What's the SECOND best female performance?
The general consensus, and rightly so, is that this is the finest performance by a film actress ever. I have watched this movie many times, with many different goals (one included evaluating the movie without considering Streep's performance), and yes, it is almost certainly the best performance by a female actor ever filmed.
So my thread is this: Let's assume that this is the best performance. What's your pick for the second best performance by a female in film? Please include reasons. Being a fan is a reason but not a good enough one. Explain why you're a fan then.
I am thinking, my personal candidates would be:
Helen Mirren in The Queen, since she really did nail it and walked a very delicate tightrope. When you think about it, any decent actress would consider this to be one of the most terrifying roles she could take. Especially if she were a British actress. Mirren was both fearless and flawless.
Jennifer Connelly in Requiem for a Dream. Once again, another horrifying descent into a different type of abyss for an actress. Her unquenchable rage just barely beneath the surface of what could have been a two dimensional portrait of a rich junkie girl is what did it for me. The scene where she stands completely nude in the mirror and examines herself -- What happened to my life, how did I get here? That was heartbreaking. Her sex scene for drugs made me feel filthy and horrible and violated.
Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine. I am going to be biased and pick this as my second best female performance ever. I am a huge fan of the Great (younger) Kate, because all of her characters have some unknowable and slightly dangerous trait of unpredicatability. No matter what her character is, there is always the chance that things could turn dark and dangerous, and quickly. In Eternal Sunshine, her character knows this. Clem knows she is a crazy girl and she probably knows exactly why and how and when and where. She has all the answers but not the solution. She still doesn't have access to peace and joy and security. She knows she just might run even if she doesn't want to. What was amazing to me was that most of our exposure to Clem happens in Joel's head. We get to know Clem through Joel's eyes and memories. It was amazing for Kate to add that extra layer on top of this unstable and unpredictable character, to make her not just Clementine, but Joel's (mostly accurate) version of Clementine. And we fall for her as we go back in time, and we discover along with Joel just what it was about her that made him and us fall for this kooky girl to begin with.
Those are my three ideas, with Kate in Eternal Sunshine being my official second best female acting performance in film. It is just my opinion, and I am sure there might be demonstrably better choices that I simply haven't seen yet.
Come on, this would be a good discussion point. I want to hear what others think and why.