WINNER BY A NOSE
Ways Oscar-bait puts the "special" in special effects.
What is in a nose that can make it smell so sweet? Nose hair. Nose gay. Nose cone.
Nosebleed. Nose candy. A nose for gold? Time to tackle a theory I've taken for granted
far too long:
NOLAHN'S THESIS: Uglification of hot actress = Oscar gold
Let's take a look at Exhibit #1...
(2002, 114 Minutes, Rated PG-13)
It only feels that long.
We start off in England, 1941, where we see Nicole Kidman and her big nose write a letter to
her husband about how happy she is in their marriage... and then strolls off to committ suicide.
We then move to the opening credits, featuring women through the ages who are all too
depressed to get out of bed.
Yeah, this is gonna be a real feel-good experience.
The movie follows a day in the lives of three women in different eras. In the 1920s, Virginia
Woolf (Kidman) of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? fame -- I understand she also wrote some
books -- struggles with her new project, Mrs. Dalloway, and the suckitude of not living in
London. In the 1950s, housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is currently reading Mrs.
Dalloway and is trying to keep from bashing her own head in while stuck in the Leave It To
Beaver universe. And in present-day 2001, Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) prepares a party a
dying friend who often refers to her as Mrs. Dalloway.
During the course of each day, we learn that all three women more than just the Woolf novel in
- They're all expecting guests (who usually show up early)
- They all feature eggs and egg imagery
- They all feel miserable and trapped
- They all lock lips with other women at some point (though I suspect this was just thrown
in to keep the attention of the men in the audience)
This isn't so much a great movie (it was nominated for Best Picture) as it is a great acting clinic.
Talk about a stellar cast: In addition to the three leads, the film also features an emiciated Ed
Harris as the AIDS-inflicted writer, Allison Janney, John C. Reilly, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels
and Toni Collette in the standard Patricia Clarkson role. Philip Glass provides the Oscar-
nominated music, which is haunting and capable of making something mundane as changing
lanes on the highway or stepping into an elevator seem like The World Hangs By the Balance.
Hell, even Peter "Young Frankenstein" Boyle did the Oscar-nominated editing (okay, not really).
Now, for my theory... First things first, the nose is very well done. And in all fairness, I should
mention that Nicole Kidman with a big nose actually does look a lot like Virginia Woolf. See if
you can tell them apart:
Okay, so the black and white vs. color gave it away. Sue me. Point is, I thought this was pretty
impressive. I know that if you put a big nose on me, l look like... me with a big nose.
For much of the movie, my theory holds up:
Meryl Streep (given top billing, btw) -- stylish, elegant, radiant
Julianne Moore -- totally '50s hot
Kidman and Nose -- dumpy and dowdy... ACTING!
It's certainly not that Kidman is bad in the movie -- hardly, she's excellent. But the thing about a
cast this stellar, everybody steps up their game. Best Actress? It's hard to say that Kidman
gives the Best Performance by an Actress in this film, never
mind the whole year, though she is given a quality Oscar
Bait speech near the end of the film.
THE VERDICT: Was Kidman's performance the best of the
year? Or even in this film? Hard to say. We saw Julianne
Moore doing the '50s thing again that same year, so that
definitely crimped her chances, and I imagine the Academy
was split between Streep's performance here and in
Adaptation. Diane Lane in Unfaithful? Steamy, and worth
the nomination, but nah. Renee Zellweger in Chicago?
Can't hang, sorry. That puts it between Kidman and her
nose and Salma Hayek and her unibrow. And as I know all
too well, unibrows are kinda creepy.
So yeah, it's Kidman by a nose.