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In Praise of Julie Delpy

My memory tells me it was about 22 years ago when I first discovered her, upon the U.S. release of Agnieszka Holland’s “Europa Europa” in 1991. Who was this beguiling, Parisian beauty I wondered. In quick succession, I enjoyed watching her again as the title character in Roger Avary’s “Killing Zoe” from 1993, followed by appearances as Dominique in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s marvelous “Three Colors” trilogy from 1993 into 1994. Of course, she took the forefront in the 2nd installment, “Three Colors: White”—but it wasn’t until 1995 that she fully captured the hearts of so many men(oh, I imagine some women too!)upon the release of the first part of what is now the beloved “Before” trilogy(trilogy, so far, that is!)in “Before Sunrise”. And it’s almost certain to say, that no matter what she accomplishes for the rest of her career(she’ll turn 44 later this week), she will always be best known for her character of Celine. I’m talking about the gorgeous and eclectic Julie Delpy. And she may even deserve an Oscar for her acting this year—but I highly doubt that she’ll even get as far as a nomination. And, to put it plainly—that really sucks.

First off, I have no issues with probable eventual winner, Cate Blanchett taking the award for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”. Okay? Cate’s brilliant, she probably deserves it, and she should’ve  taken the top prize in 1998 for “Elizabeth”(it’s a bit of a joke now that Gwyneth Paltrow took home the gold for “Shakespeare in Love” that year). I just want to be clear on that front. It would also seem obvious, that Judi Dench turns in fine work in Stephen Frears “Philomena”. Dame Judi is a superb performer, so my doubts are non-existent, even though I have yet to view the film. But after that I have issues with who will likely fill the final three slots. Reliable sources are informing me that “Saving Mr. Banks” is terrible(I’ll be reviewing it later this month, so my take on it before long), so I wonder if the usually reliable Emma Thompson can manage to overcome all the sickly-sweet Disney obstacles. Next Meryl Streep is starting to get a lot of press for the as-yet-unreleased “August: Osage County”. That one is based on a Pulitzer prize-winning play(which I experienced on Broadway a few seasons back), but word from the festival circuit is that it’s not very good. Will Oscar again fall victim to nominating Meryl Streep just because she’s Meryl Streep(again, she’s a wonderful actress, but “The Iron Lady”?). And then there’s the case of Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”. She’s fine—but I think her work is being overpraised. There’s also been talk of Amy Adams’ work in “American Hustle”, and I should have that review by later this week.

My issue is this: I think Julie Delpy should be in this mix for what could be her career-best acting work for “Before Midnight”. However, I’ve only ever seen her mentioned when oddsmakers are discussing “long shots”. And I’m also not satisfied that some say her work will get recognition anyway as one of “Before Midnight”‘s co-writers(she also shared this nomination in 1994 for “Before Sunset” with Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Kim Krizan). Fine. Great. She deserves it. But not good enough! Ms. Delpy is a multi-faceted artist, that also directs(“2 Days in Paris”, “2 Days in New York”)and sings(the soundtrack for “Before Sunset” and a self-titled album in 2003). She has already received Best Actress support for “Before Midnight” from the Golden Globes and the Independent Spirit Awards—but I think she deserves more. Her work in “Before Midnight” is too strong to be overlooked by the Academy. Plus, I adore this beautiful, intelligent actress. So, there it is…and now I have spoken my piece.

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2 comments on “In Praise of Julie Delpy

  1. Disappointed to hear that August: Osage County might not be all that good. Based on the quality of the play it should have been amazing!
    Amy Adams prospects will be interesting – partly because it is an ensemble performance, i.e. she does not have an outright leading role. Also, she does not get to do any of the flashy stuff voters like, e.g. accents, change of appearance, life-changing journey etc.
    Overall, it is exciting to enter awards season without a clear front-runner, and it will be all the more fun to see what happens!
    Looking forward to your reviews of American Hustle, August County, Philomena and all other contenders.

    • Simon, the critics that I trust the most, panned “August: Osage County” at the TIFF— but I guess we will have to wait and see. I loved it on Broadway, but the film adaptation could be tricky. I have different levels of fondness for ALL the actresses I’ve mentioned above(for instance, I ADORE Emma Thompson, and I thought Amy Adams was superb in both “Junebug” and “The Master”. I just hate to see Delpy overlooked, but it’s an increasingly crowded field. Keeping my fingers crossed! ML

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