Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Belated Golden Globe Gripe - Snubbing Sophie

...And oh, by the way-- how is it possible that Mia Wasikowska wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe for her incredible work on "In Treatment"? Do the Hollywood Foreign Press guys have something against realism?

They want to honor the series, so they nom 4 players, including Melissa George. Sure, she was pretty good. And on a couple of episodes, she was very good. And Dianne Weist was solid, and in one episode she was actually moving. But in my opinion, much of her performance was a bit too detached, given the supposed back-story of her character with Byrne's.

But Mia's performances were so real, so subtle, so complex, that she blew Melissa's and Dianne's out of the water. Ms. Wasikowska was totally transparent; you could see everything that was happening in her head, right there on her face, but with such subtlety that it was like watching hidden camera footage of someone who thinks they're alone with their thoughts. Never once did she indicate or chew scenery -- not that I'm saying Melissa or Dianne did. Byrne's shrink (congrats, by the way) asks Mia's Sophie a question, and she thinks about it. I mean she really thinks about it. In her eyes and in the tiniest twitches of her brow, you can see step A, then B, then C... Then the conclusion or counter-question... and out it comes.

And no one I know -- no actor I know -- had ever seen any actor cry the way she did in two episodes (working with two different directors). There's no way to fake that kind of sobbing, breathing, and snorting -- not to mention the waterworks. It was 100% real, and truly compelling. It makes one wonder if she was tapping into some very deep pain from her young life. As a student of ballet since age 9, she certainly could understand the sort of commitment and physical damage present in a gymnast's life.

Maybe the problem is that her performance was in a different style from the others' -- even on a completely different plane. The rest of the cast was performing in a fairly conventional style for television, or big-budget movies. Mia's character was living in the gritty, intimate world of brilliant indie films... or maybe the new style that will sweep television in years to come. So, maybe her performance was just to foreign... for the Foreign Press.

Or did George and Weist get nods because they've been around longer? If so, great. Nothing like politics getting in the way of rewarding the best performance. It's this kind of thing that steals credibility from awards shows. It goes on constantly, and everyone gripes, but it just keeps happening.

But, okay, Mia's going to be around for awhile, so she'll surely get nominated for some future performance. So far, we've got "Defiance," "Amelia," "I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down" and Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" to look forward to. And hopefully a lot more to come.

If she can bring that kind of "In Treatment" emotional commitment to any of those roles, she -- and we -- will enjoy a long, illustrious career.

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