So with familiarity comes perhaps the more refreshing discussion of the non-starters, the no-chances, and the ones that could have made it. There is, of course, a huge divide between great female performances or roles and the acknowledgement they get during awards season. That does not mean they are not valued or loved any less. Here are 10 (11) of them for your perusal.
Elisabeth Moss (Listen Up Philip)
It is not the protagonist of the rich, intelligent Listen Up Philip you root for, no, you have to sympathise with his rather under-appreciated girlfriend Ashley. Warmly portrayed by the talented Elisabeth Moss (also fine in The One I Love), Ashley has to put up with Philip’s bursting ego and eccentric way of speaking. She is left to wonder why she might even be with this guy, and even in his absence Ashley let’s down her hair a little to shake him off for good. Moss brings some genuinely touching and bittersweet moments along the way (especially alongside her new cat).
Lisa Loven Kongsli (Force Majeure)
When Force Majeure’s dramatic premise kicks in early on (triggered by a controlled avalanche), the slow-burning strain shows more (and rightly so) with the wife and mother of the family of four. Lisa Loven Kongsli nails how one would perhaps react in that situation. At first bewildered, even laughing at the disbelief of it, this soon morphs into despair – she is no longer concerned with the holiday potentially being ruined, but far more aware of the dents that have suddenly emerged in her marriage.
Someone else having a good year, Keira Knightley received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for The Imitation Game, but also warrants praise for acting and singing in Begin Again. A much more light-hearted movie, Knightley is still required to lend her voice to Greta, who is not quite crumbling and almost shining bright. She is a convincing lead throughout, but really stands out in a few of the film’s moments – realising what her rock star boyfriend’s new song is really about, and the final moments riding her bike alone come to mind.
Funny and moving. The terrific Jenny Slate is both of those to full capacity in Obvious Child. A comedy about potential abortion does not, as a concept, have them rolling in the aisles with laughter. But Slate is so brutally honest in her performance (as well as in Donna’s stand up comedy routines), you have to love her, from her rather vulgar opening rant, and general outspoken nature, through her attempts at self-control and the emotional tracks she steps on along the way.
It is not often you find and cherish a genuine horror film, but more so it is unique to be impressed by an actress commanding the lead in such a genre (remember Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist?). As The Babadook turns out to be more psychological than all out monsters, Essie Davis’ grief-stricken single mother of unbalanced child just feeds off this. She is at first sweet and vulnerable, before the enigma of the title literally drives her crazy, and on the brink of fatal madness. You won’t forget how she proclaims that she is the protector of her house and family in triumphant style.
Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer)
Set mostly across various ranges of Australian desert, Tracks follows the true story of Robyn Davidson on her nine-month trek with mostly her dog and a bunch of camels for company. Usually popping in and out of movies, a lot these days (thankfully), Mia Wasikowska is given the whole landscape to herself, and is practically in every single moment of the movie. You feel her pain and determination, with sun burnt dust on her face and mangled hair, Wasikowska remains courageous and charismatic in every one of those scenes. The actress, as well as the character here, simply have to be taken seriously.