Michelle Williams: Top Ten Actresses in line to win an Oscar
The uneducated Oscar follower will think that Michelle Williams big break came in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain as Alma, the young wife that discovers her husband’s dark secret. The truth is Ms. Williams started gaining independent attention in films like The Station Agent (2003), in which she was nominated along with her co-stars for Cast Ensemble by the Screen Actors Guild Awards; she also captured attention as “Ruby” in Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Prozac Nation (2001) with Christina Ricci and as Lana in Wim Wenders’ Land of Plenty (2004), a performance that netted her a Best Actress nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards.
When Williams was cast as Alma in Lee’s film, in her minimal screen time, Williams was able to make an undeniable impression. As Alma makes her progression from a loving and devoted wife and mother to an enigma of confusion after she witnesses her husband Ennis (Heath Ledger) kissing his fishing buddy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), Williams exhibits such control in allowing Alma to undergo the emotional narrative from confusion to regret and eventually to bewilderment and anger. Williams was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and is believed to have been second to Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener (2005).
Following her nomination, she went right back into independent cinema, showcasing her range in I’m Not There (2007), Synecdoche, New York (2008), where she won the Robert Altman Award, and the impeccable performance as Wendy in Wendy & Lucy (2008), another performance nominated for an Indie Spirit.
Her second dance with Oscar would come in Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010) with Ryan Gosling, as Cindy, a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage. What makes her nomination more significant is Williams missed key nominations throughout the awards season including SAG and beating stiff competition from Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, and Noomi Rapace, Williams secured her nomination and become an actor to watch.
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