When Emmanuelle Riva gets an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in January next year for her shattering work in Michael Haneke’s Amour, her nod won’t help but feel a tad bittersweet for the fact that her equally brilliant co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant not only won’t be nominated as Best Actor, but he won’t even figure into the pre-Oscar conversation as much.
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Director Nancy Savoca’s Union Square finds Mira Sorvino back in top form as Lucy a turbulent, blithe spirit drifting in and out of the life of her straightlaced sister Jenny (Tammy Blanchard). A force of complicated energy with an unashamed foul-mouthed loudness, Lucy is the antithesis of her sister and it revealed early in the film that the two have been estranged for some time. Lucy wants to make her sister believe she has changed but the hesititation on Jenny’s face is apparent, she has been down this same road with Lucy before many times.
Yet the sisterly bond the two share obligates Jenny to go down the road again, a cycle that has made her weary despite Lucy’s needy reassurances that she’s different now. The actresses create a dramatic tension and electric familiarity that makes their relationship feel totally authentic (Producer Neda Armian knows her way around the sister trope having made Beloved and Rachel Gettng Married as well).
If there is something Laura Linney has proved time and time again is that it’s simply ridiculous to underestimate her award chances. In 2007, she came out of nowhere and scored a surprise Best Actress nomination for her wonderful work in the dark comedy The Savages. This was the same year when high profile actresses like Keira Knightley, Amy Adams, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Naomi Watts and indie sensations like Keri Russell and Anamaria Marinca were all vying for that competitive fifth slot available after the usual suspects cemented their status.