There were better supporting actress turns this year, namely the females in Inglourious Basterds followed by the females in Up in the Air. Hell, there were even better Meryl Streep performances this year. However, we are honoring actressing at the margins today and while voice acting doesn’t fit the traditional definition of acting, it still requires creating a character. Animated characters can be given a new depth based solely on the intonation of the voice actor behind it.
Mrs. Fox is no exception. Meryl’s gentle soothing voice was the perfect complement to Clooney’s wily Mr. Fox. Mrs. Fox is a very typical female role — the supporting wife (this time, it just happens to be animated). You can tell from Meryl’s performance that Mrs. Fox has had to use a lot of patience over the years, but in spite of the repeated follies from her husband, there is still something magical in their marriage. Mrs. Fox is also fiercely maternal, a characteristic she puts to good use when she needs to protect her family. Throughout the truly fantastic cascade of events propagated by her husband, Mrs. Fox keeps a calm and Meryl controls her character from histrionics. Mrs. Fox keeps cool to stay in control while Mr. Fox tries to be cool and loses control. What is really remarkable is that the voice actors not only have to portray a character without body language, but they have to portray a Wes Anderson character without body language. The quirkiness of the stop-motion definitely helped, but it is a testament to Meryl and George (Clooney) that you can almost picture them in a live-action version of this movie.
*This post is a part of the Class of 2010 Supporting Actress Blogathon*