Saturday, November 24, 2012

State of the Race: November Oscar Predictions - Best Actress

November Predictions
Jessica Chastain "Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard "Rust & Bone"
Jennifer Lawrence "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva "Amour"
Quvenzhane Wallis "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Other Contenders - Helen Mirren "Hitchcock", Kiera Knightley "Anna Karenina", Naomi Watts "The Impossible", Meryl Streep "Hope Springs", Mary Elizabeth Winstead "Smashed", Emayatzi Cornealdi "Middle of Nowhere", Judi Dench "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Maggie Smith "Quartet"
Commentary - People have been talking about how weak this race is, yet I think that while there aren't a lot of names on the shortlist, those that are will have to play out for a tight spot in the top five. Jennifer Lawrence, whose SLP has finally hit theaters still remains the frontrunner, but in the months since she shot up to number one, a new contender has emerged. Zero Dark Thirty has started to be screened and while it is still early, word is that Jessica Chastain is definitely going to be a force to reckoned with. Two of Hollywood's youngest and brightest stars are going to probably be battling in out on their second nomination each for their first Oscar. Kind of amazing if you ask me. The last three slots though are tricky, and since Chastain is still not a sure thing, this could expand to four. I still think that Naomi Watts or Kiera Knightley could break into the category again, but both need their films to defy expectations and hit the precursor circuit well in order to stay in the race. Helen Mirren shot up with Hitchcock, but upon further examination, and quiet buzz, I don't think she is a sure thing. But she, Meryl Streep (despite lack of any campaign), Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith all have something going for them. They are all legendary, Oscar-winning actress, and while I don't think any of them will get nominated. If all of these young names, or unknown names, scare them then could turn to the old favorites, so they can't be discounted. But for the moment, I am sticking to the buzziest roles. The first is Quvenzhane Wallis, who seems to be holding on to momentum despite the onslaught of new films. The second is Emmanuelle Riva, who I think will also hold in place, despite her foreign status. The last slot for me is shaky. Marion Cotillard is high on most people's lists, and I think she is incredible in Rust & Bone, but she missed the European Film nominations, and the project's buzz as a whole is dead. She has missed the cut for lots of great roles, and I think the thing that is saving her from no buzz is the weaker category. She is still in this thing, but don't be surprised if by the end, she is left off the list.

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