2010 Calvin Awards: Best Actress
February 11, 2010
Although the winner of our Best Actress category is a stalwart in the industry, a number of the runners-up are fresh faces who offer a lot of potential in the future. There's still a dearth of quality roles for women, but the good news is that there is plenty of talent out there ready to blossom and develop in the near future.
The Calvin for Best Actress goes to Meryl Streep, for her portrayal of Julia Child in the decidedly female-targeted Julie & Julia. The veteran actress, who is becoming quite the box office draw in her own right as evidenced by the results of movies such as The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!, and It's Complicated, was able to take the larger-than-life chef/author Child and humanize her in a compelling manner. Her performance is more than just the funny voice. We rejoice in Julia's highs and we suffer with her when life throws her lemons. And Julia's relationship with her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) is one of the sweetest ones you'll ever see onscreen.
Second place goes to Streep's greatest competition at the Oscars this year, Sandra Bullock, who played Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. Initially resistant to take on this role, once Bullock met the real-life Tuohy she decided that she was a character whose story deserved to be told. Bullock played the role with gusto, making audiences fall in love with Tuohy as she and her family took on the responsibility for a young man named Michael Oher, helping him with his schooling, football career and providing him a real sense of family. It was a big year for Bullock, what with The Proposal and The Blind Side blowing away all of her past films at the box office. Will she top it off with an Oscar? It's looking like her chances are good.
Many people in North America weren't too familiar with Carey Mulligan prior to her marvelous work in An Education. She'd had a minor role in the Joe Wright-directed Pride & Prejudice and appeared on quite a bit of British television, including an extremely memorable appearance on Doctor Who as Sally Sparrow in the episode titled "Blink". Fans of the show were so captivated by her that there was talk of her becoming the next companion at the time, but instead she went on to star in the BBC Films-financed An Education as Jenny, a teenage girl living in the 1960s who falls in love with an older man (it's not really as icky as it sounds; the movie makes it clear that this type of relationship was more commonplace during this time period). Mulligan is winsome and charming, and perfectly believable as a naïve young woman. She's a rising star, and one to watch for in the coming years (she's already been cast in a number of solid, significant roles).
Fourth place goes to another breakout performer in Gabourey Sidibe, who has been turning heads for her work in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. As an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant (by her father) with her second child, she could have just let her character spiral the audience into a deep depression, but instead, Precious finds ways to persevere and keep her head high. Yes, the writing can make this happen, but it takes a good actress to make the audience believe it.