Every year, when the day for Academy Awards nominations comes, all the critics in the world, including film journalists and an army of fans on Twitter or Facebook, begin to discuss the possible outcomes. There is always a list of snubbed actors, directors or film titles. It feels like you can’t satisfy everyone. There is always someone who will be pleased with nominations and someone who will be unhappy, upset and disturbed. The same way people have reacted to Lady Gaga’s lack of acknowledgement by the Academy. The question is, was she so good that she deserved to take Penelope Cruz, Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart or Olivia Colman’s place? Why is there an outcry for a non-existential issue?
The important aspect of acting is when an actor can adapt the character, capture its essence, feel it, deliver a heartbeat and make us believe they are who they portray on the scene. There are many processes behind it. It starts with the rehearsal, changing accent, if necessary, gaining weight or losing it. Yes, it’s method acting. But to be a good actor, you don’t have to be Daniel Day-Lewis, Marlon Brando, Christian Bale, Jim Carey, Charlize Theron, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain or even Nicole Kidman. Because all the abovementioned actors know well how to sincerely and emotionally express the characters they portray through their masterful performances. Does Lady Gaga qualify to be called a method actor, and why does her fanbase and many critics believe the Academy snubbed her?
Why Jessica Chastain deserved her nomination for her performance in a leading role in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” over Lady Gaga:
As soon as the film starts, you realize the person you see on your small or big screen is Tammy Faye. Jessica Chastain embodied the controversial televangelist. She made her empathetic, humane and smart, yet funny too. In her tour-de-force performance, Chastain demonstrated that she is not acting for fun. She is a serious artist who knows how to showcase the range of emotions of a very complex character from start to end. It was not just a single scene. It was in every angle – a masterful performance by Chastain that cemented her in the cinematic world as one of the most talented actors to date who will go all out to prove she is not joking around. So yes, comparing Lady Gaga’s portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani and Jessica Chastain’s Tammy Faye is like comparing a toddler`s painting vs Leonardo Da Vinci`s Mona Lisa Smile. I am pretty sure we all can tell the difference.
Why Olivia Colman deserved her nomination for her performance in a leading role in “Lost Daughter” over Lady Gaga:
Olivia Colman’s Leda is a highly complex character to portray. First of all, she is a mother who left her family behind because she is free-spirited and prefers her freedom over her children. She is obsessed with her past. Also, she is obsessed and fully absorbed with a young woman named Nina (Dakota Johnson), in whom Leda sees her younger version. The importance of this character is what we see, what she makes us believe in and why we must agree or disagree with her life choices. Through Colman’s performance, it was indeed visible the crucial part of motherhood, struggle as a single mother or as a mother who wants to live her life while young. Colman delivered that flawlessly. Because at the end of the day, where you go, you can escape the past; you can stop thinking about it. You may have fun with others, party day and night and hang out with new people. But you can’t escape your true self. Somewhere deep in one’s mind, the scar in the heart will get broader and bigger. It will hunt you down, the same way it hunts down Colman’s Leda. And because of Colman’s superb performance, you will be on the same wavelength with her. So can we say that Lady Gaga delivered even 1 percent of what was delivered by Colman? The answer is sharp and bold – NO!
Why Penélope Cruz deserved her nomination for her performance in a leading role in “Parallel Mothers” over Lady Gaga:
First of all, “Parallel Mother” is written and directed by Pedro Almodovar. Maybe his name alone does not secure a nomination of any kind. But Almodovar is one of those rare filmmakers that know how to capture the feminine world and tell the story of a woman better than most female writers.
As soon as I started watching the film, I was fully absorbed by Cruz’s Janis. It takes only a second for Cruz to emotionally capture this strong and independent woman who agreed to raise her only child when her boyfriend Arturo (Israel Elejalde) refused to take part in the upbringing of his child because of the child’s lack of resemblance with him. He simply did not believe it was his child. In the meantime, Janis is suspicious how it’s possible that the child she’s raising as her own has no resemblance with her either. So she does a DNA test that confirms the worst – she is not the biological mother. The problem arose at the hospital when two mothers gave birth on the same day, and the two newborns were swapped accidentally. What happens next is something I should not be telling. But there is one particular scene that must bring Cruz the award. That scene alone holds so much power, and for Lady Gaga to deliver a performance of that caliber would take years of training and training and training. Therefore, there is no way, not in this lifetime, you can compare Lady Gaga’s House of Gucci performance with Cruz’s portrayal of Janis. They’re worlds apart; it’s simply impossible to compare.
Why Nicole Kidman deserved her nomination for her performance in a leading role in “Being the Ricardos” over Lady Gaga:
I mean, seriously. Can we even compare Lady Gaga’s acting with Nicole Kidman’s? Lady Gaga in Gucci is like a beginner in swimming, while Nicole Kidman is an experienced deep-diver with an ability to explore and extract all different types of emotions. Have you seen Birth, Rabbit Hole, Dogville, Moulin Rouge, To Die For, Destroyer, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Others, Bombshell, Eyes Wide Shut, The Hours, Lion, The Paperboy, Malice, Birthday Girl or Big Little Lies? If you have seen at least one of them, then you should by now realize what kind of actor just got nominated. Her dual performance in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” is everything every movie loved would like to see. Yes, it may not be for everyone but what Nicole Kidman does is she recreates Lucy in Lucille Ball’s head. You never see the comedic icon; you see the woman behind it that recreates the most recognizable face on American television. When you see Lucille Ball, you see Lucy, you see a businesswoman, a funny woman, a very serious woman who nobody would want to mess with. She is also a wife, an artist, and has a creative mind. All this fit into Nicole Kidman’s brilliant performance. The ending of the film is enough to secure the nomination. And there are plenty of other scenes that I could come up with, but for that, I will have to write a separate article.
Why Kristen Stewart deserved her nomination for her performance in a leading role in “Spencer” over Lady Gaga:
“Spencer” is one of the toughest films I’ve seen in a very long time. Prince Charles’ infidelity with Camilla Parker Bowles has become public. The whole world knows the truth. The image of the life of happily ever after has scumbled. Princess Diana arrived at Sandringham alone. She drives the car by herself. And when she arrives, everybody expects her to follow the rules; eat at a specified time, change dresses according to occasions. Overall, she must obey, obey and obey the rules.
The most heartbreaking scene was the exchange with Prince Charles when Princess Diana discussed Prince Charles’ habit of hunting or keeping her children away. Prince Charles admits that he does not like the process itself. But when Princess Diana asks why, her husband says, “Sometimes you have to force your body to do what you hate for the sake of the country,” implying more on the two’s intimate relationship. Prince Charles appeared to hate it so much but did it for the country’s sake. Watching that scene alone will make you wish that this kind of exchange had never happened in real life. Because if it did, that’s something awful to hear from a husband or wife. But free-spirited Diana does not want that and will break every rule she can to not go insane.
The script is so detailed and vivid, luckily, Kristen Stewart did not take it for granted. As an actress, she grasped the concept and acted on it as a master of the craft. And no actress could do what Stewart did. Despite always being sceptical of Stewart’s acting ability, I am happy to be proven wrong any day of the time with the magnitude of performance I have witnessed in “Spencer”. As for Gaga’s portrayal in House of Gucci, there was one particular scene I would expect her to cry. But there were no tears when her character needed to burst into one.
Who got snubbed by the Academy Awards?
Those who should be unhappy about missed nominations are Jennifer Hudson, Rachel Zegler, Thomasin McKenzie for her outstanding performance in Last Night in Soho and the magnificent Renate Reinsve for her mind-blowing performance in The Worst Person in the World. And all these names are just a few that the Academy should have recognized because they were as good as the nominated actresses. But was Lady Gaga close to any of them in terms of her performance? Let’s be honest and not biased about it – she was not. And the Academy did the right thing by prioritizing quality instead. Ruth Negga is a whole different story. To understand how great and sublime she was in Passing is like a switched mindset that will take you straight to an era that will break your heart into millions of pieces.