By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
Michelle Monaghan, one of the most underappreciated actresses working today, has starred in two films — both tiny indies — in which she portrays a character employed in a stereotypically masculine job who is struggling to juggle her work responsibilities with the stereotypically feminine responsibility of raising a young child.
The first, which came out six years ago, was James Mottern‘s Trucker, and she deserved a best actress Oscar nomination for her work. (Don’t take my word for it; the late Roger Ebert wrote at the time, “Her performance clearly deserves an Oscar nomination.”) Unfortunately, though, despite the best efforts of the film’s tiny distributor, Monterey Media, the film never quite made it onto the radar of the Academy’s acting branch.
The second, which was released in New York over the weekend, is Claudia Myers‘ Fort Bliss, in which Monaghan is equally good — and which even includes a little Truckerhomage. It is my hope, as an admirer of Monaghan and someone who recognizes how wide open this year’s best actress Oscar category is, that history will not repeat itself. (Disconcertingly, though, this film’s distributor, Phase 4 Films, was recently acquired by eOne, which may be more focused on VOD prospects than awards campaigning; it recently sold away the U.S. distribution rights to Cannes prize-winner Maps to the Stars, which it had co-financed.)
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