Foot in Mouth...or On the Button?
Written: 3rd Sep 2004 | Last Updated: 5th Sep 2004
Gutsy Aussie actress Kerry Armstrong propelled herself into the public eye this week by saying something many of us have thought for some time but were far too polite to mention. In the interests of saving the Australian film industry from a tailspin into average-ness, she threw kero on the fiery debate about whether Our Kylie and Our Nicole have any real talent.
While at first this attack seems slightly über-bitchy and even self-promotional (she has a new film about to screen at the Toronto Film Festival), if you actually go to the trouble of reading Kerry’s words, you catch the spirit of a passionate actor who cares about standards in her profession. These aren’t simply the rantings of a jealous thespian – Armstrong is a confident, multiple award-winner and is extremely popular with Australian movie-goers and TV-viewers alike. She has received rave reviews overseas for films such as “Lantana” and walks tall amongst her peers.
So why the attack? In case you haven’t noticed, the once quirky, original and wildly successful local film industry is currently suffering from a bad case of the pox. Very few of the recent crop of movies have covered themselves, and only a handful could claim any sort of exciting, financial and/or critical success. It’s such a pity, because for a couple of decades we were known around the world for producing wonderful, quality films that not only stood out but stood the test of time. The best movies of that era remain eminently watchable and are landmarks of our industry.
Whether one person adores one actress and hates another is irrelevant – everything in art is subjective, and personal taste varies extraordinarily. One man’s Cate is another man’s Nicole, so to speak. So while I don’t believe any of us can deny others the right to admire an actor or actress and pay to go and see their movies, buy their biographies, hang their pictures on their walls, we can acknowledge that some superstars are up there despite their level of ability instead of because of it. Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman may be two of the most famous women in the world – and our most excessively fawned-over exports – but neither could be called extraordinary when compared to the true greats of their or any other era of music (Minogue) or acting (Kidman).