I was planning on counting down the year’s best performances until I looked at the calendar. The deadline to vote for the SAG Awards is the end of the day today. There is just too little time to write about all of the performances I wanted to write about.
It is with endless amounts of frustration that I can’t write about the great performance of Rooney Mara before the deadline for both the Globes and the SAGs. But here are a few performances that might get forgotten, for SAG voting consideration:
Rooney Mara in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — since I can’t say anything yet — I will have to leave it to David Denby,
“You can’t take your eyes off Rooney Mara as the notorious Lisbeth Salander, in the American movie version of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (opening December 21st). Slender, sheathed in black leather, with short ebony hair standing up in a tuft, her fingers poking out of black woollen gloves as they skitter across a laptop keyboard, Mara (who played Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend at the beginning of “The Social Network”) cuts through scene after scene like a swift, dark blade. Salander is a twenty-four-year-old hacker with many piercings, of herself and of others. She’s both antisocial and intensely sexual—vulnerable and often abused but overequipped to take revenge. She lives in an aura of violence. Salander obviously accounts for a big part of the success of Larsson’s crime novels—both men and women are turned on by her—and Mara makes every scene that she appears in jump. She strips off and climbs right onto Daniel Craig, as Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist who takes Salander on as a partner, and whom she makes her lover. Craig looks a little surprised. In this movie, he is modest, quiet, even rather recessive. It’s Mara’s shot at stardom, and he lets her have it.”
There is so much more to her performance but we’ll have to wait to talk about it.
Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – in one of his least showy yet most fully realized performances to date, Oldman plays George Smiley with his whole body. His face tells the story his words never will. His shoulders, his hands, the way he wears his coat – he’s seen so much. There are brief moments where he lets emotion escape but somehow, though he’s doing anything but chewing scenery, he’s the most compelling character on the screen. Oldman in this film has a gravitational pull — which, in the end, is unexpectedly moving. Like Christopher Plummer, Oldman is way, way, WAY overdue. He’s never even been NOMINATED for an Oscar before. Try that one on for size. Not for Sid and Nancy, not for JFK, not for The Contender – he’s never been acknowledged in lead or supporting. And this year, in a role that is far less extreme than other male performances it might be hard for him to get in. But here’s to hoping actors know good acting when they see it.