Two acclaimed awards season also-rans hit video stores today. In Vera Drake, Imelda Staunton gives one of those performances that will go down in history as Oscar-robbed. Either that, or the entire film will become lost to history because she *didn't* win the Oscar. We'll have to wait and see, but I suspect it'll be the former. Mike Leigh's improvised family drama tracks Staunton's unassuming bedsit abortionist as her secret is revealed and she must under the slap of legal consequences and public opinion. Meanwhile, Mike Nichols's Closer throws four of the world's prettiest good actors (Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law) into a constantly-spinning web of sexual deceit. It didn't do as well, financially or critically, as expected, but it would seem to signal a point of career departure for all four leads: Law gets his hands dirtier than they've been in a while, Owen establishes himself, post-King Arthur, as having leading-man capabilities, Roberts moves further and further from rom-com queen, and Portman grows up.