Helen Hunt


The Supporting Actress category appears to be locked. It’s Anne Hathaway‘s to lose.  Part of it is who she is right now in the industry, who she is to the Academy itself, but the other part of it is her work in Les Miserables.  For some reason Hathaway has become the object of scorn – maybe because she’s “too smart” at the mic, taking out time from her speech to celebrate veteran Sally Field, being a little too verbose, perhaps, saying a little too much.  But to me, those are the dumbest reasons imaginable for a person not to win an award.  It’s as if the whole world has turned into high school bullies and we’re all acting like it’s okay.  It’s most definitely not okay, not in any way.  Either she gave the best performance of her career or she didn’t.  It should only come down to that.

So the critics had fun poking at her performance and the way Tom Hooper shot her performance – all in close-up.  And it’s probably a big deal that he mom played the part, and Hathaway lost weight to play the part and even shorn her lovely locks so that now she must do awards season without them.  But to me, there is no denying what Hathaway’s performance does to you when you’re sitting right there in front of her.  To me, Hooper’s vision of what he wanted to do with Les Mis is wrapped up entirely in Hathaway’s performance.  It’s melodramatic, brutal, tears-inducing.  But it is also one of the only performances in the film that knows it’s in a film.  That means, Hathaway translated her performance outward, which none of the others — save perhaps Hugh Jackman — do.

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Helen Hunt seems to be doing a variation on her character in As Good as it Gets, which means Oscar will be all over it. They love nothing more than a kind, semi-downtrodden woman who is sexually free. It’s like their favorite female meme. The other meme they like? Characters with disabilities. Even as presumed Oscar bait, it still looks pretty good — these actors are so good. Nominations seem like a sure bet. Lead for Hawkes, Supporting for Hunt.

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