Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Best Actress 1987: Holly Hunter in Broadcast News

Holly Hunter received her first Oscar nomination for playing Jane Craig, a T.V Network producer who finds herself caught between the handsome new news reporter  Tom(William Hurt)and her best friend Aaron(Albert Brooks) in Broadcast News.

Broadcast News is surprisingly a kind of WTF movie for me- I couldn't really tell what the hell was going on for a lot of it and it's kinda stuck in the 80's LOL, but it still has its merits.  The acting is overall quite strong, with both Hurt and Brooks turning strong work. Hunter, despite winning the N.B.R award for this film, probably didn't have much of a chance at winning  the Oscar given  her stiff competition. She was too new to Hollywood at the time and Cher took the romantic comedy votes away from her and  Moonstruck overshadowed Broadcast News for these same reasons in the general Oscar race.  Not to mention Kirkland and Close had more passionate supporters. So , I think Hunter came in fourth with Streep bringing up the rear.

Holly Hunter is an actress who I like a lot: I personally love her   southern  voice and she  has great acting instincts and a real presence on screen. Here, she does a lot of great work. Her best moments are when she is listening to her co-stars during a scene or reacting/feeling on her own: With her facial expressions, she communicates exactly what Jane is feeling and  we can read her like a book. She makes us care about Jane, admire her for her spirit and intelligence, and even love her when she is radiant and happy about her love life with Tom. She is beautifully natural and fiercely present at the same time, never making her work become too subtle, but letting the character  speak for itself. She is perfectly cast in the role:  who else can you  imagine in this part?  And she has great chemistry with Hurt and especially Albert Brooks. Their  scenes together are probably the best in the film because the two  character are so a like and have such a strong, passionate relationship that is extremely funny and moving.

But the problem that Hunter can't get out of  is the fact that the character's whole purpose is just wondering whether or not she's good enough for Tom and the conflicts that she has over both him and Aaron.  We definitely see her commitment to her work and to her job in the beginning, but in my opinion, we don't see enough of it. I wanted to see more fire in the character, more of a love/hate relationship between her and Hurt, and that just doesn't seem to come across. Jane Craig could have been a lot more opinionated and less needing of a man to define her, but the script cheats us out of this. It could have been a lot worse, but the writing and the acting is just three levels or so above this that it doesn't sink the film or Hunter's performance. But it still could have been  better.

Still, though Hunter gives a luminous portrayal that is both funny and touching and beautifully captures the full range of her characters emotions and quirks, in the end creating an extremely  memorable   character.  She gets


Giuseppe Fadda said...

Sounds like a strong performance. I generally like Hunter a lot so I can't wait to check this one out.

joe burns said...

She's good, the movie is just meh.