News & Blog PRESS Press 2017

Notes from the field: Voting for the SAG Awards

We welcome Michelle Macau back to GFF – now on her fourth year. Michelle has worked with us on event management, ticketing, submissions, film selections and panels. She has had a very busy year with acting gigs, and teaching. We asked Michelle to send us some notes for our blog:
As a member of The Screen Actor’s Guild, I have the privilege of voting for actors nominated for the SAG Award. The SAG Awards are unique because nominees are selected by their peers.
Choosing the “best” actor or ensemble in a film or TV series, is quite challenging because the pool is packed with exceptional performances. For me the process is personal and the barometer is whether I am touched, affected, moved, gratified, or perhaps even transformed by a performance.
In 2017, I voted for Natalie Portman in Jackie. The reason is that I gained insight and a deeper respect for a historical figure whom I already admired. And Ms. Portman accomplished this in one particular scene.
It’s the point in the film when President Kennedy has been shot and declared dead. Two hours later, Lyndon Johnson is being sworn in as President and Jackie is standing next to him. I’ve seen this famous image numerous times over the course of my life. Yet I had never realized the public and political impact upon Mrs. Kennedy until watching Natalie Portman. She stands silent, dazed and devastated by her loss. And it hit me – she has lost her status completely. She is no longer First Lady. She is a widow, alone and isolated under tremendous public scrutiny. She is 34 years old.
Watching that moment made clear the ensuing decisions and actions that reveal Jackie’s character over the course of the film. I attribute this insight to Miss Portman’s performance and am grateful for the richer understanding of the astute, graceful, noble, savvy, strong, tenacious and wise person that made up the character of Jacqueline Kennedy.

Michelle Macau is an actor, director and educator.  Recent films include Zenith, written and directed by Ellie Foumbi, which will be screened at Lincoln Center in May 2017; Mother by Jennifer Sciarra; and Anne Bradford’s, The White Slippers, which screened at the 2016 Sedona International Film Festival.  Her last directorial project incorporated percussion with Margarita Engle’s The Surrender Tree.  She earned an MFA in Directing from Carnegie-Mellon University and teaches at Lehigh University.  Michelle has volunteered with the Greenpoint Film Festival since 2014 and is proud to be part of the GFF16 &17 Selection Committee.