - surely?

Click here to read my 3rd instalment in a series of articles for the BBC on the Oscars, in which I seize an opportunity to carry my anti-Hilary message to a wider audience.

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  • At 8:54 AM, February 19, 2007, Anonymous FranklinBluth said…

    She's just amazing isn't she. Eternal Sunshine was such a brilliant film, and she certainly shone in the part of Clementine.
    Did you see 'the holiday'? The storyline followed by Kate's character carried the entire film, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz were total SHITE, but Kate was wonderful. It really says something of an actress when they can be surrounded by such crap and still come up smelling like roses.

  • At 9:09 AM, February 19, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    I've heard that about The Holiday, but I've still steered clear of it. It looks like an ideal 'plane movie'!

    Another Kate film I've never seen is Finding Neverland - that film just looks like a wet, soppy mess. Needless to say I've also avoided Miss Potter on this basis.

  • At 1:27 PM, February 19, 2007, Blogger Jess said…

    Good lord, I wish I was watching the Oscars with you!


  • At 10:15 PM, February 19, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    That can be arranged young Jess!

  • At 4:00 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger comicstriphero said…

    One of the funniest TV moments in recent history (for me, anyway) was the Winslett ep of Extras and in particular her references to her un-oscared status.

  • At 6:59 PM, February 20, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Yes - Winslet can self-deprecate with the best of 'em. That episode is priceless!

  • At 12:05 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger lisa said…

    that episode of 'Extras' is hilarious.

    i personally think Gwyneth winning at all was far worse than the horse winning a second time.


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