My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 26: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in "Chicago" (Best Supporting Actress Ranking)

Oscars for performances in musical seemed to be a thing of past – until Catherine Zeta-Jones demonstrated impressively how amazing a performance in a musical can be and received a well-deserved Oscar for it. She creates a believable night-club diva, arrogant and bossy and performs her musical numbers with as much energy and fascination as one can possibly achieve. Velma Kelly is maybe not the most challenging role in the acting department – but Catherine Zeta-Jones showed how much her singing and dancing is part of this character and that these scenes should not be brushed aside too easily. Besides being technically perfect, Catherina Zeta-Jones invests these scenes with just as much characterizations as she does in the non-singing scenes – that ‘F*** you’-look she gives the cops at the end of ‘All that Jazz’ or her wonderful desperation during ‘I can’t do it alone’ are just two examples.

Overall, her rendition of ‘All that Jazz’ is one the greatest opening numbers ever and from that moment on she dominates everyone around her whenever she is onscreen. Even just looking at her legs while she walks into her club provides some sort of thrill. And even though you have six great women in the ‘Cell Block Tango’, Catherine Zeta-Jones is still the highpoint. Her strong ‘He had it coming’ is one of those moments when you realize how powerful she really is in this role. And ‘I can’t do it alone’ is nothing more than a showcase for everything Catherine has to offer: great looks, great voice, great dancing skills! 

The character of Velma is certainly of secondary importance to Roxie in Chicago and Catherine Zeta-Jones does not have any true scenes to display a deeper side in Velma, but she crafts Velma intelligently as a true diva, a ‘queen bee’ who suddenly finds herself pushed back to the second row. Working within the atmosphere of Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones wisely refused to gain any sympathy by trying to place a tear at a good moment but instead focused on the bitchy and entertaining side of Velma, that way making her much more interesting and lasting. And Catherine Zeta-Jones’s talent for comedy should also not be undervalued – her ‘shit’ when Roxie pretends to be pregnant or her scene in the witness stand, when she has to read the diary and says ‘I’m a little out of practice’ and dramatically begins ‘What a laugh…’ are just great.

Catharine Zeta-Jones brought a lot of energy and rhythm to Chicago and made a very worthy winner of that coveted award.


Louis Morgan said...

I've never seen the faults many do with this performance, but I suppose I have not seen it in awhile.

Anonymous said...

She was very good and when she won I thought she deserved it but it was maybe because I loved Chicago and I hadn't seen The Hours or Adaptation. Yes, Zeta-Jones was great but Julianne Moore clearly deserved it more.