Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Naomi Watts gave a performance in Mulholland Drive (2001) that was career defining. In her role as Betty/Diane she was able to demonstrate almost her entire range, from a naive and carefree wannabe actress to sexually depressed, suicidal lesbian with plenty of metaphorical meat in between. In a mere 147 minutes Watts achieves more than most actors are able to achieve in a lifetime.
The moment that changed her career forever was the film’s audition scene. Watts in character as twee Betty, attends a casting session where before our eyes she magically transforms into an alternate adulterous character and delivers a nonsensical soap-opera script with such unexpected gusto and sexuality that you wonder how on earth Betty can be resurrected. However, Watts is so incredible, that with the sound of the first clap, she's back and you are awestruck.
It is hard to think of any other character that has the existential density of Betty / Diane. It is also impossible to imagine any other actress being capable of such a feat. Unsurprisingly, the performance was ignored by the Academy Awards that year, who chose Halle Berry in Monsters Ball (2001) as the best actress. However, where bland Berry is lacking, Watts is continuing to deliver memorable performances that make a lasting impression on the viewer and prove that she is one of, if not the greatest working actress in Hollywood.
Click Here to watch part of the audition scene.
Here is Culturine's pick of Naomi Watts in her greatest roles. Click on the title to watch the trailers.
Mulholland Drive (2001)
21 Grams (2003)
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
Ellie Parker (2001)
Eastern Promises (2007)
Funny Games (2007)
The Assasination of Richard Nixon (2004)