Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1998: Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love

In the tenth Best Picture Winner to feature a Best Actress Winning performance, Gwyneth Paltrow plays a woman enthralled by the stage, particularly the work of William Shakespeare. Since women aren't allowed on the stage, she disguises herself as a man to play the role of Romeo in Shakespeare's newest creation, which leads to a passionate affair with the playwright himself.

First of all, I have to say that I feel like in general, this movie and this actress get a lot of unfair hate. It's pretty safe to claim that this is the worst Best Picture Winner; no one will argue with you, since everyone knows that Saving Private Ryan should have won that year. Well actually, I will argue with you, because I've actually seen all the Best Picture Winners and this is way better than some other winners I could mention, but I digress. It also seems to be the cool thing to diss Gwyneth Paltrow, for some reason. I've never really understood why everyone seems to hate her. I mean, yeah, I thought it was weird that she named her kid Apple, but she's a fine actress, and if she comes across as somewhat of an out-of-touch, wealthy celebrity, guess what? It's because she is. And so is literally every celebrity, so why does she get so much more hate than everyone else? Wow, sorry, I'm totally getting off track here.

Unfortunately, the point I have to make here is that while this is a better movie than it's given credit for, and Paltrow is a better actress than she's given credit for, I really don't think this is an Oscar-worthy performance. Mostly it consists of making out with Joseph Fiennes, which doesn't seem like it would be very difficult at all. Her male disguise is laughably unconvincing, which is kind of the point, but she could have put a little more effort into trying to make her voice more masculine. On the other hand, her British accent is very convincing, so at least she nails that. But overall the performance is underwhelming, I think mostly because she isn't given very much to do. She does have a few rather brilliant moments that provide glimpses of what she could do if given the opportunity. It's not a fabulous performance, but it's pretty good; it's just that in my opinion a Best Actress winning performance should have a lot more to it than this. Other aspects of this movie are much better and more interesting than her performance, and she's given better performances in other movies, so I stand by what I said before about this movie and this actress: they don't deserve the hate they get, but they also didn't deserve this Oscar.

So far, this is Paltrow's only Academy Award nomination. Do other people in the entertainment field also hate her? I guess, to be fair, she seems to be mostly in romantic comedies or superhero movies, which in general don't tend to get a lot of Oscar recognition. Except in 1998, for some reason.

Coming up next: Hilary Swank

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