The Hollywood Reporter has released its annual Actress Round table which means that Oscar season is now in full swing. I always look forward to those because Best Actress is always my favourite category. This year looks to be a strong one; there are so many good movies already released and a couple of big mega movies just around the corner.
Let's dig by each category, the major ones of course. I'll provide my take and predictions. Let's start with :
Best Actress - coming up Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor
My vote goes to Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. What a performance : heartbreaking and full of moving melancholy and surprising strength. I hope she gets nominated. Going against her is that it's a foreign language film and even people who love it acknowledge that it is a difficult movie to sit through. It deals with inevitable decay, old age and death after all. Going for her is that everyone who sees the movie comes out marvelling at the performance.
The pundits world would have you believe that Jennifer Lawrence is the front runner. I don't believe it. Don't get me wrong; I think Lawrence is the best thing about Silver Linings Playbook. I wanted to see more of her character; and therein lies the problem. It's a supporting role really. The story is Bradley Cooper's and she's there as his love interest. She's much better than him but because of how little she gets to do I don't think it's an Oscar winning performance. She has the big speech in her money scene and for that she'll be nominated. However even that speech's payoff is not emotional enough in my opinion. It kick starts the plot for the last third of the movie but does not affect the characters lives in a major way. I understand that Hollywood wants to reward her for The Hunger Games, she's young, hot and a box office draw. Still can't see this performance wining Best Actress.
I think this will be a match between Naomi Watts in The Impossible and Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty.Details of how big and central to the plot Chastain's role have just emerged. That got a lot of excitement. She has momentum from last year, not only for the nomination from The Help but for all the other movies she appeared in. Everyone acknowledges her as The Next Big Actress, set to join Meryl, Kate and Cate as a perennial Oscar nominee. Watts has lots of goodwill from her previous nomination plus she apparently gives a big emotional performance, suffers and cries a lot. Which she is fantastic at and why she was nominated for 21 Grams. A lot of people still talk about Mulholland Drive a decade after it was released, so lots of goodwill there. The problem with The Impossible is that the trailer is too manipulative, it dares you not to tear up. Is there a good movie behind that? Will people show up for suffering porn? If yes she will be unstoppable.
Marion Cotillard is getting raves for Rust and Bone. I'll see it Friday, then I can make an informed decision. Although so far what I read seems to mixed with more praise going to her co-star Matthias Schoenaerts. There is also young Quevenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild. She carries that unique lyrical movie on her little shoulders and for that she wil be rewarded. Keira Knightely is very good as Anna Karenina as she has been in her last few movies. But the response to that movie has been sharply divided. I loved it, it worked for me.
There are a few performances that are not getting much attention but are still amazing. Emayatzy Corinealdi gives a subtle piercing performance in Middle of Nowhere and announces herself as a major talent. Kirsten Dunst is all brittle edges and angry frustration in Bachelorette taking a highly unlikeable character , making her human while being very funny. And the most likeable celebrity presence on twitter, Melanie Lynskey, gives a touching performance in Hello I Must Be Going. She made me palpably feel her disappointment and then her quiet resolve and tentative hope.
Predicted 5 : Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quevenzhane Wallis, Naomi Watts.
Who do you think will be nominated? Tell all in the comments.