Should’ve Been a Contender: Kim Hye-ja for “Mother”

his year as Bong Joon-ho's widely praised film “Parasite” received six nominations from the Academy – including Best Picture and Best Director – but was snubbed entirely from the acting categories, despite the praise the ensemble has received from critics and audiences. Most of Bong Joon-ho's films are driven by large, ensemble casts. But in this “Should’ve Been a Contender” series, I’d like to submit one of his few films carried by one, singular woman at its centre; Kim Hye-ja in the 2009 murder-mystery/drama, “Mother”.

Should’ve Been a Contender: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for “Belle” (2013)

Looking back on the past decade, one of the best and most overlooked leading actress performances is Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Belle” (2013). It was a strong year for leading ladies at the Oscars, with Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, and Meryl Streep nominated and Cate Blanchett taking home the award. And yet, Mbatha-Raw’s performance is one of those that sticks out to me the most when reflecting on the past decade in film. She certainly deserved to be a contender, but unfortunately, though the film garnered mostly positive reviews, it simply wasn’t widely seen. 

Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 9: Elsie Fisher

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 9 is Elsie Fisher, and writer Caz Armstrong discusses Fisher's breakthrough performance in "Eighth Grade".

Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 10: Florence Pugh

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 10 is Florence Pugh, and writer James Cain discusses Pugh's career over the last decade.

Review: The Turning

“The Turning” starts off as a promising reimagining of an old classic, as it weaves itself down a winding road of mystery. But, once that mystery is unravelled...the film comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying halt.

Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 11: Emma Stone

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 11 is Emma Stone, and special guest writer Jennifer Heaton discusses her favourite performances by Emma Stone over the last decade.

Review: The Grudge

I was not looking forward to 2020’s “The Grudge”. In the interest of transparency, I will admit that I have seen Takashi Shimizu’s original 2002 film, and I utterly hated it. It was a sluggish, overlong piece of work that, I feel, was incapable of overcoming its low-budget roots. There was very little that co-writer (Jeff Buhgler) and director Nicolas Pesce brought to my excitement. The only hope to be had had come from the fact that I recall loving Pesce’s previous film, the ultra-dark, black and white exercise in bleak cinematic macabre, “The Eyes of my Mother”. And for the first 20 or so minutes of this, I was worried. In the year 2004 (the year that the American remake of “The Grudge” was released, also directed by Shimizu--I wish he could say be pulled a Micahel Haneke; but nothing in both the remake or the original deserve that compliment), Fiona, a live-in nurse is seen visibly disturbed by events she had witnessed in a house she has just left.

Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 12: Viola Davis

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 12 is Viola Davis, and writer Georgia De Souza discusses Davis career over the last decade.

Review: The Gentlemen (2020)

With “The Gentleman” (2020), Guy Ritchie attempts to prove that he’s still the king of British gangster films, but he falls a bit short. It's certainly an entertaining romp as a myriad of charming and talented actors get into all sorts of scrapes while trying to pass a booming marijuana business into different hands. Despite the film’s strong points, it lacks cohesion and the treatment of its only central female character is abysmal. 

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