Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best Actress Predictions

Normally this is easily the weakest category, but this year there have been plenty of great female performances that have gotten notice.  None of these really have a chance, but if there is a surprise it is out of this group (although extremely unlikely).  The popular Jennifer Lawrence was well loved for Catching Fire, which has been received extremely well by critics and audiences, despite its lack of Oscar potential.  Greta Gerwig gets her closest to an Oscar race yet with her Golden Globe nomination for Frances Ha Almost it-girl Shailene Woodley has gotten a lot of notice for her role in the spectacularly received Spectacular Now.  Previous nominee Rooney Mara has three movies out this year, with Ain't Them Bodies Saints as her best chance.  The Artist nominee Berenice Bejo won at Cannes for The Past, but there is a stronger foreign language contender this year.  Lake Bell has been almost universally praised for her writing, directing and acting in In a World Oscar winner and five time nominee and Kate Winslet, has been well-received in the weakly campaigned Labor Day.   TV icon and recent Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a perfect film vehicle in Enough Said, although a major TV star rarely transitions to the Oscars.  Out of these Bejo, Winslet and Louis-Dreyfus are the only three that have anywhere close to a chance at a surprise nomination but even those three are very slim.

Julie Delpy has a bit of a better chance for Before Midnight, she is a respected actress returning to a well-received franchise.  Nominating her could be a nomination for the film.  Short Term 12 was one of the best reviewed films of the year and Brie Larson has received raves from it.  The film is too small and she is too young for her to have much of a chance.  As foreign language performances can do well in this category the much talked about Adele Exarchopoulos stands a chance for the provocative and potentially controversial Blue is the Warmest Color.  That movie seems likely to be regulated to foreign film though.

Now we are on to the six actresses that the race comes down to.  Meryl Streep is often considered to be a given.  She did just finally win her third Oscar and August: Osage County is not all that well received.  I would not be surprise if she needs to sit out a few Oscar races before getting another nomination.  Judi Dench, who is often in the race early on but has not been nominated in seven years, stands a chance at returning to the Oscars for Philomena I think people are underestimating Amy Adams for American Hustle who is the only one of the six main contenders without a prior win.  Adams has four nominations and is definitely considered overdue.  This is a role with a lot of sex appeal, that is missing from the other actresses, but I could be overestimating her as she has done the worst in the precursors out of the top six.

Despite a somewhat weak response to Saving Mr. Banks by some Emma Thompson has consistently gotten noticed.  Sandra Bullock has also done the unthinkable by becoming a lock for a special effects driven 3D movie in Gravity. Potential accusations of the computer animation doing more could keep her from a second win.  After many years away from the Oscars Cate Blanchett returns having been remembered well from the early release of Blue Jasmine.

Predicted Five:
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Judi Dench, Philomena
Runner-Up: Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

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