After having watched and reviewed all five nominated performances, it's time to pick the winner!
Sometimes Salma Hayek feels too much like an actress going through the emotions that she is asked to go through instead of truly turning her character into an honest creation. But even if she doesn’t handle some of these moments with more than the competence of a dedicated performer – this competence is still more than enough to both carry the movie and help Salma Hayek to go through the various emotions and living situations of her character impressively.
Nicole Kidman's Virginia Woolf enters The Hours already completely developed by the script and the direction and there will also be no true character development but she managed to give a face to the depression that is haunting her, making her troubles, sorrows and bitterness visible without overdoing it.
Despite Diane Lane’s earthiness and strong screen presence her Connie often seems almost fragile, collapsing inside from the pressure she has put upon herself. She is hold back by her movie very often and cannot fight against being ungratefully pushed aside in the final third of the movie but she still leaves a lasting impression with a passionate, willing and uncompromising performance.
2. Renée Zellweger in Chicago
Renée Zellweger clearly did everything right in a role that maybe did not demand a truly complex characterization but sometimes the sheer task of bringing such a large spectacle like Chicago to live and providing the most entertaining and poignant moments of the story while also keeping both feet on the ground for the sake of bringing a deeper message across can be just as demanding and difficult. In the end, she successfully combined the emptiness of a tricky role with her unique energy and dedication.
With her performance, Julianne Moore not only became a perfect vessel for the style and theme of Far from Heaven but also defined this style and theme herself. Her acting style combined the artificiality of a world that never seemed to face reality with a modern honesty that is heartbreaking in its forlornness.