By disappointment media Staff
Sean Boelman's Pick: Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
Zhao Shuzhen’s performance in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell is not only the best supporting actress performance of the year, but also one of the best turns of the year as a whole. As the unknowingly terminally ill grandmother of the protagonist, Shuzhen brings a great deal of restraint to her character. In a film with a lead actress more known for her comedic tendencies, Shuzhen still ends up stealing the spotlight with her excellent comedic timing. Because her delivery is so effective, Awkwafina is able to give an (also wonderful) dramatic performance with a greater emphasis on the character’s emotions. The chemistry between Awkwafina and Shuzhen is also excellent, which is ultimately a very large part of the film’s success. It truly is difficult to resist the charm of Shuzhen’s Nai Nai.
Camden Ferrell's Pick: Taylor Russell, Waves
In Waves, Taylor Russell delivers an incredibly complex and mature performance. Playing the daughter of a Floridian family going through a crisis, she utilizes her screen time to give a harrowing and affecting portrayal of recovery. She captures pain and vulnerability in a way that was seen seldom to never this year in film. She juggles all of these complex themes while also carrying a sweet and emotional coming of age story in the latter half of the film. Her chemistry with the rest of the cast including her father (played by Sterling K. Brown) is impeccable, and their relationships feel very fleshed out. Her performance is incredibly deep and intricate, and it’s one that warrants repeat viewings. With the best performance by a supporting actress this year, Russell proves that she is one of the best young actors working today.
Dan Skip Allen's Pick: Laura Dern, Marriage Story (and Little Women)
In Marriage Story, Laura Dern portrays Nora Fanshaw. This cunning, cutthroat divorce lawyer commands every scene she's in. When Johansson's character isn't all in on the divorce, Fanshaw just decides for her what she needs. Acting opposite Alan Alda and Ray Liotta as the other lawyers in the film, she holds her own and imposes her will on these guys. Baumbach takes a lot from his own life when writing and directing films. I could tell he had experienced divorce in his life at some point. These characters were spot on and, Dern's performance as Fanshaw was the best in the movie.
Dern is also in Greta Gerwig's Little Women. She portrays Marmee March, the mother of four young women coming into their own. She has a lot to deal with involving a tragedy and her husband going off to war in the Civil War. Little Women has an incredible cast. Dern could have been lost in this terrific cast but she isn't. She holds her own with the likes of Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, and others. She really has to go the gamut of emotions with everything she has going on with her family. Dern is terrific in Little Women as well as Marriage Story, but if she gets a nom it'll be for Marriage Story.
What are your favorite performances of 2019? Let us know!
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.