Thursday, April 01, 2010

Oscar Winning Performances

So I just watched the Blindside. Very nice movie. Very nice performance by Sandra Bullock. Was it Oscar worthy? Maybe there is some debate – but understanding Hollywood they probably wanted to recognize her for her career achievement. I’m fine with that. I’m especially fine with that since her husband turned out to be a scumdog. (Note to all scumdogs… if your wife is going to win a bunch of awards and you know you’re cheating on her and it’s about to all come out – tell her to tone down the love rhetoric in her acceptance speech. Ouch!)

What does this have to do with writing you might ask? Not really whole lot and I got off the track with the scumdog stuff, but it made me think of other Oscar winning performances.

That’s what I want to do. I want to write an Oscar Winning Performance! I want that type of story where the characters are so unforgettable, the emotion so elevated that if the book were a movie… my heroine or hero would be nominated.

I’ve got this plot point that will happen between my hero and heroine in my current WIP. It’s heartbreaking, awful, mean and purging. It’s all bottled up emotion and it’s going to come spewing out after this one revelation somewhere around Chapter 14 or 15 or so.

In my head I can “see it” sort of like a movie. No famous people. My characters are always strangers when I meet them. But I definitely can see the scene being played out. I know how they’re going to move. And I know the gist of what they’re going to say. The actual words right will only happen when it comes time to write the scene. But what I want to do is elevate it somehow. Take that nice performance and make it “Oscar” worthy.

Is it the dialogue? Is it what they don’t say? I don’t know yet and obviously the proof will be in the pudding. But it made me think about other characters. Who could have won “Oscars” in the romance genre? RITAs and GHs are great for picking the best stories but who have been the best characters?

Who would have won an Oscar if that book had been a movie?
My first thought… Laura Kinsale’s hero in Flowers from the Storm… portraying people with a disability tends to do well with the Academy. He would have been a lock.

Who else?

11 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

Ohhhhh - I love games like these!! I think the heroine from SEP Dream a Little Dream would have a shot -- she was a powerful mix of strength and vulnerability and a woman with nothing left to lose. She'd probably be played by Sandra Bullock. The whole crap storm that she's involved in right now is heartbreaking. This should be one of the best times of her life and it's totally in ruins.

Another character that would be an amazing vehicle for an actor would be the cousin in the book I just read Three Day Road. Whiskeyjack is a deadly WWI sniper who gets addicted to morophine, because he thinks it makes him a better hunter and then oh, then, he goes so off course. But he still stays so charming and so dangerous - it's an amazing character. amazing.

Maureen McGowan said...

I think those Oscar moments don't come from just "the moment" in movies and in books. I think they come when we're so invested in the stories and the characters that we feel like we're there with them. And it takes so much skill to pull that off.

I nominate the little girl (whose name I can't think of right now), who Katnis lays on the bed of flowers after she dies, for best supporting actress. I was so invested in that kid living, even though I knew, based on the story's premise, she had to die...

Eileen said...

Ooh. So tricky! Let's see. I'm still in love with Lucky from Lucky's Lady by Tami Hoag. It's easily been over a decade since I read it. Something about his tortured soul and how damn hot he was. Clearly that was memorable for me!

I wanted to BE the heroine from Kathleen Woodiwiss' Ashes in the Wind. It's probably been TWO decades (possibly three?) since I read that one. Clearly IT made an impression, too.

Molly O'Keefe said...

OMG Maureen - yes, that girl!!! Good one. Was Lucky the piano player? In which case, I just wrote a book in homage to Lucky...

Eileen said...

Lucky was the painter. The brooding painter who'd been tortured in South America after being betrayed by the heroine's identical twin sister (!) and now lived in the swamps of Louisiana. The heroine was terrified of the swamps because her identical twin sister (!) once abandoned her there.

Their good true loved healed each other!

And now you have just a little peek into how I pick boyfriends. :-)

Stephanie Doyle said...

Was it Rue??? in HG. I sobbed my freakin eyes out! Definitely her.

Possibly Zhadist... So tortured but maybe a little over the top.

The hero from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. I think he had layers.

Oh Eileen - Ashes in the Wind... God I loved that story. Although my favorite was her Beauty/Beast story.

And for Nucking Futs Nix from the Kresely Cole books for best supporting... ala Woopie Goldberg in Ghost.

Maureen McGowan said...

Ah, yes. Rue. The writer in me knew she had to die and was hoping Suzanne wouldn't cop out, but the human in me so, so, so wanted Suzanne to figure out a way for her to live.

Sinead M said...

Loved Rue, I was so into just reading and loving that book, that I wasn't even thinking about what was going to happen, and was just completely caught up in the moment.

For me, the oscar would go to Jenny Jones, The Promise of JJ, that character had such lovely growth... still my favourite romance heroine.

Karen W said...

Oscar for best Actress would go to the Mother (who is actually the heroine of the book - her story is told in flashbacks to WWII) of The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. OMG, that story. The mother was Russian and was in Leningrad when the Germans did the 900 day seige. Ahhh. I tear up just thinking about it. What a story. What a character. THAT is an Academy Award winning performance.

Maureen McGowan said...

Karen, if you're interested in the siege of Leningrad, you should read City of Thieves.

Molly probably has other recommendations, too.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Karen if you're interested another great romance set during the seige of leningrad (because nothing says love like starvation and dawn bombings) is Paullina Simmons The Bronze Horseman - there's a sequel to it called Alexander and Tatiana that I belive is totally amazing, but Sinead gets angry everytime I do. Both are worth checking out.

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