Tag Archives: Rachel Getting Married

Favourite Performances of the Decade: Part 5

Here’s a wrap-up to my Favourite Performances of the Decade series. I may edit the five posts occasionally if I see a performance that’s deserving of a spot, but I want to keep my list to 25.

Colin Firth – A Single Man (2009)

In Tom Ford’s visually lush debut film, Firth plays George, a man reeling from the sudden death of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode). Firth takes this difficult role on with all of the class and poise that you would expect from the charming Brit. Yet there’s also a profoundly moving undercurrent to his portrayal of a man who’s trying to desperately keep his facade intact while contemplating suicide. Firth’s performance may be subdued, but it’s the nuances in his body language and inflections that give away the deep sense of grief that George is experiencing. For me, it was the best performance of 2009.

Carey Mulligan – An Education (2009)

Audrey Hepburn comparisons ran rampant around the release of 2009’s An Education, but I think that it’s best to let Mulligan’s vivacious performance speak for itself. As a confident young woman who finds that she doesn’t know herself nearly as well as she thought, Mulligan is charming, witty, intelligent, and vulnerable all at once, and she hits the perfect emotion for every scene. Her Jenny is a joy to watch, and your eye is drawn to Mulligan during every moment that she is on screen. It’s rare to find this magnetic of a performance from such a relatively unknown young actor.

Keira Knightley – Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Keira Knightley has cemented her status as the queen of the period piece (think Atonement, Silk, The Duchess, King Arthur), but her most vibrant performance to date comes in Joe Wright’s adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. As heroine Elizabeth Bennett, Knightley brings a refreshing sense of modernity to the feisty role.

Peter Sarsgaard – Shattered Glass (2003)

Though usually relegated to supporting roles, Peter Sarsgaard (on the right side of the above photo) has proven himself to be one of the most diverse working actors. The character of Chuck Lane in Shattered Glass is a departure from some of the more troubled characters that Sarsgaard has taken on, but he thrives as the driven hard-ass of a newspaper editor, too. He takes what could have been a forgettable supporting role and turns it into a surprisingly gripping tour de force performance. From Chuck’s low-key moments in the newsroom to his inevitable explosions as the film unravels, Sarsgaard is perfect.

Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married (2008)

With a showy role in a modest film, Hathaway is both harrowing and hilarious as Kym, a recovering drug addict visiting home for her sister’s wedding. I’d had my doubts about Hathaway’s acting abilities, but this unforgettable performance instantly remedied that.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


Way, Way Back in 2008

With the Oscars just a day away, I felt like handing out a couple of my own biased awards. But then I realised that I haven’t seen nearly enough films from 2009 to fairly do that. So in order to uphold the Oscar spirit, I’m going to reflect all the way back to 2008 and pick a few of my favourite films and performances from a year where I’ve seen most of the big ones. Stay with me, I promise it’ll be fun (Note: not an actual promise).

Best Picture

The Dark Knight


Slumdog Millionaire

Snow Angels


And the winner is…

The Dark Knight

Back in 2008, it was a simpler time. There were only five best picture nominees (though if I had to choose ten, I’d rattle off The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, and Vicky Christina Barcelona as the additional five). Christopher Nolan created something of a masterpiece in his sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins. The storytelling is rock solid, and the film’s two and a half hour running time feels like a breeze. It’s not only great by superhero movie standards; it’s a taught, satisfying thriller.

Best Actor

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Synecdoche, New York

Sean Penn – Milk

Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sam Rockwell – Snow Angels

Michael Sheen – Frost/Nixon

And the winner is…

Michael Sheen

Frank Langella, while of course very good in Frost/Nixon, seemed to steal a lot of the attention away from my favourite performance of the movie, which came from the Michael Sheen. Playing the Frost to Langella’s Nixon, it’s a relatively low-key performance in a quiet film. But Sheen does a great job of conveying the frustration and moral quandaries that David Frost experiences in his time with the enigmatic former president.

Best Actress

Rebecca Hall – Vicky Christina Barcelona

Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married

Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky

Meryl Streep – Doubt

Michelle Williams – Wendy and Lucy

And the winner is…

Anne Hathaway

From her early work, I never would have guessed that Anne Hathaway would be nominated for an Oscar. But her gritty performance of recovering addict Kym is unforgettable. She’s wry and hilarious at times, and utterly heartbreaking at others.

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Angarano – Snow Angels

Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder

Aaron Eckhart – The Dark Knight

Emile Hirsch – Milk

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

And the winner is…

Heath Ledger

After his tragic death, Ledger became last year’s sentimental favourite at every awards show. But if things had gone differently, I think that Ledger still would have deservedly gone home with the Oscar. His portrayal of the Joker is terrifying and iconic in a way that few recent performances have achieved.

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Doubt

Penelope Cruz – Vicky Christina Barcelona

Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married

Samantha Morton – Synecdoche, New York

Tilda Swinton – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

And the winner is…

Amy Adams

As a young nun, Adams’ Sister James found herself in a moral dilemma, and Adams proved once again to be a very capable actor. Her simpering innocence was perfect, and she provided so much heart in an otherwise intense film. Adams, already receiving two nominations, will one day win an Oscar, for sure.

Best Director

Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

David Gordon Green – Snow Angels

Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight

Gus Van Sant – Milk

And the winner is…

Danny Boyle

His lush, sweeping images of India in Slumdog Millionaire were breathtaking, and the gritty interrogation scenes packed just as much of a punch. He’s a director whose proven that he can do anything (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Trainspotting) and he reinvented himself yet again in a wonderful way.

Best Original Screenplay



Rachel Getting Married

Synecdoche, New York

Vicky Christina Barcelone

And the winner is…

Rachel Getting Married

This screenplay by Jenny Lumet made the most mundane facets of life feel fresh and significant. All of the characters feel like real people, and the wonderful, subtle humour helps save the film from ever becoming gloomy.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button



Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Snow Angels

And the winner is…


Peter Morgan’s script (based on his own play) ramps up the tension between Frost and Nixon and creates a wonderful game of Chicken between the two. Great dialogue and pacing.

Best Ensemble Cast

The Dark Knight



Slumdog Millionaire

Snow Angels

And the winner is…


Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Victor Garber, and Alison Pill all bring a wonderful spark to this film about Harvey Milk’s fight for gay rights. It’s a treat watch them all interact and get their individual moments to shine.

Best Scenes (as spoiler-free as possible)

The Joker and the boats – The Dark Knight

Jamal’s last question – Slumdog Millionaire

Kym’s rehearsal dinner toast – Rachel Getting Married

Day in the park – Pineapple Express

The late-night phone call – Frost/Nixon

Best On-Screen Duos

Eve and Wall-E – Wall-E

Salim and Jamal – Slumdog Millionaire

Frost and Nixon – Frost/Nixon

The Joker and Batman – The Dark Knight

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts – Iron Man