Leonard Woolf: Why does someone have to die?
Virginia Woolf: Leonard?
Leonard Woolf: In your book, you said someone had to die.
Virginia Woolf: Mmmm.
Leonard Woolf: Why? Is this a stupid question?
Virginia Woolf: No.
Leonard Woolf: Then answer my question, stupid.
Virginia Woolf: Not at all.
Leonard Woolf: Well?
Virginia Woolf: Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It’s contrast.
Stephen Daldry is pretty much the John Cazale of directors. (Google John Cazale if you don’t get what I mean by that). He’s directed three films and has been nominated for Best Director by the Academy for all three films. Only two of them were nominated for Best Picture, but it’ quite possibly Billy Elliot was thisclose to getting one of those five slots in 2000. Odds are if the Weinsteins hadn’t had a film out that year (Chocolat) that they aggressively campaigned for, it would have. What I love the most about Daldry as a director, and I think this comes from his background as a theater director, is the strong performances he gets out of his actors. I dare you to find one bad, or even “just okay” performance in one of his films. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one. He has director five Academy Award nominated and two Academy Award winning performances. That’s pretty good for a guy who’s only done three feature films so far.
These are two performers who have almost consistently given amazing performances for nearly the last two decades. They’ve gotten some nominations sure, but only for a handful of their work. Also in the last two decades many actors and actresses with lesser talent who gave perhaps one, or two in the case of Hilary Swank, phenomenal performances have received numerous nominations and wins. Paul Newman had to wait nearly 40 years for a win, as did Jack Palance, so I’m sure Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore will get their due sometime. Of course, that’s not necessarily true either. Just ask Deborah Kerr, Richard Burton or Peter O’Toole. That being said, I’d like to discuss the roles for which these two performers were nominated for Oscar. Ideally, I’d have liked to talk about every performance in which they should have been nominated, but that would take all day.