UGH, the Lead Actress category has been such a clusterfuck all year. I mean, there are so few true contenders. Are we really going to see Meryl Streep nominated yet again for a filler nomination? Is she THAT popular? The answer to that question is obviously YES, but I still doubt her nomination at this point. It could certainly happen, and the Globe and SAG are happening, but I’m dubious of the actual Oscar nomination.
I’m always betting against Streep though, and I’m always wrong, so what does that tell you?
For me, and for most of the prognosticating world, there is only one clear lock; Jennifer Lawrence. Her rave reviews and her status in Hollywood as the next big thing/’it’ girl extraordinaire is enough to solidify her place in the race. In fact, barring some strange swing in another direction, she’s winning the damn thing. Sure, she’s young (only 22) and will be one of the youngest winners in the category, but that doesn’t matter when your biggest competition is an elderly foreign language performance and an 8-year-old.
Seriously though, after Lawrence the list is rather endless but the possibilities are rather slim. It’s so barren that they released Hitchcock a year early, in an obvious attempt to get Mirren a nomination, and they’ve even started campaigning Anne Hathaway in Lead for The Dark Knight Rises. Yeah, that’s not happening, like not even close, but it’s an interesting campaign choice to say the least (she was certainly impressive and tops my Supporting Actress ballot at the moment).
Knowing that there has to be at least one newbie, it comes down to Wallis and Riva, the two unlikeliest nominees on paper and yet they are the only ones with reviews that even come close to what Lawrence has pulled in. Honestly, they could both make it in and yet I’m hesitant to predict that (I may do that by the end of the post though). The problem is not the performances, which have both garnered a lot of praise. The problem is that Wallis is an 8-year-old in an indie film and Riva is in a foreign language film, a Haneke film at that, and is practically an unknown in the States. When a youngster is nominated, it is usually in supporting, which cannot happen here. Still, her reviews are strong and I think that Beasts of the Southern Wild is going to go over semi-well with the Academy. The SAG ineligibility could hurt, but I don’t think it’ll hurt her too much. She’s still very much in the conversation, which only helps her.
Then there are a slew of names popping up from previous winners like Streep, Dench, Smith and Mirren as well as young bodies who have one nomination to their name like Knightley, Watts and Cotillard (who won on that one nomination). They can’t all make it and yet I’m at a loss as to which ones will miss.
Dench and Smith look like they could be Globe and BAFTA nominees only. Mirren seems locked up due to buzz from the trailer itself and the fact that the field is so barren. Streep has great reviews, but the film is long since left the theaters and not many people are talking about her anymore. Globe nomination is a shoo-in, and SAG looks promising considering how much they adore her, but after that I’m skeptical. Watts has solid reviews, but more importantly, her film is being embraced in a large way and she could very easily carry that wave to the Kodak. And then you have Knightley, who was positioned for a win at year’s beginning, and Cotillard who was expected to have an even larger following after Cannes and yet it just kind of failed to spark any true sense of urgency. The Globe and BAFTA are probable, but Oscar could be tough. The one thing going to her is that she is still being talked about, and of the foreign language performances being discussed right now, she fits perfectly into that returning nominee role (she’s young, beautiful and a previous winner).
Still, I’m stumped as to how this is going to turn out in the end.
For now, I’m going with Lawrence, Knightley, Mirren, Wallis, Watts.