As we noted yesterday, three Aussie actors have been nominated for Academy Awards including two past winners – Nicole Kidman (for The Hours) and Geoffery Rush (for Shine) and one newcomer, 63 year old theater veteran Jacki Weaver. In a rarity for Aussie performances from Aussie films, the latter was nominated for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her portrayal of Cody Smurf, the duplicitous crime family matriarch in David Michod’s stunning debut, Animal Kingdom. “I’m elated to the point of euphoria,” Weaver said upon learning of her nomination yesterday. “I feel like I’m in a walking dream. I’m so relieved that all those millions of Australians that wanted me to get this nomination aren’t disappointed. Happy Australia Day.”
Happy Australia Day indeed. Now the optimist within hopes The Oscars is a meritocracy but my opposing realist knows it isn’t. It can’t be. How else did Crash win Best Picture in ’05? How else did Catherine Zeta-Jones beat out Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore in 2002’s Best Supporting Actress race? Sadly more than performance alone dictates Oscar wins, but though other commitments have hampered her campaign, Jacki Weaver has found vocal support from a variety of online pundits. Sure, it might not equate to Oscar’s gold but we’re glad the word “deserving” seems to be permanently affixed to her name.
One such supporter is Slate whose nomination coverage sported the following title, Hooray for Hailee Steinfeld, Dogtooth and Jacki Weaver, saying “The best supporting actress category had one nice surprise: Jacki Weaver, the Australian actress who played the gorgon mother in Animal Kingdom.“
Likewise, The Playlist named Weaver’s inclusion as one of this year’s most pleasant nomination surprises: “Weaver was in the conversation all year long. Her extraordinary performance as the wolf-in-sheep’s clothing doyenne of an Aussie crime family was arresting and electric. But as Leslie Manville’s “Another Year” snub demonstrates, just because you’re an indie film nom in the conversation, doesn’t mean you’re going to show up on the opening day line-up. Relieved she made the cut.“
Weaver again featuredin The Awl’s The Great and Terrible News About the Oscar Nominations, appearing in the “great” part obviously: “Jacki Weaver, who is maybe possibly the last remaining delightfully aging camp diva of our time, nominated for best supporting actress to duke it out with the marvelous Melissa Leo. Thank God: this gives the gays something to fret about on Oscar night!“
She was again singled out in Gawker’s Here Are the 2011 Oscar Nominations: “I’m personally thrilled to see Jacki Weaver up there, as wicked as a surprise she was in Animal Kingdom.“
All that love. Maybe it’s safer to champion an underdog or maybe her nuanced performance is the kind of thing critics gravitate towards. I don’t know. It sounds cheesy but in a way she’s won already. She’s the acting nominee most critics are willing to concede and in a system that names Crash the best film of any year, that must surely count for something.