The fine critics of Los Angeles have awarded a tie for Best Actress of 2013 and they are spot on.
If you haven’t seen Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, I highly recommend checking it out. Despite the enormous success of Midnight In Paris, Allen’s latest has to be his best work of the last ten years.
Cate Blanchett plays the titular character in Blue Jasmine, and although I’ve always been a luke-warm fan of the actress, she completely shocked me with her performance. Not only does Blanchett look great, but her unforgettable portrayal of the stoic-but-lost Jasmine allows one to sympathize with the character, and her process of starting over after the death of her husband.
Blanchett is a prime time performer (hashtag Dickie V) in Blue Jasmine, and busts out the big guns by capturing the big city arrogance of the character. She also steps it back enough to express the complexities of being taken advantage of, especially in a difficult scene with a handsy boss.
Whereas Blanchett is an old pro, Adele Exarchopoulos proves that she has a big future in cinema with her highly controversial performance in Blue Is The Warmest Color. The French actress was only nineteen at the time of shooting, and it is difficult to fathom just how emotionally and physically draining the experience must have been. The coming-of-age drama has been described as the “three hour lesbian film,” but despite the heavy sex scenes, the majority of the film depicts how the main character (Adele) transforms into a woman.
Exarchopoulos isn’t a classic beauty, and director Abdellatif Kechiche uses plenty of unflattering close-up shots to convey the day-to-day life of the character. The actress was unknowingly filmed while eating and walking in the street, which ended up making the final cut. The sex scenes with Lea Seydoux are only a small aspect of Blue Is The Warmest Color, and Exarchopoulos’ performance is incredibly restrained throughout to express the innocence of the character, but she also goes all-out in key moments.
Adele Exarchopoulos may not receive any nomination love from The Academy, but you can count on Cate Blanchett taking home Best Actress.
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