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No Small Parts

Greer et al
Our ginormous Great Performances issue hits stands tomorrow, featuring interviews with all the actors we think deserve special recogition for their work in films this year. Which is sort of a nice way of saying these are people we think deserve nominations and awards from SAG and Oscar voters, really.

You can catch an early look at my interview here with the great Judy Greer, currently tearing up screens in "The Descendants." Though she only appears in three scenes, Greer is so good, she raises the level of the playing field for everyone around her. I fully believe she deserves to be on the short list of Supporting Actress nominees come Oscar time. It may only be a few minutes of screen time, but what she does with it is amazing, going from loving with and mother to woman scorned in a matter of minutes.

The same could be said of Corey Stoll, who managed to nab a Supporting Actor nomination from the Spirit Awards for his turn as Ernest Hemingway in "Midnight in Paris." Never mind he's surrounded by Oscar winners Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, and Adrien Brody--for me, the movie is all about Stoll. It's a star-making performance in just a few minutes, with Hemingway veering from comical to poignant. It also helps he gets to deliver some of Woody Allen's best writing in years, such as when Hemingway tells Owen Wilson's writer: "I believe that love that’s true and real creates a respite from death; All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well which is the same thing, and when the man is brave and true who looks death square in the face like Belmonte who is truly brave, it is because they love with sufficient passion to push death out of their minds, until it returns as it does with all men. Then you must make really good love again. Think about it.”

Lastly, I want to sing the praises of Stoll's "Midnight In Paris" c0-star Tom Hiddleston, who plays F. Scott Fitzgerald in the movie. But he is soon to be seen in a small part in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse." If you've seen the trailer for the film, you've seen most of Hiddleston's performance--it's a brief role as a British soldier who promises a young boy he will do his best to bring his horse back to him. There is so much intelligence, compassion, and honesty in this brief scene, which could have veered towards the saccharine. I'm embarrassed to admit I was unfamiliar with Hiddleston before this year, when I saw him as the villain Loki in "Thor" and didn't even realize it was the same guy playing Fitzgerald. He's a true chameleon, and one to watch.

--Jenelle Riley

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