Reitman's follow up Juno, a comedy about a pregnant teen giving her child up for adoption, has been garnering steam since festival season began. At first this was easy to write off as traditional festivalitis. One of the symptoms of that peculiar ailment is that warm comedies get overpraised because they feel even warmer and funnier surrounded as they are by a huge throng of arty dour types.
Once Juno had Roger Ebert's endorsement (he did help Crash to its Oscar win, may God forgive him) it had to be taken more seriously. But this quote from Salon's Stephanie Zacharek is the kicker. She writes about Juno
...played by the peppery Ellen Page, who gives a performance that's just one eyelash away from being exhausting to watchCan't most of the crowdpleaser-slot acting nominees be similarly described? Ellen Page and Juno are winning converts regularly now from Telluride to Toronto (the film opens in the US on December 14th)
So I'm starting to feel Page's Oscar nominationschances. She's done the unlikely before, hasn't she, wrestling away the only critical prize last year that didn't go to Queen Helen Mirren ...and for a sexual predator drama no less (Hard Candy). So, that's it: I'm putting her in my Best Actress predictions (now updated) and dumping Queen Cate who is getting a less enthusiastic reception up north following the premiere of that long gestating Elizabeth sequel, The Golden Age.
Cate Blanchett will have the 'been there/done that/hey look at what she does in I'm Not There' factor to contend with during her Oscar campaign since The Golden Age isn't whipping anyone into a frenzy. The Academy does love it when famous actors play famous historical people but even they might be beginning to see that this trick is over rewarded (45% of the last five years of winners --yeeesh) and even if they don't they can still indulge this preference with Blanchett as Bob Dylan.