Range has never been an issue for Kate Winslet, nor has Academy love. The five nods she stacked up before The Reader include a blue-maned wild child (Eternal Sunshine) and a cheating housewife (Little Children).
But Winslet had to follow her own advice from Extras (Holocaust film equals Oscar bait) to finally bring baldie home. The consensus, though, is
that she won for the wrong film – most would have picked her scalding turn in Revolutionary Road.
Sadly, another frustrated American hausfrau didn’t cut it for Oscar voters. It’s that ‘range’ thing again… Surely dimming her star wattage to play an lliterate SS guard who gets carnal with a 15-year-old boy (David Kross) before rotting in prison in granny make-up is the more praiseworthy effort?
In Stephen Daldry’s hands, it’s not. As Hanna Schmitz, Winslet is solid in the early, sensual sequences. But later, when the scope of her heinous crimes is revealed, the actress – and Daldry, straining in convoluted strokes to bear witness to a nation’s damaged psyche – tries too hard to milk our pity for Hanna, leaving a slightly sour taste.
It’s an odd criticism to level at Winslet, whose immense likeability has always been one of her strengths, allowing us to buy her characters at their