1. One shines above the rest from this year’s offerings and she isn’t even human. 2008’s badass Eve spends her time saving the future of humanity and falling in love. She is so cool, holding her must feel like an Ipod Touch – sleek and perfect. She is the ultimate gadget but she’s also the hero of Wall-E. How many films in any year feature a true female kicking ass and taking names? Usually the women are dressed up in a sexy outfit, do a few high kicks before the male comes in and finishes the job. Eve mostly does it all, while Wall-E is in the place the female usually occupies — an inspirational force, a hopeless romantic, the beating heart of the story. Eve is number one.
2. Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) in Frozen River –any mother who has ever written a bounced check to buy groceries or counted out the pennies to buy some milk will recognize a little of themselves in Ray. It’s not often that the movies gets that kind of desperation this right. Much of it is Leo and her willingness to go deep, but a lot of it is due to writer Courtney Hunt’s insight. Cassidy is hardly perfect; so often single moms are written as saints. They aren’t afforded faults because one whiff of one and the character is neglectful. She does her best and makes it work. We look at her not just as single mom, though. We see her as a whole human being, one of the few in the awards race this year.