Monday, February 16, 2009


Paul Clark has been posting daily updates on The Muriel Awards, and if you haven’t been clicking the button on the sidebar to your right and keeping up that way, let me get you up to date very quickly:

Best Screenplay: Synecdoche, New York

Best Ensemble Performance: Rachel Getting Married

Best Music: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard for The Dark Knight

Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister for The Dark Knight

Best Body of Work 2008: Robert Downey Jr.

Best Cinematic Breakthrough: Martin McDonagh, writer-director of In Bruges

Best Film-related Web Site: The House Next Door

10th Anniversary Award for Best Picture 1998: Rushmore

25th Anniversary Award for Best Film 1983: The King of Comedy

50th Anniversary Award for Best Film 1958: Vertigo

That brings us to the first major category of the week leading up to the big reveal of the Muriel Award winner for Best Picture, which is timed to overshadow the presentation of the Oscars themselves this coming Sunday. I am a proud Muriel voter, but so far my picks haven’t been doing all that well (you can click on the links above to see a list of all the movies that were nominated in each category; most of the ones I voted for are consigned to the box of films that garnered one vote each). But today, finally, my favorite won—Rosemarie DeWitt for Best Supporting Performance (Female) in Rachel Getting Married. Coincidentally, Paul asked me to contribute a piece on De Witt’s performance. Here’s a taste:

“De Witt miraculously cruises avenues of empathy for a character who could easily be drawn as shrewish and insensitive; she makes us understand Rachel’s point of view and effortlessly creates a forceful characterization which protects that point of view, never letting it get buried for us as viewers the way it did for the rest of the family when Kym’s personal hell first enveloped them all. She tempers her character’s own narcissism and barely suppressed histrionics with a desire to maintain composure, as if that effort is the only thing preventing a complete collapse in the family dynamic, and yet somehow she never becomes strident or self-righteous. Rachel finally explodes when a series of lies told by Kym in the past are revealed, and here De Witt’s laser-sharp instincts for modulation allow her to display a rather awesome sense of control; her seething anger seems precisely right, yet never calculated, as if it were being exposed, to us, and to her, for the first time.

You can read the rest of my appreciation of De Witt’s performance, and check out the rankings of the other voters, by clicking here to visit the Muriel Awards at Silly Hats Only.

EXTRA ADDED BONUS: Here's a link to a terrific interview Rosemarie De Witt did with David Poland a few weeks back.


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