Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can Jennifer Lawrence Become the Second Youngest Best Actress Nominee?

I was writing up my little filmbytes column for popbytes and decided to spotlight Jennifer Lawrence as a rising star.

<-- This particular still freaks me out. Doesn't Jennifer look just like the Zeéeee there?

I'm very curious as to whether or not tiny Roadside Attractions can push Winter's Bone towards Oscar as relentlessly as "Ree Dolly*" pursues her missing film dad. Jennifer is the film's best Oscar bet but perhaps it could go further than just Best Actress? For a gritty rural drama that doesn't exactly coddle its audience, I was surprised to learn recently that the movie has already grossed $3 million in a month's time. That's impressive. That means people, and not just critics, like it. When both civilians and critics like things, AMPAS voters often figure they might ought to watch it.

But how's this for a statistic? If Jennifer Lawrence, who is currently 19, does secure a robust campaign and then a Best Actress nomination in January, she'll be the second youngest nominee ever in that category. The youngest was 4 year old Victoire Thivisol for Ponette and... GODDAMNIT. She wasn't nominated! Okay what I meant to type was that the youngest was Evan Rachel Wood for thirt ... SHUT UP. Allow me my Oscar fantasies. No, the youngest nominee is Keisha Castle Hughes for Whale Rider.

It breaks down like so...


Youngest Best Actress Nominees

  1. Keisha Castle Hughes, Whale Rider (13 going on 14)
  2. Isabelle Adjani, The Story of Adele H (20 and 2/3rds)
  3. Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice (almost 21)
  4. Ellen Page, Juno (practically 21)
  5. Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (21 and some change)
Isn't it interesting that most of the youngest nominees are from the past decade? The only winner among these women girls was Ms. Matlin who performed Grand Theft Oscar on my beloved Kathleen Turner (see this ancient post) and Sigourney Weaver, both still Oscarless, for which I can never forgive her.

The nail-biting tragedy of March 30th, 1987 illustrated.

The rest of the youngest ladies lost their Oscar races. It's hard to win when people know you haven't truly "paid your dues" yet.

*In addition to being one of the youngest nominees ever, "Ree Dolly" would join the ranks of most memorable character monikers nominated, too.

37 comments:

MrJeffery said...

I think it's a bit early, but she is definitely deserving so far. Critics awards could help her gain momentum. It's hard to have much faith in the Oscars in this category after last years debacle.

Cengiz said...

I loved Ponette and Victorie Thivisol should have been nominated.

Katey said...

So you mean it might be some young up-and-comer playing a gritty, white trash character going up against Annette Bening as a frustrated, wealthy suburbanite? Something seems familiar about this scenario...

Glenn said...

I'm the other way around. Having now seen Winter's Bone I'm not sure about her prospects. She doesn't have a BIG moment, nor is the film particularly rewarding on an emotional or cinematic level. It's a decent hard-edged movie and Lawrence is quite good, but her character, nor the film, goes anywhere.

I felt Academy members might've responded to this character more if it was, for instance, an older mother trying to find her child. She doesn't have Keisha Castle-Hughes' "look at her ACT!" feeling about her, nor does she have that Keira/Ellen feel of helping a surprisingly strong film reach even bigger heights.

So... I'm not sure.

Samson said...

Who is Ponette? She was Oscar-worthy at four???

Jennifer Lawrence was incredible in "Winter's Bone." Hope she's nominated.

Anonymous said...

A propos of nothing, here's a hilarious impersonation of Keira Knightley that recently surfaced on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ecNTYRZims

Lara said...

Not knowing who Victoire Thivisol is and never heard of Ponette, I checked out the trailer over at imdb. Jesus Christ, how heartbreaking! And that she was able to (apparently) pull this through being only four. Is the whole movie like that? Or are there some happy scenes for her in it?
I saw the she was Juliette Binoche's character's daughter in Chocolat and the one thing I remember about this movie is a scene that includes her. Binoche wants to relocate once again, but her daughter is tired of always moving around and thus again losing all her friends. They fight and the mother drops something important, can't remember what it was. The daughter is devastated thinking it's all her fault and tries to comfort her mother. I felt so sorry for her and wanted to hug her.

Volvagia said...

The Cut that year, I'm guessing, would be Marvin's Room. McDormand was great, Blethyn and Emily Watson were PHENOMENAL and Kristin Scott Thomas was very good in a slow, sumptuous movie that was more about the scenery than the performances. Or is KST also a cut?

NATHANIEL R said...

Lara -- Ponette is incredible. Victoire is amazing in it from start to finish. Although i suppose the reasoning for why child actors have trouble getting nominated (outside of major supporting roles in BP nominees) is that many assume that it's the directors doing. Which it might be. It's difficult to say.

Volvagia -- i have no idea what you're talking about "The Cut"?

Glenn -- you may be right. I'm doubtful myself but if she is suddenly in demand (as X-MEN: FIRST CLASS could suggest) perhaps her profile will be high enough that Oscar will get really interested.

NATHANIEL R said...

Katey -- bite your tongue! ;)

Sam said...

The Turner Oscar moment is the best Film Experience illustration ever. I'm glad to see it used again.

The Man Behind The Curtain said...

I still need to see this movie. But based on the reviews and buzz, she may stand a chance at a nomination, but up against Bening/Moore (whichever goes to lead), she doesn't have a chance at winning.

Kathleen Turner and Ellen Page should have Oscars by now. Just saying.

Volvagia said...

I mean, of the Oscar field that year (one of their best in that category) Diane Keaton would have to MAKE WAY.

ryan said...

I would hate to see Jennifer Lawrence overlooked because she hasn't "paid her dues". Nominations should be based on performance. I hate the political agenda. She carries this movie at such a young age and with such a demanding job in a low budget indy I for one was blown away by her performance. So much so I had to go back and watch it again.

NATHANIEL R said...

Volvagia -- but what does 1996 have to do with this? i'm confused.

OH OH you're talking about Ponette. No, that was released in 1997... the year of Helen Hunt vs. the Brits.

stjeans said...

I Love the film & think it's possible that Lawrence gets a nomination BUT what would make me very, VERY HAPPY would be to see wonderful Dale Dickey gets a nod. as Supporting Actress. Wont happen but totally SHOULD!

Philip said...

You made me sad because I was forced to think about Evan Rachel Wood being snubbed yet again. :(
Omg, watched the Ponette trailer, AMAZING. God.

I haven't seen Winter's Bone, but Idk...she could make it, but she could also be overshadowed by a popular vote on a more famous somebody who might be less deserving...unless she can get the kind of traction that makes her one of the big players of the season. Then I think she will be in.

I think I'd like to see her in the playing field, but like I said, I haven't seen it yet.

Danielle said...

The Best Actress race should be good this year, and I'm not sure if Lawrence will be able to snag a spot of the competition does indeed remain stiff. There's been a young newbie in the category for the past few years, but her film is so small and there are so many more heavy hitters yet to be released. Plus "Kids" may steal the summer indie spotlight.

Not to mention there are a ton of highly baity/anticipated performances from young actress: Hathaway, Knightley (to an extent), Portman, etc. There won't be room for all of them.

I saw the film and while Lawrence was very good, I didn't *love* the performance.. I fully expect there to be at least 5 better performances this year.

mrripley said...

How dare you bring up keisha catle hughes who took away evan's best actress nomination.

mrripely said...

NO NO NO

the best oscar clip moment is when sigourney sees jodie foster take her best actress oscar,she looks amazed youtube it,wonderful moment!!!!

she was a double nominee in 88 and saw davis take supporting actress so she was sat there obviously thinking this is in the bag!!!

Dave in Alamitos Beach said...

Is it shameless for me to say that I'm far more sad that Isabelle Adjani doesn't have an Oscar than Kathleen Turner?

To whom did Isabelle lose?

And I saw Ponette in the theater. What has that actress been up to since then? Besides puberty that is.

Anonymous said...

I have high hopes for Jennifer Lawrence, but I'm a bit wary because a) she's an untrained actress (untrained actors, I've noticed, do well in certain tailored roles but flop in more complex ones, especially when they get older) and b) she needs to see more movies. I saw her on Jimmy Fallon the other night and she said that her favorite movies were Anchorman and Stepbrothers. Geez, lady. As a possible future Oscar winner and one of the few talented young American actresses as of now, I hope she'll expand her repertoire to finer movies in the future. I'm an elitist, aren't I?

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- being an elitist is SO underrated these days. be one of the proud few who doesn't respect that all american pride in ignorance!

No Bad Movies said...

Lawrence is a lock for Independent Spirit nod. Good chance at the Globes too. I'm 50/50 on an Oscar nod though. After September a plethora of performances will be coming week after week, and she'll have to go up against previous Oscar winners and nominees like Swank, Bening, Roberts, Moore, Watts, Portman, Swinton, Kidman, Zellweger, Mirren to name just several.
But the Academy does like to pat itself on the back and nominate a relative newcomer to the nominations, so that's where my 50/50 analogy comes in.

Glenn said...

No Bad Movies, I'd say she's better placed to get an Oscar nom than a GG nom. Remember Melissa Leo? I'm just not so sure if this young 19-year-old is going to have the emotional resonance with Oscar voters that Leo did. We'll see, I guess. They could do far worse than nominating her, I suspect.

JayJ said...

Lawrence could get nominated or be this years, Abigale Cornish.

dbm said...

Robin Wright could squeeze in there for The Conspirator. Here's an actress that's never been nominated that is in a popular subject in US history.
The Abie Cornish comparison is very good. Lawrence could easily go that route Oscar wise. But I think Winter's Bone is going to crush it at The Spirit Awards taking Best pic, director, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and screenplay.

Hayden said...

If Lawrence is as excellent as they say, I'd love to see her get a nomination. But to stray from the topic of young adult actors to child actors, let me vent for a moment:

I'm of the rare, unpopular opinion (and common subconscious assumption) that child performances are typically products of luck, casting, editing, and direction. And any moment that feels spontaneous or original is really just a divine accident that happened to be caught on film. I have a hard time taking performances by children seriously on the whole.

And if I'm now off the Fanning family Christmas card list, that's fine by me.

cal roth said...

Mr Ripley, here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljf4PZeakZ4

Weaver didn't seem she knew she would win. I think everybody expected Close to win, right?

(I am all for Foster that year, as I've said before)

NATHANIEL R said...

cal -- ewww. Foster was the worst nominee in 1988. Sad that Glenn Close couldn't manage it even without the jawdropping brilliance of Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham to distract attention from her.

Lara said...

cal, I saw that video and whether Sigourney "knew" she would win this category or not she sure was highly disappointed to lose both categories in the end. She isn't smiling, she doesn't even appear to applaud Jodie, her jaw is clenched and she just turns her head. Compare this reaction to her earlier one when Geena Davis won Best supporting Actress and she actually smiles. So in the end, I do think that after that moment she was thinking "hey I do have a shot at Best Actress".
Mind you, I completely understand her disappointment though I also think that in such a moment you just have to force yourself to at least clap no matter how big the shock might be.

SoSueMe said...

Does anyone ever notice how Jodie Foster has this thing where she ends her most dramatic line readings in a whisper?

NATHANIEL R said...

i have a vague memory that Sigourney was campaigning really hard for Gorillas in the MIst and people in the industry were getting annoyed? I could be making this up but i think there was even stuffed gorillas.

or did i read this in INSIDE OSCAR. My brain is a sieve.

cal roth said...

We'll never agree about this year. I can't stand Close overstuffing everyline to make MMe de Merteiull's breathtaking irony so painfully obvious.

I don't know if I have mentioned before, but the scene I hate most is when Close is going to visit Cecile's mother to confort her. She has a big hat and she pauses to look at the camera, briefly, to make sure we understand she is evil and cynical. Oh, boy. That was a directorial choice, too.

I have a big problem with performances that overdelineate things about the part the we already know, all the time. Close can't surprise us, since she loads all the goods from her first scene.

Foster, by the way, is raw, emotional and sincere, uncalculated. The way she accumulates every single explosion to that end is what makes the performance special. It looks natural, our natural explosions.

But I think all the backlash comes from her bad hairdo.

NATHANIEL R said...

Cal -- I totally hear what you're saying. and I can understand that being a reservation about the performance. But SUSAN SARANDON in Bull Durham. Best of the year IN A BIG HIT, EVEN and she doesn't get nominated. what a stupid move that was on their part.

I mean they nominated her for THE CLIENT of all things... but not for a huge hit that was critically acclaimed and a comeback performance at that? so weird.

cal roth said...

Let's be clear: I am all for Jodie Foster AMONG the nominees.

My TOP 5 would be:

1 - Isabelle Huppert in Story of Women (best perfomance of the decade, and also HER best performance)
2 - Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham
3 - Christine Lahti, Running on Empty
4 - Jodie Foster in The Accused
5 - Jamie Lee Curtis, A Fish Called Wanda
5 -

Peggy Sue said...

Thanks for bringing back my Oscar moment. I feel vindicated.