Friday, February 27, 2009

Kate Winslet

With the exception of Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's incredibly moving Oscar acceptance speech ("Most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what everyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours."), Kate Winslet's Best Actress win was my favorite moment of the night:

She's so poised and self-possessed for someone so young (33), and yet it's also clear how thrilled she is and how nervous and giddy and grateful. In case, I've always liked Winslet in a casual sort of way, but a series of factors have conspired recently to make me love her (not the least of which is her refusal to conform to standard conventions of Hollywood anorexia). In any case, I thought I'd share a segment from the cover article on Winslet from the the March 2 issue of Time Magazine (H/T Women and Hollywood):
In an industry that insists that most actresses remain giggly, pliable and princessy well into middle age, Winslet has somehow avoided that pigeonhole entirely. She doesn't play girls; she never really has. She plays women. Unsentimentalized, restless, troubled, discontented, disconcerted, difficult women. And clearly, it's working for her. Her two most recent performances — as Hanna Schmitz, the illiterate former concentration-camp guard in The Reader, and as April Wheeler, the anguished, rageful 1950s wife and mother in Revolutionary Road — have earned her two Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild prize, a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and her sixth Oscar nomination, a benchmark that no actor so young has ever before reached.

At 33, Winslet has become not only the finest actress of her generation but in many ways also the perfect actress for this moment. She's intense without being humorless. She's international in outlook (though raised in Reading, England, in a middle-class family of working actors, she now lives in New York City and won those Oscar nominations for playing three Americans, two Brits and a German). She's ambitious but cheerfully self-deflating, capable of glamour but also expressive of a kind of jolting common sense. She has a strong professional ethic, which she somehow balances with her domestic life (she and Mendes have a son, Joe, 5, and Winslet has a daughter, Mia, 8, from her first marriage — she takes both kids to school most days). And, cementing her status as an icon of the Era of New Seriousness, she really likes hard work. Assuming she's paid her taxes, are there still any openings in the Cabinet?

What are you favorite Winslet movies/roles? I especially love her in Heavenly Creatures (1994), her first major role, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), which is just generally an amazing film.


Anonymous said...

I adore Heavenly Creatures, Sense and Sensibility, and Titanic.

I know Titanic is overexposed, but that role may be her best.

Aviva DV said...

I think you're right, Titanic gets a bad rap because it was so popular, but the acting in it is really great! I think that might of been the first movie in which I saw Winslet, then Sense and Sensibility maybe, which was one of my favorites for a long time...