As we gear up for the 2011 Oscars, Australians will be hoping that Nicole Kidman takes home a second Oscar for her powerful role in the movie RABBIT HOLE. The sentimental favourite is Jacki Weaver, nominated in the best supporting actress category. The veteran actress has been an important figure in Australian film and theatre for more than 40 years, however, Weaver didn’t have an international profile until her role as Janine “Smurf” Cody in David Michod’s ANIMAL KINGDOM.
In addition to her Oscar nom, the role has garnered Weaver recognition in a dozen international festivals and an AFI award for Best Actress. Her first AFI award was for her role in STORK (1972) and she won a best supporting actress AFI for CADDIE (1976). Her other movie work includes some iconic Australian films of the 1970s like PETERSEN (1974) PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and THE REMOVALISTS (both 1975). She was also in the movie ALVIN PURPLE (1972) another type of icon. The film was known for its nudity and rather dodgy premise that young Alvin suddenly finds himself irresistible to all women. Ah, the 70s.
Jacki Weaver has been seen in many television roles. She was in the 1980s sitcom TRIAL BY MARRIAGE, the mini series adaptation of Sumner Locke Elliott’s WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE (1980) and for her role as hardworking MP and mother in the series HOUSE RULES (1988).
She has played a wide variety of parts, but tends to shine when she plays a battler. She has a warm screen presence that audiences welcome. She played on this brilliantly as Janine Cody. Watching her in ANIMAL KINGDOM that familiar audience connection is there and then we discover the depths of Janine’s nature.
In 2005, Weaver wrote her biography MUCH LOVE, JAC documenting her career and life. In it she speaks very openly about her numerous relationships and her five marriages, two of which were to the same man, controversial broadcaster Derryn Hinch. Many of these stories are also detailed 2011 episode of AUSTRALIAN STORY (Third Act).
In the trivia part of her biography, Weaver also recorded a song as part of a short lived pop career. In 1964 she sang the non-hit RAINING IN MY HEART. If you know anyone lucky enough to own the 1986 ABC compilation ANTIPODEAN ATROCITIES you will have a chance to enjoy this downbeat ditty. The liner notes say she was a teen sensation whose image could be found on boxes of Rice Krispies.
Weaver’s stocks are even higher now than they were in her breakfast cereal days. Recently, when it seemed that her husband actor Sean Taylor couldn’t travel to Los Angeles for the Oscars, foreign minister Kevin Rudd intervened. Taylor, a South African national, was unable to obtain a travel visa in the proper time. K Rudd buddy, co-writer and PLAY SCHOOL host Rhys Muldoon alerted the minister to the situation and the visa application was fast-tracked.
Naturally, Weaver is somewhat of an outsider for an Oscar win. ANIMAL KINGDOM is a small foreign film in American terms, but isn’t this the kind of contest Australians love? Backing the underdog against conventional wisdom? So, get ready to cheer on Jacki Weaver, the woman that former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam described as a National Living Treasure.