Category Blog
What makes a great actor great

The entertainment awards season is upon us and I am often asked who I think will win in the best actor categories from the various award shows. I am usually hesitant and don’t feel comfortable answering this question until I have seen all of the performances.

Of all the nominated actors and actresses in all of the various showcases (Oscars, SAG Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA, etc.), the one category I feel qualified to have an opinion is the Best Actress Oscar-nominated women. I have actually seen of the films and actors selected. I think all of the women were remarkable and deserve to be honored.

When coaching my actors, I tell them that they have three jobs, they must tell the writer’s story as truthfully as possible, move the audience and be interesting!

When giving notes in class, I base them on, is it truthful, is it evocative, and would I pay to see it?

Unlike some years, when, if a certain actor didn’t win, I would feel they had been clearly robbed, any of the actresses nominated this year could walk away with the Oscar and I would be happy. My fleeting thoughts on those nominated are as follows:


Ana De Armas for Blonde:

While I didn’t watch the entire movie, I watched enough to be impressed by her total immersion and commitment to portraying Marilyn Monroe. I think she had the voice right, the way she walked, moved and used her body was believable and most importantly, I believe she behaved as Marilyn Monroe probably would have in the given circumstances. I don’t think she will win because the movie wasn’t great.


Cate Blanchette for Tar:

Cate Blanchette is one of my favorite actresses and she never disappoints. I loved her performance as a legendary orchestra conductor and as always, she was believable and compelling. I don’t think she will win because I don’t believe the role wasn’t as challenging as some of the others in this category.


Michelle Yeoh for Everything, Everywhere All at Once:

Most people loved this movie more than I did. That being said, I adore Michelle Yeoh and I saw her in a recent interview where she stated that the most challenging aspect of the role for her was to act as if she wasn’t good at martial arts, which is what most people know her for. I liked her in this, but again, I’m not sure it was as challenging as some of the other roles.


Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie:

There has been so much controversy around this woman and her nomination that I have a feeling it may be too big an obstacle for her to actually win. The controversy stems from two other magnificent actresses, both, women of color, Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler were overlooked. I agree, this is egregious and mind-numbing in this day and age, but this is not the fault of Ms. Riseborough. She was magnificent and her range of emotion was fantastic as was her commitment to all stages of her character’s incredible arc. The character was beautifully drawn and that is a plus. In addition, I have often said that actors who play extremely flawed people often win awards. They have the flaw to hook into and create a sympathetic character that the audience will root for, and sympathize.


Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans:

Like Cate Blanchette, Michelle Williams is another of my favorite actors, and she was amazing in this film. Her commitment to playing an actual person, Steven Spielberg’s mother, was truly masterful. I have only seen Spielberg’s mother at award shows but given that he directed the movie, I am confident that she brought enough of the actual woman into the performance to make her believable. To me, she disappeared into the character and her commitment to the emotional range, which was huge, was brilliant. Given how many elements of the actual person she had to articulate, I feel that this was probably the most challenging role of those nominated.

All of these actresses were truthful and interesting. Some had roles that were more moving than others. Some parts were certainly more challenging and demanding. That being said, I believe Michelle Williams will win this year’s Oscar.