Winslet's double Globes win raises questions

Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:47am EST
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By Robert Osborne

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - I would never want to rain on Kate Winslet's parade, especially when she has given two such impressive performances as she did in "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader."

But a best supporting actress Golden Globe victory for "Reader?" If one goes along with that theory, why not Sean Penn in the supporting actor division for "Milk?"

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group famous for making strange award choices in its umpteen-year history, obviously bought in to the campaign being waged to win recognition for each of Winslet's two strong 2008 performances, a plan that requires us to believe that this fine actress plays a leading role in "Revolutionary" but a supporting one in "Reader."

One wonders whether those Oscar-campaign planners actually have seen the latter movie.

I'm in favor of actors getting all the awards and rewards they can comfortably haul away in a stretch limo, but it seems time for a reality check here. Who in "Reader" does the noble Kate support? She is the hub and thrust of the story. She's the one with top billing. Further, she plays her character throughout the entire movie, unlike teammates David Kross and Ralph Fiennes, who take turns playing younger-older versions of one person.

Pretending that Winslet's "Reader" role is a supporting one negates why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences inaugurated a supporting category in the first place, which was to honor work by actors with only limited screen time.

During the first eight years of the Academy, performances that lasted 10 minutes or two hours were lumped together in the same category. For instance, in 1935, when there was no special recognition for supporting actors, Franchot Tone's performance in a secondary role in "Mutiny on the Bounty" competed in the same best actor category as "Mutiny" leads Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.

It's one reason, perhaps, that just before the 1936 awards, the Academy Board of Governors decided to make a distinction: In the future, there would be four categories for performers instead of two, with recognition at last given to those who added much to films with their shorter, if no less potent, support.   Continued...

<p>Actress Kate Winslet holds her awards for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for "Revolutionary Road" and Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for "The Reader'' at the 66th annual Golden Globe awards in Beverly Hills, California January 11, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>