At 60, when most women her age are babysitting grandkids, the two time Oscar winner, Frances McDormand still manages to stop many hearts with her breathtaking performances on screen. Her latest Oscar win for the movie “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” prove why she belongs on the same mantle as Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.
She may not represent an eye-rubbing beauty. But these five defining characters of her career reaffirm why McDormand is such a powerhouse performer.
1. AS MARGE GUNDERSON IN FARGO
Arguably one of her best roles ever is her part in Fargo, for which she won her first Oscar. The actor was the backbone of the widely acclaimed 1996 movie, where she played a no-nonsense pregnant Minnesota police chief investigating roadside homicides.
Her character wasn’t too garrulous. Nor was it disenchanted by the ensuing drama. But McDormand’s conformity to positivity amidst difficult times provided a soothing balance to the typical criminal ugliness that surrounds this classic black comedy.
2. AS ELAINE MILLER IN ALMOST FAMOUS
This Cameron Crowe epic might have offered a great platform to actors like Kate Hudson. But Francis McDormand created a distinct presence for herself by essaying the role of rock journalist William Miller’s mother, Elaine Miller.
McDormand portrayed a believable character of an anxious mother bordering on obsession about her ‘would-be journalist’ kid. Her intellectual prowess shone brightly albeit stemming from an unexpressed superiority complex, an important element of an enjoyable film.
3. AS JANE IN LAUREN CANYON
Lauren Canyon is a must watch where she plays a fast-paced, edgy, exceedingly bright and a very suave, urban mom. Even though her character had shades of narcissism, it came across as something highly believable. McDormand was bold and gritty as a middle-age record producer who loves to live young.
4. AS LINDA LITZKE IN BURN AFTER READING
How profoundly stupid and silly was this character? A fitness trainer who needlessly gets involved in a crime plot, McDormand was fiery and funny. Yet, at the same time, her persona produced fireworks for that chemistry with Brad Pitt. Even though this was a goofy character, McDormand managed to bring out some depth in it. Again, a trait you’d identify with great actors.
5. AS JANE IN FRIENDS WITH MONEY
Perhaps it’s McDormand’s characteristic ease of dealing with complex characters that make her a legend. As the successful Jane who was rich but living a hollow personal life, McDormand birthed a very believable character. You’re more likely to run into a similar personality in today’s fast-paced times. McDormand’s Jane had the drive to attain professional goals but lacked the spirit to lead a wholesome, happy life. Haven’t we all known a Jane like that?