Saturday, June 19, 2010
Best Actress 1993: Debra Winger in Shadowlands
Debra Winger received her third Oscar nomination for playing Joy Gresham in Shadowlands. Joy is a poet from the United States who goes on a trip to England with her son and meets famous author C.S Lewis (Anthony Hopkins) and the two begin to befriend each other and soon marry, but only because Lewis wants to make sure she can stay in England. But when she gets sick, the marry again for love, although they both know that it won't last.
In the beginning, Debra Winger captures Joy's tough, outspoken behavior and makes it very entertaining. We can see how taken aback Lewis is by her personality and how he comes to care about her. Winger also adds a lot of depth to Joy, showing that Joy is a sad woman with a somewhat bitter outlook on life, and how her her life begins to change when she meets Lewis. This could have been a great performance, but sadly, Winger doesn't seem to control her character very well. First of all, her accent ruins a lot of her performance, since it is unconvincing and goes in and out, not to mention is overdone and strange . There is a scene when Winger is talking to Lewis normally, but suddenly gets very angry with him and this is a badly written scene to begin with, but Winger makes it worse with her accent and by making it too abrupt. After this, her greatness in the beginning fades and though she is good in most of the scenes, I never connected with Joy like I did in the beginning. Another problem is that Winger never makes it believable that Joy is in love with Lewis (Although that might be more the scripts fault and Hopkins) and she and Hopkins have barely any chemistry. She is excellent when she tells Lewis that she is going to die and when she is on her deathbed , but it still isn't believable when she says she loves him in the latter scene. A performance that could have been much better had Winger hadn't stumbled so much in the second half and had made her accent work. A good, but mostly failed effort.