It is exceedingly rare when a performance within an action film has the capacity to be nominated for an Oscar, which was a wall that was first broken down in 1986 when Sigourney Weaver was nominated for Aliens. Yet every once and a while there is a performance that challenges the Academy’s bias towards action films. In 1995, Jamie Lee Curtis came close to being nominated in True Lies.
The movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Harry Tasker, who is a government agent tasked with protecting America from terrorists who are looking for any opportunity to strike on American soil. Unfortunately, as a result of his job, Harry is a poor husband and father. His wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), believes her husband to be a boring computer salesman and finds her life to be as equally dull. For Harry, he is trying to save America when he stumbles upon the possibility that Helen may be cheating on him. In the midst of trying to uncover what his wife is up to, it inadvertently causes both of them to endure an adventure together that risks their lives and changes their relationship forever.
Jamie Lee Curtis offered something truly special in this film by utilizing her acting ability to its maximum. Curtis, known as the “Scream Queen” for her horror movie start in the film industry, brought back those components of terror and fear to craft a character completely terrified of a new, dangerous situation she has been introduced to. Then, Curtis utilized her comedy talent that she exhibited from films such as A Fish Called Wanda or Trading Places and merged it with her horror acting for a truly unique performance. When Jamie Lee Curtis is terrified on screen, her fear appears genuine for the character, yet with her comedy talent utilized, she exaggerated it just enough to make it hilarious to watch. Curtis was especially careful since she easily could have offered a campy performance, yet she offered one that was crafted perfectly.
Added to that, Jamie Lee Curtis then interjected perfect moments of drama into her performance, thereby offering her character one of the most wonderful metamorphosis ever in an action film. Jamie Lee Curtis’ Helen Tasker from being a mousy desperate housewife to being a striptease dancing, gun-wielding, fist-fighting hero.
It is for these reasons as to why Jamie Lee Curtis won a Golden Globe for her performance since she offered a tremendous performance within an action film. Unfortunately, despite winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for a SAG, the Academy Awards chose to snub Jamie Lee Curtis. Fortunately True Lies is considered to be one of the best actions films ever made, therefore Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance will never be forgotten