Saturday, March 1, 2014

Top 10 LEAD ACTRESSES of 2013

10. Brie Larson as Grace - Short Term 12
She's proven to be a versatile actress with the variety of roles she took last year. Truth be told, she's no different from Jennifer Lawrence in terms of acting. Both have the youthfulness factor to portray a young lady while both can also portray mature roles. The latter is just more popular. Her versatility as an actress is shown in her performance as Grace in Short Term 12, a young brave lady who showed both maturity and youthfulness, vulnerability and braveness. For some reason, she also reminds me of Evan Rachel Wood but I hope she becomes more successful.

9. Greta Gerwig as Frances - Frances Ha
 It's hard not to associate Greta Gerwig with Frances Ha that it makes it harder for me not to refer her as Frances. That is how she greatly embodied an original character, a character from her vision as one of the writers of the film. She just became Frances. But she deserves to be recognized with her real name because she's a gem that needs more spotlight. Frances Ha is what it is because of Greta Gerwig's antics. She singlehandedly carried the film with her endearing self and she magically made a black and white picture become colorful. Thank you Greta, Frances Ha is unforgettable.

 8. Julie Delpy as Celine - Before Midnight
She's charming as ever in Before Midnight but the darkness, or should I say the reality of the film showed other layers of Julie Delpy's talent. The usual youthful bloom on her face has been washed out by her age but it helped in conveying Celine's message across. We are used to seeing Delpy's smile and lightness in the Before series but in Midnight, she shifted to a more sophisticated persona while still displaying her charm. Anyway, ignore all of these. Just watch the film and let her breasts do the talking.

7. Paulina Garcia as Gloria - Gloria
Wow, I've never seen a performance as brave as Paulina Garcia's in Gloria. Well, 2013 has a lot of 'brave' performances but Paulina Garcia stands out because well, Gloria really pushed her to be one. She's my senior version of Adèle Exarchopoulos basically because of the massive amount of nudity that they went through. LOL. But seriously, the nudity that Garcia endured in Gloria just showed how committed she was in her character especially considering that she doesn't have that fresh body anymore (but still slamming for her age, I guess :/). Aside from that, the character study of a middle-aged woman pushed her boundaries as an actress and probably as a person. With her age, she showed a lot of energy and passion and they're all perfect to portray a character facing a midlife crisis like Gloria.

6. Meryl Streep as Violet Weston - August: Osage County
I'm pretty sure that even if I included her in this ranking that I'm still underrating her. The fact that she is consistently giving us pure brilliant performances tend us to underrate her a bit because she can easily be number one in any year. I'm guilty of that. If Meryl Streep didn't have her precursors of great acting for let's say, 10 years or even 5, her performance as the pill popping filthy mouthed matriarch Violet Weston would win Best Actress awards. But unfortunately, she's been in the spotlight for the past many years that she's being taken for granted. Let's just leave it at that. Bottom line is, she's amazing and is the greatest actress of our generation.

5. Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone - Gravity
Wooff Wooff Awooooo and floating tears, this scene is not even the reason why I think she's one of the best actresses last year even if it's the baitiest. But the fact that she's almost 50 and she threw herself in the outer space rotating nonstop is unbelievable. And then she had to work with harnesses, zero gravity sets, that's impressive as fuck and plain badass. Let's face it, Sandra would easily win this year's Best Actress race if she didn't win for her much inferior The Blindside performance. Ryan Stone could have been a great addition to badass lead characters like Clarice Starling. But like what I wrote about Meryl, past wins, losses and credentials matter in giving actors their rightful appreciation.

4. Gaby Hoffmann as Crystal Fairy - Crystal Fairy
I've read a lot of comments about the current look of Gaby and they're almost all negative. That she didn't grow up as pretty as she was when she was young. But hey, she's making the most of her look by accepting roles that fit it -- Caroline in Girls and Crystal Fairy in Crystal Fairy. I have a soft spot for her in Crystal Fairy because I love quirky characters in films, books, TV and even in real life. Crystal Fairy is probably the weirdest of them all and Gaby Hoffmann made it sure that her weirdness will make people either uncomfortable or entertained. She definitely made me feel both of those. But it didn't stop with that, because Crystal Fairy has a lot of secrets behind her bushy hairs and Gaby channeled her poignance and it makes for a great impact after all her silly shenanigans. Her Crystal Fairy will be forever cherished.

3. Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers - Saving Mr. Banks
One day I'll make a Most Robbed rankings and Emma Thompson will surely be in that list. It's almost a crime that she was snubbed. I understand the Gerwig, Delpy and Larson shuns, and even Adèle because they didn't fare that well anyway in other award giving bodies but Emma Thompson has been in the running ever since the beginning of the awards season so her missing the main event was truly a bummer. This is her comeback in the game after so many years of being MIA and they missed the opportunity to bring her back in the mix. I say it's their loss. Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers is without a doubt one of the best performances of 2013 films. And people can say that she tackled it in a very cartoonish way but for me, it's just right with the theme of Saving Mr. Banks. Plus, she did it consistently throughout the film and that's commendable. Anyway, what's done is done but I'm kind of skeptical that she'll have a hard time finding another perfect role for her in the future. Oh well, maybe she'd do better in Screenplay. :)

2. Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle - Blue is the Warmest Color
Brave, natural, distinct, iconic, committed. That's basically Adèle in Blue is the Warmest Color. It's the bravest of all the brave performances of 2013. Sex, homosexuality, adolescence and life crisis, these are difficult components to portray accurately in a film but she owned all of these with such authenticity that for me, it's already beyond acting. Everything that she did in the film is just mind blowingly real.

1. Cate Blanchett as Jasmine - Blue Jasmine
Even I find it boring that all my favorite performances from the 4 acting categories are almost locks at this point (Lupita is still debatable) but it is what it is. When I watched Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett entertained me greatly. Thanks to Woody Allen's screenplay of course but Blanchett made Allen's character for her even better. The character suits her so well. Physically, Blanchett has the glamour of Jasmine. And in terms of personality, Jasmine is a woman of extreme delicacy. Therefore, Blanchett won't be able to do her usual outrageous and exaggerated acting. The result is just the right amount of Blanchett goodness and it makes for an outstanding performance. Jasmine has polarizing characteristics and Cate Blanchett took advantage of that. I seriously think that the whole premise of Blue Jasmine would work as a TV series and Cate Blanchett will be a household name for it. Blanchett has been amazing this whole awards season and now that it's about to end, I can't wait to see her walk on the Oscars stage finally accepting her Best Actress trophy. I hope she acknowledges her loss to Gwyneth Paltrow because I'm pretty sure her impending win for Blue Jasmine is much sweeter with her current age and stature in her career.