Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Best Actress 2003: Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider
Keisha Castle-Hughes received her first Oscar nomination and became the youngest Best Actress nominee ever for playing Pai, a young girl who yearns to prove herself as a warrior, in Whale Rider.
Keisha Castle-Hughes was supposed to be put in the Supporting category for her performance, but instead was voted into Leading. I don't really see how she's Supporting, even though she doesn't fill every frame of the movie, because her character is indeed the main character and we see the story mostly from her point of view. Anyway, Keisha Castle-Hughes is very good in this movie. She plays Pai very subtly, showing her stuborness and longing to prove to her Grandfather that she could be a great warrior. She's very convincing and realistic in the role and considering how young she was at the time, that's saying something. Like Samantha Morton, Castle-Hughes uses her face to show what she is feeling and she does it beautifully as we totally see the raw emotion on her face. A big plus to her performance is when she is giving a speech at her school concert and is crying through it because her grandfather didn't show up. She is simply heartbreaking. Another highlight is when she and her father are talking about how they can't be what their father/grandfather wants and Castle-Hughes again plays it beautifully.
But her performance is not perfect. A character like Pai should have been played with more fire and sometimes she is too subtle and underwhelming. She stays like this for most of the movie and I wish the screenplay had given her more chances to shine. But she is still very good and I decided to give her