One of the most talked-about Oscar snubs this year was the omission of Jennifer Aniston in the Best Actress race. As a well known sitcom star who's found comfort in comedic and light-hearted dramatic roles throughout her career, Aniston tackles a more challenging character in Daniel Barnz's Cake. Yet, instead of honoring her gutsy and self-loathing performance just like the Golden Globes and SAG had already done, the Academy chose to look the other way in favor of a more regular entrant, Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night).
Jennifer Aniston takes center stage as Claire, a cynical chronic-pain support group member who becomes fascinated with the recent suicide of another attendee, Nina (played by Anna Kendrick). As Claire continues her habitual abuse of pain killers in an attempt to numb herself of a traumatic past event, she finds herself on the doorstep of Nina's surviving husband, Roy (Sam Worthington). Claire's new friendship with Roy forces her to reflect on her own life as the brittle woman struggles to cope with her past and toes the line of suicide herself.
Jennifer Aniston trades in her skimpy outfits and age-defying makeup for a baggy wardrobe and physical scars in an Oscar-baiting role that unfortunately didn't pan out. Her commitment is full throttle as Aniston's performance undoubtedly carries Cakefrom depressing scene to depressing scene. However, a dull screenplay that unravels painfully slow counteracts the film's praiseworthy performances. All in all, Cake tells a genuinely sad and periodically uplifting story in a less than impressive manner.