Song of the Day #4,674: ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ – The Communards

Continuing my personal list of Oscar nominations with a look at the Best Actress race.

Jessie Buckley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I believe Buckley should have received a Best Actress nod for her work in 2018’s Wild Rose, and she’s just as good here. She is clearly a major talent on the rise. In Charlie Kaufman’s depressing puzzle box of a movie, Buckley has the challenge of playing a projection. But she infuses the character with so much warmth and intelligence that she feels like a flesh and blood human being. So much so that the film noticeably sags when her character drops out of the narrative toward the end. Buckley is one of those actors who will always be the most magnetic presence in anything she does.

Carrie Coon – The Nest

Speaking of magnetic presences… I have adored Carrie Coon since I saw her mesmerizing work in The Leftovers. She dazzled once again in Season 3 of Fargo, and was memorable in small film roles in Gone Girl and The Post. With the 80s-set family drama The Nest, she is finally given a big-screen lead role the chew on, and my god does she ever deliver. Whether reducing her husband (Jude Law) to a pile of ashes with a withering stare or releasing her frustration by dancing alone in a nightclub, Coon is so real and so fierce she practically burns through the screen.

Han Ye-Ri – Minari

So often the less showy roles in a movie are ignored come awards time. This year, I’ve been happy to see Steven Yeun celebrated for his quiet work in Minari, alongside the more obvious (but equally deserving) Youn Yuh-jung. But I wish Han Ye-Ri, who plays mother, wife and daughter Monica, was getting the same recognition. This is as much her movie as Yeun’s, as her connections to every other character run even deeper. She brings grace and strength to the role of a woman fighting to keep her family together in a strange new world. She deserves this nod if only for the scene where she tearfully smells the spices her mother brought from Korea, conveying so much while doing so little.

Frances McDormand – Nomadland

Only Daniel Day Lewis and Katherine Hepburn have won three or more Oscars for lead roles. If Frances McDormand joins them this year, it’s hard to think of an actor more worthy of the honor. In Nomadland, she plays an alternate universe version of herself, inhabiting the role so completely you never believe her Fern is actually a rich movie star slumming it for her art. Her performance is almost entirely internal, and she is at her most moving when simply listening to the stories of the real nomads around her and embodying the empathy and openness at the heart of Chloe Zhao’s beautiful film.

Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man

Anybody who thought Elisabeth Moss wouldn’t be able to shake off the role of Mad Men‘s Peggy Olson has been proven wrong repeatedly over the past several years. On the contrary, she appears able to disappear into any role she’s given. In The Invisible Man, Moss takes a standard B-movie template and classes the joint up with a top-notch performance. She portrays an emotionally unraveling victim of domestic violence and gaslighting who has the inner strength to fight off both internal and external demons.

And the winner is… Carrie Coon.

Don’t leave me this way
I can’t survive
I can’t stay alive
Without your love, no baby

Don’t leave me this way
I can’t exist
I will surely miss your tender kiss
So don’t leave me this way

Oh baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you’ve got to do
Your started this fire down in my soul
Now can’t you see it’s burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
‘Cos only your good loving can set me free

Don’t leave me this way
I don’t understand how I’m at your command
So baby please, so don’t you leave me this way

Oh, baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you’ve got to do
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can’t you see it’s burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
‘Cos only your good loving can set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free, set me free, set me free
Come, satisfy me, come satisfy me
Don’t you leave me this way

Don’t leave me this way
I can’t exist, I will surely miss your tender kiss
So don’t leave me this way

Oh, baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you’ve got to do
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can’t you see it’s burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
‘Cos only your good loving can set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free, set me free, set me free

Don’t you know by now, don’t you know by now

I’m losing control

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,674: ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ – The Communards

  1. Amy says:

    Great choices, though, as I avoid the horror film genre, I missed Moss’s certainly sterling work, and hadn’t even heard about The Nest! Will definitely be on the lookout for that one. Earlier in the year, I assumed Kaufman’s film would get award show love, but I guess it was too much of a puzzle to receive that attention. My list would certainly include McDormand and like Audra Day, who inhabited Billie Holliday, though I was no fan of the film. You make a compelling case for Han Ye-Ri, especially in a year that was dominated by films with male leads. Her quiet, effective work in Minars could have gotten the nod. I loved all of the performances in Let Them All Talk, though I don’t know if Streep, Wiest, and Bergen would be considered lead or supporting. Ultimately, I want McDormand to take home her 3rd Oscar, whoever her competition might be.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Haven’t seen The Nest or Invisible Man, though maybe your accolades for Moss will motivate Amy to overcome her apprehension of the horror movie.

    I often think an actor is more deserving of a nomination where he or she rises above an otherwise mediocre movie. Such is the case with Andra Day and Viola Davis. Still, I think the win this year should go to McDonald.

  3. Peg says:

    I don’t understand I thought you were choosing from the nominated actresses???

    • Clay says:

      No, I’m offering up who I would have nominated in these categories.

      • Peg says:

        Gotcha and BTW since you are a big fan of Carrie Coon you should check out the series The Sinner starring Bill Pullman. Episode two stars Carrie. Actually all 3 are worth watching

  4. Peg says:

    Anyway I pick Andra Day 😊

  5. Amy says:

    I didn’t have my own list in front of me when I wrote my comment this morning, so I need to amend my list by adding Charlize Theron for Old Guard. Can’t believe I forgot to include her! Dana’s point about an actor being better than the film around him/her is intriguing, but I prefer my best performances in a film worthy of them.

    • Clay says:

      I agree. I have to at least like the movie to truly appreciate the performance. Andra Day did great work but I couldn’t bring myself to honor the movie by honoring her.

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