“I, Tonya” is Australian actress Margot Robbie attempt at going for the gold, and trying to win an Oscar. She may have succeeded in getting herself a nomination the week after this. But who she’s more seriously pulled into Awards contention and the quite possibly the win is her co-star Allison Janney, everyone’s favorite got-to actress, as her hateful mother LaVona.
And Janney has just astoundingly won TWO major awards, the Golden Globe and also the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Up until this past week, Laurie Metcalf had been predicted to be winning those awards, and suddenly the Golden Globes just turned this particular race, Best Supporting Actress upside. Just as Sam Rockwell did with Best Supporting Actor.
Remembering all too vividly the events this loathsome episode that will forever cloud the history of figure skating, I just was not ready to listen to Tonya Harding’s side of the story. She had some foul person attack champion Nancy Kerrigan by hitting her in the shin with a mettle rod, thus effectively side-lining her and allowing the rabbit Harding to shine. It was a horrifying incident and you just hated Harding for it.
Well, there’s more to the story, as it turns out. Or sort of turns out. If Harding is to be believed, which I for one, can’t. Seems that her husband, ex-husband, boyfriend, whatever executed this hateful scheme. Jeff Gilhooley is wonderfully scummy, but I didn’t believe a word out of his mouth. Both he and Robbie play the untruths they have to spout believably, which must be considered a great feat of acting on both their parts. But Robbie will be the won who wins a nomination for producing this nauseating sea of lies. Which brings me to Allison Janney and why she keeps winning.
She’s got her own TV series, which she stars in every week on CBS, “Mom”. She won many, many Emmys for her yeoman multi-season run on “West Wing.” And so she extremely familiar to TV viewers, who know she is NOTHING like LaVona Harding, the worst mother every seen depicted as a character, reel or unreal.
Laurie Metcalf’s compassionate, though beleaguered Mom on “Lady Bird” is VERY believable. She does not physically abuse her wayward daughter. But Lavona constantly smacks Tony around and even throws a knife which penetrates Tonya’s upper arm. So LoVona’s bad behavior, makes “I, Tonya” believable and sympathetic, but only somewhat.
Janney’s physical transformation is key here. She uglies up to the nth degree, and many think that’s acting, but I don’t. However, Janney is so skilled an actress, you buy it. She’s also a comic, though horrible, relief from the incessant whining and bitch-slapping of her irritating daughter.
And I think voters are going to feel that Janney is the one to vote for, and surprising they say “I, Tonya” is surging right now. She a comfortable way in. It’s clearly a performance of someone we don’t like, by someone we do like.
And there is ONE scene in a diner, where else? Where LaVona tries to plead HER case as a mother to her destructive daughter, who hates her. And still does to this day. Janney as LaVona says that she went out and worked and gave everything to her daughter. “I didn’t stay home as bake brown betties all day.” Janney had me at that moment. And clearly she had the voters , too. So far.