Much to my delight, Naomi Watts has once again been recognized by the Academy, earning her second Best Actress nomination. Much to my chagrin, she won’t win. Much to my post-chagrin delight, that’s fine by me. She shouldn’t win. Not now. Not for The Impossible anyway.
There is nothing wrong with the movie itself per se, just as there is nothing wrong with Watts’ performance. On the contrary, The Impossible is just about the best film about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami one could hope for (even if the backlash against director J.A. Bayona’s decision to focus on the ultimately triumphant story of a vacationing British family instead of its broader devastation does warrant some pause), and I wouldn’t necessarily have cast another actress to play Maria Bennett, a severely wounded mother trying to locate her husband (Ewan McGregor, who has a moment in the film that may be his finest) and two of her three children (the extraordinary child actor Tom Holland plays the son she’s able to keep by her side) among the wreckage.