The Sony leak took on some really dramatic turns last week but in the margins are a few more Natalie related mentions. None are particularly newsworthy but, in the absence of any other news, they will have to do.
– Let’s begin with the writer of the Jobs script, Aaron Sorkin, whose leaked email touches on “Hollywood’s women problem.” His thesis seems to be that there are not enough great roles being written for women and then proves the point by comparing male Oscar wins with lesser female Oscar wins.
“Cate gave a terrific performance in Blue Jasmine but nothing close to the degree of difficulty for any of the five Best Actor nominees. Daniel Day-Lewis had to give the performance he gave in Lincoln to win–Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook, in which she did what a professional actress is supposed to be able to do. Colin Firth/Natalie Portman. Phil Hoffman had to transform himself into Truman Capote while Julia Roberts won for being brassy in Erin Brockovich. Sandra Bullock won for ‘The Blind Side’ and Al Pacino lost for both Godfather movies. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep can play with the boys but there just aren’t that many tour-de-force roles out there for women.”
Thankfully, the Daily Beast writer made the following point in response, and thus saved my forehead from meeting my keyboard.
It’s tough to compare the “degree of difficulty” of different performances on film. And while Sorkin has a valid central point here—that there aren’t enough quality scripts championing female characters, which leads to less complex roles for women—it’s a bit strange to say that Blanchett’s turn in Blue Jasmine was any less difficult to pull off then Bruce Dern’s in Nebraska, or that Colin Firth’s turn in The King’s Speech measured up to Natalie Portman’s tour de force in Black Swan.