25 UNDERRATED/OVERLOOKED SUPPORTING ACTRESSES (2000-2009)


Whitney Able
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
(Jonathan Levine, 2006)

If you’ve never watched, let alone ever heard of, this 2006 teen slasher flick called “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” then don’t feel so dumb. The film never got the U.S. distribution it so very much deserved, even while being a much more intelligent and inventive teen dice-them-up horror film compared to the genre flicks that get wide releases ever so often by the big studios. While the film’s main highlight is the lead performance of up-and-comer Amber Heard, the almost entirely as complex and disturbing performance of supporting actress Whitney Able is of special note. Drawing more to the cliché preppy girl character than one would ever want to endure, this painfully heartbreaking work from this arguably unknown young woman is mesmerizing to watch; multidimensional, honest, and somewhat chilling.


Lacey Chabert
Mean Girls
(Mark Waters, 2004)

There is something so biting about Gretchen Weiners’ delivery of “That’s so fetch!” Maybe it’s the way it sometimes recalls her own jealousy over fellow bitchy “plastic” Regina George, or maybe even how it gives herself a single moment to feel she has actually accomplished something of importance. When Regina shoots down Gretchen’s in-the-works catchphrase, we are presented with one of the film’s most well-acted scenes. Lacey Chabert (mostly known as the voice of Eliza Thornberry on that Nickelodeon show us younger adults watched as wee lads) breaks down into a “bitch-fit” that painfully reminds us of what kind of girl Gretchen is turning into. She may be rich and even may be the daughter of the guy that invented Toaster Strudel, but Gretchen is not happy and probably will never be happy because she too caught up in being devastated over not being perfect. Chabert is funny in the film, for sure, but she also gives the character a depressing edge that puts her above the other members of the cast.


Toni Collette
The Night Listener
(Patrick Stettner, 2006)

The beauty in Australian actress Toni Collette’s personal acting aesthetic is that she can inhabit a role without forcing it down our throats that she is doing a damn good job at it. You watch one of her performances and you just forget about the actress because she is so entirely possessed. Collette has done it myriads of times, on film and television, and in 2006’s immense sleeper hit “The Night Listener” (also starring Robin Williams and Rory Culkin), Collette proved once again how chameleonic she can be by portraying a myriad of characters, both in the head of Williams’ character and in reality where her character begins to present itself in the picture’s most chilling moments. Without breaking a sweat, Collette really grits down and becomes a growling dog.


Jennifer Connelly
Little Children
(Todd Field, 2006)

While the Academy recognized the fantastic work of Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley in 2006’s “Little Children”, they failed to recognize the just-as-good work from Patrick Wilson and Jennifer Connelly. Connelly is one of those rare actresses that can express almost all emotions without words and with her eyes. She expressed this beautifully and at her fullest capacity throughout her screentime in 2001’s Oscar-winner “A Beautiful Mind”, but it’s certainly her much smaller, but effective, work in “Little Children” that comes as the close runner-up. Playing the workaholic mother who still cares for her family, no matter how clueless she is to the frustrations he places upon her husband, and begins to pick up the clues that her spouse may be having an affair. Want to see how fantastic Connelly emotes with the eyes? Watch the scene at the dinner when her and hubby Wilson invite Winslet and company over. Words can’t describe the myriad emotions that the woman feels at that fascinatingly draining moment.


Hope Davis
The Weather Man
(Gore Verbinski, 2005)

Nicolas Cage’s performance in “The Weather Man” is easily one of his most under-appreciated. Which is bizarre considering it’s one of his quieter performances of the aughts (even moreso than one-half of his characters in “Adaptation.”) and most of his detractors complain that he almost always plays over-the-top characters anymore. Cage’s work here is truly good, but I think a lot of that comes from the immense support he gets from fellow co-stars Michael Caine and Hope Davis. Davis, who was also extremely good in 2003’s “American Splendor” as well as “Proof” the same year “The Weather Man” was released, gets to play the naggy wife. Only, unlike most screen presentations of this overused character, Davis punctures her character with genuine humanity. This woman is naggy because she has the RIGHT to be naggy. And that’s where she gains so much poignancy in her performance. The fact that Davis perfectly balances the drama and dark comedy of the screenplay with such believable ease is such a bonus.


Laura Dern
We Don’t Live Here Anymore
(John Curran, 2004)

Whenever Laura Dern comes on the screen during the 2004 drama “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”, everything around her fades out. This is simply a true example of a scene-stealing performance, only Dern steals many of them over and over again. Dern’s character is that of a scorned and self-pitying alcoholic mother who slowly decomposes emotionally after she discovers an affair going on between her husband (Mark Ruffalo) and her friend (Naomi Watts). Dern hits every chord of her character’s wave of emotion with a blaze of glory, bringing down the house in the most realistic of ways. Dern isn’t the most beautiful woman out there (especially when compared to the luminous Ms. Watts), but Dern makes you understand her and sympathize with her, even while she gets so deep beneath breaking her own sexual comfort zone for the sake of venegance on her pathetic hubby that it begins to unsettle us – just as much as it does herself.


Siobhan Fallon
Dancer in the Dark
(Lars von Trier, 2000)

Lars von Trier has a way with his ladies. Not just his leading ladies either, but also with the supporting ones. We can savor the brilliance of Emily Watson in “Breaking the Waves”, but there was still Katrin Cartlidge on the sides giving us a raw performance of unbelievable power. And then Nicole Kidman may have been incredibly vulnerable and powerful in “Dogville”, but there was still Patricia Clarkson there with her wicked edge giving us all the chills and gut-churning that makes the film’s most unforgettable scene so memorable. Those who were thoroughly moved by 2000’s “Dancer in the Dark”, however, are almost always feeling weak during the last act. Bjork is rightfully thanked with her surprisingly fearless work, but we also need to remember who stole those final scenes. Siobhan Fallon’s devestating work as the warden is what gives the viewer the chills and insecurity that von Trier was obviously striving for with this story in the first place. The tears in her eyes, the urge to make things stop, and the acceptance that she can’t is difficult to watch. Fallon proves without hardly speaking a word that she understands this woman’s pain through the beautiful vocals she displays. And the fact that she isn’t sure of this woman’s innocence gives the scene its most haunting moment.


Anna Faris
May
(Lucky McKee, 2003)

One of, if not the finest, horror film of the aughts, 2003’s “May” is a masterpiece in psychological drama that digs deep within the bruising feelings of its character in ways few films ever achieve. Angela Bettis, the lead actress, gives one of the decade’s greatest lead actress performances and its safe to say that the actors and actresses supporting her come very close to that level. Anna Faris, well-regarded comedienne, probably gives her darkest performance before her brilliant work in “Observe and Report” here, playing a lesbian co-worker of our title character. The complete respect Faris pays to her character’s sexual orientation is completely refreshing, but what gives her performance a hint of the macabre is the way she almost preys on poor May, seducing her in ways that go past sexy and seductive to thoroughly creepy. Faris goes from darkly funny to wickedly scary almost seamlessly, working it so well that her final scene becomes one of the more unforgettable moments of the entire film.


Vera Farmiga
Joshua
(George Ratliff, 2007)

Speaking of creepy characters, did anybody happen to check out that little thriller that came out in 2007 called “Joshua”? Not only is it a smart, suspenseful, and well-written picture, but it’s also home to beautifully acted performances by Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga. Farmiga, playing her most disturbing part to date, is a mother who has just given birth to her second child. Soon, she begins to suffer a nervous breakdown and deeply falls into schitzophrenia. Doesn’t help that her first-born son is a dementedly evil child bent on manipulating her and her husband (Rockwell) into madness so that he can live with his gay uncle of whom he has a crush on. It’s so refreshing that “Joshua” takes the recycled storyline of the child driving his/her parents into madness and makes it so that one of the parents is already insane. And oh boy, if Farmiga doesn’t chew the hell out of her scenes. The highlight moment is when she accidentally cuts her leg open and begins to rub the blood on her leg while engaging in a mother-son conversation with little Joshua. It’s a brilliant and shattering scene that could have been laughable, but Farmiga helps the viewer realize the possibility that her son might just be taking after his mother’s pure marriage with insanity.


Sarah Michelle Gellar
Southland Tales
(Richard Kelly, 2007)

I don’t think most stop to think and realize how unbelievably complex and challenging Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character is in “Southland Tales”. Gellar must satirize the porn industry with that of MTV-generation reality celebrity, show that she is a woman with immense psychic abilities, make us believe that she loves an action movie star, and balance this all with doses of zany humor and philosophical drama. And the funny thing is, Gellar succeeds completely with it, delivering all of zingers with pizzazz, getting us emotionally involved with her plight to accepting her uncontrollable fate, and doing this all in about fifteen minutes of screentime. What could have easily turned into another of the film’s campy characters (Wallace Shawn, anybody?) is saved by Gellar’s pure knack of dramedy and the supernatural (just as she did in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series). But the kicker is while she uses those same skills, she still breathes life into and becomes this whole other character (no Gellar or Buffy Summers to be found) – becoming the film’s pinnacle female character and, in director Richard Kelly’s Biblical parallelisms, the Whore of Babylon. This proves even more that nobody rocks the cock like Krysta Now. And I mean NOBODY.


Amber Heard
The Informers
(Gregor Jordan, 2009)

Amber Heard is barely in “The Informers” with a few handful of scenes. On paper, her character is almost an empty part, meant to be an object of pure sex appeal in a Bret Easton Ellis adaptation – almost in the same vein of Jessica Biel’s air-headed character in 2002’s “The Rules of Attraction”. But, unlike Biel, Heard is so naturally in-tune with her character that she turns a would-have-been vacant sexpot role into a socially relevant figure. Heard’s fearlessness to go almost entirely nude for most of her scenes is a testament to how dedicated and comfortable she is in this woman’s skin, and the compelling way she slowly becomes much more prominent in the lives of those around her is difficult to digest. Heard’s character begins to put on more clothes throughout the movie, almost as if she is trying to hide her shame and despair. But she is so full of childlike innocence and a craving for that all-American dream that she can’t help but wait for that sun to help her come back to the wild times; even if it’s so obvious it’ll never rise again. Seriously, one of the finest performances the decade saw.


Anne Heche
Birth
(Jonathan Glazer, 2004)

Jonathan Glazer’s “Birth” is the best Kubrick film Stanley Kubrick never directed. Sweepingly quiet, layered with pure emotion, and subtly gentle in its approach to a familiar subject. Nicole Kidman’s marvelous lead performance is commanding without bravura, and a supporting turn by Anne Heche is almost on the same level, moving one to tears when she gives the film some of its most heartfelt moments. (And there are many.) Aching and hurting, Heche is a revelation in her scenes as she opens up the very bottom of her broken heart in order to meld it. The way she frustratingly buries the gift she as for Kidman’s character in the first scenes all the way to that scene with little Cameron Bright, Heche delivers her career-best performance in one of the finest films of the past ten years.


Juliette Lewis
Whip It
(Drew Barrymore, 2009)

Juliette Lewis is fun in “Whip It” because she is easily the perfect female antagonist for a sports film focused on roller derby. However, first-time director Drew Barrymore’s approach to this kind of material is totally refreshing through the way it makes all the characters pure flesh and blood. While Lewis could be called the film’s antagonist at the start of the film, upon approaching the final minutes her character has become so three-dimensional and so well-constructed that labeling her a villain is simply wrong. While most sports movie bad guys seem to only want to defeat the villain, Lewis’ character is in it to win it for her own personal reasons; just as lead Ellen Page’s character does. And that’s what makes the film’s climactic scene so rewarding. You root for both sides of the team… even the bad girl. Lewis once again proves her incredible range.


Eva Mendes
We Own the Night
(James Gray, 2007)

The first time we see Eva Mendes’ character in James Gray’s drama “We Own the Night”, she is lying on a couch waiting for Joaquin Phoenix to approach her. When he does, they begin to engage in a lustful combination of kissing and foreplay. And then there is a knock on the door, and they must put their clothes back on. This opening scene is so crucial in setting up the relationship between Mendes and Phoenix’s characters just as much it is setting the film in the sexual freedom of the 80s. But the irony is there is no freedom for Phoenix’s relationship with Mendes. His world is too occupied and dominated by others around him. Mendes is unexpectedly moving in “We Own the Night”; hardly saying anything throughout the film and yet proving to us that she genuinely loves this man, but can no longer risk her happiness, love, sexuality, and life in the balance of him and his violent world. Her slow approach to making her final decision is one of the best attributes of this very underrated picture, mainly because Mendes is so damn truthful to the heart of her character.


Brittany Murphy
The Dead Girl
(Karen Moncrieff, 2006)

“The Dead Girl” is separated into five segments focusing on five different women. The first four segments are about how the late Brittany Murphy’s dead character affects these different women, and then the fifth segment is when we finally meet the deceased girl. Up until that last segment, however, we have come to understand this girl as some kind of mythical being. But it’s when the final fifteen minutes come around we realize that this murdered creature of the night was so mentally unstable with her reality and the realities of those around her. Murphy, mostly known for her comedic work, is completely devastating in this full-blown dramatic role (one of the few that she did that really do rise above most of her already enjoyable comedic work), changing her looks, voice, and charisma into a whole other being. For fifteen minutes, she holds the screen for us, disturbing us and worrying us. And then when the final scene comes around we try to reach out and help, but realize that this fate is unavoidable for her. That final expression of Murphy’s face is the single most chilling shot in the entire movie. I’ll never forget that face. Ever.


Lupe Ontiveros
Chuck & Buck
(Miguel Arteta, 2000)

When the childlike Buck (Mike White) starts a conversation with the good-natured Beverly (Lupe Ontiveros) about producing his play, we expect an uncomfortable turn-down. However, Beverly is one of those rare people with a purely beautiful soul and Ontiveros proves this without the conventions of the good-hearted character cliché. The humor in Ontiveros’ performance comes from her personality and the way she behaves. There aren’t any jokes, this is all humor played from human action and this makes for the best scenes in an already solid film. Ontiveros doesn’t necessarily have a lot to play with here, but she turns in something special and this stems from the fact that her performance is so naturally human. It doesn’t feel stagy or performed at all… it’s lived in. And Ontiveros becomes one of, if not THE most memorable aspect of this little gem of an indie.


Anna Paquin
25th Hour
(Spike Lee, 2002)

In “25th Hour”, we first meet Anna Paquin’s character in class where she takes the class my storm with her personal views on things. She’s the kind of rebellious and intelligent Gregg Araki character that exists in real life… or so it seems. While Paquin doesn’t necessarily have a large part in “25th Hour”, she does play it with an ambiguous complexity. Her professor (Philip Seymour Hoffman) already seems to be building some kind of lust for the girl, something she may or may not be aware of. And when she appears at the club that he attends later that night, it becomes a fascinating cat-and-mouse game of professor trying to read the mind of this girl. We never really fully grasp onto understanding Paquin’s character until her final scene, and when it arrives it shakes us in ways we didn’t expect, just as it does Hoffman. But in the end, it should have been so obvious to us as we realize that these things are much more shallow than they seem when questioned.


Amanda Peet
Changing Lanes
(Roger Michell, 2002)

The shortest performance on this list, but it’s still so very deserving of being on here. “Changing Lanes” was a solid Hollywood release, although not without its flaws. But the film’s most defining moment, for me at least, is the brief four minute performance of Amanda Peet. With only two short scenes, Peet plays the wife of the lead Ben Affleck. Her first scene takes place in a restaurant where Affleck meets her. Somehow, in those three minutes, Peet goes from chillingly forgiving wife (finding Affleck is having an affair) to conniving and controlling daughter (using the affair to push Affleck into doing illegal activity for his boss, her father). Throughout this scene, Peet is utterly frightening, using a monotonous voice that washes her husband away in a false innocence. It’s great, subtle acting that only gets better in her second scene in which all is pulled out in front of her and her father at another dinner. When she realizes she has failed her father and husband, she breaks down into an uncontrollable silent fit of rage and disgust. Her final evil glance at her husband is somehow uplifted with some kind of profound poignancy. It’s as if the character is breaking out of some brainwashed shell. Incredibly layered and wonderfully textured acting.


Winona Ryder
A Scanner Darkly
(Richard Linklater, 2006)

Winona Ryder was becoming one of the best actresses of her generation during the late 80s and early 90s. Sadly, a personal event in her life was a nuclear bomb that blew any her career faster than you can say “BOOM!” Ryder, however, has still managed to give some good to great performances this decade. And none of them were better than her complicated and fractured portrayal of a cocaine-addicted loner in “A Scanner Darkly”. In Richard Linklater’s rotoscoped animated film, the actors are still given fresh room to act (their performances are still on screen, albeit drawn-over to make them appear cartoonish) so I feel it is acceptable to add this performance. Not only because Ryder is exceptionally expressive with her eyes here (just as she almost always is) but because she is also just wonderfully persuasive and commanding with her soft, raspy voice. Where her character goes throughout Linklater’s film is best left for you to see for yourself, but Ryder really pulls through to give a wonderful performance that proves she still has what it takes. Now if only others would see that.


Chloe Sevigny
The Brown Bunny
(Vincent Gallo, 2004)

Chloe Sevigny is remembered as being in “The Brown Bunny” for all the wrong reasons. Truth be told, why everyone seems to hold it to infamy that she performs oral sex on her then-boyfriend / the director Vincent Gallo is beyond me because while graphic, the scene is also one of the more bitter and depressing sex scenes in a long time. And it also pains me because while Sevigny is extraordinarily good in that scene, she is also very emotionally devastating in all of her other scenes as well. This is a well-rounded character that whenever she opens her mouth to speak, we feel her pain and her resentment. And we also feel her desire bubbling in the most unnecessary of times. It’s a truly sexual performance, but not an arousing one. There is so much dread and pain in Sevigny’s character and it’s so apparent due to her complete blend into this confused woman. Struggling and repressing, Sevigny is riveting here, proving more and more why she’s one of the best young actresses working today.


Kristen Stewart
Into the Wild
(Sean Penn, 2007)

And speaking of young actresses, how about we move on to Miss Kristen Stewart? Before finding overblown fame for the “Twilight” films, Stewart was a relatively unknown indie actress who appeared in films for Griffin Dunne, David Gordon Green, and David Fincher. Her performance in 2009’s “Adventureland” was easily one of the very best of its year and that film is surely one of the best coming-of-age films I’ve witnessed. But there’s a performance she gave two years earlier, in a film called “Into the Wild”, that is truly shows the scorching honesty in Stewart’s acting. Sean Penn’s 2007 drama has a few scenes halfway through in which lead actor Emile Hirsch finds himself bonding with Stewart’s sad-eyed young girl. However, his term of bonding is on a more childish side compared to her pure hope for true love. Never blown over-the-top, and rightfully so, Stewart’s performance is quiet; slowly approaching moments of pure authenticity. It’s just one of the many reasons why many shouldn’t hold “Twilight” against her.


Sharon Stone
Bobby
(Emilio Estevez, 2006)

Yes, Emilio Estevez’s pretentious, messy, hackneyed, overblown, rapid, and near-lifeless documentation of a myriad of fictional lives at The Ambassador Hotel circa the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy doesn’t really reach nowhere above being so mediocre. But one thing this forgettable film does have is an unforgettable performance from an actress everyone seems way too eager to hate. As a hairdresser in the hotel, Sharon Stone ignites so much heart to a film that is otherwise deadbeat; bringing forth humanity every time one of her scenes come around. Unlike Stone’s usual over-the-top performances, her work in “Bobby” is very delicate and mature, handling a beautifully loving character with complete and natural swiftness. As she nervously cuts the hair of her husband (William H. Macy) and begins to face him with a secret of his that she discovered, Stone handles everything so perfectly. Down to the tone in her voice, the way she blinks and swallows, and even the way she snips off pieces of Macy’s hair. It’s nothing short of spectacular and only makes one wish the film itself was as wonderfully full of life.


Theresa Wayman
The Rules of Attraction
(Roger Avery, 2002)

When we first see Theresa Wayman in “The Rules of Attraction”, she serves the lead character (James Van Der Beek) his breakfast in the college cafeteria. She doesn’t say a word, and she doesn’t for a long while. She appears every now and then, following Der Beek around, almost becoming a very unsettling stalker. But then when the film clocks in at the hour mark, an event happens that alters everything about Wayman’s character. We finally hear her voice (only in voiceover) as she reads out her final words in a letter to Der Beek and we fade into an orange-lit bathroom where we watch Wayman undress and sit in a bathtub. Her face speaks so much words with that terribly battered look in her eyes, the way she tries to avoid crying over this man, and the way the scar on her chin gives her an almost surreal irony to what she is about to commit. Even if you hate “The Rules of Attraction” with a passion, you will not forget Wayman and her performance. In five minutes, the woman takes your heart and tugs at it until she suddenly rips it from your chest.


Nora Zehetner
Brick
(Rian Johnson, 2006)

Rian Johnson playfully picks his lens at film noir in the most creative and whimsical of ways. From the mysterious lamp in the back of the van… to the blue bracelet wrapped around the wrist of the lead character’s murdered girlfriend. Johnson twists so much around that it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the femme fatale of the story works her magic with her brain rather than her sex appeal. Nora Zehetner is so completely lovable in “Brick” that we can’t avoid falling in love with her, even when we know she is one of the prime suspects in this murder mystery. Do we love her because she could have done it, or because she really is this sweet innocent girl who has captured the heart of the protagonist? It’s wonderfully played by Zehetner so that we don’t know what to believe, but we find ourselves on her side either way. And when the revelation is revealed, we question everything we thought of her before, even the possibility of loving her even if she did it, and try to piece together if we, too, were duped by one smart fucking chick.


Sheri Moon Zombie
The Devil’s Rejects
(Rob Zombie, 2005)

I’ve already expressed numerous times my admiration for Rob Zombie as a director. My favorite film of his is still “The Devil’s Rejects” and it will probably remain that way (unless he surprises me once again). The standout performance of “The Devil’s Rejects” is easily the goofy and terrifying Sheri Moon Zombie, who also happens to be the director’s wife. There is always flack on Rob Zombie for casting his wife in his films, but I find that ridiculous since making films with others you feel comfortable with seems fair to me, and if she fits the part (as she certainly does here) … go for it! Sheri Moon Zombie is electrifyingly sexy in this devilish flick, but she is also grossly demented and it causes for some serious thought on what a monster might really look like. Zombie’s childlike views on sex and violence are completely hard to watch sometimes, but thoroughly well-acted in ways that send chills up your spine. When the climax comes around, and Moon Zombie is now being chased like a victim she would normally be pursuing, you immediately get what the director is saying with this material – and you also understand what’s so brilliant about Moon Zombie’s naïve performance. It’s a truly memorable one, indeed.

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~ by jerkwoddjh on April 12, 2010.

6 Responses to “25 UNDERRATED/OVERLOOKED SUPPORTING ACTRESSES (2000-2009)”

  1. You know, I don’t like Jennifer Connelly, but her performance in Little Children is the FIRST thing I come back to when thinking of that movie or that actress. And while I disagree with your assessment of Bobby, which I found to be fascinating, beautiful, and a near-masterpiece, your take on Sharon Stone’s performance is spot-on. It’s definitely my favorite role in that movie and one of the best performances of that entire year.

  2. Interesting list. I never would’ve thought of these women as contenders at all with the exception of Lacey Chabert who was perfect in her role.

  3. It’s nice to see Kristen Stewart included in this list. When she did Twilight, it was supposed to be this little indie/Catherine Hardwicke film – but it exploded and put her into the spotlight where she is now just coming into her own. I’m annoyed by all the negative comments thrown at her without people having seen most of her work – I have and I’m totally impressed.

  4. to Jennifer: I have seen all of Kristen’s work and her approach is the same in every chatacter! I’m surprised she is on this list&disappointed; but I guess she’s the current media it girl, so she must be mentioned everywhere! And btw, even if nobody had seen the Twilight films&they were considered as indies, her performances would have been exactly the same! The fact that many people watched it, doesn’t make her performance in it bad, she does.

  5. Hey Evita,

    I do agree that Stewart does use of the same acting techniques in her performances, but I really don’t think she is the same character in all of them. I look at “Adventureland” and “Into the Wild” and see two different girls. I just think Stewart brings herself into her roles and brings along with that such natural presence. I always feel she isn’t acting in her films. Even in the first “Twilight”, I thought she was fine. “New Moon”? Not so much. Lol.

  6. Great list. All of these really are criminally overlooked performances in films that in many cases deserved more respect than they got. I was surprised how many I agreed with. A few thoughts..

    -Theresa Wayman is my favorite choice on here and one of the greatest wordless performances I’ve ever seen in a film. Rarely has someone made such an impact with so little screen time. That scene in the tub was gut wrenching.

    -As for Amber Heard, she was incredible in the Informers. And that was a good contrast with Biel who you’re right brought very little to a similarly shallow role in ROA.

    -Great call on Gellar for Southland Tales (which I loved). That was such a challenging part and she really nailed it.

    -Paquin, Zehetner, Stone (agree that Bobby is a disaster) and especially Sevigny for The Brown Bunny would all make my list.

    -Connelly was strong in Little Children but I actually thought the best performance in that movie came from Noah Emmerich.

    -On the whole Stewart debate, I’ve never seen the Twilight films (and have no plans to) but liked her a lot in Into The Wild and Adventureland. That said, I would have included Jena Malone on this list for Into The Wild before her. I have a tough time imagining that movie without her scenes with Hirsch and heartbreaking voice-over.

    Very curious to see The Dead Girl now after what you’ve written about Murphy’s performance.

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