[EDITOR’S NOTE: Press Play presents “Should Win,” a series of video essays advocating winners in seven Academy Awards categories: supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture. These are consensus choices hashed out by a pool of Press Play contributors. Follow along HERE as Press Play decides the rest of the major categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Documentary. Important notice: Press Play is aware that our videos can not be played on Apple mobile devices. We are, therefore, making this and every video in this series available on Vimeo for these Press Play readers. If you own an Apple mobile device, click here.]
Pretty much all of this year’s Best Supporting Actress nominees are great, although a puking, pooping Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids may not exactly be the stuff of Oscar dreams. Bérénice Bejo offers a charming modern take on a silent film ingenue-turned-star. Jessica Chastain especially can do no wrong as The Help‘s Marilyn Monroe-style damsel in distress. And in that same film, Octavia Spencer offers a terrific steadying subversion as a maid who won’t tow the line. But it is Janet McTeer who should take this award. Albert Nobbs itself is nothing to write home about; its depiction of a woman masquerading as a male servant feels as dated as the myth of the tragic mulatto. McTeer is so subtly wrought as Hubert, a lesbian passing as a male painter, that she redeems the film. Too bad that Hollywood loves to lavish accolades upon straight people who play gay or transgendered, but rarely rewards actors who remain mum about their sexuality, as McTeer has. Wry and doggedly watchful, hers is the sort of unobtrusively generous performance that should define this category.
Lisa Rosman has reviewed films for Marie Claire, Time Out New York, Salon.com, LA Weekly, Us Weekly, Premiere and Flavorpill.com, where she was film editor for five years. She has also commentated for the Oxygen Channel, TNT, the IFC and NY1. You can follow Lisa on twitter here. Kevin B. Lee is Editor in Chief of Press Play. He is also a film critic and award-winning filmmaker. In addition to editing Keyframe, Kevin contributes to film publications and produces online video essays.