My current Top 5

My current Top 5

7/04/2011

Number 58: Anjelica Huston as Maerose Prizzi in "Prizzi’s Honor" (Best Supporting Actress Ranking)

Anjelica Huston took home the Oscar and most critics award for her scene-steeling turn as Maerose Prizzi, the fallen daughter of the Prizzi-family.

Considering how popular Prizzi’s Honor was among the members of the Academy, it can’t be a surprise that they wanted to give it an award in at least one category – and Anjelica Huston was certainly the easiest chance to do that. Apart from her dominance in the race, hers is also the kind of performance that steals the show without even trying. But for me, the reason that Anjelica Huston was able to do that is not because her acting is on such a high level but rather because Prizzi’s Honor, like The Accidental Tourist, is a rather lifeless and dated movie with a cast that certainly gave its best but failed to bring the material to a really intriguing level. So, Anjelica Huston was able to use her strong screen presence and her unforgettable talent for accents to leave the greatest impression even though her role and her performance aren’t really that great.

The problem I have with this performance is similar to the one I have with Geena Davis – Anjelica Huston is not able to breath life into her lifeless movie. She becomes the center of attention whenever she appears but she does not really improve what she is given. Maybe if her role had been a bit larger, she might have been able to do more but the way it is, her turn as the young woman who secretly pulls the strings in the background feels rather underdeveloped and negligible at times.

Still, what works in her favor is that it is the fact that Maerose Prizzi is a very showy role and that Anjelica Huston has an undeniable screen presence. Even Jack Nicholson disappears next to her. Her breakdown at the beginning or her seduction of Charlie later in her apartment are very strong moments and Anjelica Huston proves that her voice is her biggest asset – if she didn’t deliver her lines so deliciously calculated and with that wonderful accent, her performance would only be half as good. Who can forget the delivery of ‘Oh, he had use for me, Pappa. He came to my apartment the other night…and he forced himself on me…and he did it to me. Yeah, Pappa, he screwed me, three times, maybe four, I can’t remember…you should see the size of him!’ Again, this moment would only be half as good if it wasn’t for this accent!

So, Anjelica Huston shines whenever she is on the screen and even though she doesn’t really lift her material to a higher level she still manages to impress easily.

7 comments:

Alex in Movieland said...

better the 2nd time I saw the film.

Yet,

OPRAH! OPRAH! OPRAH! :P

Fritz said...

Mmh, it's been a while since I saw The Color Purple, but for me it is "Margret! Margret! Margret!" :-)

Louis Morgan said...

I certainly prefer her over both Color Purple women. I found her quite good in her role, and the only interesting part of a rather lackluster film.

Anonymous said...

I think Oprah should've won that year,but have no problem with Huston who was wonderful as always.

mrripley said...

oh yes '85 is all about margaret avery.

my nominess

margaret avery - the color purple
anjelica huston - prizzi's honor
meg tilly - agnes of god
oprah winfrey - the color purple
caroline kava - year of the dragon - lousy film but she is aces in it.

who are yours!!!

dinasztie said...

I would also go with Avery myself. I didn't like Oprah that much.

kaejae24 said...

I totally disagree with your analysis of her performance. You say she was the Best thing in the movie , yet you say the movie let her down. If you found her the Best part of the movie, then that just shows you, how great she is. I, personally, Loved this movie. I would have showered it with Best Picture , Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor - William Hickey is Outstanding and Deserved an Oscar for his scene stealing performance. Angelica Huston won most of the critics awards because she so Well Defines Supporting. In this movie, she and she Alone deftly manipulates the proceedings as she angles her way into the family and pretty much turns into a Female Iago. I was not a fan of Meg Tilly in Agnes of God and Amy Madigan in Twice in a Lifetime, and I loved Oprah in Color Purple , but her performance is a bit one note. I was more impressed with Margaret Avery as the Wondrous Shug Avery, but Director Spielberg did not really show why these women would be so close. John Huston shows exactly why Maerose does what she does and it comes closer to why she does it than any performance that year. Both movies are based on novels and Maerose gets the nod because through the movie, she kills every line delivery and I kept waiting for her appearance in every scene