Actor Portrait: Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo & Side Effects)

rooneymarapostersI’ve viewed two movies starring Rooney Mara in the past week. The first was her Oscar-nominated performance as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Adapted from the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, the American version is brought to life by Mara’s Social Network director, David Fincher.  The second comes from an original script by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Steven Soderbergh called Side Effects. She got to work with two fantastic directors and play two vastly different characters. Over these past few days after viewing more of her work, I have grown to become quite a fan of Rooney Mara both as an actor, and as an audience member. I’ve also watched interviews with her, and kinda want to be her new BFF. Anywyays, she’s charming, likable and one fantastic actress. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mara plays the role previously portrayed by actress, Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish adaptation of the book. In the American film version, Mara is paired with British actor, James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. First thoughts first, I actually thought her performance as Lisabeth was much better than Noomi Rapace. Even though I thought both were sufficient, there was something about Rooney Mara and her portrayal, how she saw the character, that made it more fun to watch. I also thought the hair and makeup was MUCH better in the American adaptation as well. She completely transforms herself into Lisbeth Salander  with her physical appearance, wardrobe, and vocal quality (pulling off a flawless Swedish accent.) She can be both frightening and frightened all at the same time. It’s amazing how she gets into the head space of the character.To me, she’s an actor’s actor of my generation. Here’s some behind the scenes:

Side Effects shows Rooney Mara is a COMPLETELY different light. At the other end of the spectrum is a seemingly innocent character both physically and emotionally. The film itself can be confusing at times and really slow moving, but it’s Rooney Mara’s performance that makes you want to watch it.  Even with Jude Law at her side, Mara holds her own. She even makes you look away from Channing Tatum while he’s on screen (for once.) You’d think her character was weak and feeble, but watch the movie, and you’ll be surprised. Rooney Mara is one of my new favorite actresses.

Reward Rewind: Oscars 2013

Anne Hathaway showed too much nipple;  Jennifer Lawrence didn’t show any; And Oscar host Seth MacFarlane sang a song about it all. Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis won. Surprise! <—We DID see Jennifer Lawrence trip on her way up to accepting the Best Actress award for her work in Silver Linings Playbook and the internet went crazy creating memes, gifs and bad jokes related to the Hunger Games.  Granted, if I was dressed like I was a bride-to-be on my wedding day, I’d probably trip too. Nonetheless, Jennifer Lawrence handled it with grace and humor like she always does even at the tender age of 22. She even gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Emmanuelle Riva who was celebrating her 86th birthday on Oscar night (making her as old as the Academy Awards themselves.)

Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor EVER to win 3 Oscars in the Lead Actor category for his work in Lincoln. Even though no one was surprised, what I found the most heart-warming was the gracious, humorous and utterly breath-taking acceptance speech that DDL gave. Not surprising, given the fact that he’s won every major award for that role this season, he’s probably had a lot of practice and time to think about what he’d say on Oscar night.

Anne Hathaway took home an Oscar for Les Miserables which surprised no one as well. The fellow nominees in that category were actually looking directly at  Hathaway the entire time the category was being announced. Everybody knew. No one was shocked. Sally Field was really happy for Anne. Awesome. Did anyone notice that it was Captain von Trapp who presented the award to Fantine? Yep.

Christoph Waltz took home Oscar number two in 3 years,becoming one of the most bad-ass Oscar winners ever in my book, for his stellar work in Django Unchained.

What was most surprising of the night was the win for Best Director. The upset over that category was already brewing due to the fact that Argo director Ben Affleck was snubbed and everybody knew it. Ang Lee took home the statue for his CGI-heavy direction of Life of Pi, shocking everyone, even Lee himself.  Life of Pi, unbeknownst to me, has been the subject of quite a controversy.Since my own knowledge on the subject is foggy, you may read more about it here.

Argo won Best Picture (again, not really surprising, but really really awesome) and Ben Affleck finally got to get back up on the Oscar stage. What I find most surprising, and I’m going to play devil’s advocate at the moment, is that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, helped announce the winner for Best Picture. Ironic? I think not. Some have even been saying that Argo is a propaganda film and to be quite honest, I can see why. I can also see that had Argo NOT won, the First Lady would have been in quite an awkward position and it might have been a tad uncomfortable.

All in all, the awards were good. Not great. But good. There was a solid opening by Seth MacFarlane who ending up hosting quite a long show. For those of us on the east coast, it got over the next day, but it was still fun to watch. Something tells me he’s going to be getting a lot of calls from Broadway producers in these next few weeks due to his kick-ass singing voice.

Speaking of singing, Shirley Bassey brought down the house and showed us all what a real DIVA can sing like with the tribute to James Bond. Side note: Where were all the Bonds? I mean, they had the perfect opportunity to bring them out onto one stage.  Jennifer Hudson showed us just why she got an Oscar for her first film and Catherine Zeta-Jones tried to relive her glory days by re-creating and lip synching to “All That Jazz” from Chicago. Adele is reaching for EGOT status with her win for penning and adding her sweet vocals to the theme from Skyfall. All she needs now are the Tony and Emmy awards. Barbara Streisand matched the backdrop as she sang “The Way We Were” during the  In Memorium segment. Like Michael Buckley said in his recap, “The mirror has two face-lifts, and I like them both.” Truth. She can still sing and she looks good while doing it.

The most awkward moment of the night was when those who won awards in the minor categories seemed to come out of the wood-work. Literally. Did they shove them all in the coat room? What was with the booths to the sides? Were they not worthy enough to sit in the main area? Come on.

Kristin Chenoweth should also host the Oscars next year simply due to the fact that I wanted to hear her sing more. They truly save the best for last, and her send-off duet with Seth MacFarlane was the best.