Face in the Crowd: Female Character Actors
You know the drill:
You recognize their faces from their substantial bodies of work, but don’t know their names. These are five female character actors whose work I enjoy.
I first noticed Lewis as Tina Turner’s mom in What’s Love Got To Do With It. I was captivated by the way she drawled her words and could make her lips curve around the shittiest dialog. On Strong Medicine she worked with what easily could have been a one note sassy black lady character and brought gravitas to the role.
One can never forget an Oola, though none of us seem to know this versatile actor’s name! She slips in and out out character, but her voice is pretty distinctive. Whenever I notice her I say, “Hey, it’s Oola!” and now I actually know her name.
I first noticed her as the thoughtful counterpoint in Footloose to John Lithgow’s frothing dancephobic preacher. I am probably one the rare Law & Order fans who enjoyed her portrayal of D.A. Nora Lewin. I found her a refreshing intermission from the endless snark of Adam Schiff and the faux folksy douchebaggery of Arthur Branch. Wiest was so wonderful in Bullets Over Broadway and richly deserved the Oscar, despite the best supporting actress award often being the kiss of death. Wiest is doing fine work on HBO’s In Treatment
Melissa Leo is having a well deserved career renaissance thanks to an Oscar nod in last year’s Frozen River. But many of us rabid H:LOTS fans know her best as the incomparable Detective/Sgt Kay Howard. Leo was fantastic in the role and I’m told her Charm City accent and mannerisms were near flawless. There are some who argue the addition of the Falsone and Ballard characters caused H:LOTS to jump shark, but I maintain it is Leo’s departure in at the end of season four, which started H:LOTS long and cringe inducing descent into mediocrity.
Mainly a known for her voice work, Tom is a wonderful on camera actress. Two words:
EMMA ZOOLE. Google it. H:LOTS fans know what I’m talking about!