Monday, October 8, 2012

State of the Race: October Oscar Predictions - Best Actress

October Predictions
Marion Cotillard "Rust & Bone"
Kiera Knightley "Anna Karenina"
Jennifer Lawrence "Silver Linings Playbook"
Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Emmanuelle Riva "Amour"

Other Contenders - Helen Mirren "Hitchcock", Naomi Watts "The Impossible", Meryl Streep "Hope Springs", Judi Dench "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Mary Elizabeth Winstead "Smashed", Viola Davis "Won't Back Down", Maggie Smith "Quartet", Anna Kendrick "Pitch Perfect", Laura Linney "Hyde Park on Hudson", Rachel Weisz "The Deep Blue Sea", Michelle Williams "Take This Waltz", Barbra Streisand "The Guilt Trip", Amy Adams "Trouble With the Curve"
Commentary - While this is a thin list in terms of number of contenders, there are some bona fide great performances that will make this race competitive among the top eight or nine. Emerging into the front of the race is Jennifer Lawrence who is receiving raves from Toronto for Silver Linings. She is young and attractive, a trait among many recent Best Actress winners, but is also a previous nominee, announcer of the nominees, and the star of now two big blockbusters (X-Men and Hunger Games). But she is up agains some baity and big roles. Marion Cotillard apprently gives a stunning performance in Rust & Bone, and while the Academy has seemingly ignored her for her English-speaking roles as of late, she won an Oscar in French, and Jacques Audiard is a popular director. While it may be hard to imagine two foreign language nominees, this year's race may afford us that opportunity as Emanuelle Riva gives an emotional turn in Amour from the popular Michael Haneke, and could have a late career awards surge. On the other end of the spectrum is youngster and newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis. While the ineligibility from SAG puts a wrench in this race for Wallis, I still think she is a powerhouse, and is still in this thing for now. In the final slot I am picking between a few different women, at the moment settling on Kiera Knightley for her praised role in Anna Karenina, although the film's direction and style could throw off some voters. Helen Mirren has joined the race, and joins other previous veteran winners such as Judi Dench and Maggie Smith who could secure a nod. The one though that I think could make a gain is Meryl Streep. Yes fatigue can happen, especially so quick after a win, but she is Meryl freakin' Streep, and she actually gives one of my favorite performances from her in recent memory in Hope Springs. In this weak year, with a lot of young or unknown names, someone like Streep (or Mirren, Dench, and Smith for that fact), could entice older voters.

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