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Monsters (legendary creatures)
Critic's Notebook: Annette Bening takes the ordinary to Oscar-worthy heights
Critic's Notebook: Annette Bening takes the ordinary to Oscar-worthy heights

There is a very particular art to playing the ordinary. Few actors do it well — Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney always come to mind. Of those, most fail to get their due come Oscar night — thoughts of Giamatti and Linney rise again.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at least in modern times, rather prefers its lead actor and actress performances to hit an electrifying emotional chord that can neither be ignored nor, seemingly, denied. The heroes, the handicapped, the monsters, the innocents, the leaders, the literary, the redeemed, the doomed, the artists, the doomed artists — captured in that moment of overcoming or unraveling — have become nearly impossible to resist....

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