News Flash! EW’s critics agree on Best Actress
February 27, 2002 11:02 AM
So, Owen, don’t you think Nicole Kidman looked great in her Oscar dress? Oh, wait, that was the British Academy Awards she was working the other night, smiling gamely even though she lost out to Judi Dench in ”Iris.” I keep thinking the Oscars have already been handed out and the fashion photos have already run in magazines, what with all the other prizes leading up to the big show. I’m more and more impressed with Kidman’s playfulness and versatility — the nomination could have just as easily gone her way for ”The Others” — and I’m excited to see where her new personal independence takes her creatively.
But the woman I want to see on stage accepting the Oscar for Best Actress is the one least likely to make a fuss over her wardrobe: Sissy Spacek. What I love about her performance in ”In the Bedroom,” and what I think sets her apart from her colleagues in the category, is the fluidity and understatement with which she deepens our understanding of her character, a highly competent middle-aged wife and mother who knows no highly competent way of dealing with family tragedy. In scenes where Spacek explodes (that smashed dish! that slapped face!) she’s vivid. But for me, her most enthralling moments are also the quietest. I mean, I’d give her an Oscar just for the vignette of grief in which she smokes and stares, unseeing, at late-night TV.