Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where We're At: Best Actress

At the beginning of the year when the buzz for Precious had just begun, Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe seemed like no more than a long shot. Mo'Nique's tour de force as her monster mom hogged the buzz and Sidibe had several disadvantages: fat, unknown, minority. The Best Actress category, more than any other acting category, is obsessed with beauty, stardom and whiteness*. [Tangent: the DeGlam phenomenon is also connected to the beauty preference. In a perverse way it's still all about the beauty that the voters are aware the famous actress is hiding].

<--- Two weeks before the film's opening, Sidibe's star is rising with coverage in major gets like The New York Times Magazine.

Now that I've seen Precious (see previous post) I can safely say that the Academy won't pass over Sidibe come nomination morning (February 2nd, 2010). It helps tremendously that in real life the first time actress is very different than her character.



When Sidibe is interviewed you quickly realize that the only thing she shares with her character is that plus sized body. She's articulate, educated and appears to have a far more lighthearted soul. This immediately dispells the dismissive (though not always incorrect judgment) that can sometimes attach itself to performances by non-traditional/unknown actors. I'm talking about the "they're just playing themselves!" reaction. Sidibe isn't. So she's in. It seems strange for a major category to be 60% wrapped up before November and any precursorage has taken place but it's tough to argue with the lock-up probability of the Streep/Mulligan/Sidibe trifecta.

Which means the battle for those final two spots will be the main place of speculative Actressy drama for the next three months. What's more, the precursor awards might not help us. It seems easy to imagine a precursor season that's filled with the aforementioned trio... leaving the last spots volatile until the end.

The other competitors are plentiful though none seem like a sure thing. Hilary Swank has the right type of role (biographical, teary, ennobling) but practically nothing about the movie including her all-surface performance works (my review). Helen Mirren has the pedigree and a scenery chewing role in The Last Station (my initial reaction). If voters like the way she masticates the bedroom, swallows the furniture and spits out the table ware (I see a Spacek-style plate smashing sequence as future overplayed Oscar clip) they'll ignore the fact that she's not carrying the film exactly and that she won very recently. Marion Cotillard, if pushed lead for Nine, will have Mirren's two drawbacks tenfold, since she won even more recently and she's sharing her film-carrying duties not with two famous men but with one famous man and several famous women. Maybe other people know something I don't but surely she'll be defeated by the limited screentime unless they put her back in Supporting where all the Nine women belong. Abbie Cornish's Bright Star role would easily place her in the Best Actress shortlist if she had more of an Oscar-bound career profile. For her I suspect it's all about the campaign.


Finally, two of my favorite actresses of all time could still be contenders if the Academy is feeling either discerning and adventurous (Tilda Swinton in Julia) or 'we're sorry' career sentimental (Michelle Pfeiffer in Chéri). There are many things that are entirely predictable about the Oscar race in any given year. But when and if AMPAS will feel adventurous or sentimental are not among those things. Sometimes they feel it. Sometimes they don't.

*This is statistically true. Only 10 Best Actress nominations have gone to women of color, compared to 20+ supporting actress and actor nominations and 25+ supporting actor nominations (I don't have the exact numbers) though it's not entirely fair to blame the Academy since they can only vote on what's presented to them and actresses of color still don't get big roles as often as actors of color.

92 comments:

Arlo said...

I hope Pfeiffer isn't nominated, since she has no chance of winning. Wouldn't want her to get her hopes up again...

Robert Hamer said...

I cannot for the life of me understand the "they're just playing themselves!" accusation thrown at unknown actors in breakout roles. First off, performances like Sidibe's are their debut, so how the hell do you (Not you specifically, Nat ;) ) know what their screen persona is? It's not as if she's a veteran phoning it in.

Secondly, let's say she did have a life similar to Precious and drew from those experiences for the part. So what? Harold Russell and Haing S. Ngor did the exact same thing and they won Oscars for it. R. Lee Ermey gave a performance for the ages in Full Metal Jacket by doing what he did as a Marine Corps drill instructor. Samuel L. Jackson was a recovering addict when he was cast as the crackhead Gator Purify in Jungle Fever, and his omission from Best Supporting Actor is considered one of the worst in Academy history. And let's not forget Mickey Rourke's performance in The Wrestler which won the FiLM BiTCH Award for Best Actor. An actor finding a special connection to a character and using it to add authenticity to a performance is not a drawback or something to look down upon; it pisses me off when that's the excuse AMPAS members use to snub outstanding work from breakout actors.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

You sound like a pissed off black person.

Even though I told myself I wouldn’t, I’m hoping beyond hope that Michelle gets a nod. I know though, that if for some inexplicable reason she gets nominated and Sidibe doesn’t Oprah will lead the march against racism through the streets of America.

But I just don’t feel that Streep, Mulligan and Sidibe are all going to be nominated. I don’t know why. Still, if only those three sail through it’ll be better than 2006 with the same old batch of five women predicted months before the ceremony.

City_Of_Lights said...

I read on the Nine blog that Weinstein is supposedly putting Marion out there for Best Actress contention while all the rest will be in the Supporting category. Can anyone confirm?

Anonymous said...

It still feels like Streep vs. Mulligan for the win. Do you still feel the same Nathaniel?

Anonymous said...

I feel like "It's Complicated" will just be a film boost to Julie & Julia and will help Streep's nomination & chances of winning. The Academy always prefers biopic roles.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

Yeah, 2006 was very boring in that we knew the best actress lineup months before it was announced. But at least they were all (at the very least) decent performances, even Mirren's whose had a whif of "phoned-in" and Winslet who was possibly miscast. Infinitely preferable to 2005.

I think that Sidibe could emerge as the one to win. She won't sweep necessarily. I see an actress like Sidibe winning at SAG and the Indie Spirits (if the film is eligible there). People are underestimating her because they're underestimating "Precious." But its buildup, the "underdog" tale, it all seems very "Slumdog Millionaire," no?

Coco said...

Please stop predicting Pfeiffer! Every ones forgotten about her, and they will most likely remember Swank when it comes voting cause it was way for recent.

Dusty Hixenbaugh said...

I know we're supposed to chat up the actresses tonight, but Film Bitch, I heart your snarky Eastwood description. Those rascally snubs for Changeling and Gran Torino! God! What unpardonable oversight!

Um. Back to the actresses: Go Audrey Tatou!

Glenn Dunks said...

I love that picture of Bigelow with the scarf around her. Makes me wish she was also an actress. She looks like one.

I do think Abbie Cornish will be nominated. She reminds me of Keira Knightley in that she'll be hanging around the precursers, but then her nomination will still come as a surprise. It helps that Bright Star will feature in several technical categories I reckon.

Not so sure on Mirren since they can be fussy with nominating someone so soon after a previous win. Although Charlize did it with the (apparently, I've still never seen it) North Country I guess... hmmm.

Imagine if Swinton became like Amy Ryan did the other year and just starts sweeping the precursers for being a blowsy drunk.

Glenn Dunks said...

Also, you feature Shohreh in your collage, but not on the predictions page? I know she hasn't a hope, but I would've thought her name would pop up towards the bottom.

Adam M. said...

I think Mulligan is and will be the one to beat, with Streep close behind and Sidibe coming up on the outside, likely to surpass Meryl by Oscar night.

The other two slots are a bit of a toss-up right now. I think Helen Mirren looks the most likely to pick up a nod. Cornish has the raves, but 'Bright Star' is small and fading fast.

I remember Spielberg saying something about being absolutely certain that Saoirse Ronan will score a nod for 'The Lovely Bones.' I wouldn't doubt his ability to see that to fruition if TLB is hailed a success.

I'm personally hedging my bets on Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side.' Call me crazy, but I've been following this project closely. Warner Bros. is playing like they have something really special on their hands, and a feel-good triumph film like 'The Blind Side' could do very well with audiences and with Oscar. Sandy's role is the epitome of what Oscar goes for after the biopic impersonation. Further discussion is on my blog. :P

notanotherblog said...

I agree with your predictions, but I'll wanna put Charlotte in the top five. I haven't seen Julie/Julia and An Education yet.

The Slumdog story can only work once in a while, but I'm not betting the apartment that it'll work on Precious.

I totally had the impression that Sidibe wasn't the same person as Precious from reading the article about the movie on NOW magazine. She comes across so well.

And if we're gonna talk about race, and as I said in other sites, I'd rather Gabby Sidibe take Meryl's Oscar than for Mo'nique to take Julianne.

I just saw Bright Star yesterday. If Cornish doesn't win a minor award or get nominated in Oscar time, I will destroy something.

UncleVanya said...

Coco said

"Please stop predicting Pfeiffer! Every ones forgotten about her"

Thanks Coco--my sentiments exactly. Besides, I can't even see why she should be a consideration for her film. It's deja vu all over again (as someone once said). Let's promote people who really deserve attention, like

Robin wright Penn (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee)

Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Vincere)

and especially!!!

Hye-ja Kim (Mother)

This contest should not be about people's irrational bias and desire for their horse to win. It should be about the craft, and the actresses who truly delivered something special, earth-shattering, and awe-inspiring.

James Colon said...

Am I the only one who feels that Streep isn't going to be nominated for Julie & Julia?

Anonymous said...

I think Streep is a lock for a nomination and the one to beat. Mulligan is a close second but too new (I've never heard of her) and Oscar won't reward someone so new. So there.

julianstark said...

I think Sidibe will take home the Academy Award. Carey Mulligan will probably win one somewhere on down the line, a la Kate Winslet. And I love Meryl Streep to death, but I just can't see her taking the award for Julia and Julia...

As for the others, Mirren wouldn't stand a strong shot at winning unless by miracle split vote in the Academy. Cotillard just won, and it'll probably be debated if her role is leading or not, especially if Cruz is as good as buzz has indicated. She also has another negative factor, in that all of the roles were Supporting when on Broadway. Cornish won't stand a real shot at winning, and that's assuming that she'll make the cut.

Swank is out of the race, and I feel that it's safe to say the same for Michelle Pfeiffer. Cruz's role in Broken Embraces/Los Abrazos Rotos also looks like a here-and-gone situation.

Annette Bening could probably sneak in there if the film gets a distributor and is pushed hard. Vera Farmiga's chances are slim to none, as Kendrick is the standout female who is ironically being pushed Supporting.

Anonymous said...

Sidibe has no chance of winning.

Unclevanya said...

Otherwise, this whole excercise of recognizing the best in film is purely undignified, pointless and adolescent. And more than anything, silly.

UncleVanya said...

And, whoops, I forget to include Tilda Swinton (Julia) in my list above of deserving nominees. How I forgot, is a mystery.

NATHANIEL R said...

unclevanya as far as i know both Vincere and Mother are not being released in the States this year (unless I missed a distribution announcement which is possible) which makes it impossible for them to factor in, no matter how good they are (and yes, i've heard good things about both performances)

but loving Pfeiffer is not irrational. The only people who think that are the people who didn't live through her glory years. They have treated her badly and she's also roughly 50 times better in Chéri than Swank is in Amelia for chrissakes. ;)

also coco i've lived through the oscar race for many many years now. christ i've seen too many of them! and every year people assume that the early birds are forgotten come Oscar time, but what is super popular and buzzy in October is never an exact match for what is super popular and buzzy in January. You have to have some imagination about who will get good campaigns, whose DVD releases will spark a second wind and which future contenders will tank.

i'm not saying Pfeiffer will be nominated (i'm confused that people say i'm predicting her because she's clearly NOT in the predicted 5 on the chart!) but it's silly to assume that a 3 time nominee who many people feel was shafted in her heyday won't be on the minds of some voters simply because her film was released early.

and arlo sorry to get stuck on Pfeiffer (but you know how I am) i think it's a bad idea to not want someone nominated because they can't win because momentum means so much in Oscar world. Even if Pfeiffer fails to get nominated (which seems the likeliest outcome right now) a solid awards run and a snub would help her if she follows Chéri up with something worthier, you know?

Kate Winslet didn't win the Oscar for the Reader only for the Reader. She won it because she'd been in the conversation so regularly and because it was past time for it.

Unless you're exceptionally lucky (see Swank) you need multiple factors helping you towards a win.

NATHANIEL R said...

and one more thing

"This contest should not be about people's irrational bias and desire for their horse to win. It should be about the craft, and the actresses who truly delivered something special, earth-shattering, and awe-inspiring...Otherwise, this whole excercise of recognizing the best in film is purely undignified, pointless and adolescent. And more than anything, silly."

you have a point UncleVanya but it's not either or. The Oscars have always been both simultaneously :)

Anonymous said...

Yea, I understand people can come out of nowhere....but those people actually had people rooting for them


who the hell does Pfeiffer have? You don't even have people saying "Wouldn't it be just bitchin if the academy nodded her for that role"

I get that you love her, but seriously.....the number 6 spot? Try number 10

NATHANIEL R said...

anon it's all subjective. for all we know, some actress out there who has never been nominated at all is an academy favorite but comes in 6th every time she's in the mix.;)

Robert Hamer said...

I sound like a "pissed off black person?" Wow, Fox News called, they need another troll to spew random racist nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"Am I the only one who feels that Streep isn't going to be nominated for Julie & Julia?"

One can only hope. She is the most overrated actress of our time.

Fernando Moss said...

Mia Farrow maybe? or Maria Bello? Scarjo perhaps? Lisa Kudrow? Maggie Gyllenhaal? Jennifer Jason Leigh? Meg Ryan?

I think all of them could be a case of that favorite who's always the 6th... but that's a thing we will never know... It could be Jessica Alba :S

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

I don't think Pfeiffer is as unlikely as people say she is. I mean...I personally don't think she's going to get nominated, but it wouldn't be totally shocking either.

Julie Christie in "Afterglow"
Susan Sarandon in "The Client"
Laura Linney in "The Savages"

These are all performances that missed a lot of the major precursors and probably lacked buzz in their respective years going into the race. Then come nomination morning...there they were. It's not an exact science.

Michael Parsons said...

Michelle could easily make it in. A end of year DVD release could make the difference.

No one knows nothings. Remember Samantha Morton and Tommy Lee Jones. Not much in the run up to Oscar, then BAM! Nomination.

cal roth said...

You don't sound so kind to Mirren this time. Is she overacting?

MRRIPLEY said...

I Feel with the 5th spot one of 3 thinsgs'll happen
1- someone like pfeiffer or cornish will get the nom thus surprising those who thought they were out.

2- Swank gets in as seat filler a la blanchett in 07.

3- A surprise nominee comes along a la Bullock in the blind side.

Howler said...

God, I hope Tilda will make it, and I'm sure she would if enough people saw "Julia".
I don't think Pfeiffer's performance in "Cheri" is anywhere near special and many people, even those who wanted her back in the mix, may feel disappointed. It certainly doesn't help that the film is terrible.

Jim T said...

Nathaniel, do you think Precious is most likely to win? Up In The Air might get brilliant reviews but it's not as dramatic as the Academy would like, I think. I think Precious' only threat might be The Lovely Bones, if it delivers.

About Pfeiffer. I am afraid it will be very difficult for her to get a nomination. The film is just mediocre and an early release. And the performance is nothing more than what anyone would expect. It's just not enough. But perhaps the no6 position is logical. Still, I think her chances are a lot smaller than Mirren's even if it is just no5-no6 difference.

Anonymous said...

I think newcomers are accused of playing themselves because we've never seen any of their other abilities and have no other works from them to prove otherwise and because maybe their performance is too good to be true.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I think IFC is really blowing it not to put Vincere out before December. I realize they don't really "do" Oscar campaigning all that much, and I didn't like the movie or the performance myself, but Mezzogiorno's work has certainly impressed lots and lots of people since the film opened at Cannes, and with such an open field of fourth- and fifth-slot, I think she'd coast to one of those nods if IFC got people watching the movie. She's way, way, way up the Academy's alley, even by the narrow standards of what they're willing to countenance among non-English performances (in a way that Kim Hye-ja's weird, daring, wonderful work in Mother is not).

@Glenn: I think that's Hiam Abbass in Lemon Tree, not Shohreh.

I think it's Mulligan vs. Sidibe for the win.

Anonymous said...

It is still Streep vs. Mulligan for the win - a tossup...

Scott said...

I think you are right of course - if people would just see Julia, Swinton would be nominated. It's still the most impressive performance I've seen this year.

brandz said...

as Nathaniel points out about Kate Winslet, she did not win for The Reader, she won because she was a part of the conversation so long and overdue. this is the same reason Meryl Streep will win. she's been part of the conversation for 30 years and is long overdue for another win. i believe it's meryl's year because she hasn't won in over 25 years, after giving wonderful and memorable performances forever, it seems.

mrripley said...

Does no-one think it a shame winslet didn't win for her work in rev rd,I know uk critics do.

I hate the let's give her 1 quick awards when she was deserving 3 or 4 times in the past.

Clarence said...

aww your site is down again :(.
Anyway, as much as I want Meryl Streep to win a third Oscar, I just wish it was for a better role :(. Not that she wasn't good, in fact she was amazing, but the role is so...not challenging in terms of what she's done before. Accent aside, I think this is one of her easiest roles yet. Then again, I thought The Devil Wears Prada was incredible especially since she seemed so natural in it I seriously thought she was like that in person lmfao :)

Clarence said...

And Anonymous 3:25 Even Meryl Streep thinks she's overrated sometimes :) Case and point Emmy Speech :)

Rahm said...

I keep hearing that Weinstein is going to push Marion Cotillard for lead. As good as she may be, I think that's a bad decision.

Audrey Tautou won't be nominated. Her performance isn't worthy of a nomination.

Anonymous said...

Hilary Swank nominated just like Cate Blanchet for the second Elisabeth? I really don't hope so...anyway Blanchett received a lot of (incredible, actually) attention from the precursor awards...
I'm not so sure that it could happen also for Hilary...
btw, I like the idea Swank and Bening being a couple on screen...

mirko

ps: who's the actress who always arrive sixth?

Otto said...

It's make sense if Streep won for Julie and Julia. She's been showing us her comedic side lately (Prada, Mamma Mia, and now this and It's Complicated), so I think people would bash the hipotetical win, saying it's a light movie or whatever, but in a couple of years it would make sense. Just think what would have happened if Streep won for Prada back in the day. Now it's an iconic role.

Anyways, I'm too foolish to hope for a nod for Robin Wright? I mean, she's never been nominated, and her husband (?) won last year and.. and... ok, I get it.

PS: Farmiga and Cotillard going lead is a baaaad idea.

kbo said...

I may be wrong but I don't think any african-american woman has been nominated in the lead actress category since halle berry. Quite remarkable

Arkaan said...

Nathaniel and UncleVanya, Vincere will be released this year (YAY) by IFC... which means that they'll do their simultaneous big screen and On-Demand thing and remove the film from oscar consideration. So nothing for Vincere.

Lisa said...

I do hope that Pfeiffer gets a nomination. It's not just the win that is important. Getting a nomination is fantastic too.

By the way, Nate, have you seen Meryl's look at the Rome Festival red carpet? She had smokey eyes. SMOKING HOT.

NATHANIEL R said...

kbo you're correct. but again... not all the academy's fault. The actresses have to get the good part's first in order to do work worth considering. and it's still tough out there for the blacktresses... i mean where are the equivalents to Denzel, Forest, Morgan, Samuel and Will? Halle is about it and she's nowhere near as "even" in her output as they are.

i still think Hollywood caused the world much pain by giving up on Angela Bassett and Alfre Woodard so quickly. :( not that they don't work regularly (which is a triumph for any actor) but that they got relegated to small stuff so quickly.

here's hoping things turn out better for kerry washington (times a-wastin') and taraji p henson

mirko I was just being speculative about the "6th place" thing. The point is we don't know. I like to cry foul on the way Mia Farrow has been treated over the years by the academy (since she was once one of the best working actresses in the world) but the point is, for all we know she got a lot of votes each time she was in the mix and just never quite made it.

it's the mythical idea that history would be much different if we knew vote totals ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

cal re: HELEN MIRREN. i'm not saying she's overacting (i'm still digesting the movie) but it is most definitely by its very definition a showy emotionally volatile role. So yes... she's chewing the furniture ;)

Kurtis O said...

I think Abbie Cornish is in. She was phenomenal in Bright Star, which I consider to be one of the year's best films.

If Swank makes it into the top five, I'll be pretty furious. That movie was a joke and her acting was uber-flat. A Razzie would be more appropriate.

NoNo said...

Swank is a wrap. I don't know why people keep hanging on to her name. The reviews and box office was bad. For those who compare it to Blanchett. Let's not forget that it's the opinion of most people that she was robbed of her oscar from Paltrow so in a way it was sort of a make-up nom. Plus Swank is no where nere and even actress as Blanchett.

Pfeiffer however is not dead in the water yet. All she needs is a somewhat good campaign. I think she has a great chance of a Golden Globe nod and that may help her.

I don't think Sidibe will win. For some reason I sense a Golden Globe snub and a SAG and Indie Spirit win and then...nothing. From what I'm hearing, her performance is not showy. And as adorable as she is in that interview, she may not be "princessy" enough for them. And she doesn't really have a Cinderella story like J. Hud and Diablo Cody.

And Andrew, just use some logic with the "Oprah calling out racism" thing. If she didn't do it with "The Color Purple" or her own "The Great Debators", she won't do it here.

NoNo said...

near*

NoNo said...

near an* What's wrong with me?

(and I do think Sidibe will get an Oscar nom)

Robert said...

Maybe other people know something I don't but surely she'll be defeated by the limited screentime unless they put her back in Supporting where all the Nine women belong.

Yeah, she steals the film every chance she gets, especially during her two different songs. She's helped by being the only woman with two solo songs, and they are very very different in style. And, as the supportive wife always in the background of Guido's thoughts and shifting course of action, I'd say she's close enough to lead to get nominated there.

Let me phrase this another way: she'd be a big challenge to Mo'Nique if nominated in Supporting Actress. She's that good in Nine. Very different role, but just as flashy.

NATHANIEL R said...

ah but Robert have you seen PRECIOUS yet? Nobody is going to be a threat to Mo'Nique's win.

it's a slam dunk.

even if she pisses people off on the campaign trail or refuses to attend the oscar or any other possible craziness (which i doubt... i don't know why people are so insistent that she won't campaign once the movie is out. it's a win win for her publicity wise and for her new show) she's still going to win the statue.

Pablete said...

I have not seen "Precious" yet, but Gabourey Sidibe's seems to be the best performance by a leading actress this year, judging by the trailer.

I also hope Emily Blunt gets nominated for "The Young Victoria." She should not be forgotten once more. She does a first-rate job at being the "master and commander" of a vast and excellent cast.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Pfeiffer has no chance in hell! Sorry!

cal roth said...

RE: Pfeiffer.

I see a Jodie Foster in The Brave One scenario. Mixed reviews, GG nomination, failed comeback.

Skibi said...

Ronan will get in over Pfeiffer, Mirren, and Cornish. If Marion goes lead, she'll be nominated too.

NATHANIEL R said...

hmmmm. i readily admit that I am a Pfeiffer fanboy and it sometimes clouds my judgement but you know what other actress seems to have this effect on her fans:

Marion Cotillard

just saying ;)

adam k. said...

I see a situation with Cornish where she gets nominated for the Globe and BAFTA but misses at SAG, making everyone think she's out, and then she gets nominated for the oscar. Pfeiffer I think has a comedy globe nom and that's it.

Ronan is a big question mark right now. I could see a SAG nom and then oscar snub.

And I can't really see Cotillard nominated in lead.

I think it's really between Streep, Mulligan, Sidibe, Cornish, Ronan and Mirren.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Cheri and I really liked it. Michelle was good.

I think that the race is between Streep and Mulligan with Sidibe coming in third. The other two spots will be fought out by Cornish, Cotillard and Mirren. Unless someone comes out of nowhere.

Nate said...

Anon: 7:16

Sorry that was me.

Danzumees said...

Well Shohreh was just a supporting actress. I can't believe she will be a contender this time...
And do you really mean Audrey Tatou from Coco avant Chanel? I find it really hard to believe. There was nothing special in that role. This race seems to be wide open this year.

Morgan said...

I think Sandra Bullock gets her first nod for "The Blind Side". She'll be the "Music of the Heart/"North Country" nod.

Victor S said...

I was fearing for a 1994 situation and now I'm kind of excited/afraid that this could be another 2003: Everyone in the same focus (2003: Theron & Keaton; 2009: Streep, Mulligan; Sibide) and the other spots being filled with people that were considered out of the race, promoted as supporting, or something crazy like that.

Anonymous said...

My perception of this year's Best actress:

1. Meryl Streep: Last year Kate Winslet won for three reasons (First: The Reader and RR; two: Long time overdue and third: Strong campaign in USA and UK). This year Meryl could have it: Strong box office, biopic, two comedic roles and women year.

2. Carey Mulligan: Streep's biggest contender. Audrey Hepburn and Julie Christie kind of role.

3. Gabourey Sidibe: I don't think she'll win, but her nomination is sure. Even she could win few of the strongest prizes.

4. Abbie Cornish: Like Keira Knightley in 2005. Even she could win the Globe for Dramatic actress because they love young actors and romantic films.

Three newcomers? Well that happened before in 1965 (Only Simone Signoret was known. Andrews won for her debut a year before. Hartman, Christie and Eggar were news) and in the supporting category in 2006 (Hudson, Kikuchi and Barraza).

The fifth spot is interesting:

-Swank is Out: She's not Blanchett and even when The golden Age was panned, many critics defend her performance (Even Variety said she was the BEST thing of the film), plus: Make-up nomination for 1998 controversy. Swank is suffering backlash and her film and her performance was panned.

-If "Nine" is beloved, Cotillard has strong chances. Remember May Robson, Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City) and Vanessa Redgrave (The Bostonians). But again she would be nominated for supporting a la Kate Winslet last year. Or maybe is just a rumor.

-Miramax has only Pfeiffer as strong contender, but I think she would have the same luck like Jodie Foster in 2007.

-Don't count out Tilda Swinton and Shohreh Aghdashloo yet. Both actresses could surprise us and became the critics faves. Swinton is now Oscar Winner and her role is like Gena Rowlands' "Gloria". Aghdashloo has four good points:
*The Stoning of Soraya M. has stronger supporters
*Aghdashloo won the EMMY (In a tough category with Marcia Gay Harden, Cicely Tyson and Janet McTeer). Sometimes helps. Holly Hunter, Laura Linney and Helen Hunt won the EMMY before winning/ being nominated for the Oscar in a short period.
*Political background. If "Precious" is helped by Obama effect; "TSOSM" would be helped by these recent controversial elections in Iran.
*Conections: If AMPAS would nominate for first time an Asian Actress, Aghdashloo is a spoiler.

*Helen Mirren is a question mark. She has "the Tempest" and "The Debt" next year...

*Saorsie Ronan is young and her role isn't exactly histrionic or "Oscarish", but she's very talented and if the film is strong she could make it. Plus: She's not an unknown.

*Michelle Monaghan: Her film is so small, but sometimes AMPAS surprised before: Janet McTeer, Melissa Leo... Monaghan is pretty, talented and has the raves.

Alex said...

Is it possible that Mo'Nique pulls a Madonna ('96) and gets snubbed after pissing people off on the campaign trail? I don't see it out of the question. Madonna did beat Frances McDormand for the Globe (but that's the GLOBES...)

I think if Cotillard goes back to supporting she's our nominee from "Nine" and not Cruz.

Farmiga seriously needs an overdue nom (please please please go back to supporting).

I'm thinking Annette Bening or Michelle Pfeiffer could still make it in, but not both. Part of me also feels that way about Mulligan and Sibide, since they're both unknowns so I wouldn't be surprised if Sibide gets snubbed.

NATHANIEL R said...

alex... i really don't think it's possible for Mo'Nique to be snubbed. I can't stress it enough how obvious it is that the performance is going to win the Oscar.

morgan... i'm choosing not to think about Bullock at this time. the trailer frightened me.

UncleVanya said...

@ Nathaniel

I know it must seem that I am indifferent to Pfeiffer, but I can assure you that I am not. I was outraged when she was not nominated for Batman Returns, and dumbfounded when they ignored her performance in Age of Innocence (the only film that I have ever went to twice in the same day--in my opinion a nomination was not enough; in fact she should have won). Hell, I was even upset when they didn't nominate her for Married to the Mob and a Thousand Acres. Believe me when I say that she is very worthy of an Oscar, but she seems to have all of her best roles behind her. And I really don't want her to win for something substandard. She deserves better. Her stupid husband should write a good role for her (I mean what's up with that!) so that we all can see her win (because she definately deserves to).

Also, I was under the impression (wrongly, it seems) that when films played at TIFF they were automatically eligible for nominations (hence, my enthusiasm for Penn, Mezzogiorno, and Kim). Now that you tell me they are ineligible, I will focus on other possibilites, like Swinton.

Oh, and by the way, I have absolutely no desire to see Swank playing another man in Amelia. I am bouyed by the bad reviews that make her nomination unlikely.

Arkaan said...

Lauren Bacall obvious?

UncleVanya said...

I mean really, Swank...get a sex change already! Jeeesh

UncleVanya said...

By the way, I just viewed the trailer for the Bullock film, The Blind Side, and I got the same repellant feeling that I would have gotten had I just watched a particularly offensive piece of propoganda. Yuk!

NATHANIEL R said...

unclevanya festival showings make you eligible for certain things but not for Oscar. For Oscar you have to have a week long regular theatrical engagement in Los Angeles that commences somewhere between January 1st and December 31st of that calendar year.

this is why Annette Bening's buzz for Mother and Daughter didn't go anywhere either despite more than one pundit claiming she would be surefire nominee if the film actually got released.

Alex said...

Wait wait wait wait....are we being serious about Sandra Bullock having a shot at a nomination for "The Blind Side"? Seriously? That wasn't a joke?

NoNo said...

Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side=Cameron Diaz in My Sister's Keeper

Glenn said...

Michelle Monaghan isn't getting near. This is why Frozen River's early release helped. It actually made $2.5m and developed its fans early in the year. Trucker made only $9,458 in it's opening weekend (from ten screens, too!) which is abysmal. No way a movie that's making less than $50,000 at the box office is going to make it in.

Alex, Madonna didn't get nominated in '96 because she's Madonna and no matter how good she was or wasn't there's just no way Madonna was going to be an Oscar nominee for acting.

The thing with Mo'Nique is (at the current time) a fallacy. She was with the film at Sundance earlier in the year, but she's had a new TV show start a few weeks ago, which is why she couldn't go to every single film festival on the planet. And when it comes to actually advertising the movie itself - it doesn't need her at a festival where sell outs are default, basically - that she will be there.

Alex said...

Glenn, I'm not really sure the Academy would be that close-minded towards Madonna considering they gave Cher an Oscar. I love that performance, but she's CHER. How is being Cher any different from being Madonna in their view?

adam k. said...

It's different because Cher is a good actress.

Alex said...

Well, that's true but what was said was, "no matter how good she was or wasn't there's just no way Madonna was going to be an Oscar nominee for acting."

That's talking about celebrity, not talent. I prefer Cher as an actress too, but I think Madonna's performance is top notch and don't think the fact that she is Madonna is what stopped her getting a nomination. It was that "I'm doing this movie because I want an Oscar" interview.

Glenn said...

Cher's first feature film performance was in a Robert Altman movie and her next Mike Nichols' Silkwood, so Cher was clearly aiming to be taken far more seriously. By the time Moonstruck came around Cher had won a Cannes best actress prize, won a Golden Globe (and an Oscar nomination) for Silkwood and had a box office hit with The Witches of Eastwick, plus Moonstruck was a huge hit (fifth highest grosser of 1987) and was also a Best Picture nominee.

Meanwhile, by the time Evita (a mild box office hit, admittedly) came around Madonna had won four razzies and been in movies such as Who's That Girl, Shanghai Surprise, Body of Evidence and had only won legitimate awards for her soundtracks (although, quite tellingly, none of the film songs she has co-written have ever been nominated, strangely).

NATHANIEL R said...

Glenn... you missed Cher's very publicized snub in 1985 for MASK and past snubs, as we all know, can be a huge boost to Oscar momentum.

I don't remember that specific Madonna interview about wanting an Oscar but she was very good in EVITA.

anyway... it's shameful that none of her movie songs have been nominated. I know roughly 50% of the population feels irrational hatred for her but, fact, she makes great music.

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

Adam M. - I'm glad I'm not the only one considering Saoirse Ronan! She was magnificent in Atonement (one of the few things I liked about that movie), and her early buzz for TLB has been positive. She has a fantastic talent for a young age, and she deserves a second nomination.

But of course, I believe Streep has win #3 wrapped up this year.

Timothy said...

Guess I missed the party. Can't sift through 80+ comments right now, but I'm really jazzed now about Gabourey Sidibe's Oscar chances. I always thought she could get in, but most were like, "no, it's all about Mo'Nique". I like seeing the Academy recognize some unconventional choices. It's not about who has the best pedigree or future potential for a career. It's either about the performance or it isn't, and if Sidibe has the goods here, then she should be recognized for it. I could see them going all the way and having her win too. It would be the uber-Cinderella story. The same thing could happen with Carey Mulligan, but that'll be less dramatic, since we all know that she'll be back to the race again when Gabourey probably won't be. As for Meryl's third, unless she makes a killing on the critics' circuit, I think this role will be considered too lightweight for her third Oscar, which could carry with it mad backlash down the road.

NATHANIEL R said...

i don't think meryl is ever considered lightweight.

i suspect if she wins for Julie & Julia in march (as a i suspect she will) then she'll pull a Hepburn and win a 4th very soon on its heels for something super dramatic. august: osage county anyone?

Timothy said...

I thought the film was lightweight as well as Meryl's performance. It was my opinion. I realize that most are fawning over both.

Alex said...

I think the fact that many people (including myself) thought she should've won for "Doubt" will certainly help her chances. She did win the SAG, which I think is enough to say that people think she deserves another one by now. Not everything's a science, but I feel like crunching stats real quick, so...

She's Meryl Streep
+
biopic role (nailing it)
+
"It's Complicated" (presumably dual Globe noms)
+
leftover love from "Doubt"
+
A win for a film like this would be a good representation of a good bulk of what she's been focused on this decade (comedies in the vain of "The Devil Wears Prada")
=Meryl Streep wins for "Julie & Julia"

filmfan said...

has everyone who says Mo'nique will win without a doubt actually seen Moore in A Single Man? I just think one shouldn't count her out completely yet.

Anonymous said...

Moore wouldn't even be considered if it wasn't for Colin Firth's buzz.

Alex said...

...and I doubt Tilda Swinton would've gotten the momentum to win had "Michael Clayton" not been a Best Picture nominee.

Anonymous said...

I want Charlotte Gainsbourg to get some recognition for her amazing work in Antichrist!! She was so raw, I haven't felt so engaged with an actress for ages.

Anonymous said...

Not that the Academy would ever touch "Antichrist" with a ten-foot pole, but it's ineligible anyway b/c of its VOD premiere.