The Penultimate Mile: Joan Allen in The Contender

(one installment in a quick series counting down from 50 to 26!)

JOAN ALLEN IN THE CONTENDER (1955)

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The competition (Cliff: 5 for 5!)

Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich

Juliette Binoche in Chocolat

Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream

Laura Linney in You Can Count on Me

It’s really a miracle that Joan got nominated for her impressively restrained performance as a vice presidential nominee amid all the deliciously blustery male performances.  Her quiet moments, holding her head in her hands when she first gets wind of the scandal come to haunt her, or mustering up a wry joke to the president’s staff about how the French would turn the tables on her moral majority opponents, steadily build the core of Sorkinesque sincerity that the film will hinge on in the final act.  In 2000, it was hard to top Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream, but another rock-solid nomination.

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