Oprah Winfrey may have lost the Oscar for The Color Purple years ago, but she delivered a tour de force performance on "The Barbara Walters Special: Oprah, The Next Chapter", cinching her chance for an Emmy Award.
For your consideration:
BEST ACTRESS for Oprah Winfrey.
Asked a simple, straightforward question about her relationship with her best friend Gayle King, Oprah loses her composure completely and oh-so convincingly. The long, loooooooong, exaggerated pause. The "I swear to GOD!" hand in the air. The fake tears. The way she goes off script, asking for a tissue–a tissue!–when we all know that when Oprah needs to wipe her nose, she uses the corner of a 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton California King Size sheet, and then has the sheet destroyed in an incinerator.
“She is … the mother I never had. She is … the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person. I-don’t-know-a-better-person.” There wasn't a dry eye in MY house! Too much!
When asked why she's crying, Oprah explains that she just realized that she has never told Gayle this before. It suspends any element of disbelief to think that in their decades-long friendship, Oprah, a women who spent several million dollars to throw a three-day party for her favorite African-American women to let them know how much she loved and appreciated them, has never told Gayle how she thinks of her. Yet Oprah's brilliant performance makes us believe. I'm sure that Gayle was home watching the program, shocked–shocked!–to hear Oprah speak of her this way. I bet they shared a big hug when they saw each other again.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS for Barbara Walters.
It's clear that Ms. Winfrey and Ms. Walters spent HOURS rehearsing these scenes together to make it look spontaneous. And Barbara played her part beautifully. What a commitment!
And of course, there's the obligatory "I wasn't gonna cry!!" moment. This is Ms. Walters' calling card, which she requests to be placed in all of her costars' scripts. We wouldn't have it any other way!
I especially love when Barbara asks about those 'to me, dumb rumors'! Don't you love when 'journalists' try to shame us?!? I'll think again the next time I go 'round spreading rumors about poor celebrities!
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
Was Oprah's voice manipulated? She pronounces the word 'lesbian' as 'lezsh-a-bee-in', giving credence to the script; she's so NOT a lesbian that she's not even familiar enough with the word to pronounce it correctly! Brilliant.
She then elaborates, saying she's "not even kinda lesbian." Not even kinda lesbian? Like...Anne Heche? Is this some kind of low blow directed at her de facto replacement Ellen Degeneres? Edgy!
Oprah says the gay rumors "irritate" her because "why would you want to hide it?" Surely she herself has interviewed enough closeted celebrities to know why they would want to hide it...it has something to do with greed, doesn't it? Projecting an image to the public? Remaining viable and marketable? The interview leaves these questions open...perhaps for a sequel?!
I don't know if Oprah is gay or not...but I do know she's a great actress!