THE PERFORMER | Elizabeth Debicki
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THE SHOW | The Crown
THE EPISODE | “Dis-Moi Oui” (Nov. 16, 2023)
THE PERFORMANCE | An ominous cloud hangs over The Crown’s final season, since we know that the final episodes include the tragic death of Princess Diana. But even though we knew what was coming, it still packed an enormous emotional punch when it happened, and that’s thanks in large part to Elizabeth Debicki’s exquisitely crafted portrayal of Diana. Sure, she looks the part, but Debicki also artfully revealed the human being behind the icon, and she absolutely shined in Diana’s final episode, reminding us why we all loved the Princess of Wales so much.
In Season 6’s third episode, Diana and Dodi’s whirlwind romance made them the constant target of paparazzi, and we got as stressed out as they did watching pushy photographers jostle and shout at them at every turn. Even amid the chaos, though, Diana found time to giggle with the locals and smile at a young girl, as Debicki effortlessly flashed the magnetism that made Diana such a beloved figure. But the pressure did weigh on her, with Debicki fighting back tears as Diana’s arrival at a hotel restaurant brought the whole dining room to a stunned silence. The actress also captured a pensive moment when Diana told her sons on the phone, “Mummy just needs to make some changes to her life, that’s all.”
Dodi tried to make it a fairy tale by surprising Diana with a marriage proposal, but Diana turned him down, pointing out that neither of them is ready to get married. It’s here that Debicki channeled the incredible kindness that Diana was famous for, tenderly counseling Dodi through his heartbreak and admitting that she needs to slow down and spend more time with her boys, too. Diana never got the chance to do that, sadly, and The Crown will certainly miss her lively spark. Debicki’s richly empathetic performance, though, made sure that she got the royal sendoff she deserves.
Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…
HONORABLE MENTION: Carrie Coon
When Carrie Coon declares “Leave us!” upon entering a room, you know it’s about to go down. And down is exactly where it went during Sunday’s episode of The Gilded Age, in which Bertha Russell (Coon) finally demanded answers about what happened between her husband and her former lady’s maid. For a societal shark like Bertha, one of the worst things a person can be is embarrassed, and she wore her humiliation like armor in her relentless pursuit of the truth. Bertha prides herself on remaining stoic in most situations, so it was a borderline haunting experience to see that proud exterior melt away, revealing the wounded woman underneath. With each additional admission, Coon’s performance built to a devastating crescendo, ultimately collapsing under the weight of George’s betrayal.
HONORABLE MENTION: Chloe Troast
We’d like to make a Troast — sorry, a toast — to Saturday Night Live’s newest breakout cast member, whose jaw-dropping performance as a too-old orphan named Cassidy shattered the notion that SNL saves its worst sketches for the end of the night. From her unwavering commitment to the character’s aw-shucks persona to those wholly unexpected vocals (and we do mean vocals!), the featured player confidently commanded the screen in her first spotlight sketch, which she also co-wrote. Whaaaat… is it aboOout Chloe Troast that we love? Absolutely everything.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mae Whitman
It’s not every week that an animated character makes their way onto this list, but it’s also not every week that we encounter someone like Scott Pilgrim Takes Off‘s Roxie Richter, a sympathetic wildcard whose sword-wielding skills are matched only by her ability to pierce viewers’ hearts with a single line of dialogue. The big, spoilery twist at the center of Netflix’s animated Scott Pilgrim adaptation was designed to give us more time with each of the franchise’s side characters, and few benefitted from this as clearly as Roxie, whose residual pain from her unresolved breakup with Ramona was conveyed with devastating authenticity by Mae Whitman, a bonafide emotional assassin both in front of the camera and in the recording studio.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!
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