by Brett Battles

I declare the race for the Academy Award for best performance by a female actor at next year’s Oscar ceremony over.

It’s done. Everyone else can go home.

I’m sorry Meryl, that little bio pic where you entirely transform into someone else? Not going to work this time. And Sandra, you got yours last year. Julia, Helen, Helena, Kate and all you other fantastic actresses, feel free to take the year off. This is one fight you don’t want to take on because you will lose.

Okay, you might have one little out. Defeat or victory will, unfortunately, hinge on Academy eligibility requirements. If nominations are based on a film’s release date in the US, then all is well. But if they are based on when the film was first released in whatever country it was made, then – no disrespect to Sandra Bullock – the Academy has already made a fatal error.

And not just a “Oh, I took a wrong turn” error. More of a “There’s never been a bigger mistake in the history of the Academy” type error.

Last Saturday I saw what was quite possibly the best performance by any actor that I have ever seen. Seriously. I’m not joking.

And the Oscar goes to:

Noomi Rapace

That’s right. Noomi Rapace.

If you haven’t read Stieg Larsson’s book THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, or either of the sequels (yes, I know, the third book isn’t out in the U.S. yet), then get on it! And if you have a chance to see the Swedish film version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO go. (Don’t wait for the English version, it’ll suck in comparison anyway.)

I mean right now. Stop reading this, head to the theater, and see it. I’ll wait until you come back.

Noomi (if you’ll allow me to call her by her first name) plays Lisbeth Salander, an emotionally damaged social outcast with more than a little skill at solving mysteries. If you had asked me after I read the book who could play the part, I would have had no answer. In fact, I probably would have said, “I doubt anyone could really pull Lisbeth off.” I mean Lisbeth goes through some pretty serious stuff. I mean brutal, cringe-worthy stuff.

And guess what? I would have been completely and utterly wrong. In the words of the popculturenerd on twitter the other day: Noomi Rapace IS Lisbeth.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Noomi’s performance is so compelling and captivation and, above all else, so brave your eyes are riveted to the screen every moment she is there.

It happens rarely where an actor and a part fit so well together that you can’t even imagine for a split second anyone else playing the role, but this is one of those times. And it’s not just a perfect fit. Noomi’s performance is so mesmerizing that I’m still thinking about it days and days after seeing it.

The only problem I see with my crusade to nominate Noomi (which I alluded to above) is that while TATOO just came out here in the States, it was released in Sweden LAST year. So does that mean she should have been nominated for this last ceremony? If so, the Academy completely screwed up. (Again, no disrespect to Ms. Bullock. She’s a fine actress whose performances I’ve enjoyed immensely over the years. But I’m sure if she saw THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO she’d think the same thing.)

You know what? I don’t care what the Academy rules are. Noomi Rapace should be nominated, and win, next year. And if the Academy has a problem with that? Fine. Then just nominate her for THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE which comes out soon, or even THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST which I don’t even know if they made yet (according to, they have). Noomi’s performance demands it. And I’m not going to stop telling people that. (UPDATE: A little web research and I would have learned all three movies are already done – great work there, Sherlock – but the NEW NEWS is info on when those will be released in the US. The answer is soon! Link here.)

So make it happen, Academy, or feel my wrath!

You can read Roger Ebert’s review of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO here.

You can read popculturenerd’s review here.

And read more about the film here.

And just a final thought for the director and producers of the American version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, instead of “going safe” and picking an American actress (rumors are out there that Kristen Stewart is up for the role), why not get Noomi Rapace to play the part again? She would TAKE THE U.S. BY STORM if she did. She would become a mega-star. And if the “but she’s Swedish and probably can’t speak English well” thing worries you, that’s just ignorant bullshit. Check this video out and tell me she can’t speak English well (thanks pcn for the link.)

So Hollywood, I swear to God, if you screw this up, I’m coming after you. I know where you are. I’m just a ten minute drive away, and I know how to make bodies disappear…okay, fictionally, but you get the idea. 




  1. Rachel Stevens

    Oooh! Where and how did you get your hands on the movie? Haven’t seen anything about it at all in the wilds of New Hampshire. Was it subtitled? Netflix doesn’t have it yet. 🙁

    Those books are quite possibly my favorite ever. I have the Audible versions read by Simon Vance, who is amazing in the nuances required by the stories. Just looking at the photos of Noomi- she IS Salander. Seeing her character so clearly in my head, it’s almost scary to look at who gets cast, frequently that ruins the inner visual of a book- she’s perfect!

    Thanks for the adrenaline surge with my coffee- maybe it’ll kick in faster.

  2. Annette Dutton

    Hi, Murderatis,

    It’s out in Australia (that’s where I live and am right now 😉 this thursday! Tomorrow! I’m so excited. Have been waiting for it FOREVER. Subtitled, but it’ll be just fine like that. Will only add to authenticity.
    A very fine forum here, always great stuff to read on "Murderati", thank you very much murderatis!

  3. Shizuka

    Ran to the theatre last Friday to see the first showing.
    People audibly gasped at several points in the movie; mostly scenes with Noomi.
    So much of her performance was about the expression in her eyes and her physical movement because Lisbeth doesn’t talk very much.
    She brought out every drop of Lisbeth’s toughness and vulnerability.

  4. Brett Battles

    Rachel, DRAGON TATTOO is only in (selected) theaters right now. But if you can find one you can get to, I HIGHLY advise it. And, yes, subtitled which is completely fine.

    Annette, you’re going to love it!

    Shizuka, there were gasps at the showing I went to, too. Theater was packed also!

  5. Julie

    Hi all! I’m proud to be working on the film for the U.S. distributor, Music Box Films.
    I urge you to visit our website: – you’ll find tons of information about the film, including the showdates (Now Playing page!) and a great contest we’re running (Contest page!) – where you can win tickets, books and even a Barnes & Noble Nook!

    Brett – this is such an awesome post – we totally agree about Noomi!!!!

  6. Brett Battles

    Hey Julie, welcome to Murderati! And great job with the US distribution of DRAGON TATTOO! I hope you are able to take it even wider. The theater I saw it in (Arclight in Hollywood) was packed and most people broke out into applause at the end. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I can see the headline in Variety now…"Battles Battles Hollywood"

    A word to the wise – Hollywood always wins. Where’s Ovitz now?

  8. kit

    ‘This is a movie about characters who have more important things to do than be characters in an action thriller. ‘ Roger Ebert

    I enjoyed the books so much I was stressing about seeing the film. Some films do the book justice, and others don’t, I know life would go on, but it would be sorely disappointing to me, if the films didn’t live up to the books.

    Further, I found myself wishing in some way, shape, or form, Stieg Larssen, himself would know how much we all appreciated his body of work. In my opinion, the person that approaches his writing, is definately not the same person that walks away.

    So Brett, if you say this actress and film does justice to it, then you have given me something to look forward to instead of dread..thank you, we will see.

  9. Brett Battles

    Kit, they were very faithful to the book, and all the performances, not just Noomi’s, were excellent. Hopefully I haven’t hyped it up too much for you!

    Pari, I hope you don’t have to wait that long, but will still be worth it if you do.

  10. Christine McCann

    It doesn’t open in Nashville until April 23rd, but I’ll be in L.A. that weekend for the Festival of Books. If it’s still playing in L.A., I may not be able to wait until I get back home to see it! Really looking forward to the film after yours and PCN’s fervent reassurances that Rapace nailed her role as Lisbeth! And if she could handle the circus that is Hollywood, it would be fantastic if she would be in the American version as well.

  11. Pop Culture Nerd

    I got your six, Brett. I’ll buy a pair of Lisbeth-y shit kickers and back you up if anyone messes it up.

    Thanks for the link to my article. I can’t stop talking about this, either. I pumped my fists in the air and said, YESSSSSS! when I saw we helped bring the sequels to the States by seeing it opening weekend. I usually don’t care about box office grosses but Monday morning, I was frantically searching boxofficemojo, trying to find out how much TATTOO made, wondering if it was good enough to impress Music Box.

    The audience at my showing (packed on a Friday afternoon!) not only applauded at the end, they did so after Lisbeth did what she did to Bjurman.

  12. Nancy Laughlin

    I’m sold too. I have the book in my "to be read" pile (one of them), and I think it’s moving to the top of the stack as soon as I get home. Now I need to see if the movie is playing anywhere near me.

  13. Brett Battles

    Christine you can see it in L.A., THEN take friends to see it in Nashville when you get home! Just an idea.

    PCN, were in this battle together. Let’s make it happen!

    Thanks, Louise. 🙂

    And Nancy, I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it!

  14. nomedo

    Brett, it wouldnt make any difference to nominate Noomi for "The girl who played with fire" or "the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest" because they were all released in Sweden in 2009. Dragon in March, Fire in September and Hornet in November…

  15. Robert Gregory Browne

    Here’s my problem. I’d like to read the book. As always, I don’t have time, but I’d prefer to read the book. Yet I’d also like to see the movie. But what happens every time I see the movie version of a book I’ve enjoyed (with one exception), I’m always disappointed in the movie.

    Mystic River, for example. I thought the book was a masterpiece. And while I know the movie was good, it paled in comparison for me.

    Silence of the Lambs, however, was the opposite for me. Movie much better than the book, I thought. But then I may have been disappointed in the book because I read RED DRAGON first and was completely blown away by it. Amazing book. Silence, not so much.

    Anyway, as intriguing as this movie looks, I hesitate to see it. Unless I decide to just skip the book altogether.


  16. caite

    I usually skip the movies of books I really liked…and I really liked all three of Stieg Larsson’s books. But you have convinced me to give it a try.
    I have no doubt but that the American version will be a mess. We just rarely do the book to movie thing well. I just knew they will totally miscast it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *