- Cate Blanchett in The Aviator
- Laura Linney in Kinsey
- Virgina Madsen in Sideways
- Sophie Okonedo in Hotel Rwanda
- Natalie Portman in Closer
5. Natalie Portman as Alice in Closer
Extremely interesting, Natalie Portman is just a wrong actress for the part. Alice, the mysterious stripper who is caught in the 4 way character narrative is a challenge for an actress because she is totally original and nothing like it has been seen. Unfortunately, all the cliches that escaped the writing, plagued Portman's characterization. When she cries, it's like a theater student trying their best to win over the audience, it's horrible. That coupled with the fact of the writing being so right and the performance so wrong, Portman just doesn't get anything right.
4. Laura Linney as Clara McMillen in Kinsey
Giving another interesting performance is Laura Linney playing the like-minded wife of Kinsey, Clara McMillen. But, like Natalie Portman, Laura Linney seems sort of out of place here, portraying Clara as a free minded woman who still seems a little conservative through all the sex talk her husband keeps throwing out. Linney plays a bland character trying to be the sex master that her husband is - it's alright, but not a particularly amazing performance.
3. Sophie Okonedo as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda
Sophie Okonedo's performance as the loving wife Tatiana is a role this category was made for. A loving, haunted wife supporting her strong, but conflicted husband no matter what. It's a flashy performance that isn't that long but Okonedo does made a good impression in her short time. Her big screaming scene is worth it, I just wish her performance had been a little more drawn out then it actually was.
2. Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator
You really have to look at the performance of Cate Blanchett as biggest Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn on an entertainment level, not as an actual accurate depiction. As I find The Aviator to be a near masterpiece, Blanchett fits perfectly in with the brilliant fastpace of the film and provides some of the film's best moments. She does not look or sound like Katharine Hepburn in any which way, but what she does is give a great, entertaining performance to watch within the context of the film.
1. Virginia Madsen as Maya in Sideways
Right from the beginning, I knew Madsen would dominate this category and I was right. Her powerful, emotional, intelligent performance as Maya is the highlight of Sideways and shows her great chops as an actress. As soon as she appears, she becomes the focal-point and few supporting performances can totally dominate a film the way she does here. Her description of why she loves wine, her reliving the past, and her communication of love and humor to Paul Gimatti was more then deserving of an Oscar.
Honorable Omissions: Mary Lynn Raskub in "Mysterious Skin", Lisa Long in "Mysterious Skin", Elisabeth Shue in "Mysterious Skin", Michelle Tractenburg in "Mysterious Skin", and Sandra Oh in "Sideways".