Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday For Your Consideration: Saoirse Ronan

Welcome to the final nominations edition of Friday For Your Consideration. I may return with a winners edition if the nominees call for it. As every year nears to a close, there are a number of actors nominated for Golden Globes, Oscars, and countless other awards. There are so many spots and there are so many deserving contenders, yet some inevitably get left out. Each week, I’ll be spotlighting one performance from this year which deserves a second look but might not get it. This doesn’t mean I don’t want Carey Mulligan and Christoph Waltz to get their first nominations. They don’t need my help. As luck would have it, these actors do. I’ll be running this feature until Oscar nominations are announced at the beginning of February, so leave your choices in the comments and I might feature them over the next couple of weeks! I’ve written at greater length about these performances in the reviews of the films, so make sure to read those for a more detailed look at why these actors deserve an Oscar nomination.

Saoirse Ronan, “The Lovely Bones"

Where you’ve seen her before: The 15-year-old actress earned an Oscar nomination two years ago for her work as the youngest Briony Tallis in “Atonement.”

Why she deserves it: Her film was no good, equally due to the adaptation of the story itself and the inappropriately lavish directing by Peter Jackson. But the incredible mature and talented Ronan was marvelous, delivering an exceptional performance that grounded the film even though it couldn’t save it. Ronan’s Susie Salmon is believably older than her age, and the way she delivers dialogue is simply incredible. For most of the film, she serves as the film’s unseen narrator, and that’s a terrific role for her. She performs consistently at a level of quality and excellence the film never achieves.

Standout scene: (Spoilers) She’s fully terrific throughout the entire film, but her best moment probably comes during her murder scene. Despite the failure of that scene to actually represent or even suggest the violent way in which her life ends, Ronan is in top form. Her face displays an equal mix of real curiosity and fear, and it’s clear that she’s smart enough to know that she shouldn’t be accompanying a strange man into an unfamiliar place completely alone.

Why she won’t get it: Three reasons: the film tanked, she’s young, and she already made it in two years ago. Had the movie been a legitimate Best Picture contender as originally thought, Ronan might have had a better shot, but there’s no room for her without any buzz. It seems that only Stanley Tucci will get mentioned for this film, and perhaps a technical award or two. Ronan is also only fifteen years old, and nominees this young rarely get nominated, especially in this category. Keisha Castle-Hughes did it in 2003 for “Whale Rider,” but there were available spaces in the Best Actress field that year, whereas this year there just aren’t. The fact that she was nominated in 2007 hurts rather than helps her because she’s already been recognized, and that film was a Best Picture nominee. She’ll likely be back in future years, but not this time around.

Read the review of the film here. Oscar predictions begin Monday – don’t miss them.

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