Olivia Wilde's Vinyl Performance

Performer of the Week: Olivia Wilde

THE PERFORMER | Olivia Wilde

THE SHOW | Vinyl

THE EPISODE | “Whispered Secrets” (February 28, 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | Olivia Wilde may not have had an abundance of screen time in Episode 3 of HBO’s ’70s-set drama, but what she lacked in minutes, she more than made up for in raw emotion.

The actress subtly hinted at years of repressed fury after learning her relapsed-addict husband Richie (Bobby Cannavale) had purposely tanked a deal to sell his struggling record label — and was now unwilling to donate $10,000 to the ballet company she’d gotten to start as a consolation prize for leaving behind her life in Manhattan and her status as one of Andy Warhol’s muses.

But a subsequent scene in which Dev visited Warhol — and asked him to sign a portrait he’d painted of her — allowed Wilde to bring to vivid life Dev’s insecurities about the direction her life had taken. As Warhol filmed their conversation in grainy black and white, Wilde’s stilted delivery conveyed Dev’s embarrassment at admitting her intent to auction off the piece at a fundraiser and the crassness of having to tell Warhol “it’s the signature that gives it value.” The camera eventually settling into extreme closeup, Dev’s eyes widened with desperation as she tried to get Warhol excited about her troupe’s aesthetic, before tears welled up in her eyes and her voice broke with the admission, “we’re trying to build a space for them… out where I live now.” The defeat with which Wilde delivered the line proved utterly heartbreaking — and made the scene a work of art unto itself.

EllenHONORABLE MENTION | “I am the mother. I am the mother.” Ellen Burstyn‘s fiery, ferocious delivery of those eight words in the second episode of House of Cards‘ just-released Season 4 undoubtedly secured the veteran actress a spot in this year’s Emmy race. The raw outburst came at the end of a tense exchange with estranged daughter Claire (Robin Wright, also exceptional) over money, and gave viewers a revealing glimpse into the pair’s decades-long rift. Burstyn also provided the hour’s most darkly comic moment when her brutally blunt, cancer-stricken matriarch warned Claire against wearing an ivory-colored dress to the State of the Union because “even with your figure it’ll accentuate all the wrong places.” Burstyn’s one of the few actresses who could turn such a mean-spirited piece of dialogue into a multi-layered work of art.

JAMESHONORABLE MENTION | Yes, we’re well aware that James Purefoy is not actually The Following‘s sociopathic Joe Carroll, but he inhabited that killer role and many others with so much intensity, it’s easy to forget. So thank goodness for Sundance’s Hap and Leonard, the premiere of which allowed Purefoy to showcase his ability to play soft, sweet, weathered and weary. The actor took everything you’d assume about a divorced, down-on-his-luck ex-convict in 1980s Texas — tough, edgy, mad at the world — and subverted it with a sense of quiet bemusement at the circumstances in which Hap found himself. Add in the easy way Purefoy telegraphed Hap’s love and loyalty to his longtime friend Leonard, as well as the ruthlessness with which he defended him against a homophobic relative, and we’re very happy that Hap is someone we get to hang out with for the next several weeks.

alycia-debnam-careyHONORABLE MENTION | Death may be par for the course in the cutthroat world of The 100, but the loss of Alycia Debnam Carey‘s Commander Lexa will undoubtedly echo throughout the CW drama’s remaining days. During her too-short time on the show, Debnam Carey consistently excelled at honoring both sides of her wonderfully complicated character: the cold, fearless leader who betrayed Clarke in Season 2, and the vulnerable lover who wanted nothing more than to savor one last moment of bliss before suffering a final blow. Never was this more evident than in Thursday’s gut-wrenching episode, a 42-minute farewell tribute to everything we’ve loved — and will continue to love — about Clarke’s other half and the woman who portrayed her. May we meet again, indeed.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. PriceIsRightCancelled says:

    Should have been Shemar Moore and/or Danny Glover for their respective performances in one of Criminal Minds’ most suspenseful episodes this season.

  2. Shaun says:

    Ah Lexa,those final words really hit us in the feels.Such a great duo and that scene just murdered us all,lol.

  3. Jay says:

    It was definitely Alycia Debnam-Carey that blew me away this week. I don’t think I have ever seen someone portray such drastic emotional shifts in the space of a few minutes. And do it in such a way that your heart swells with happiness, before being completely destroyed. It was completely brutal and I’m pretty sure that no one, however hard hearted they may claim to be, can watch that last ten minutes and not feel tears sting at their eyes.

  4. Kevin says:

    Please add a spoiler tag…in any House of Cards segments….Plizzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. spindae2 says:

    Joey Pollari and Kat Graham for me. Joey nailed it, that confrontation between Eric and his mom was sublime. I was so stunned by both of them. Kat meanwhile delivered her most emotional performance so far, those tears felt damn real.

    Alycia was steallar as well. She was so beautiful, the directing and writing was so great in her final scenes.

  6. Nic says:

    Thank you for mentioning Alycia debnam Carey. We are still mourning for Lexa. She’s more than a fictional character to us. Alycia played her exceptionally well and I hope she gets recognised more and doing a much bigger gig one day. She deserves it.

  7. Tim says:

    Not that impressed with Olivia Wilde. She’s okay on the show. I’m sure they could have cast a much better actor in her place. More impressed with Juno Temple’s performance.

    • Dude says:

      I respectfully disagree. Olivia is great. They both are.

    • RD says:

      I’m not impressed with any of the major cast of ‘Vinyl’. I certainly am not impressed with Bobby Cannavale or any of the other caricatures. The whole show is a bit of a missed opportunity.

      • Keith says:

        RD I couldn’t agree more. Im bored with the show, and keep thinking they could have done so much more with this show, and where exactly are they headed? I gave it three episodes (including the two-hour pilot) I just took it off my DVR.

        • Ian says:

          God, I wanted to love it, Bobby Cannavale can destroy me, but after giving it 4 hours of my life, I can’t sit through any more.

  8. Em says:

    Alycia Debnam Carey was amazing. She has continuously been one of the best on The 100, but this week she hit it out of the park. Lexa was easily my favorite character and I am sad to see her go.

  9. techgirl67 says:

    Honorable mention for Alycia Debnam Carey????! That is just crazy talk. She deserves a frigging Emmy for that scene alone. And what about Eliza Taylor? No hate for Olivia Wilde, I just wholeheartedly disagree with your choice (yet again).

  10. Jeanna says:

    Both Alycia Debnam Carey and Eliza Taylor were phenomenal in this week’s hearbreaking episode. Two really great actresses. When you consider those two, plus Maria Avgeropoulos, Lindsey Morgan, Adina Porter, etc., The 100 has some really terrific young (badass) actresses. Not to discount the great male actors on the show, too. Thank you CW!

  11. DanielleZ says:

    I am delighted to see Olivia Wilde recognized as Performer of the Week. This is well deserved. Last Sunday’s episode of Vinyl was the best one yet and she was terrific in it. Bobby Cannavale is doing an outstanding job as well. He is consistently good in everything he appears in and more often than not, I don’t even like the characters he portrays. It’s nice to see James Purefoy’s performance in Hap and Leonard receive an Honorable Mention. I agree 100% about the scene you’ve mentioned where he defended Leonard to his (Leonard’s) uncle.

  12. Mae says:

    Alycia Debnam-Carey was perfect and amazing in Lexa… I’m really sad by this death cos we will not see Alycia like Lexa again…

  13. Jami says:

    Eliza Taylor/Clarke. Man what does the actress have to do. I love both ladies, but Taylor is clearly a better actress.

  14. Sawyeri says:

    ELiza Taylor should have been performer of the week. I love ADC they both were great.

  15. Anne says:

    I am emotionally stable, my life is great and very little makes me sad, espcially about tv which is just entertainment in the main – but Alycia Debnam’s charcacter Lexa loving and dying all in such a small space of time brought me to a blubbering mess. It was beautiful and sad all at the same time. I was caught off guard by my own tears which probably surpassed the tears of Lexa and Clarke combined! Crazy.

  16. Darlene says:

    Shemar Moore, oh my, why isn’t he on your list? In first place.

  17. FtheFreys says:

    Lexa. That’s all. Bravo.

  18. Cate53 says:

    Olivia Wilde did a lot with so little screen time – like most ladies on Vinyl’s sausage fest!

    Oh Lexa! Alycia Debnam Carey was fantastic throughout but both her and Eliza Taylor acted the hell out of that finale heartbreaking scene

    While House of Cards drives me nuts sometimes with the unlikely plotting, the acting is always stellar. Ellen Burnstyn, Cecily Tyson, Robin Wright all great too

  19. Tv Fan says:

    Oh Alycia… what amazing work you have done on the 100. You made me cry, even now, two days after the episode has aired. What a beautiful episode. I may not agree with the execution and cause of her death, but the way they connected past with present was just brilliant. Eliza Taylor was amazing though as well. “In peace may you leave the shore.” and “May we meet again” will always be stuck in my head. I just can’t believe that Lexa is dead, it’s so surreal

  20. I felt that Aidan Quinn gave a stellar performance in this week’s Elementary, as well as Lucy Liu as Joan supported Gregson!

  21. Juliet says:

    Eliza Taylor and Alycia -Debman-Carey should have one for their performance. Eliza does not get mentioned.

  22. Lori says:

    Eliza Taylor/Clarke performance was Emmy worthy and Alycia/Lexa was great That is BS that Eliza not even mentioned that death scene was gut wrenching.

  23. Leo says:

    No one from Suits? Patrick J. Adams and Megham Markle deserves at least honorable mention. WHY?

  24. Poor Chyler Leigh misses out again she was far superior than ADC the most overrated actress ever

  25. Beckers0505 says:

    I know you can’t nominate American Crime every week. However, every week amazing performances are turned in!!! So gripping.

  26. BillyBobJohnson says:

    Jason Sudeikis is one lucky SOB.

  27. kat says:

    Thank you for acknowledging Alycia Debnam-Carey. She truly embodied Lexa and will be missed on the show. Reshop, Heda.

  28. Katie says:

    Definitely Alycia, her final words blew me away. She will be missed.

  29. Tek says:

    Alycia Debnam-Carey! She’s brilliant and she brought Lexa to life in such a mind-blowing way! The Commander was more than just a character to so many of us… Reshop Heda! May we meet again.

  30. Laura says:

    Alycia Debnam-Carey & Eliza Taylor My god if those two didn’t show a world wind of emotions in 3×07. They had me extremely happy & then seconds later extremely upset & thinking WTF just happened this can’t be real. But what an episode ladies. RIPLexa