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January 06, 2007


Craig Hickman

What a clever post. You're a great asshole.

I've seen four performances on your list.

On Emily Blunt and Jennifer Connelly we mostly agree, except that I'd go a step further and say Connelly is woeful in Blood Diamond, a movie I couldn't grade higher than a C (and the only movie I've yet to review from 2006... shows how thrilled I was about the year's crop!)

Emily Blunt had fun in that role, but yes, it was a cartoon, and I gave up on those years ago.

Angelina always lights up the screen. But I think she painfully miscast in this role. And the look on her face throughout much of the film told me as much.

And Jennifer Hudson. Interpeting a song is acting, m'dear. But even if you don't believe that it is, the official categories tend to read something like "Best Performance by a Actress in a Supporting Role." A performance in a film is a performance in a film. Did Joel Gray doing any "acting" in "Cabaret"? According to you, none at all. But the performance was great and he repeated his Tony with an Oscar. Jennifer's performance (call it whatever you want) is the shizzit of the year and it ought to win all that it has and will. And I call it acting, you call it it interpreting a song. I say tomato, you say tomahto.

Let's call the whole thing off.


The one character not directly presented in "The Queen" is that of Diana herself.

Prince Charles tells his mother, "The Diana we knew was very different than the Diana idolized by the public", but this truth is never developed in the film.  I'll mention it here.

While the "people's princess" remains the icon of superficial popular culture, the Royals knew a very different, darker character behind the facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion.

Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer, suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother's abandoning them as young children.  A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals.

For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana's death). For Diana, BPD meant intense insecurity and insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never fulfill. 

Clinically, it's clear that the Royal family did not cause her "problems". Rather, Diana brought her multiple issues into the marriage, and the Royal family was hapless to deal with them.

Her illness, untreated, sowed the seeds of her fast and unstable lifestyle, and sadly, her tragic fate.

Thus the Queen's reactions to Diana's death surely covered a range of ambivalent feelings, and was not just a cold insistence on protocol, as suggested by the film.


(Wow. Look what happens when you put "Princess Diana" in a title...)

Thanks for an excellent, tart serving of actress appreciation.

I tend to appreciate Blunt's performance a little more than you. (See my riff @ http://stinkylulu.blogspot.com/2006/07/emily-blunt-in-devil-wears-prada.html). I see surprising shading inside the scripts bold cartoon lines. But hey. And I too think JHud's great in the songs where she sings lead and adequate-to-bad everywhere else. (BTW - Joel Grey's entire role was in song, which is a little different.)

Thanks for joining the fun...

Craig Hickman

Adequate to bad everywhere else?


We'll agree to disagree.

A "little different" yes, but not all that much.

He still won the Oscar for a role with no "acting" in it, if one takes the definition suggested here at face value.


Excellent. I like the harsh judgments on each and every one; I wish that there was more harsh scrutiny like this, instead of the Most Popular awards we get now.


OMG!! All the Helen Mirren over-love has made a bit annoyed about The Queen, even before actually watching it [you live in southeastern Virginia, dear, but I live in Brasil... so my theatres here beat yours asses good... hehehe]. But your post made me laugh so much that I'll see The Queen with gentle eyes for the sake of our lovely princess Diana. Your bitchiness is adorable!!

Adam K.

Wow, you really are an asshole. It's beautiful.

I disagree about both Breslin and Blunt, though. Blunt is elevating her material, and Breslin is just priceless for the whole running time.

Semi-agree on JHud. Yes, interpreting a song is acting (I don't suggest you use your opinion as a conversation starter with musical theatre actors), but the non-singing acting by JHud was not quite as great as the singing. Not bad, but just... not really award-worthy either.


Okay, so I've been thinking overnight about the acting vs. interpreting a song thing, and my conclusion is this: interpreting a song is a *form* of acting, but a distant, easier form. It's acting with a booster seat.

The music that surrounds the singer, as well as the music the singer is producing, provides a crapload of emotion that is simply unavailable for regular acting. Also, by taking the performer and the scene outside the realm of everyday life, the music allows a much bigger range of emotion *and motion* -- a gesture that works perfectly to punctuate a song would look bizarre accompanying a spoken statement.

That's not to say that interpreting a song and acting can't coexist. In Dreamgirls, there's just such a moment, as Anika Noni Rose sings "Patience" with Eddie Murphy. Her face clearly shows her growing confidence in herself as a performer, an artist and a person. That's acting -- but it has nothing to do with the words she's singing or the way she's interpreting the song. It's just subtext, which is what actors do. (Then again, the Effie character doesn't have much in the way of subtext.)

The Joel Grey Oscar argument doesn't really hold water to me; there's a bunch of Oscars I'd like to see returned, so I don't count winning one as automatic validation of a performer, a movie or a thesis.


I think y'all mean "adequite."

And I am terrified that GNC and I have mindmelded into the SAME PERSON.

Film trivia: the voice of "the director" in Mia's audition scenes is DePalma himself. Great, cruel joke.

Catherine Cantieri

Over at Cinemarati (www.cinemarati.org), we're having a pretty good discussion on the topic of acting and interpreting a song. Gabriel of Modern Fabulousity, who's directed some musicals in his time, is taking me to school.

RC of strangeculture

This post is hillarious as is your selection! Hillarious!!

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