This might seem like it's going to be an easy choice, but it's not. Sure, if I was The Academy - who has notoriously never acknowledged comedic roles as "real acting" - I'd hand the victory off to Kramer and be done with it. But I'm not The Academy, I am Sarah Fucking Ruthless, and I'm gonna make Kramer fight for it.
We are at the Final Four. There is no room for fucking around. It's going to get technical, it's going to get specific, and most of all, it's going to get personal.
I keep finding myself asking the question: Who does more?
But is that what acting is? Who DOES more? Many would argue that acting - film acting, at least - is the exact opposite: who does less. Who conveys the MOST emotion with the LEAST emoting? Every acting student under the sun has heard the age-old mantra: Show, Don't Tell.
I generally fall into the camp that worships magnificent subtlety. To be honest, that's what drew me away from theatre and made me fall in love with film: you can get away with subtlety on camera that you just can't do onstage. I've always admired that skill the most, probably because I am so prone to over-acting, over-expressing, over-indulging. Maybe that's why I'm so in love with Meryl's performance in She-Devil. It's Meryl Fucking Unhinged, Meryl Unrated, Meryl Not Holding Back. It's self-indulgent in the best possible way. It's the Anti-Kristen-Stewart of performances. The stakes have never been higher. She-Devil-Meryl is fighting for her life JUST AS HARD as Kramer-Meryl is.
KRAMER V. KRAMER
If this were a contest in Best Facial Expressions, She-Devil would win, hands down. But to say that good acting is just a series of "facial expressions" would be as insulting as calling someone a good actor because "they can memorize all those lines."
I would argue that comedy is, in a sense, harder than drama because of the commitment. Any sane person would look at Spoiled Brat Meryl in She-Devil and say that her stakes are not as high as Fighting For Her Mental Health & Custody Of Her Son Meryl in Kramer. Pulling off that performance in She-Devil meant believing, REALLY FUCKING BELIEVING, with every fiber of her goddamn pink silk & bubble-covered being, that she was RIGHT and that her fight was worth fighting. That's WAY harder to do than fighting for something more obvious or forgivable as wanting to see your own son again.
I want to make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that I value comedic acting as a VALID form of talent, and in many cases, I think it takes far MORE depth, range, commitment, and chutzpah to pull of a comedic role than a dramatic role.
...But Meryl's performance in Kramer was just that damn good.
KRAMER V. KRAMER