I have some health issues, nothing really bad, serious or dangerous, but I have to take a break from the blog just to rest, I'm not able to watch movies at this moment, and write reviews. I think I will probably be back in one week. Thanks for your understanding and support.

                                                          - Cole
as Rachel Cameron in RACHEL, RACHEL (1968)

Rachel, a 35-year-old unmarried schoolteacher who feels as though she's wasted her life. Her best friend, Calla Mackie invites her to attend a religious revival meeting. Here Rachel is swept up in the emotional fervor orchestrated by a guest preacher. It's the first incident which convince Rachel to kick over the traces and express her own needs and emotions. She has a brief sexual liaison and is delighted at the notion that she might have become pregnant. Rachel ends up alone and childless, but still determined to forge a new life. 

"Where I'm going, anything may happen. Nothing may happen. Maybe I'll find a friend. Maybe I'll even marry a middle-aged widower and have children in my time. Most of the chances are against it, but not, I think, quite all. It may be that my children will always be temporary, never to be held. But so are everyone's. I will be afraid, always. I may be lonely, always. What will happen? What will happen?"
                                         - Rachel Cameron

Joanne Woodward received her second Oscar nomination playing Rachel Cameron, a 35-year-old spinster schoolteacher, who feels that her life is meaningless. Haunted by memories of her childhood and her mortician father, Rachel spends each frustrating day taking care of her mother and working with the schoolchildren. The character of Rachel Cameron is an odd one. She still sleeps in her child bed, and  still lives
with her mother. She is not in control of her life. In the first half on the film, there is something very childish in her performance, then she transforms herself into a very intriguing and appealing woman. This total paradox is well executed by Joanne Woodward, but it comes too fast. It’s probably for me the only mesmerizing and good point in her performance. Rachel Cameron is a bit paranoid and very frustrated – this side is the better shown by Joanne Woodward, she plays the naïve and vulnerable woman perfectly. She’s at a turning point of her life: she thinks she doesn’t achieve anything, she is alone, childless, frustrated. She is freaking out, tormented and tortured. At this right moment, her performance takes a turn but not the right one. She could have been very interesting if she had made other choices in her acting. She doesn’t show her inner struggles well. The role is really strong and complex, but she fails to ground her character. Joanne Woodward fails to make us understand her character. She is a mystery at the beginning, she is still a mystery at the end. Sometimes, her reactions are a bit too much and mannered, Joanne Woodward doesn’t really seem true or authentic. Her acting is really calculated and artificial. She never makes us care about her, in fact she doesn’t let the audience having empathy for her. Her performance lacks in intensity and depth. The progression of the character is unexplained and goes too fast which is detrimental for such a complex character. She fails to humanize the passion and feelings of the character. 

"Well-directed by Paul Newman, the film chronicles the ordinary life of its unsung heroine, a small-town spinsterish teacher, beautifully played by Joanne Woodward."
                                                                                               - Emmanuel Levy

The role is baity on paper, but it fails to be created on screen by Joanne Woodward. She gives the oddest performance I have seen so far. We never know anything about her, we never know WHYNothing is ever explained: her weird relationship with her mother? Why does she always remember her past? Why is she so frustrated? Why is she so inexperienced? -  Well, her performance is bland, and Joanne Woodward makes the intricate character so much boring and uninteresting.  

as Eleanor of Aquitaine in THE LION IN WINTER (1968)

Christmas 1183. An aging and conniving King Henry II plans a reunion where he hopes to name his successor. He summons the following people for the holiday: his scheming but imprisoned wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; his mistress, Princess Alais, whom he wishes to marry; his three sons (Richard, Geoffrey, and John), all of whom desire the throne; and the young but crafty King Philip of France. With the fate of Henry's empire at stake, everybody engages in their own brand of deception and treachery to stake their claim. 

"Just what you want, a king for a son. You can make more, I can't. You think I want to disappear? One son is all I've got, and you can blot him out and call me cruel? For these ten years you've lived with everything I've lost, and loved another woman through it all, and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!"
                                         - Eleanor of Aquitaine

Katharine Hepburn received her eleventh Oscar nomination and third win for her portrayal of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the estranged wife of King Henry II, whom he keeps locked in the Salisbury Tower at Windsor Castle. She is invited for Christmas 1183 to discuss about who should inherit the throne. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a very strong-minded and determined woman, as Katherine Hepburn was in her real life, which made her cast in the film completely perfect. The character is very well-written and goes deeper and deeper through the film. It is way more complicated and heartbreaking than it looks at first sight. Katharine Hepburn adds a lot of humor to Eleanor, and it’s a pure joy to see that she really understands her character. Eleanor of
Aquitaine is very cynical, bitter, but also very manipulative and avid. She is very determined to see her “favorite” son on the throne, so she will do everything possible to see that. She reveals herself to be also very jealous, very subtly, we feel it just with her way to look at Henry and Alais (his mistress). Katharine Hepburn’s look is transparent, tearful, allowing us to see all her emotions. Step by step, the character becomes more and more emotional, she reveals she can't stand to be a prisoner anymore. This scene is painful and very well-interpreted by Hepburn. She appears damaged and Hepburn brings a lot of vulnerability and complexity to humanize her character. She embodies the Queen larger than life, she is very effective in her way to stand and her way to speak. She graciously manages to say the worst things in the most charming way.  Katharine Hepburn is very compelling and mesmerizing, her skills are endless, she has always something new to impress us. She doesn’t push the boundaries, because she has no boundaries: She can do everything. She is clearly helped by her partners, the screenplay which is amazing, and the most brilliant lines from the script allowing her to steal every scene she is in. The duo Hepburn/O’Toole, who is incredibly brilliant, works very well on screen. The game, because it’s a game between them is humorous, ferocious and in many ways touching.

"One of the most revered films of all time...with hallmark performances from Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn and the film debuts of Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton, Nigel Terry and John Castle."
                                                                                               - Washington Post

Katharine Hepburn gives a very layered performance. She is chilling, captivating, intense, complicated, powerful, authentic, poignant, raw, convincing, independent, angry, jealous, manipulative, ambiguous etc. Katharine Hepburn puts together a very detailed characterization of a very complex and powerful woman, and gives a first rate performance. 


  • Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter
  • Patricia Neal in The Subject was Roses
  • Vanessa Redgrave in Isadora
  • Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl
  • Johanne Woddward in Rachel, Rachel

1968 is a very popular year because it's the first and only tie in the Best Actress category.

What do you think  ?  Your Prediction  ?  Your Ranking  ? 

Annette Bening in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

"Annette Bening gives a poignant performance that embarks the audience to live with her a great emotional journey."


Jennifer Lawrence in WINTER'S BONE

"Jennifer Lawrence delivers a haunting and complex performance with so much realism and full of empathy."


Natalie Portman in BLACK SWAN

"Natalie Portman, in a very emotionally and physically challenging performance gives a tour de force."


Nicole Kidman in RABBIT HOLE

"Nicole Kidman puts her soul in this film and gives an emotionally challenging performance.


Michelle Williams in BLUE VALENTINE

"She faces any challenges and gives once more one of the most realistic, convincing and authentic portrayal."


                                             THE CONCLUSION                                                

2010 was an incredible year for actresses, and those five actresses were the best that year, but I would have maybe replaced Annette by Julianne Moore. Everyone in this line-up gave a very intense performance. The ranking was difficult to make, especially in the top three, but Michelle Williams is hands down my pick, she doesn't give a performance, she doesn't act, she embodies Cindy, in a way I have rarely seen on screen. Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman are really close to Williams, each one probably gave the best performance in their respective career, I put Kidman ahead because even if Natalie is exceptionnal, I think the role of Nina Sayers is such a showy and rich role that any talented actresses could give at least a fine performance with it. Jennifer Lawrence is a real surprise, she's clearly one of my new favorite actresses, and I really want to see what she will do next. Annette Bening really impresses me. Usually, I'm not fond of her acting, but here, she's really great. The Competition was so hard that year, everyone gave an Oscar calibre performance.

                                   THE ACADEMY AWARDS and ME                                      

as Nina Sayers in BLACK SWAN (2010)

Nina is a ballerina whose life is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina for the opening production, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. 

"He picked me, mommy! I'm the new swan queen!"
                                         - Nina Sayers

Natalie Portman is a great actress, but she never really challenged herself until this role in « Black Swan ». She received her second Oscar Nomination and first win, playing Nina, a young ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. It’s a real showcase for an actress, she is in every single scene of the movie. She can bring all kind of emotions: Despair,
joy, disappointment, anger, fear, determination, and pleasure. Well, she is really captivating, and convincing. From the naïve and Fragile young woman, Natalie Portman turns herself into this seductive and confident Nina, and manages to portray an incredibly convincing transformation. Her transformation through the movie is disturbing and very intense. At first, she's sweet, innocent then she transforms herself into this volcanic and sensual ballerina. We can really salute the hard work she's done. She works on her voice and finds something deeper and affected, she also manages to recreate the gestures and the physical behavior of a ballerina. She gives a very tortured and damaged performance and shows rightly the background and the discipline of ballet. The relation with her mother reminds the one in the movie “Carrie”- Their relationship is very complex, raw and tense, it is really well-executed on screen, thanks in part to the amazing Barbara Hershey. I don’t find the “lesbian” relationship really interesting and doesn’t bring anything special to the film, but that’s okay. Mila Kunis is damned sexy and provocative. 

"[She] is captivating as Nina ... she captures the confusion of a repressed young woman thrown into a world of danger and temptation with frightening veracity."
                                                                                               - Screen Daily

In maybe the role of her lifetime, Natalie Portman, in a very emotionally and physically challenging performance gives a tour de force. She embodies a ballerina larger than life. The role itself is really Oscar worthy, but it needed someone as Natalie to really be exceptional.

as Nic in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (2010)

At the urging of her 15 year-old brother Laser, the now 18 year-old Joni makes contact with their biological father, Paul, who as a teenager himself donated his sperm to a cryo-bank. Their parents, same sex couple Jules and Nic, aren't quite sure what to make of it when they learn what their kids have done. Jules likes him far more than Nic who begins to feel that he is taking their family away from her. It all becomes very complicated when Paul and Jules begin sleeping together and Paul starts to fall for her. 

"Yeah? Well I need your observations like I need a dick in my ass!"
                                         - Nic

Annette Bening received her fourth Oscar nomination playing Nic, a lesbian woman, married to Jules. She is hurt when the children decide to bring Paul, the sperm donor, into their lives, and worried that he will disrupt the family dynamic. Annette Bening gives a poignant performance that embarks the audience to live with her a great emotional journey. She reaches a very high level of emotional gravity with the ups
and downs of her character. There is a very intelligent progression in her interpretation, divided in three distinct phases, allowing her to show her wide range of skills. (1) When she appears the first time on screen, we get it. Jules is a very tough, bossy and confident lesbian woman.  She is very secure in her job, very strong-minded. She is the one with responsibilities, she is the one who has to take care of the family and she likes that. She doesn’t like when things change or move on. Annette Bening personates at the perfection this side of her character. There are many things in her diction and her behavior which claim authority. (2) Then Mark, the sperm donor, comes in their life. She is automatically on the defensive. She is very disturbed, bewildered and affected by the fact that her children want to meet their “father”. Annette Bening managed to explore every corners of her character.  She presents Nic as a real human being, not a caricature or a cliché. Everything comes naturally in her performance. She is very spontaneous and intuitive in her acting. (3) When Nic finds out that Jules was cheating her with Mark, her world falls apart. She becomes very emotional, angry, conflicted by many different feelings. She’s a strong woman and tries to hide her emotions, but she can’t. Annette Bening is very effective, she communicates her character’s pain very truthfully, and embarks the audience on an emotional roller coasters. Annette Bening is never on the same note. Her commitment and her understanding of her character is undeniable.  She manages to convey all the emotions and the flaws of her character, without judgment. Her chemistry with Jules, played wonderfully and powerfully by Julianne Moore, is fresh, incontestable and evident.  We can say the same thing with Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson.  They are a family, they don’t play one. 

"A smart, funny, insightful take on the dynamics of Modern Families. It taps into both the universal and specific dynamics of the family unit. Bening gives a career best performance."
                                                                                               - Channel 10 Australia

Despite her limited time on screen, Annette Bening gives one of her finest performances. She manages to fully develop her character’s personality thanks in part to a very well-written character and magical partners. She is poignant, spontaneous and natural. 

as Cindy Heller in BLUE VALENTINE (2010)

Dean and Cindy are a young, working class married couple - Dean currently working as a painter, and Cindy working as a nurse in a medical clinic - with a young daughter named Frankie. Despite their relatively tender ages, they are both ravaged by the life they've eked out together and by the experiences they've had leading into their marriage. Dean, a high school drop out, comes from a broken home. He never saw himself getting married or having a family despite falling in love at first sight with Cindy. 

"What did it feel like when you fell in love?"
                                         - Cindy

Michelle Williams received her first Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category for her performance as Cindy, a pre-med student living with her unhappy parents and caring for her grandmother, who meets Dean, a young high school dropout. They meet by chance and rush into marriage. At the beginning of their relationship, everything seems so easy. They are young, fiery, and full of dreams. All these scenes are dazzling and magical, and represent perfectly the naivety and the innocence when love grows between two people. Michelle Williams is really terrific (as Ryan Gosling) in these early scenes. She is genuine, lovable and extremely compelling.
Years later, Dean and Cindy are married and have a daughter. Dean is currently working as a painter, and Cindy is working as a nurse in a medical clinic, they're clearly not as happy as they once were. From the lovely and positive young woman, she completely transforms herself into the angry and chained Cindy, and yet manages to give her complexity and intensity. She is full of bitterness because she didn’t achieve what she was intended to. Michelle Williams uses all her facial expressions to show her vulnerability and anger. In both periods, Michelle Williams is outstanding, and makes the transition between the two naturally and in very convincing way. Michelle Williams gives a tour de force thanks to a very emotionally challenging role. She doesn’t afraid to appear unlikeable. She doesn’t act, she doesn’t pretend to be Cindy:  she embodies Cindy with every fiber of her being. In the hope of resurrecting their troubled relationship, Dean brings Cindy to a motel.  All these scenes are powerful, intense and authentic, it doesn't take long for them to realize that the magic isn't coming back. Michelle Williams makes us feel easily her inner struggles, torn between relief and regrets. The chemistry between Cindy and Dean, played beautifully by Ryan Gosling who gives a ravaged and intense performance (he should have been nominated for an Academy Award), is undeniable. Everything seems so true between them, their relationship is not created because it’s real, not fake.
"This emotionally gripping examination of a marriage on the rocks isn't always easy to watch, but Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give performances of unusual depth and power."
                                                                                               - ReelViews

Michelle Williams is certainly the most gifted actresses of her generation. She faces any challenges and gives once more one of the most realistic, convincing and authentic portrayal. She’s compelling and breathtaking, and gives everything to her craft.

as Ree Dolly in WINTER'S BONE (2010)

With an absent father and a withdrawn and depressed mother, 17 year-old Ree Dolly keeps her family together in a dirt poor rural area. She's taken aback however when the local Sheriff tells her that her father put up their house as collateral for his bail and unless he shows up for his trial in a week's time, they will lose it all. She knows her father is involved in the local drug trade and manufactures crystal meth, but everywhere she goes the message is the same: stay out of it and stop poking your nose in other people's business.

"What I really can't stand is the way I feel ashamed... for dad!"
                                         - Ree Dolly

Jennifer Lawrence, received her first and last Oscar nomination to date, playing Ree Dolly, a seventeen years old girl who has to raise her two younger siblings and find a way to keep the house her father put as bond. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a raw and poignant performance. It’s very rare for a young and new actress to put so much maturity in her acting. The life is not easy for her, she had to grow up quicker than other kids because her mother is mentally ill, and her father is declared “MISSING”.
Jennifer Lawrence gives a complex portrait, and shows the strong, brave and determined sides of her character quite stunningly. It’s a physically and emotionally challenging performance, and she manages to give to Ree a real authenticity. The scene in which she tries to speak to her mother, and asks for help is heartbreaking. She is vulnerable and very effective in her way to approach her sensibility. It’s a great piece of acting. Ree doesn’t know what to do, she is deadlocked. The world and the people surrounding her are dark, scary and violent. The scene where she is beaten is really hard to see, and Jennifer is surprisingly effective and believable in it. Silence and secret are main words in this area for those people but Ree doesn't take NO for an answer. She lives in a world where you have to survive or you die. Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is incredibly realistic, and the words coming out of her mouth seem so natural. She makes us feel bad when she is hurt, and sorry when she is in a difficult situation, but also painful when she is vulnerable. She is going deeper and deeper in the understanding of her character. 

"Granik handles this volatile, borderline horrific material with unblinking ferocity and feeling.... In Lawrence, Granik has found just the right young actress to inhabit Ree. Her performance is more than acting, it's a gathering storm"
                                                                                               - Peter Travers

Jennifer Lawrence delivers a haunting and complex performance with so much realism and empathy. She gives life to a character of unusual strength. In a very complicated role, she is fantastic and dazzles in this Oscar-caliber performance

as Becca Corbett in RABBIT HOLE (2010)

Becca and Howie Corbett are a happily married couple whose perfect world is forever changed when their young son is killed by a car. Becca tries to redefine her existence in a surreal landscape of well-meaning family and friends. Painful, poignant, and often funny, Becca's experiences lead her to find solace in a mysterious relationship with the teenage driver of the car that killed Danny. The Corbetts, both adrift, make surprising and dangerous choices as they choose a path that will determine their fate... 

"It feels like maybe I don’t feel badly enough for you! Maybe I’m not feeling enough! What do you want from me?"
                                         - Becca Corbett

Nicole Kidman received her third and last Academy Award nomination to date, playing Becca Corbett, an executive-turned-stay-at-home mother who tries to redefine her life after the death of Danny, her 8 years old son. Nicole Kidman delivers a raw and complex portrait, her performance is unbearably authentic and human. She allows herself to go in some dark places to find the right amount of subtlety and truth. She is not overacting, she stays simple and gives a quiet, but also powerful interpretation. Nicole Kidman doesn’t have to cry or yell to show any emotions. Her performance is so real and palpable, that she easily makes us feel her sorrow and her struggle. Nicole Kidman takes the right decision staying quiet and calm.
It’s a big change in comparison to other actresses who think you need to scream and cry to play a grieving mother. She keeps everything inside her, she is struggling with her emotions, she doesn’t know how to deal with them. Nicole Kidman is one of the most versatile actresses and a favorite of mine, she’s unrivaled in her ability to play cold, distant and emotionally scarred characters. Her performance is down to earth, very haunted and heartbreaking. Her chemistry with Aaron Eckhart (Howie, her husband) is stunning. Their relationship seems so true and real, each contributes significantly to the complexity of the situation. They are grieving differently, Becca wants to remove Danny’s things and sell their house whereas Howie is angry at Becca’s elimination of anything that reminds them Danny. From the same event, they grow separately, this situation is very well played by both actors. We can say the same things about her relationship with her mother (played by Dianne Wiest) and the one with the boy who has accidently killed her son (played by Miles Teller).  In fact, her performance in this film is nothing short of spectacular. 

"Kidman grabs the central focus of the story as the more distraught of the two. The performance is riveting because she essentially plays the entire film at two levels, the surface everyday life and then what is turning over and over again in her mind."
                                                                                               - The Hollywood Reporter

No one has put a better performance on film as a grieving mother than Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole". The film is a real showcase for her, it allows her to show all her range of emotions. Nicole Kidman puts her soul in this film and gives an emotionally challenging performance


  • Annette Bening in The Kids are all right
  • Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
  • Natalie Portman in Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine 

What do you think  ?  Your Prediction  ?  Your Ranking  ?