By John H. Foote
In the manner Heath Ledger turned a comic book character, the Joker, into an Academy Award winning performance, so could Emma Stone for her delicious performance in the title role of Cruella, the Disney film that beautifully explores the early days of Cruella de Ville. An Oscar winner for Best Actress for La La Land (2016) and supporting actress nominee twice, for Birdman (2014) and again in 2018 for The Favourite, Stone has fast become one of the finest and most beloved actresses of her generation.
Her hysterical performance in The Favourite was a lead, not supporting and for my money Stone gave the film’s finest performance. Yet she was thrilled Oscar night when her co-star, Olivia Colman won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Will she be nominated for Cruella?
It is a tough call because the category is jammed to the rafters this year. If the question is SHOULD she be nominated, the answer is a resounding yes.
First seen in the animated feature 101 Dalmatians (1961), then portrayed by Glenn Close in the feature of the same title, the character became one of Disney’s most loved villains. Close played her again a few years later in the sequel, before turning the role over to Stone.
And Stone proceeded to weave her dark magic.
Living the life of a criminal as a child, orphaned Cruella grows up fighting for everything she gets, and when the top of the fashion world in London is in sight, she discovers her enemy is closer to her than she could possibly imagine. And she goes about besting her competition ruthlessly, without hesitation, and with cold blooded perfection. Did I mention a smile? A lovely, devilish, toothy smile that lights up her face.
Stone is a divine actress, having grown with each fine performance and consistently taking risks as an actor. Watching her in Cruella is half the fun of the movie, watching her go toe to toe with a wildly, perfectly over the top Emma Thompson is the other half. A nasty comedy sees Stone at her nastiest best and I hope, truly she is a Best Actress nominee.
A long shot I know, but she deserves to be there.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.