Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Oscar Narrative: Post Festival Predictions - Best Actress

Post Festival Predictions
Annette Bening "20th Century Women"
Viola Davis "Fences"
Ruth Negga "Loving"
Natalie Portman "Jackie"
Emma Stone "La La Land"

Other Contenders - Meryl Streep "Florence Foster Jenkins", Amy Adams "Arrival", Amy Adams "Nocturnal Animals", Jessica Chastain "Miss Sloane", Jennifer Lawrence "Passengers", Taraji P. Henson "Hidden Figures", Isabelle Huppert "Elle", Marion Cotillard "Allied", Kate Beckinsale "Love & Friendship", Sally Field "Hello, My Name is Doris", Susan Sarandon "The Meddler", Ellen DeGeneres "Finding Dory", Rebecca Hall "Christine", Rachel Weisz "Denial", Greta Gerwig "Maggie's Plan", Emily Blunt "The Girl on the Train", Hailee Steinfeld "The Edge of Seventeen", Alicia Vikander "The Light Between Oceans", Anya Taylor-Joy "The Witch", Renee Zellweger "Bridget Jones's Baby"

Commentary - 20th Century Women finally premiered at NYFF, launching Annette Bening into this race. She joins Emma Stone, who looks to be a hit once again with Oscar voters, as is La La Land as a whole. Natalie Portman is the surprise contender here, when Jackie premiered to stunning reviews. The last two slots are a bit tricky. I assume, like most folks, that Viola Davis will knock her Fences role out of the part (she has already won a Tony for it), but she is a contender sight unseen. If she does do as well as we think, this prize could come down to her and Bening, the two un-reward veterans (I would be so happy for either of them). In the final slot, I am keeping Ruth Negga for Loving. The film has slipped a bit in terms of buzz, but she is so damn good, and I think the critics will rally behind her. That leaves out Meryl Streep. Look, if Streep gets in, I won't be shocked by any means. In all honesty, I am probably a bit delusional to think she is in the sixth slot instead of in the mix. But a lot of Streep's nominations in the last decade have come because the field is relatively week. Honestly, her last two nominations for Into the Woods and August: Osage County simply were done because there weren't enough contenders, and members will filling the last slot. But Florence Foster Jenkins is in a much better position across the board than either of the other two films. But this year's Best Actress race is so packed, I wonder if Streep can once again make the cut. Want to see just how tough this category is? Previous Oscar nominees Amy Adams (for two roles), Jessica Chastain, and Taraji P. Henson are all on the outside looking in, all for buzzed films. This is also leaving out previous winners Jennifer Lawrence and Marion Cotillard, for two unknown, yet still potentially potent performances. Isabelle Huppert is getting a ton of buzz for Elle, Rachel Weisz is the best thing about Denial according to critics, Emily Blunt is the best thing about an otherwise messy The Girl on the Train, and early contenders like Greta Gerwig, Sally Field, Ellen DeGeneres, Susan Sarandon, Renee Zellweger, Kate Beckinsale and Anya Taylor-Joy are still hanging on.

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