Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday For Your Consideration: Mélanie Laurent

Welcome to a returning seasonal weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Friday For Your Consideration. 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’m not in favor of Elizabeth Olsen or Jean Dujardin getting their first nominations. They don’t need my help. As luck would have it, these actors do. I’ll be running this feature on a semi-regular basis 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.

Mélanie Laurent (Beginners)

Where you’ve seen her before: The French actress should be universally recognizable to film fans as Shoshanna from “Inglourious Basterds.”

Why she deserves it: Though her character isn’t on the run from the Nazis under an assumed name, Anna isn’t exactly forthcoming with details about her life, making it hard for Ewan McGregor’s Oliver to get to know her. Somehow, Laurent is positively charming, seductive, mysterious, and mesmerizing all at the same time. In a way, Anna seems to exist only ethereally, a fleeting memory for Oliver to enjoy, yet Laurent makes her a permanent and unforgettable fixture of the film.

Standout scene: In her first appearance, a laryngitis-stricken Anna cleverly communicates with Oliver by writing her thoughts down on a pad. As with her portrayal of Shoshanna, Laurent effortlessly conveys so much with a blink of her eyes and a glance that she doesn’t even need to speak to make Oliver fall madly in love with her.

Why she won’t get it: It’s particularly unfortunate to me when a film is explicitly noted by an awards group but one particular performance is not (see “The Last King of Scotland” for a great example of this). Most Oscar pundits are predicting Christopher Plummer to get nominated for – and win – Best Supporting Actor, but I don’t think anyone will take notice of Laurent or McGregor. Laurent was looked over for “Inglourious Basterds,” snubbed in favor of costar Diane Kruger by SAG, and I can’t imagine that this will be her big breakthrough, though it really should be.

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