Here are the actresses who I believe will win Oscars someday. Who knows if they will or if they won’t – but these women are definitely Oscar caliber.
— Reese Witherspoon. Listen, I’ve been a huge fan of this girl since her movie debut in Man in the Moon when she was 12 years old. Sam Waterston is in the movie, Tess Harper – and Reese, a little kid, walks away with that film. Or maybe I should say: she “strolls” away with the movie because she makes it look so easy. It probably IS easy for her. She has an innate gift. Her acting is intelligent, unexpected, and very very good. But it is really her role as Tracy Flick in Election (shown in the picture above) which cemented my regard for her. I know she’s become a ginormous star since then – so now she’s appearing in “romantic comedies”, yadda yadda, but her performance of Tracy Flick has got to go down in the books as one of the most spot-on psychological portraits I have seen in the movies in a long LONG time. She’s not just good. She’s a genius in that movie. Oscar-worthy. Mark my words. She needs the role – that will “land”, so to speak … but she is very very deserving. I’m a huge fan.
— Julianne Moore. She’s one of those actresses who doesn’t just do mainstream stuff, so a lot of her best work has been in movies that about 20 people saw. Like Safe. But that’s the deal. She doesn’t “play the game” in the typical way, although she is a big star, and everyone wants to work with her. She isn’t a mainstream actress. She has her flaws, but when she’s in the right material, she is one of a kind.
— Kate Winslet She seems pretty much, like Johnny Depp, to be a shoo-in. What I love about Kate Winslet, and this is a very rare quality (you can count on one hand the actresses who have it): She’s the type of actress where you can actually feel her blood start to race, in emotional scenes. You can actually feel her heart speed up. A flush actually covers her cheeks. She’s like Eleonora Duse, with her famous blush. Winslet’s actual physical LIFE FORCE comes off the screen. That cannot be taught.
— Patricia Clarkson Mitchell and I were actually talking about her the other night, about her work in High Art, where she plays a heroin addict Marlene Dietrich wannabe. Mitchell said, “I swear – I had no idea who she was at the time I saw that film – and I truly believed she was German – I thought she WAS that person, and that they found a … you know … performance artist to come in and just play herself. I had no idea she was ACTING.” The woman is a complete and utter chameleon. Along the lines of Meryl Streep. She doesn’t just change her accent, her clothes, her hair … she actually seems to change her inner essence – from role to role. She’s amazing.
— Joan Allen I think she’s the best actress working today. Mitchell and I had a great discussion about her as well – If she had started doing major films in the 70s and 80s, as opposed to the 90s and 2000s (whatever) – she would probably have 3 or 4 Oscars under her belt by now. Like Meryl Streep does. Or Ellen Burstyn. She’s that good. Hollywood doesn’t quite know what to do wih Joan Allen (and back in the 70s and 80s – Hollywood DID know what to do with Meryl Streep) … so Joan Allen doesn’t get the projects that she SHOULD. I would love to see her really get “the role” that would cement her position. Even in a movie like Pleasantville – she brings such a specific depth of emotion to it – NOBODY plays buried fiery emotion like Joan Allen. NOBODY.
And lastly. I realize this last one is a pipe dream. It will probably never happen. This is a shame. Because the woman is not only a “good actress” – tepid term – but a flat out genius. She doesn’t “act”. She channels. I’m sorry to sound so hyperbolic and new-agey – but honestly. She’s so so so good. And looking at the body of her work, I have to say (and this is a high compliment): I have NO idea who Catherine O’Hara is. Is she like Cookie in Best in Show? Is she like Sheila Albertson in Waiting for Guffman? Who is she? No idea. She appears to have no innate personality that she has to contend with (I’m sure she does – I’m just saying that it is never apparent in her acting). She is a total and utter chameleon. I thought Charlize Theron was good in Monster and all – but whatever. You put crappy makeup on a beautiful woman, make her teeth look bad, give her a scraggly wig – and everyone says “WHAT AN AMAZING ACTRESS!!” Catherine O’Hara does complete transformations – only without all the bells and whistles and fake noses and fake teeth. So I know she’ll probably never win one, but I’m putting her on the list as my way of acknowledging her giant gift.