Well, it’s all happening: today is the last day of the “nominating phase” of this year’s Academy Awards, which means the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are (mostly likely) just now getting around to dashing off their suggestions for this year’s Oscar nominees. And since “awards season” has been going for a good four months already, a great many are likely to just fill in the names that are getting all the buzz: Natalie, Emma, Denzel, Casey, etc. etc. etc. And those are worthy performances! But if I may be so bold, I’d like to make a few additional suggestions, for some genuinely terrific performances from last year that, for whatever reason, haven’t gotten the traction they should’ve.
Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women
Annette Bening seems a reasonably safe bet for a Best Actress nomination, and rightly so – she’s magnificent in Mike Mills’s gentle, wonderful comedy/drama, as the aging mother who’s trying to do right by her son, by letting him go. But don’t sleep on the tremendous work by Ms. Gerwig here, who takes what could’ve been a fairly standard free-spirited artist character, and invests it with kindness, sensitivity, and (most of all) a welcome unpredictability. She ends up with what feels like an accumulation of her screen work thus far – a variation on a type, but honed to perfection.