Saturday, September 15, 2007

Creative Marriages and the Supporting Actress Race

It's common knowledge among awards watchers that the "longsuffering wife/girlfriend" is an Oscar favorite. AMPAS just can't get enough of those neglected enabling or unhappy women. Could we really have a year without this role in the mix? Maybe.

My updated Oscar predictions for Best Supporting Actress go easy on that particular type. But what if the marriages are of the on-set variety instead. Two of this year's possible nominees (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Helena Bonham-Carter) are partnered with their directors offscreen. How often is a real life Mrs. nominated for her Mr.'s movie?

Any awards experts dare to take that one on?

Also Updated: Screenplays (Original & Adapted) -original screenplay Oscar shortlisters are particularly hard to suss out at this point. It looks like a highly competitive group with buzzy populist comedies and heavier art fare. What scripts do you think AMPAS voters will go far?


Anonymous said...

first i think j connely will go supp and i do think judging from the early word that julia roberts is on a big comeback with oscar leigh & blanchett are in i too feel redgrave getting in bonham carter too i would put pfeiifer third she is haveing a great year and the role and the way she played it was fab!!!
my 5

Anonymous said...

I agree with Blanchett and Leigh. Still don't know if Bonham-Carter's going supporting. The studio should maintain her lead because it's clearly a lead role. What's the Ronan thing about? All of sudden, Garai is off the roster as a potential nominee. I can see both Redgrave and Garai receiving nods, but not Ronan. Why didn't you move Swinton or Sarandon into the top five?

Anonymous said...

"The Ronan thing" is I think because many reviewers call her a standout, whereas Garai is the Atonement main actor with the least Oscar buzz. She has had mostly good reviews but no one is calling her performance Oscar worthy like they do with McAvoy, Knightley, Ronan, and even Redgrave.

Sarandon and Swinton have been mostly dismissed in reviews so far, not as bad but only "ok" or "good".

Jennifer Connelly plays yet another variant of her standard suffering wife, so I think she is out out out. Reservation Road btw has not had that good reviews on the whole, and I suspect Nathaniel just might drop either Ruffalo or Phoenix (or even both) too from the lead five when he updates the male cats...

adam k. said...

Blanchett an JJL seem like locks. Premature to say that, sure, but they're FAR ahead of the pack, or so it seems. Blanchett in particular. I think Bonham-Carter will go supporting, and I too think she will make it. But it's hard to say. So much depends on the reception of the movie as a whole.

I'd say, of the Atonement girls, it's probably Redgrave and no one else, since she's the famous, older one. I could see them nominating only her, but not nominated her and another and leaving the third off. That just seems cruel. So right now, I'd say:

1) Blanchett
2) Leigh
3) Bonham-Carter
4) Redgrave
5) ???

Any number of people could get there.

I think with original screenplay, Ratatouille is very safe, and Margot and Savages seem like very good bets. Even if Savages doesn't get much traction, it shouldn't miss here if it's any good. I don't think you should have removed it from the top 5. Other than those three, probably I'm Not There in 4th, but that's still a big "???" The 5th spot could go anywhere. Once I don't see placing, cause I LOVE it and even I don't think the script is particularly award-worthy. But who knows.

Also, I haven't seen Simpsons, so I can't say how worthy it is, but it was very well reviewed and made a lot of $, so shouldn't it be at least in the top 25?

Adapted I think you're spot on, but I'd put Away From Her in 5th. That's just me.

Anonymous said...


Kamila said...

I don't know... I still don't think Cate Blanchett will be nominated for her work in "I'm Not There". My predictions, so far, are: Garai, Jason Leigh, Ronan, Swinton and Streep (for "Lions for Lambs").

J.D. said...


Cornish. The character, if given what Bess was and did is in the movie, she could be phenominal.

Garai. Only for some reason I can't even say anymore. All my hope and pre-affection is to Saoirse, but still she remains in my predictions. It's weird.

Leigh. For no new reasons besides, you know, the fact that as time goes on, non-nominees get likelier and likelier for them to get one, and this just seems like her's, right?

Ronan. She just looks exceptionally awesome. In the old form of the word, the "awe". And any child actor with kind of buzz is something I can get behind. But then there's the downside: She's a child actor!

Sarandon. It's Susan Sarandon. It's a grieving wartime mother. I don't think she won't at this point, even if it's small.

6-10. My "waiters in the wing" would be Blanchett (I just don't think they'll go for it, but I could be wrong), Swinton (It's mostly the film, but that could change), Mira Sorvino (the True "Comeback Kid", if she grabs it), Carter (why not?), and Streep (for Rendition, and when she plays a villain, it's always affecting).

And on screenplays, how is Elah adapted?

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett is a near-lock at this stage, but even if she sweeps the critics' awards (which is quite likely given her flamboyant, eye-catching role and the raves she's getting), I don't see the Academy giving her a second Oscar so soon - especially not a second Supporting one, and especially not for an arty, experimental Todd Haynes film. C'mon, if Julianne Moore couldn't win for Far From Heaven...

I think the Atonement girls could cancel each other out, like last year's Babel girls. Saoirse Ronan looks likely now, but I can't see Vanessa Redgrave getting in for 7 minutes of what basically amounts to expository narration - apart from a few loving close-ups, most of "her" screentime is actually spent with McAvoy and Knightley. I think Romola Garai is gone.

Helena Bonham Carter? I like her but I really don't know if AMPAS will bite for a dark, violent, cartoonish Tim Burton musical.

I think Meryl will sit this year out. Tilda Swinton and Susan Sarandon would both need overwhelming support for their films, because their roles aren't meaty enough to get in on their own. Evan Rachel Wood's film may not be distributed in time. Weak early reviews are pushing the Reservation Road girls (Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino) and The Golden Age girls (Abbie Cornish, Samantha Morton) out of the race, and Hayley Atwell for Cassandra's Dream which was panned in Venice. I think Hairspray will be more popular with the Globes than AMPAS. I just don't have faith in Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner or Nicole Kidman (The Golden Compass) yet, but that could change.

I wouldn't be surprised if Jennifer Jason Leigh ended up actually winning this. Kidman has kinda caught up with her in terms of Oscar buzz and great reviews, but for now I'm still more confident in JJL's Oscar chances because of the whole husband-and-wife aspect; the timing - she fits both the "overdue" or "comeback" slot perfectly; and unusually for Leigh, she plays the warmest, most sympathetic character of the neurotic leads. The role of Pauline looks like pure Supporting Actress meat, even if Margot proves too chilly overall for the Academy.

Great predix btw. Keep up the good work Nathaniel!

Anonymous said...

While I think it is still the best film released this year that I have seen and I could see it getting a nomination, I don't think that Ratatouille should be in first place in the Original Screenplay race. Animated movies always have a hard time even when they are unqualified successes. Ratatouille, despite its essentially universal critical acclaim was considered sort of a disappointment financially. Even though it made over 200 million dollars, that was well below the earnings for a typical Pixar film and word is that there was a major fight between Walt Disney and Pixar in terms of who was to blame for Ratatouille's "failure"

adam k. said...

The reason Ratatouille "only made $200 million" is cause it's about a rat who infests a kitchen. It did extremely well, considering. It's not exactly cute little fish or superheroes. All the talk about it disappointing seems to me to be a combo of studio greed and a need to create artificial drama over nothing. It made more than its budget, got stellar reviews, and crossed the $200 mill mark. I see nothing to complain about, do you?


I think it deserves the #1 spot since it's the only major contender to have proven itself. Margot and Savages also seem like very likely nominees, but who knows how they might fare on arrival.

I also disagree that animated films have a hard time with screenplay nods. Shrek, Incredibles and Nemo all got them. In fact, since the animated category's existed, the winner has seen its screenplay nominated half the time. Ratatouille, as the runaway frontrunner and a very writerly one at that, can expect a script nom.

Michael B. said...

Peter Jackson is a genius for picking Ronan for The Lovely Bones...He must have known she'd be good...If Breslin could get a nom, why can't Ronan?

Middento said...

Maybe it's just me, but do you think that Away from Her might go higher on Adapted Screenplay? To be sure, the film has garnered some support and people seem to like Sarah Polley (actor-makes-good-but-not-good-enough-for-director-slot). What do ya think?

Anonymous said...

A couple of reviews I have read for "Rendition" suggests Streep might get Oscar nod for Supporting Actress??

Anonymous said...

I like "Zodiac" in the Adapted race a lot better than the twenty-somethings...the movie is in some high-profile "Best of the First Half-Year" ratings (particularly Roeper's) and I see it possibly getting noticed late in the year if (yes, a very big if) the Adapted category stays as weak as it looks right now.

I also still harbor hopes that "Sweeney Todd" bowls people over and gets the sweeping wave of nominations that Nathaniel currently sees coming for "Atonement". Lots of good ingredients if the chef can deliver.

adam k. said...

I think the race for the actual statue is firmly between JJL, HBC, and Blanchett. It'll be exciting to see how that plays out.

I hope Sweeney bowls people over, too, but I'm just not feeling it. Maybe I'm just not letting myself get my hopes up.

But a lot of people seem to think it's Johnny Depp's year...

MichaelMcl said...

The screenplay adapted category is looking very strong this year... even some of the excluded ones have strong source material.

- The something-hating screenplay-loving Australian

Anonymous said...

i can totally see hbc winning she has been in the biz over 20yrs is a brit well respected has a loss behind her which imo she should've won it's a big musical a la chicago she is tim's wife plus the johnny depp star shine what more could go wrong if the film is a hit and she is catherine zeta jones good in it then i feel the statue is hers.

Anonymous said...

"if ... she is catherine zeta jones good in it"

Considering that's one of the best performances to win the supporting actress oscar, I'd say Bonham-Carter has a lot of work to do to attain that level.

Nathaniel, I LOVE you for placing Vanessa Redgrave in your predix - anything to build up her buzz. It may just be 8 minutes of "expository narration" - but her face betrays so much guilt. And she nails that ambivalent position of 'being pleased with herself for what she's thinks is an act of atonement, but what we, the audience, know to be just an act of guilt-purging before the onset of illness'.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the point of completely moving Garai away from the Supporting line up when we have Hayley Atwell, Abbie Cornish and Swinton on the list as well. We know none of these ladies is making it as all their movies got not so good reviews.


the reason i've moved Garai way down is that only Ronan and Redgrave seem to be WOWing. And if she's the weak like or the misunderstood link.... well, it amounts to the same thing, doesn't it?

as far Swinton and Cornish and Atwell and many of the ladies mentioned... it's still very early. We're still only dealing with limited reactions --and almost all the films so far have both supporters and naysayers.

and you gotta have someone in your second tier ;)

as for HBC. I hope it's still the LEAD role that it's supposed to be and I hope she's great (i too would have wholeheartedly handed her the Oscar in 1997 and i would have also nominated her instead of Redgrave for Howards End in 1992)

i might be underestimating AWAY FROM HER a little but I don't want to get my hopes up. Really was taken with that movie but it seems so subtle for what Oscar goes for

Anonymous said...

nathaniel; Before you do your Best Supporting Actor/Best Actor predix, I just thought you might want to know that Universal studios have officially confirmed that Russell Crowe will be campainged for Best Supporting Actor in American Gangster. Apparently, Denzel dominates that movie with a iron fist, and Crowe would stand no chance of a Best Actor nom.

Boyd said...

Swinton could get a nom for Michael Clayton because the film is generally well-liked (though not by me in particular) and it has come to that stage where she is such a respected and reliable actress that it comes as something of shock she has never been nominated in her life (yes, the "pity" factor). Her work in Gilroy's film is far from her best, but she is very good and has a great "Oscar-love" scene at the very end which is deliciously underplayed (in which SPOILER her whole world crumbles and George's character comes out victorious END SPOILER), so people will remember her even if she is not much present in the entire movie.

Sarandon: forget it. It is a glorified cameo; the character has zero substance/resonance. She cries because she is a mother. That's it. Compared to Elah, her small turn in Elizabethtown was a meaty Best Actress contender.

Redgrave: no way, either. The role is also too small and they rush through her part (it deserves more time). It is also the part that departs from the novel more than any other, so this will be distracting for people who have read the book.

I say Ronan *could* be a contender, but she's Irish AND people might like to wait and see what Jackson will do with her in The Lovely Bones.

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett: Cate has to be considered the frontrunner now. Previous winner. Showy casting. Hugely popular actress. Will win a few critics' awards. This one's a no-brainer really.

Jennifer Jason Leigh: She also looks like a can't-miss. Overdue, veteran actress with a rep as a serious "actor's actor". Making a comeback, in her husband's film. Emotional role with lots of sharp dialogue to spit out. A well-connected Hollywood child who was born into the industry and has worked with half of AMPAS by now (seriously: Tom Hanks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Paul Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Albert Finney, Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Christian Bale, Adrien Brody, Meg Ryan, Keira Knightley… her "Six Degrees" score is off the charts). Is allegedly a real doll to work with, so people will vote for her this time. And it does seem to be her time.

Helena Bonham Carter: So many questions! Will they finally embrace Tim Burton for a film that looks so Tim Burton? Accusations of nepotism (this is only Leigh's first film with her husband, but Helena's fifth with Burton, whom she seems to work almost exclusively with now)? How is her chemistry with Johnny Depp? She can certainly act, but can she sing?

Atonement girls: I guess Saoirse Ronan will be Atonement's only Supporting nominee. Why? She's the best, for starters. Romola Garai's performance is far too muted, subdued and low-key for the Academy, she has less than half the screentime Saoirse does, and is upstaged by James McAvoy and Keira Knightley in her one big scene. Vanessa Redgrave and Susan Sarandon (In the Valley of Elah) both have tiny, Beatrice Straight/Judi Dench-style cameo appearances, so it's either one or the other... if either of them get in.

For now, mine are:

1. Cate Blanchett
2. Jennifer Jason Leigh
3. Saoirse Ronan
4. ?
5. ?

Anonymous said...

No one wants to tackle Nathaniel's question (Mr/Mrs?). Lets't try.

1996: Fargo - Frances McDormand nominated for Joel Coen's film

1995: Dead Man Walking - Susan Sarandon nominated for Tim Robbins' film (yes, I'm including it)

1982: Victor/Victoria - Julie Andrews nominated for Blake Edwards' film

1980: Gloria - Gena Rowlands nominated for John Cassavates film

1974: A Women Under the Influence - Gena Rowlands nominated for John Cassavates film

1969: The Happy Ending - Jean Simmons nominated for Richard Brooks'

1968: Rachel, Rachel - Joanne Woodward nominated for Paul Newman's film

1960: Never On Sunday - Melina Mercouri nominated for Jules Dassin's film (they were married later)

1935: Escape Me Never - Elisabeth Bergner nominated for Paul Czinner's film

If you expand the definitions a little bit, Marsha Lucas was nominated for editing twice for George Lucas' films, Noram Shearer was nominated under Irving Thalberg's production reign, Marsha Mason's been nominated for her husband's (Neil Simon) writing.

adam k. said...

Don't forget Catherine Martin's oscars for Baz's film.

I think Redgrave has more of a shot than Sarandon simply because Atonement will be huge, and you need your film to be huge to get nommed for a cameo. But it does happen.

I'm currently predicted both, though, so I should probably change that.

Anonymous said...

In the Valley of Elah is adapted from an article by Mark Boal (Death and Dishonour, from memory) that appeared in Playboy magazine. Is there a reason why it is now in Original?


no, every time i tried to get details i couldn't find them. adapted is so confusing these days (since they stopped being strict about what it constitutes and let films like Gangs of New York and My Big Fat Greek Wedding campaign however they liked)

maybe i should change it back? anyone. anyone


the rest of the updates are now finished.

Anonymous said...

Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson's War?

Julianne Moore / Charlotte Gainsbourg / Michelle Williams in I'm Not There?

Anonymous said...

All I know is I will CRY if Jennifer Jason Leigh is snubbed again. Cry like a baby! Hopefully though she will get in this year.

Anonymous said...

why is no one considering roberts flashy role in cww

Anonymous said...

i have seen atonement i live in the uk and vanessa redgrave is in the film for 6 mins tops and does v little she is not getting nommed romala garain since it's her scenes the crux of the titel hangs on,ronan is good but she is a child and they can pass on child performers 2 in a row after breslin maybe not,garai is the supp atonemnent girl who gets in and something tells me keria knightley is the new kate w inslet not in terms of acting just that the academy likes her and will be dying to give an award but not year this year,although she is v v good and should be no 1 at the mo on anyones list since her reviews have been unanimously good and the films even better and her co stars too knightley is the only lock at this point.

Anonymous said...

this is probably totally unrelated to anything said here, but I wanted to share my pocrastitory imdb research supported list with the internet world.
The Top 12 Actresses In Thier Twenties Who I Think Will Have (another in some cases) Oscar Nod Before They Are 40:

1. Keira Kniglty
2. Scarlett Johansson
3. Natalie Portman
4. Evan Rachel Wood
5. Michelle Williams
6. Sienna Miller
7. Emily Blunt
8. Anna Paquin
9. Kirsten Dunst
10. Catalina Moreno Sandino
11. Ziyi Zhang
12. Bryce Dallas Howard


what, no maggie gyllenhaal?

i would be surprised if Ziyi Zhang got one to be honest. as we discussed a few weeks ago, they don't really go for the Asian movie stars (ken watanabe's supporting nod notwithstanding)

also, given her bad luck charm endeavors i wonder about bryce dallas howard. she keeps getting what seem like plum roles. but then the movies are all bad.