The general drift of David Ehrlich‘s 1.7 Slate article about Jennifer Aniston‘s Cake is that it’s a “terrible movie” and therefore the Best Actress conversation about Aniston is unwarranted. First of all it’s not terrible — it’s underwhelming. I know what “terrible” tends to feel and taste like and Cake doesn’t qualify. I think it’s roughly in the same realm as Still Alice, and nobody’s calling that one “terrible” so…you know, c’mon. Second of all Aniston’s performance as a wealthy, scarred-up woman dealing with constant pain delivers, I feel, roughly the same degree of conviction and finesse as Julianne Moore delivers in Still Alice. You can disagree with me and that’s fine, but I really don’t think there’s a great deal of difference. So why, boiled down, is Ehrlich beating up on Aniston? Partly because he didn’t like Cake but also — let’s be honest — because (a) he doesn’t like the general idea of Aniston being in the Best Actress conversation, probably because he regards her as a lightweight interloper plus (b) he resents the aggressively funded campaign that has put her within striking distance of a Best Actress nomination. A female performance can win a New York Film Critics Award for meritorious reasons alone but to win an Oscar you’ve got to play ball. We all realize that, don’t we? Aniston is just playing her cards according to house rules. My 11.23 opinion: “At least Aniston really gives it hell. She can be quite deft and subtle when she wants to be, always letting you know what’s happening inside with just the right amount of emphasis.”