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2. Miranda Richardson in "Spider" (2002)
A triumph of both quality and quantity, Richardson gives a nightmarish triptych of performances as, alternately, the mother of Ralph Fiennes's mentally hollowed protagonist, his father's mistress and his present-day landlady, vividly embodying an entire, terrorising wall of femininity in his psyche. Favored for the Best Actress award at Cannes, she emerged from the festival with no prize, but a cloud of Oscar buzz that vanished into thin air. A shame; it's her best screen work.
Top honors: Best Supporting Actress winner, San Francisco Film Critics' Circle, Toronto Film Critics' Association; nominee, Chicago Film Critics' Association