Sally Field

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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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EW’s Owen Gleiberman says Speilberg’s Lincoln, scripted by Tony Kushner, “is one of the most authentic biographical dramas I’ve ever seen.”

As the title character of Steven Spielberg’s solemnly transfixing Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis is tall and elegantly stooped, with thatchy gray-black hair, sunken cheeks, and a grin that tugs at the corners of his mouth whenever he tries to win someone over by telling them a good story (which is often). Day-Lewis looks so much like the photographs of Abraham Lincoln that you don’t have to squint, even a bit, to buy that it’s him. He nails Lincoln’s thousand-yard stare — a gaze directed at once inward (at the whir of his own mental machinery) and outward (at the cosmic hum of history). Day-Lewis’ performance has a beautiful gravitas, yet there’s nothing too severe about it. He gives Lincoln a surprisingly plainspoken, reedy high voice that retains the courtly cadences of the South. That voice — from everything we know, it’s quite accurate — makes Lincoln sound like Will Rogers as a professor of human nature. This Lincoln lives deep inside his own unruly-haired head, yet he loves the people around him, even the ignorant (and racist) common folk, who repay the favor by loving him back. And that’s where he draws his political force.

Lincoln, which Spielberg has directed from a lyrical, ingeniously structured screenplay by Tony Kushner, plugs us into the final months of Lincoln’s presidency with a purity that makes us feel transported as though by time machine. (Kushner is the husband of EW columnist Mark Harris.)

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