Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Predictions: Supporting Actress

I’m just going to post these as I get them done and hope to have them all done by the end of the month so I can officially call these my ‘August Predictions’.

So, Supporting Actress is kind of becoming my most anticipated category.  What seemed so hard to peg a few months ago has just flourished with possibilities, and each new inclusion is more titillating than the last.  I think most everyone and their mother assumes that this is Viola Davis’s Oscar to lose, and at the end of the day I concur.  I have yet to see ‘The Help’, but ALL early word singles her out as fantastic, and the fact that many believe she is really Lead in the film is only going to help her not only solidify a nomination but walk away with the statuette.  She’ll have some stiff competition though, especially in Vanessa Redgrave.  Having finally seen the trailer for ‘Coriolanus’ I must say that Redgrave looks amazing, and I have a feeling that her camp is going to pimp her to no end for that Oscar.  At this point, she seems like the only threat to Davis; but it’s early yet.

Here are my thoughts at the moment:

1)      Viola Davis/The Help:
Why?  Well, the buzz surrounding her performance is undeniable, and all ink recorded about the film singles her out as the film’s greatest asset.  Sure, in the beginning it looked the internal competition could detract from her traction, but it looks like that notion has settled away.  Spencer may be in contention for a nomination alongside Davis, but I don’t think she’s anywhere near a win.  Davis, on the other hand, has the ‘previous nominee’ status going for her, as well as admiration from her peers (she’s been doing this, and doing it well, for some time now).  I haven’t seen the film, but from the trailer alone it looks like her character is most certainly the most three-dimensional and emotionally resonant.

2)      Vanessa Redgrave/Coriolanus:
Why?  She’s a veteran actress, previous winner in this category and has had a few years of a seeming resurgence thanks to small yet pivotal roles in commercial films and the tragedy that has surrounded her family name.  Quite frankly, everyone is talking about this woman right now.  That, and the film has already received buzz, mainly for her performance (which many are labeling the Oscar winner).  Having seen the trailer, I can say that she looks superb.  The role also seems ripe for this kind of category.  She’s an overbearing mother of sorts, and we all know how they fare here (last year’s winner).  All that aside, Redgrave is a damn fine actress who has been away from the Oscars for far too long.  It’s about time to welcome her back!

3)      Kate Winslet/Carnage:
Why?  First of all, she’s Kate Winslet.  That really should be enough to solidify buzz.  Second, the role is a co-lead that will inevitably get placed in supporting to avoid vote splitting between Winslet and Foster, who has the more notable role.  Third, this is a character study directed by the great Roman Polanski that relies entirely on the charisma and chemistry between the four leads.  In other words, this is an ACTORS MOVIE, and if Winslet and company pull this off they will all be in contention for the big prizes and it wouldn’t shock me if they all get nominated.  For the time being, I actually think that Winslet is in the best position because of the category itself and the lack of ‘sure bets’.  While there are a lot of possibilities, the other categories seem slightly more packed.  Winslet is nominated a lot, and she recently won, so I think that voters will be happy to nominate her again, considering the strength of the character itself.

4)      Andrea Riseborough/W.E.:
Why?  Early buzz is pretty strong for her, and the few that have seen the film have basically say “THIS IS HAPPENING”.  Now sure, that happens often and then, well, it doesn’t happen, but the last time someone said “believe the hype; it’s on” was when Mo’Nique stormed the set on ‘Precious’ and we all know what happened there.  Another similarity is that no one in their right mind would have ever associated Mo’Nique with ‘Oscar’ before ‘Precious’.  Likewise, I don’t think anyone ever expected Madonna to direct an actress to an Oscar nomination, but it looks like that might happen.  The character is strong, the look and feel of the film (at least in stills) is magnificent and Riseborough is certainly an actress on the rise (talent is undeniable).  This could be her welcoming party; the perfect combination of character, status and timing.

5)      Jessica Chastain/Coriolanus:
Why?  I could be very wrong here, but I’ve been feeling Chastain since the year began; albeit, not for this.  In fact, I’ve gone across the board with what film I think will be her ticket.  She’s in EVERYTHING this year, and that could be a good and or bad thing depending on how you look at it.  I initially thought that she was a shoe-in for ‘The Tree of Life’, but that looks like a dead idea.  On the other hand, she has a buzzed performance in ‘Take Shelter’ that could corral her into the mix if her even more buzzed co-star (Michael Shannon) makes it into Lead Actor, but after seeing her act her ass off in the trailer for ‘Coriolanus’ I’ve decided to predict her for this film.  It doesn’t hurt that the film itself looks great and Redgrave feels like a lock (I know, I know, no such thing at this point in the game).  Long suffering spouse is a great role to play if you want to get nominated in this category!

6)      Carey Mulligan/Shame:
Why?  This could be nothing more than a crazy hunch mixed with wishful thinking, but I just feel like this is the type of role that is going to dominate with the critics and may, like Amy Ryan and Jackie Weaver, find itself picking up enough traction to actually land an Oscar nomination.  Unless she is raved to no end and wins everything, she isn’t winning the Oscar, but I wouldn’t rule her out for a nomination.  She is young and talented and was recently nominated for her breakout role and has followed up that nomination with superb performance after superb performance in films that are diverse and have shown her range (she is seriously the best thing about everything she touches).  That, and you can add buzz for ‘Drive’ which opens this year that will certainly get people seeing her.  This role seems really baity and she could steal scenes easily; and Fassbender’s year is also looking so great that goodwill could be pouring in from every angle here.  Like I said, it could be a crazy hunch, but then again it could really happen.

7)      Naomi Watts/J. Edgar:
Why?  I can’t decide what I think is going to happen with this.  I have heard from those who have read the script that it is not a very baity role but that it is a significant one and that Watts is one of the only characters who actually ages throughout the entire film; that and she closes it out as well.  But, she is Naomi Watts, and despite her undisputable talent and glorious range (the woman is AMAZING) she has only been nominated once and it was, arguably, one of her lesser performances.  She has been snubbed a disgusting amount of times.  That said, this is an Eastwood film with a lead performance (DiCaprio) that looks blessed from the heavens with an inevitable Oscar win, so you never know.  She could very well be this years Helena Bonham Carter; riding the coattails of her leading man despite having a less than baity character to play.  In fact, as ‘iffy’ as I am about the nomination, I do strongly feel that with the right campaign she could actually WIN this thing if she is nominated.

8)      Octavia Spencer/The Help:
Why?  This category often likes comic relief, and she certainly looks to sell that in spades.  My only issue with this particular prediction is that, in my opinion, she looked so one-note in the trailer and the film itself seems so pedestrian that I can’t see it getting more than Davis in the big eight categories.  I could be so wrong, and a lot of people who have read the book say that her character is far more complex than portrayed in the trailer, but just judging by what I’ve seen and read, Davis is the surefire standout, and with someone that far ahead I wonder if Spencer will get the votes needed to get a nomination.  Last year there was clear debate over who was better; Adams or Leo.  Debate may spark, but at the moment it looks like Davis is the clear answer to that question.  Still, ‘The Help’ has this ‘feel good’ vibe to it that could easily resonate with the Academy more than it deserves to (‘The Blind Side’) and if that happens then it could rack up surprising nominations; and Spencer could get yanked into the nominations if that happens.

9)      Penelope Ann Miller/The Artist:
Why?  The film looks amazing and the buzz surrounding it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up.  I suspect the film itself to be a HUGE player come awards season, and she could easily get swept in with goodwill for the film if bigger names and heavier players fade out when their films are released.  Having not seen the film, I’m not sure about her performance, but she looks great in the stills and she is a name that is known.  She’s been playing the game for years, so this may be one of those cases where the right film hits the right actress at the right time.  In order for this to happen, those bigger names have to drop the ball and fail to produce quality work, so it’s still a longshot guess at this point, but stranger things have happened.

10)   Sandra Bullock/Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
Why?  I never thought that Sandra Bullock would even be nominated for an Oscar, let alone win one and be in contention for a second, but the world works in mysterious ways.  Regardless of personal feelings towards her win in ’09, I’ve always loved Bullock because of her charisma and charm, and the Academy as a whole obviously likes her.  When you tack onto that fact the film itself, which is set to be huge, and the fact that the unfortunate humiliation heaped upon her by her douchbag ex-husband over the past year has only endeared her more in the public and critical eye, she seems like a real contender for a second nomination despite having just won two years ago.  It is a pivotal role that has been beefed up from the novel, and she certainly seems to be stretching herself with more challenging and less predictable roles, so that could be a major plus for her.  I’m not too anxious to predict her considering her track record, but if she nails this and the audience is moved then she could easily jump up this list to the top five.

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