Daily Rushes

Raw and unedited points of view from a couple of film fanatics

2:04 PM

Academy-Go-Fucky (Yourselves)

Posted by Scott |

Sally Hawkins delivered a divisive performance this year in "Happy-Go-Lucky". Some people found it an infectious celebration of a role, others an intensely annoying creation. Whatever side of the fence you stand, what's undeniable is the craft that lay behind it.

Mike Leigh's film-making style demands that characters be born organically from a thorough pre-production process where the actors are thrusted together to develop their roles from scratch. 'Poppy' is Hawkins' creation through and through, and far from the reductive one-note optimist some reviewers would have you believe she represents. It's a fine balance of surface optimism, internal compromise and sheer compassion, a performance underscored even further when you realise how unlike Poppy Hawkins is in real life. It's a pearler of a turn.

I'm not alone on this. Hawkins won the lion's share of the critics awards, including the four biggest (aside from Oscar and SAG): the National Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the LA Film Critics Association and the Golden Globe.

That's one impressive swag. So impressive, in fact, that only 7 actresses in the last 34 years have managed it: Hawkins (2008), Helen Mirren for 'The Queen' (2006), Holly Hunter for 'The Piano' (1993), Emma Thompson for 'Howard's End' (1992), Michelle Pfeiffer for 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' (1989), Meryl Streep for 'Sophie's Choice' (1982) and Sally Field for 'Norma Rae' (1979). 

Here's the thing: 5 of them won the Oscar and the other, Pfeiffer, should have (her loss to Jessica Tandy that year is the stuff of nightmares for Oscar enthusiasts). It's simply unprecedented for Hawkins to be absent from today's Oscar shortlist. Sure, she missed a SAG nomination, and her Golden Globe was in the Musical/Comedy category, historically viewed as less persuasive than that of Drama. And yet. For Hawkins to miss a nomination altogether with such commanding statistics and one hell of a performance behind her is still a massively surprising and altogether unusual, not to mention unjust, outcome.

BOO ACADEMY (again).

At least Hawkins can content herself in the knowledge that she might one day win an Oscar for playing PJ Harvey.