2014 was a pretty good year for film and television, which makes me even more excited for what we have in store for 2015 (does that make me greedy?). This year we were given performances that were really strong by incredibly talented individuals. Leading up to the Academy Awards, I will be posting performance spotlights in Film, Television, Theater, and beyond.
I’m starting with The Actress and The Young Actress because, quite frankly, Women had a really killer year. This was a natural place for me to start. I tend to gravitate towards and appreciate Female performances more. Please excuse the fact three of the actresses have names staring with “J” and three are redheads. I am well aware this has to mean something, I just don’t know what.
Take a look, sound off below, and let me know what you think!
Julianne Moore ruled 2014 and, huge shocker, made it look easy.
Ms.Moore truly has an other worldly quality in the way she approaches her craft. Whatever the intention of her performance is— to make you weep, laugh, feel invigorated— she does it effortlessly and with grace.
Whether she is playing a college professor battling early onset Alzheimers in “Still Alice,” an icy silver haired dictator in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1,” or a deliciously delusional washed up Hollywood blonde in “Maps To The Stars” Ms. Moore brought range and depth to all her 2014 performances.
These magical powers of hers translate off screen as well. Stepping onto a Red Carpet— likely draped in Tom Ford or Alexander McQueen, doing both justice no less— Ms.Moore makes everyone else look invisible and dated. While she is also absolutely beautiful (that hair, are you kidding me?) she can play the every woman and you actually believe it.
It’s hard to describe just how fantastic Ms.Moore’s performance is in “Still Alice.”
The character of Alice is someone who is so intelligent with a full life and watching her battle early onset Alzheimers should be heartbreaking enough, but Ms.Moore brings an added element to this woman. You get a harrowing look at her pain and struggle as an outsider looking in. Her performance has such depth and honesty you’re left in pieces by the end. The film itself is also very well done. If you have a chance, get to a theater and see it. Just be prepared to cry. Hard.
For “Still Alice,” Ms. Moore has already been awarded the National Board of Review, Gotham, and Golden Globe (double nomination for “Maps to The Stars”) awards for Best Actress. Also receiving Broadcast Film Critics Association and SAG award nominations to name a few. And surprise to no one, she received an Oscar nomination this morning.
In “Maps to The Stars” (in which she took home Best Actress at the Cannes film festival, 2014), we meet Hollywood hanger-on Havana Segrand. Straw blonde and puffed lipped, she is an Herve Leger clad disaster. While the film goes to very dark, and quite frankly strange places, Ms. Moore’s performance is what makes this a must see. Elevating her voice and changing her appearance, Havana’s delusional and outrageous behavior is performed brilliantly by Ms.Moore.
In addition to the second installment of the Hunger Games on it’s way this year we will also see Ms.Moore in “Freeheld,” the true story of a New Jersey lesbian couple trying to secure their pension after a diagnoses of terminal illness. Ellen Page co-stars as Ms.Moore’s partner.
It would appear 2015 holds nothing but greatness— and I assume even more praise and accolades— for Ms.Moore.
Photo Courtesy of Driu and Tiago for Beach Magazine
THE ACTRESS RUNNERS UP: JENNIFER ANISTON AND JESSICA CHASTAIN
Jennifer Aniston is finally proving something I have always seen in her: she is a full fledged actress. It baffles me why it took this long for everyone to get on board. She consistently has proven great comedic timing (hello 238 episodes of “Friends”…) and has chops in both Dark Comedy (“Friends With Money”) and Drama (“The Good Girl”).
Cut to 2014 and Ms. Aniston gives us “Cake.” A raw, emotional, and Living Proof product free performance. Portraying a woman suffering with chronic pain and delusions of Anna Kendrick on a floating pool chair, you’re engrossed by Ms.Aniston’s complex and moving performance. The word refreshing doesn’t even begin to cover what Ms.Aniston is doing here.
Photo Courtesy of Yu Tsai for Variety
“A Most Violent Year” is not one to be missed. While a career defining performance for Oscar Isaac (more on him later…), I couldn’t keep my eyes off Jessica Chastain.
Channeling Michelle Pfieffer in “Scarface,” Ms.Chastain portrays a reformed mob princess looking out for her family at any cost in 1981 New York City. With blunt bangs and a vintage Armani wardrobe to boot, her performance is everything. Brash and tough as nails, Ms.Chastain demands the screen in every shot she’s in. Get yourself to one of the theaters showing the limited release film. You’ll thank me.
Ms.Chastain, who has proven she is one of our best contemporary actresses, starred in two other films in 2014. “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” is still at the top of my list to see as not only did they shoot it in my East Village neighborhood, but she has received rave reviews for it. “Interstellar” I can skip…
Can we just get Ms.Chastain as a Marvel Superhero yet or what?
Photo Courtesy of Giampaolo Sgura for In Style
THE YOUNG ACTRESS- EMMA STONE
Emma Stone is truly having a moment. Proving how well rounded an actress she is, Ms. Stone has shined in both film (“The Amazing Spider Man 2,” “Birdman,” “Magic in The Moonlight”) and stage (“Cabaret”) proving how strong her range is. What I learned this year: she can sing and dance fabulously without batting those big doll eyes. It’s incredible watching someone so talented with such a long career ahead of them.
I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. Stone’s performance of iconic Sally Bowles in the revival of “Cabaret” and it is nothing short of show-stopping. The role of Sally is one of complexity; she is campy and vampy, while being slightly delusional, and the audience needs to feel for her. Ms. Stone portrays this successfully. She’s fully immersed herself, showcasing excellent stage presence with an intoxicating raspy British singing voice and charisma.
For “Birdman,” Ms. Stone has been nominated for a Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics Association, and a SAG Award to name a few. Playing Michael Keaton’s not so sober daughter, Ms.Stone’s wide eyes and platinum blonde hair are a fascinating contrast as horrible words fly out of her mouth at the drop of a hat. It’s another completely different character for her. You can’t take your eyes off her.
“The Amazing Spider Man 2” may have gotten mixed reviews, but Ms. Stone brought heart and humanity to the role of Gwen Stacey. It was heart wrenching— watch the movie and you’ll know why.
Ms. Stone has also had a great year on the red carpet, collaborating with stylist Petra Flannery. Her new haircut is very chic and cute, so, snaps for Emma. Bravo, Doll.
Photo Courtesy of Craig McDean for Vogue
2015 THE YOUNG ACTRESS PREDICTION- ELIZABETH OLSEN
I have been enamored by Elizabeth Olsen for a few years now. While she may have a very famous last name, Ms. Olsen is in no ones shadow: she is a full blown talent. Proving she can do both indie (“Martha Marcy May Marlene) and studio (“Godzilla) films, Ms. Olsen is such an interesting actress to watch. She has an intensity on screen that is unique and demands attention.
Playing my very favorite Avenger The Scarlet Witch in next years highly anticipated “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” it’s only going to catapult her career. I can’t wait.
Photo Courtesy of Carla Santana for Flaunt
© Copyright 2015 The New York Narrative. All rights reserved.
Wow!!! Powerful writing; powerful reading!! I can’t wait to see these movies. I am especially enamored myself with Julianne Moore because it’s still very nice to see women in my age bracket (🙊) getting these roles and not giving them to younger actresses and using make up to look older. There are plenty of roles for the young-like Emma Stone. Love her!!! Keep writing…can’t wait to read more. 👍
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Love this post, especially about Emma. She’s amazing and so is your blog. Can’t wait for more :-* :-*
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Another amazing post! I really love Julianne Moore as well. Alzheimer’s runs on my mother’s side of the family so it’s something I’m constantly thinking about, and I’m looking forward to seeing JM in Still Alice while crying my eyes out. Also, Team Jen for life ❤
Team Christ for Life! ❤ XOXO
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