I finally got around to seeing Jackie, completing the Best Actress nominee list for the Oscars. Were it not for her win in Black Swan six years ago, Natalie Portman would probably be a slam dunk for the win. Emma Stone has sort of run the table this season, however, so it appears that Portman will end up being another also-ran. It's a shame because not only is Jackie a great film, but Portman does a fantastic job in her role as former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Following John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, his wife Jackie is tasked with pulling herself together and managing a transition out the White House with her small children, all the while trying to figure out how she can start a narrative on the legacy of her late husband's presidency.
I have to admit, the accent was tad distracting at the beginning, but it helped to know that the real Jackie actually talked like that. Portman went for authenticity. With that, one risks distracting audiences and possibly even alienating them. Ultimately I think it worked out fine. It's a tough role, with multiple life events and motivations pulling the character in different directions. Portman negotiated those intricacies seamlessly, and therefore carried the film.
Having seen all five nominees, I think I'd have to rank the performances as follows:
1. Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
2. Natalie Portman (Jackie)
3. Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
4. Ruth Negga (Loving)
5. Emma Stone (La La Land)
I don't want to make it seem like I thought Emma Stone sucked, it's just that those I ranked above her did a superior job in my opinion Stone did lovely work in La La Land, and it's a testament to a great year for women's roles that such a performance could be in someone's fifth spot (even though she'll very likely win the Oscar).
On to the Academy Awards next weekend.