Brie Larson won the Oscar for playing Joy/Ma in Room. I think the best actress race this year was really predictable the moment the precursors started. Larson swept everything and I’m sure everyone saw her win coming. Still, I am quite looking forward to watching the performances this year – they all seem very strong and have their own unique qualities.
Room is a terrific film that I found myself very engaged in. I expected myself not to like it because of the subject matter – a woman who was kidnapped and raped for 7 years – but I thought the director Lenny Abrahamson handled it extremely well. I might have given Joan Allen a supporting actress nod if her role was more drawn out, but she is talented enough to make the most out of her limited part (Random, but I LOVE her as Pamela Landy). Still, the ultimate scene stealer here was Jacob Tremblay as Jack – mind you, I usually find kids annoying as heck but he WAS SO DAMN GOOD (and adorable). The way he handled he character’s innocence and transition to the outside world was really beyond his years.
I think many people may have overlooked what a baity role Larson actually had, mainly because of the quiet, indie nature of the film. Still, she handled the character’s emotions and thoughts with 100% raw honesty and intensity, and I think that was what blew me away. Like many others before me, I feel that the scenes in the room really had some incredible acting. Besides her fantastic chemistry with Tremblay, she managed to show so many facets of the character within the confines of the room – her fierce maternal instinct and protectiveness, her sense of humour, her desperation/depression and her quick thinking. I especially loved the scene where she was describing how she got into the room to her son because of how heartbreaking it was. But to me, the best moments were when she started plotting her escape because the fear in her eyes was so real and palpable that even I felt extremely nervous despite knowing the outcome.
Many people often criticise the way the script handled the post-kidnap scenes, and while I agree that it becomes even more of Tremblay’s show than hers, I think Larson still managed to leave a strong impact. I agree that the depression may come off as a bit sudden, but I didn’t have an issue with it. As a matter of fact, I thought her aggressive confrontation with her mother was also one of the highlights of her performance, as she really brought out the character’s resentment, anger and inability to “go back to normal”.
As a whole, I just wanted to say I really loved Brie Larson’s work here! I was surprised since many people tend to have issues with her win, but this may be one of the few times I am actually in agreement with the academy’s pick! Of course, I suspect this will change once I watch the other best actress nominees, but as a whole, I consider this a very deserved win. 5/5