"Best Supporting Actor Oscar Curse aside, my picks are generally accurate. And after seeing Rendition, I need to tell all fellow Oscar Pool Enthusiasts to put your money on Rendition. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
Rendition tells the story of a family in crisis. When Isabella’s husband boards a flight home from a conference but never arrives, she must summon every ounce of courage she has to discover what’s happened to him.
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) plays Isabella. I am a fan of Witherspoon’s; I think she’s absolutely delightful no matter the part. She has a smile that lit up the entire theatre and outstrips her contemporary’s talent level by a mile. As Isabella, Witherspoon manages to be tough as nails and utterly adorable all at once. While struggling to find out what’s become of her husband, she shows a gripping sense of desperation.
Witherspoon’s character’s journey from fear to frustration to anguish is perfectly done and impossible to look away from.
As Isabella, Witherspoon manages to maintain a crumbling façade to strength, barely managing to cover her mounting panic over her husband. There are beautiful moments of Isabella, lost in her own thoughts in her performance. Witherspoon does a spectacular job of capturing the weariness of a person fighting for one she loves.
The power of her character’s passion is astonishing. Witherspoon’s portrait of an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances is remarkable.
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) plays Douglas Freeman. Gyllenhaal is the master of body language, able to communicate volumes without saying a word. (There are moments where, simply by pacing down a hall, he brings out a character who is wound tighter than a spring. His haunted eyes are mesmerizing. His outer shell of machismo exquisitely covers a man desperately unsure of himself. Gyllenhaal executes some enchanting attempts at uncomfortable humour, lightening some of the movie’s darker moments.
As Douglas, Gyllenhaal perfectly underplays reactions to extreme circumstances, making the moments where he explodes all the more compelling. His moments of guilt and emotional pain are absolutely heartbreaking. As Douglas, Gyllenhaal is cool, calm, and commanding. He blew me away.
[...] It’s intelligent, well written and complex without being convoluted. The subplots are fascinating, the minor characters captivating. The leads performances are Oscar calibre. Rendition is intense, the finale thrilling. It is a literal nail biter of a film and not to be missed. It’s easily one of the best films of the year".