Welcome one and all to Flixist’s new end of the year awards program, the Golden Cages! With Hollywood becoming increasingly out of touch with what the people like, we at Flixist have taken it upon ourselves to deliver the fair, balanced, dignity-filled awards you deserve. Why are we delivering our 2018 awards so late in the year? Because the Oscars do it and we’re better than them. The winners of the Golden Cages will be spread out over the next two weeks, right before the hostless Academy Awards.
I was going to open this article mentioning how Rachel Weisz is married to Bondman extraordinaire Daniel “Oh no, rewrites?!” Craig (which I guess I still did), but that’s not at all fair because Weisz absolutely smashed it playing the very fictionalized dead person, Sarah Churchill, in The Favourite. Serving as confidant, adviser, and lover to Queen Anne, Weisz needed to be endlessly cunning and shrewd as she navigated high politics 17th-century Britain and the even more chaotic chamber rooms of the Queen. Initially appearing ruthless and terse, Weisz carefully reveals herself, giving hints of emotion, even having sparks of joy and love, all while remaining ruthless and terse. She’s clearly learned the rules of the land, but also possesses an innate understanding of any current situation, knowing if she’s won or lost 3 steps before anyone else.
Because she is so in control and so…. just so freaking mean, you expect to be looking forward to her fall from grace. She degrades anyone she feels is inferior to her (which is everybody), pretends to shoot Emma Stone, and tells her love Queen Anne she looks like a badger. And the fall does come, a precipitous one, but Weisz does not allow Sarah to be the bad guy, transforming our schadenfreude into a strange solace with her because you know damn well she won’t take your pity. Precise and subtle, Weisz develops Sarah into something that’s hard not to hate but just as hard not to feel for.
Honestly, Best Actress should have been a three-way joint award between Stone, Colman and Weisz for how great they interact in The Favourite, but I guess we’ll just have to settle for two awards for three astounding performances instead. Weisz only further compounds her great performance when she’s sparring with Emma Stone, or being intimate with Colman, or for that matter when she’s sparring with Colman. The Favourite is all about changing power dynamics and the perils of those who think they won’t, so it’s ironic that Rachel Weisz’s performance does not grow or shrink with every victory and defeat she suffers. Instead, it continually builds, providing her character with strength and power, no matter what anyone from the high court may say.