Monday, April 26, 2010

One Category at a Time: Best Leading Actress

As it is with the actors, the actresses boast a wealth of baity roles that are easy to detect well before the movies open, but that still doesn't mean we aren't in for a surprise nominee or two.

Just as an example of the sort of performance I'm talking about, I propose Jennifer Lawrence in Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, which won the grand jury prize at Sundance a few months ago. Lawrence plays a young woman from the Orzak mountains desperately trying to hold her broken family together and find her drug-dealing father so they don't lose their home. Being a small film, it's hard to say if Lawrence will gain any awards traction at all, but there's always one or two newcomers that make waves every year, so consider this a placeholder for whichever actress that ends up being this year.

Robin Wright Penn, never nominated, tackles perhaps the baitiest part she's had to date in Robert Redford's The Conspirator, in which she plays Mary Surratt, accused in the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. The movie is period and historically "significant". She may not have the star power of her stiffest competition, and awards bodies have never been especially warm to her, but there's a first time for everything. The true-story factor helps a lot...

... as it does Hilary Swank, who could ride a wave of support for Fox Searchlight's Betty Anne Waters to her third nomination. She may have crashed and burned in Amelia, but that movie was on a whole different level of awful. Betty Anne Waters only needs to be mediocre (a la The Blind Side) to give Swank a fighting chance.

Finally, the two ladies from The Kids Are All Right, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, have received very positive notices for their performances. Besides that, they're both respected actresses who've had successful careers but not yet received their Oscars. Can they both get in? Or will they split the vote and both get screwed over? To further complicate the matter, Bening has another potential awards vehicle coming out, Mother and Child, which opened at TIFF last September to encouraging reviews, particularly for her performance. That may incite Focus Features to demote her to Supporting for The Kids Are All Right.

Predicted 5:
Annette Bening, Mother and Child or The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love
Hilary Swank, Betty Anne Waters

Also consider: Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole, Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech, Helen Mirren in The Tempest, Carey Muligan in Never Let Me Go, Natalie Portman in Black Swan, Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love, Renee Zelweger in My Own Love Song.

1 comment:

Amir said...

my predicted five was sort of close
to yours in this category actually.

portman, moore, bening, wright, lawrence.