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Oscars 2016: Best Actress

Curse you, Charlotte Rampling (for a number of reasons). All of the women nominated in this category were nominated for films with one-word titles, but you couldn’t just star in “45” could you? I digress, although this may be the best category this year, full of outstanding actresses giving career-best performances. Three first-time nominees are going head-to-head with old Academy favorites, and the talent on display here is impeccable. Even though there may be a blatantly clear winner, like often happens with the Best Actress category, that doesn’t mean she’s out of the woods yet, as much can change in four weeks like we all know too well.

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Best Actress: The Nominees

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room – Will Win, Should Win

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Power Rankings: Larson-Ronan-Rampling-Blanchett-Lawrence

Brie Larson has this one in the bag, and she deserves it. One of my favorites from last year, Larson is tremendous in Room, exhibiting probably every emotional possible within a two-hour time span. I called this one a long time ago, as Brie Larson was announced to be playing Ma, a pitch-perfect choice for such a brilliant novel. Besides destroying everything in her path at festivals and the guild awards (I managed to catch a glimpse of her at the BFI London Film Festival), the AMPAS adorned the film, and it managed to squeeze into Picture, Director, and Screenplay nominations, earning the big four.

So where does that leave the remaining nominees? Well, one could certainly make a case for the exquisite Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, another one of my favorites from 2015. While she may not have that scene like Larson, Rampling, and Lawrence, the young Irish actress has managed to snag a number of trophies, mostly from across the pond. Whatever her prospects, this definitely will not be the only nomination Ronan receives in her lifetime.

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Controversy aside, Charlotte Rampling is devastatingly compelling in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, which I finally managed to see over the weekend. She doesn’t have many lines, but when she does she delivers with such complexity. She is able to conjure up emotions from just the look on her face. Although it is a small film, Rampling definitely deserves her place. Unfortunately for Cate Blanchett, being a recent winner for Blue Jasmine in 2014 won’t do her any favors for her title role in Carol. I wasn’t as smitten by her performance as I was for her co-star Rooney Mara, but Blanchett does remarkable work (although when does she not?) Academy favorite Jennifer Lawrence takes the final spot for her role in Joy, the film’s only nomination. Her work with David O. Russell keeps paying dividends, and while she took home the Golden Globe in a traditionally weak category, she doesn’t hold a candle to the other ladies.

As for the snubs, there weren’t too many, as this is the strongest category this year. Many thought veterans Blythe Danner, Helen Mirren, or Maggie Smith would take a spot away from Lawrence, although history has shown the Academy loves to skew younger for this category. Wild card Amy Schumer would’ve been a breath of fresh air for her great work in Trainwreck, but the Academy doesn’t normally go for pure raunch. For my personal nomination, I give Bel Powley for The Diary of a Teenage Girl. The young newbie has years ahead of her, but like Rampling, is able to stir up emotions just by facial expression alone. The film may be too progressive for some voters (see the omission of Carol from the top prize), but Powley shines in the indie treasure, and I hope she takes home the Independent Spirit Award in a few weeks.

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Posted by on February 10, 2016 in 2016 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2015: Best Actress

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Poor Rosamund Pike. Any other year she would win by a landslide, and I’m not just saying that because Gone Girl was my favorite movie from last year. She is straight-up chilling as Amy Dunne, in a film that deserves more recognition. But I’m not going to get beat up about it (Pike will have her chance), because the actress who will no doubt win is simply amazing.

The Nominees:

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

This category is pretty much locked down, with Julianne Moore emerging quickly as frontrunner. Her performance is great, and she definitely deserves it (five Oscar nominations and not one win yet!), but let’s all appreciate how excellent this list of nominees is. Rosamund Pike was this year’s breakout star, and I’m sure she’ll score down the line. But the overall lack of nominations for Gone Girl is surprising (that’s a story for another day). She’s my pick to win, but I had a hard time choosing between her and Witherspoon, who commands her role as Cheryl Strayed in Wild, another one of my favorites from 2014Witherspoon has won before for Walk the Line, so I’m guessing they’re giving her a break this year. Surprising addition is Marion Cotillard for the Dardennes’ fantastic Two Days, One Night, which I finally got the chance to see. Spoiler: she’s great. But this list of women is great because every character is a powerful female, which I definitely appreciate. Last year was great for well-written female characters, and I’m glad they are getting their due.

My Predictions:

Should Win: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Will Win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Should Have Been Here: Honestly, this list is perfect as is

My Personal Nomination: Jenny Slate, Obvious Child

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in 2015 Academy Awards

 

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Oscars 2014 – Best Actress Predictions

Shoe-Ins

  • Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine: While she almost has the Oscar in her hand, Blanchett could face trouble as the Best Actress race seems like the crowded one this year. Her performance in the Woody Allen drama has been widely regarded as her career best.
  • Judi Dench – Philomena: Dench has also been an Academy favorite in the past, and Philomena looks like the feel good movie that might put her into the top of the race. While the film had some drama with the MPAA, it looks like it should play well in the next month.
  • Meryl Streep – August: Osage County: Though Blanchett almost has it on lock, she should watch her back as Streep could become the audience favorite once Osage County hits theaters on Christmas Day.
  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity: The box office sci-fi hit has received universal praise, and Bullock’s performance is both emotional and thrilling. Expect to see her as a huge contender.

Most Likelys

  • Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks: The fellow brit has already earned praise for her performance as P.L. Travers in the Walt Disney drama, and the film looks poised to play well with family audiences once it’s released this Christmas. Expect her to snatch the last spot.
  • Kate Winslet – Labor Day: The late January hit has been praised for Winslet’s performance, but the top 5 is very crowded, and it might be hard to squeeze into.

Possiblys

  • Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color: The Cannes indie hit has had its fair share of controversy, but Exarchopoulos’s performance has received nothing but acclaim. Expect her as a dark horse.
  • Amy Adams – American Hustle: An Academy favorite, Adams could land in the top of the race once the film is released next month.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said: While the film might not receive much attention, Louis-Dreyfus’s performance has been the highlight since the film’s release.

My Personal Wild Card(s)

  • Shailene Woodley – The Spectacular Now: You’ll be hearing about her a lot in the coming years, as she’ll be starring in Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Amazing Spiderman 3, but she deserves attention for her great performance in the high school coming of age romance.
  • Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief: In her third acting performance, Nelisse shines as Liesel in the adaptation of the young adult book. The Academy loves nominating the younger ones, so I’m not counting her out of the race.
 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in 2014 Academy Awards

 

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