Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Actress Questions. Got Answers?

In my Oscar prediction revamps, you'll immediately notice that I don't think any Best Actress contenders should be fitted for dresses just yet --unless they're planning their GOLDEN GLOBE night (where most of them will be invited). That's because any combo of this top eight still seems plausible. Why? Well, half of the films have yet to face their fates with critics & audiences and all of them still await approval from the precursor organizations that influence Oscar so regularly -- particularly if they copy each other's choices. In most cases all of the top contenders still "look good on paper". But we learn each year that "buzz" doesn't always translate to reality.


QUESTIONS
  • Is Streep's Doubt role the slam dunk it's always seemed in advance?
  • Can Hathaway, Scott-Thomas and Hawkins all ride rave October reviews into January?
  • Will Winslet's double December dipping (The Reader and Revolutionary Road) live up to the hype or prove doubly disappointing?
  • Can Angelina Jolie make up for last year's Mighty snub with the boost of all those tearful Oscar clips from Changeling?
  • If Australia is great, isn't it time for Nicole Kidman to be celebrated again?
  • <--- Who will work the campaign trail as tirelessly as Marion Cotillard did last year?
  • How did the studios not notice that both of last year's Actress front runners were released early in the year? Why were the releases all held until October or later?
  • What's with the waiting game or shaky release plans for Skin and Nothing but the Truth?
  • Who will the critics organization rally behind?
  • Which contenders will be made / broken by box office results?
  • If Meryl & Kate end up frontrunners which will AMPAS voters feel most obligated to award: Streep for the first time in over a quarter-century or Winslet for the first time period?
The answers won't be arriving any time soon... unless you can see the future in the comments.
*

53 comments:

m. said...

where's cate blanchet for "ben button"? I know you don't like her but come on.

yoyosammy said...

Amy Adams will not get nominated for an Oscar, especially since she's the least likely candidate in Doubt. I don't know if you saw the play, but her character really just served as a plot device that countered Sister Aloicsyus' (didn't spell that right) unwavering cynicism. Adam's part isn't "baity" enough. She plays naive througout the whole play. And don't get me wrong I love the play. It's one of the best written this millenium.

Also, I'm pretty certain Hathaway is a virtual lock and Jolie is on shaky ground (poor reviews), so is Scott Thomas and Hawkins. Hawkins seems more likely. Will either of these films be a hit? People tend to forget La Vie en Rose made 10 million and was a big hit on DVD. I doubt (no Oscar pun intended) either Happy-Go Lucky or I've Loved You So Long will make that kind of dough.

Plus, I bet Winslet gets put in Supporting for The Reader and Lead for Revolutionary Road.

Rick said...

I like your 5 top choices except for Jolie ... I don't think she will make the cut. I think either Hathaway or Leo will be there.

Daniel said...

having just watched 'rachel getting married' i'd be very. very surprised if anne hathaway didn't get a nom - she's a star showing she can act, she's well liked, cute as a button, in a genuinely good movie by a great director getting serious critic love, and her NA confession scene is already an oscar clip.

i'm getting the feeling that, as with the political landscape, people, even AMPAS, may just be waking up and not going for the obvious timeworn ploys - so angelina's 'lock' nom could be out the window in light of pretty universally lame reviews. but she is angelina, so you never know. and mcain could win too, i guess. (aaaaarrrrggghh)

ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Transvestitia Transvestitenstein said...

I ADORE Michelle Williams...

NATHANIEL R said...

m -- i have cate in supporting. I understand the current plan is lead but i'm not perfect ;)

yoyo -- i have seen the play and agree with every thing you wrote about adams --except for the certainty about the no nomination (film being different than stage and stardom counting for a lot with Oscar) and the "one of the best written this millenium" ;)

as for box office. it's still early for all these films RACHEL is nearing 3 million. LOVED YOU and HAPPY are under 1 million still but they have pretty sturdy per screen averages...

as for CHANGELING... there's always the chance that it'll be a big hit which will help JOLIE again.

anyway... i'm just worried for HATHAWAY because i love the movie and her performance but she's less of a traditional lead than the other women in that it's very much an ensemble story.

i do these things though with predictions. It's always a mix of hunches, screenings, wishful thinking, past experience, knowledge of Oscar prejudices, and reverse psychology... for myself ;)

i'll probably put HATHAWAY back in the next switch. I hope to at least. I'm just trying this feeling on for size. but y'all know i'm a fan.

NATHANIEL R said...

i just winked like 3 times in that comment. MUST CONTROL FACIAL EXPRESSIONS. it's that damn zac efron discussion from earlier haunting me

Anonymous said...

I would definitively include Streep, Hathaway, Scott-Thomas & Winslet.
For the last spot, it´s between Hawkins and Jolie. I think Hawkins will get the nomination because her movie was far better reviewed than Changeling and she has an advantage: she's the new girl. Jolie is too exposed.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely with you on that reverse psychology. =)

My thoughts:

*Unless Changeling gains its momentum out, Jolie is out in lieu of more beloved stars in better movies.
*Is there a possibility that Kate could just be nominated for The Reader and not for Revolutionary Road.. freeing up a huge spot? Probably not, but it's worth a mention.
*I don't think Hawkins, Hathaway, AND Thomas will make the final cut... probably 2/3. Do they want to nominate another foreign language performance?
*Kidman's success depends entirely on the success of Australia. If the movie lives up to its expectations, she's in... if not, well she is most likely out.

My predictions:
1. Meryl Streep
2. Kate Winslet
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Anne Hatahway
5. Sally Hawkins

*Still waiting on Cate Blanchett's placement. I have a feeling that if she's campaigned leading, the Academy will pass over her this year for more baiter performances.

ryan said...

Nathaniel,
You so read my mind on Hathaway (was waiting to see if you’d drop here.) Great performance but I’m thinking Hollywood may not feel she’s truly paid her dues (though “Brokeback” will surely help)

The big question is who will win the Golden Globe: Hathaway or Hawkins?

And smart move not dropping Jolie. It’s too damn baity of a performance and with Eastwood behind her…

P.S. I think it’s time to lock Streep up. The movie could bomb and you know she’d still make the cut.

Personally, I just want Scott-Thomas to stay in the game. I’m praying the critics don’t all side with Hawkins.

Oh, one last thing… could this FINALLY be Kate’s year?

Anonymous said...

i have a supporting actress comment. cruz indeed seems a lock, but im also going all in on taraji henson.
1)she seems like the best chance, and possibly only, for oscar noms for acting in her film (although i think pitt will ultimately pull through). pitt and blanchett are facing at least six other strong contenders, at least a few of which have better chances of getting nominated than them. the distributors of b button wont put blanchett up against her because blanchett has a tough time in that category as is and they will likely sacrifice her to solidify henson's nom.
2) of all the fresh meat in the running (henson, dewitt, davis) she is experiencing the least internal competition from her own film.
dewitt or davis could easily get bumped out by winger or adams, or a double nomination for rachel g.m. or doubt (much more likely) could knock either one out. henson, however, is sitting pretty.
i have another comment that is i express with less certainty. adams should not be discredited, and doubt has a good chance of getting two in this category. even though four nominations in a year is a lot, this movie seems, if nothing else, an actor's movie. adams' role in the play is MUCH larger than davis' and the amount of fresh meat this year might hurt davis' chances. even if davis' role is more showey, adams could still upset. if davis' role is still that small, could she really steal the show from streep, hoffman and adams?
at this point, i think the list will be cruz, henson, adams, davis, and tomei

Anonymous said...

Supporting actress comment: if The Reader is a faithful adaptation, Kate Winslet's campaign as supporting is no category fraud at all.

- cal roth

Kamikaze Camel said...

As I still think Australia will hit "quite big" I think Kidman is in. I figure if that movie is as big as I think it might be then there has to be at least one acting nomination out of it and Kidman is the most obvious.

As someone said, la vie en rose was a hit and released earlier to start the feverishness early. Nobody did that this year for some reason. Hawkins probably should have been released in the US at the same time as the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Questions surrounding Benjamin Button may be answered when its screened to critics in the seocnd week of November.

Anonymous said...

I think this pretty much settles it

new york post:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10292008/entertainment/theater/no_doubt_of_success_135783.htm

meryl meryl meryl!

mrripley said...

i feel keira knightley has more of a shot than leo,thompson or backinsale.

Anonymous said...

I hope this is finally Streep's year.

Janice said...

Nathaniel your captions in "Cinematography" are all messed up (and in Original Screenplay, I think the caption for the Wrestler is the wrong one.)

Other than that, great work! I can't imagine how much time must go into this.

As someone else mentioned in another thread, I think Brandon Walters may be a possibility for Supporting for Australia, based preview audience buzz, plus the whole "wow a child can act!" thing and an aboriginal child to boot. Oscar likes to feel good about himself.

Anonymous said...

IMO it should definitely be Nicole Kidman´s year again. She put her heart and her sould in that movie and she is such an exceptional gifted actress. Many of her performances (Margot at the wedding, Birth or Cold Mountain) have been missed out by the Academy, although they all were fantastic.
Even in the glimpses we get to see from Nicole in "Australia" she is fantastic.

So she should definitely celebrated for this movie. She truly deserves it.

Mariposa said...

Am I the only one who is almost in physical pain seeing Marion Cotillard as an oscar winner ? It's like seeing Paul Haggis holding the best picture oscar, it's just so wrong.

Michael Parsons said...

I think Streep is safe yes. I also think Scott Thomas is fairly safe. There is universal love for Hawkins performance and there is really nothing else like it this year

WInslet is bound to be great so can definitely see her.

Jolie, Leo, Kidman, Hathaway, and Williams are all less likely and are fighting it out for the 5th slot.

Heart says Kidman, brain says Jolie, gut says Williams.

NATHANIEL R said...

janice thanks -fixed.

NATHANIEL R said...

i've seen Michelle Williams films and though she'll have her fans (it's very solid film-serving character work) i think it would be basically a miracle if she was nominated.

Not their kind of film or performance at all --it'd be like Julianne Moore getting a nomination for SAFE back in 95 (not that she's that good... no, no no. shouldn't compare to "genius") in that it just wasn't ever going to be on the Oscar radar. Plus it's a tiny movie and they're waiting until December to release it. It'll get a small column in magazines like TIME OUT NEW YORK, play in maybe 2 theaters (one for each coast) and nobody will go to it and leave a week or two later... why do people release miniature art films in the mad rush of December. Why? arrrrrgh.

i can't help but think that KATE WINSLET is not the done deal people think. Because there are so many variables. What if critics aren't kind to the movie since critics usually are obsessed with Mad Men and covering the same beat won't they judge it more harshly if it's not as subtle or multi-layered? What if The Reader is big (well bigger than expected) and it gets THE OTHERS/MOULIN ROUGE confusing a la Nicole. What if it's like Reservation Road -KIDDING (but people thought that would be an actors nominatable Oscar dream, too)

Michael Parsons said...

I really want to almost predict Streep and Hawkins as locks with Scott-Thomas coming a close third.
The Hawkins buzz has been around since early this year when it opened in the UK.

Williams is a sentimentality gut instinct, although she is getting good notices for the ok "Incediary" which is out over here.
I could imagine another Williams/Ledger line up would be attractive to voters/audiences.

Go Kidman!

Michael said...

Slightly off-topic, but in regard to Best Animated Film, is The Girl Who Leapt through Time a chance??

abstew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abstew said...

was at a party this weekend and the talk turned oscar, as it should. there was a fellow who insisted that not only would michelle williams be nominated for WENDY AND LUCY, but that she would win best actress. his reasoning is that the heath ledger goodwill will spill over to her as a prize for the diffucult year she's had. and since she's there, she can accept heath's inevitable best supporting actor oscar as well.
i have 10 bucks against this. i can't see it happening. also i don't want to live in a world where michelle williams has an oscar before kate winslet. i better not be out 10 bucks come february...

mrripley said...

nat never underestimate kate winslet it's the judi dench/frances mcdormand rule,she is bound to show up in lead i think the academy is gagging to give to her and leo and on the same night who could resist but i think her win will be in support with leo winning lead,ledger supporting & streep winning her 3rd since 82,mark my words.

NATHANIEL R said...

well there would be a kind of fan symmetry to all of that yes.... but on what oscar night has what the fans dreamt of occurred across the board in the acting categories?

i'd wager probably never.

though IF people really love REV ROAD and if it's up for best picture (i think it would need to be) twin wins would be of major appeal to the TITANIC loving AMPAS body and hard to bet against.

Anonymous said...

It seems like it always comes down to six contenders wrestling for five slots (sixth being Kristin Scott-Thomas). Oh well, these are the predictions I've always had and think I'm sticking with for awhile.

Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road"

Chris Na Taraja said...

As Hedda Lettuce says, "Do you think...at this stage....right now...we can just let it go?

Nat, all those questions will just drive us crazy at this point. I don't start to get a clear picture, well...until most of the pictures have actually made it to the theatres. (late decmber)

I know it's your job to help us all be totally obsessed. But don't hurt yourself trying to answer all those questions. : )

Although last year after seeing La Vie en Rose in the Summer, i thought she would get the oscar for it. Who knows?

rosengje said...

I agree with Nate keeping Jolie high on the chart. While Changeling took a few hits with the media elite, I believe it will continue to play well in the broader marketplace, which is generally more accepting of a genre film. Further, the film did huge business over the weekend. I also remember Anne Thompson saying the movie played well at Academy screenings. Jolie will not end up being the actress with the most acclaimed performance at the end of the season, but I believe she will continue to present a strong, well-rounded package.

Anonymous said...

God, Nat, you really think deeply :p. I don't know that Mad Men you are talking about but the Academy has shown that they like honoring Kate more than ignoring her (Quills). So I think she has one nomination at least. I find it hard to believe a role like that in The Reader can be beaten in the supporting category. I only have some doubts about the Revolutionary Road but not that much.

PS: Have you seen Happy-Go-Lucky? I don't remember. If you have, did you notice the moment when Poppy's roomate was reading Hideous Kinky with Kate on the cover? Made me smile. :) I'm so silly some times.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Ebert's annual "give this actress the Oscar" citation goes to . . . Sally Hawkins! He practically gushes over her left and right in his "Happy-Go-Lucky" review. YAY POPPY! :)

Andrew L. said...

1. Streep's performance won't be the powerhouse everyone was expecting it to be, but will get the defacto nomination nevertheless (an underwhelming performance by Streep still gets more regard than relative unknowns).

2. Hathaway and Scott-Thomas have the edge over Hawkins; the former have dramatic grit, whereas the latter is just cute.

3. Winslet will make it through with Revolutionary Road. The Reader seems too controversial (in terms of the Weinstein thing), though I wouldn't object to the aforementioned double-nod (one lead, one supporting).

4. Jolie will get reimbursed for the Mighty Heart snub (the Eastwood tie only helps).

5. No.

6. Hathaway has been doing pretty well so far.

7. Unsure. But that doesn't mean anything for Leo (IMO, the most overhyped performance of the year thus far that screams "the emporer isn't wearing any clothes")

8. Both will inevitably be ignored, save for maybe Golden Globes (and even then...).

9. Critics seem to be rallying behind Scott-Thomas and Hawkins, but again, see answer #2. Depending on how mammoth Benjamin Button becomes, Blanchett can get into the mix, assuming she gets pushed into lead.

10. Moore (we can officially call it for her this year--Blindness, her best chance, was a misfire); Knightly (good reviews for the Duchess, but who's really talking about it now?)

11. Hopefully Winslet (more empathetic role, IMO more overdue than Streep).


As of now, my five:
Hathaway, Jolie, Scott-Thomas, Streep, Winslet (RR).

Andrew L. said...

Oh. Adding onto #10: Cruz for Elegy. And whatever happened to Barrymore for Grey Gardens? Was she forgotten about? How fitting.

Anonymous said...

Plus, I bet Winslet gets put in Supporting for The Reader and Lead for Revolutionary Road.

No need to bet. That's how's she's being campaigned for both films.

jimmy said...

meryl streep i would assume has had 10 or 11 nominations with no win since 1984....24 or 25 years. if she's anywhere near as good as cherry jones - then she should win. it's time. If katharine hepburn can win 4 oscars - for playing the same role over and over (herself)....then for gosh sakes - it's time for streep to win her 2nd best lead actress oscar.

NATHANIEL R said...

It's been 10 nominations over the past 25 years 1983-2007 w/out a win for Streep.

long time

Anonymous said...

I hope AJ is nominated for Changeling. She deserved a nomination for A Mighty Heart.

Anonymous said...

yoyosammy said...
Also, I'm pretty certain Hathaway is a virtual lock and Jolie is on shaky ground (poor reviews), so is Scott Thomas and Hawkins. Hawkins seems more likely. Will either of these films be a hit? People tend to forget La Vie en Rose made 10 million and was a big hit on DVD. I doubt (no Oscar pun intended) either Happy-Go Lucky or I've Loved You So Long will make that kind of dough.
-------------------
Changeling doesn't have poor reviews. It has MIXED reviews just like Blindness and Synecdoche, NY. Jolie still has a chance because Diane Lane's Unfaithful got mixed reviews similar to Changeling, and Diane Lane was nominated for an Oscar.

Rick said...

to Andrew I: How do you know Streep's performance won't be a powerhouse one? Have you seen it?

Anonymous said...

Changeling doesn't have poor reviews. It has MIXED reviews just like Blindness and Synecdoche, NY. Jolie still has a chance because Diane Lane's Unfaithful got mixed reviews similar to Changeling, and Diane Lane was nominated for an Oscar.

----------------------------------

That was right, and I put other pros:

*She's the only real character about the top actresses.
*Mixed reviews to the film but many of the top critics are gree with Jolie's performance
*That's a classic showy performance that AMPAS love.

-----------------------------------

Am I the only one who is almost in physical pain seeing Marion Cotillard as an oscar winner ? It's like seeing Paul Haggis holding the best picture oscar, it's just so wrong.

-----------------------------------

Well it's just your opinion, but for me she was a very deserving Oscar, my physical pain are Halle Berry or Reese Witherspoon...

Anonymous said...

My predictions for Best Actress:

1. Meryl Streep, Doubt
2. Anne Hathaway, Rachel getting Married (The IT Girl of the year?)
3. Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved you So Long (It's unlikely that two consecutives french language performances won the Oscars)
4. melissa Leo, Frozen River
5. Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky

In the Running:

6. Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road (I think she'll be snubbed in that category)
7. Nicole Kidman, Australia
8. Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of BEnjamin Button (FYC Best Lead Actress?)
9. Michelle Williams, Wendy & Lucy
10. Kate beckinsale, Nothing but the Truth

andrew l. said...

rick: no, I haven't seen Doubt yet, but wasn't the question theoretical to begin with?

Transvestitia Transvestitenstein said...

Hey Nat, when are you writing about Michelle Williams in Wendy & Lucy, I SO want to know what you think about her and the movie!
(I actually had the chance to see Wendy & Lucy at the Vienna Film Festival, but I missed it... Why me? Why poor poor me?)

And to some poster before:
Have you seen Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter?
Because that's one of the best performances EVER, so... No Katharine Hepburn hate please!

Kamila said...

Is Streep's Doubt role the slam dunk it's always seemed in advance?
Yes, I think it is.

Can Hathaway, Scott-Thomas and Hawkins all ride rave October reviews into January?
Only Hathaway and Scott-Thomas. I think Hawkins will be snubbed.

Will Winslet's double December dipping (The Reader and Revolutionary Road) live up to the hype or prove doubly disappointing?
I think she will be a double nominee this year in Lead Actress (for "Revolutionary Road") and Supporting Actress (for "The Reader").

Can Angelina Jolie make up for last year's Mighty snub with the boost of all those tearful Oscar clips from Changeling?
Yes, she can!

If Australia is great, isn't it time for Nicole Kidman to be celebrated again?
No, it isn't.

Who will work the campaign trail as tirelessly as Marion Cotillard did last year?
Kristin Scott Thomas. She is already campaigning.

How did the studios not notice that both of last year's Actress front runners were released early in the year? Why were the releases all held until October or later?
Because the consensus is that all the Oscar contenders are released later in the year.

What's with the waiting game or shaky release plans for Skin and Nothing but the Truth?
I don't know how to answer this.

Who will the critics organization rally behind?
Kristin Scott Thomas.

Which contenders will be made / broken by box office results?
Made: "Rachel Getting Married"
Broken: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

If Meryl & Kate end up frontrunners which will AMPAS voters feel most obligated to award: Streep for the first time in over a quarter-century or Winslet for the first time period?
They will both win. Streep in Lead Actress for "Doubt" and Winslet in Supporting Actress for "The Reader".

Rick said...

AndrewI: You're right....

Anonymous said...

They'll want to have a comedy slotter in there, so Sally Hawkins is in. Kate Winslet's getting two nods. For Kristin Scott Thomas to make it in, she'll have to unseat Angelina, and I don't see that happening. Anne Hathaway gets the "now we're going to finally notice you" it girl slot. That leaves Meryl. Duh.

Anonymous said...

1. it's a strong possibility

2. Hathaway and Scott-Thomas could survive. I think Hawkins will be inevitable snubbed

3. Opposite to many people, I believe Kate will get only one nomination for "The Reader" in supporting. Remember "Finding NEverland" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in 2004?

4. Yes, She can. She's directed by Eastwood and she's the only real character.

5. No, I don't think so

6. Hathaway easily, but Scott-Thomas and Leo are doing a good job too.

7. -Last year, only Helena Bonham Carter, Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett had "Best Picture" prior contenders. After that, Ellen Page was the only actress in a Best Picture Nominee.
- A interesting year with many indie and foreigner contenders
- Many of the prior frontrunners failed to expectations or were not so "good"... Foster and Blanchett's film were so bad and Knightley was too short and too "repetitive"...
- "People tend to forget La Vie en Rose made 10 million and was a big hit on DVD." That's right and Cotillard played a real character (One of the most important french icons) and good campaign by Picturehouse.
- About Christie, the film received 96% of raves in RT, good campaign by Lions Gate and sucess in festival circuits since Toronto

8. I don't know about "Skin" (This film was really released?). And for "Nothing but the Truth", maybe beckinsale has few mentions but Farmiga and Alda has better chances for this film...

9. Kristin Scott Thomas & Melissa Leo

10. Made: Hathaway
Broke: Knightley & Kidman

11. They're both win... Streep as Lead and Winslet as Supporting

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

I liked Hawkins performance in "Happy Go Lucky" but not as much as Anne Hathaway's perf. in "Rachel Getting Married." Even though I wouldn't exactly classify Hathaway's performance as a comedic turn, it's going to be categorized and viewed that way. It'll be tough for what's viewed as two "comedic" performances to get nominated. Last year was a rarity on that front. Gun to my head, I say Hathaway gets the nomination.

Anonymous said...

My predictions so far are:

1. Kate Winslet
2. Meryl Streep
3. Kristin Scott-Thomas
4. Sally Hawkins
5. Anne Hathaway

7. Melissa Leo
8. Michelle Williams
9. Angelina Jolie


For the Golden Globes

Drama
Angelina Jolie
Melissa Leo
Kristin Scott Thomas
Meryl Streep
Kate Winslet

Comedy Or Musical
Ellen Burstyn
Anna Hathaway
Sally Hawkins
Meryl Streep
Emma Thompson