Who Makes the Best Career Decisions in Hollywood: ACTRESS EDITION
By Tricia Romano Posted Nov 27th 2009 06:00AM
Oscars. People are already placing bets on the top performances even if they haven't seen them yet (think the soon-to-be-released and highly-anticipated 'Nine'). There are some actresses who have been on the road to Oscardom ever since they began emoting; others found a way out of their earlier career mishaps and have reinvented themselves. PopEater looks at the "best of the best" and asks the critics to weigh in. (And be sure to check out our Actor Edition.)Nicole Kidman
For a spell, Nicole Kidman could do no wrong. After a slow start (remember 'Days of Thunder'), Kidman hit her stride with 'To Die For.' After that her career escalated, leading her to critically acclaimed roles in 'Moulin Rouge,' 'Dogville,' and her Oscar-winning turn in 'The Hours.' But lately, she's faltered said Karina Longworth of Vidiocy. "I assume that history will be kind to 'Dogville' and 'Birth,' but almost every other film Nicole Kidman has starred in between 'The Hour's and 'Nine' has turned out to be pretty embarrassing."
Michael Musto from Village Voice said, "After her Oscar, she took some admirable chances, but her attempt to be everything to all people by doing all kinds of movies backfired. She couldn't interest people in her art films, her pop culture campfests ('Stepford Wives', 'Bewitched'), or her splashy romances ('Australia'). Maybe 'Nine' and 'Rabbit Hole' will give her a return to quality, but I'd say she needs to define her role in Hollywood more clearly. She's a fantastic movie star and deserves the best."
Jodie Foster's career has been perplexing. She seems to have gotten the really good indie and award-winning vehicles out of the way and has since tried her hand at brainy, popcorn-action flick. Yeah, if we'd shot the rape scene in the 'Accused,' played a child prostitute in 'Taxi Driver' and faced off against Hannibal Lecter by the time we were 31, we'd just want to kick it, too.
"Her recent affair with the action genre is cool," said Louis Virtel of Movieline.com. "After winning two Oscars, I suppose you'd be more than content just running around, throwing Kristen Stewart in the panic room and freaking out on airplanes. I know I am."
Susan Sarandon has had a mixture of iconic roles and fluff. She has been forever cemented in pop culture history with her parts in the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' and 'Thelma and Louise'. And who could forget 'The Banger Sisters'? Well, we could per the advice from Moviefone's editor, Kevin Polowy.
"There doesn't seem to be all that much rhyme or reason to Sarandon's choices. She makes films on all scales from quiet indies to mid-level studio dramas and popcorn blockbusters. And then there's a 'Mr. Woodcock,' which I can only assume she signed onto after a night of heavy drinking," Polowy said.
Virtel couldn't agree more, "This is another actress who has weaned herself off Oscar magnets and seems fine picking light subjects. She starred in 'Elizabethtown' and 'Enchanted' in recent years, and I can't fault her for that. Mind you, I can fault the heck out of her for 'Speed Racer.'"
C is for Cate, but you could also say that the C stands for classy. Ms. Blanchett's choices, whether bizarre (see: her unique turn as Bob Dylan in 'I'm Not There') or mainstream ('The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'), it's always high-toned. Some people think her choices are just a little too serious and perfect.
"I actually hated Cate Blanchett in 'The Aviator,' and I think the Academy is obsessed with awarding mimicry. Otherwise, she's just too likable to criticize for long. I would prefer she play someone footloose and fancy-free soon, however, and ditch 'Elizabeth: The Multi-Platinum Age,'" said Virtel.
Ah, the other Kate. Though Kate Winslet finally won last year for 'The Reader,' a film with mixed critical reviews, you got the feeling that the Academy has been chomping at the bit to give her a little golden man. Her role as the zany girlfriend in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' was world's away from the Nazi guard in 'The Reader' as was her star-turning romantic lead in 'Titanic.' She's quickly shaping up to be the next Meryl Streep.
"She picks good scripts (you can excuse 'Revolutionary Road,' since it was her hubby's film) and gives old-style quality preferances that make her a top banana year after year. Don't fix it if it ain't broke," said Musto.
You would think that the queen of modern acting would have a 100 percent success rate. It turns out our critics could write a book about Meryl Streep's less perfect choices.
Polowy said: "Like they say, Meryl Streep could read a phone book and get nominated for an Oscar. Her career choices are impeccable, especially considering the criminally small allotment of roles for middle-aged women in Hollywood. What I especially respect is that she's so magnetic yet has taken so many antagonistic or villainous roles lately, from 'Manchurian Candidate' to 'The Devil Wears Prada' to 'Rendition' to 'Doubt.' It's almost as if she's gotten a little bored being lovable."
Virtel says that Streep is even less impressed. "Meryl Streep has roles plucked, washed and handed to her, so it seems unfair to compare her recent choices to those of other actresses with less pull. Furthermore, many of her roles are Oscar bait to begin with -- it's a no-brainer to play the stalwart nun in an adaptation of a Pulitzer-winning play. That said, I'm most impressed with how Streep infiltrates even the blandest movie with transcendent acting chops. Without her, 'The Devil Wears Prada' would be less than boring-- it would be Thursday-night Disney fare. In that regard, I'm glad she did 'Mamma Mia' too because at this point I relish any proof that she is fallible."
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