Rooney Mara vs. Marion Cotillard - Why one is Oscar nom certainty and the other ain't

Scott Feinberg has wrote a 1200 word essay on why Rooney Mara, the 25 year old actress who played 'the one that got away' from Facebook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, should be considered a serious Best Supporting Actress contender. Despite the passion with which Feinberg puts forward his case, I don't believe anything of what he says. Now yes, some of you might say I've kind of had a thing against Mara ever since her completely bland and non-descriptive cover version of Nancy in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street but one well acted opening scene in a much superior film - where she serviceably kick-starts Zuckerberg's narrative by showing her dislike of his ideology and subsequently breaks up him - just ain't gonna cut it. And it's got nothing to do with her limited screen time either so don't throw that at me. It's the lack of Mara needing to play anything other than one dramatic and emotional key and her one or two brief follow-up moments later on in the film not registering as anything more than what they were - servicable dialogue delivered well. This isn't Viola Davis going through an impressive array of emotions in her similar in length, individual scene in Doubt. Compare Mara's lasting affect in The Social Network with that of Marion Cotillard whose nightmarish vision of Cobb's (Leonardo DiCaprio) psyche literally haunts the whole of Inception. With around the same screentime - Cotillard is challenged physically and emotionally on far deeper levels than a one-on-one conversation in a bar where Aaron Sorkin's screenplay and Jesse Eisenberg's performance are the real scene stealers. Cotillard's role instantly felt like an Awards contender. Mara was fine and all in Network, but she isn't in the top five performances you remember from that film. Well maybe actually she's the fifth. As far as the State of the Race goes for Best Supporting Actress I've only found Cotillard's multi-layered and memorable Inception performance and depending on whether you consider it to be Supporting over Leading - Lesley Manville's extraordinary turn in Another Year as being absolute stonewallers so far this year. Did I forget anyone?
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.