My own excitement for Darren Aronofsky's freaked-out ballerinas picture Black Swan is all intermingled with my fears that no matter how good it is (assuming that it's good), Oscar voters have notorious trouble embracing the visionaries until they really do something middlebrow (case in point: David Fincher and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Black Swan sounds way too weird to be middlebrow... but, then, so did Button come to think of it.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and predict Natalie Portman for Best Actress anyway. Oscar has embraced histrionic ballet stars before (The Turning Point, anyone?) And even if voters are still wary of Aronofsky (how has he not been nominated yet? Argh!) they do recognize his enviable skill with actors, as evidenced by the nominations from Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler.
In the end, these are the dozen performances I (currently) feel we should most keep an eye on for Oscar play
- Hiam Abbas in Miral (though I could also see this as supporting)
- Annette Bening for Mother and Child or The Kids Are All Right
- Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs
- Nicole Kidman down the Rabbit Hole
- Diane Lane for Secretariat
- Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
- Lesley Manville has Another Year
- Julianne Moore thinks The Kids Are All Right
- Natalie Portman in Black Swan
- Julia Roberts for Eat Pray Love
- Robin Wright Penn as The Conspirator
I've also posted the Supporting Actress hunches -- which includes Helena Bonham-Carter in The King's Speech -- though in truth I didn't really have any hunches. Ha! That's the way it goes sometimes.
Early Bird Oscar Predictions
I'd love to hear your feelings on these two actress categories. Next week, after I've had time to examine and build spreadsheets, I'll share your communal prediction for Best Actress from the "Actress Psychic" contest. It's always interesting to note what Consensus imagines about something so intangible.