Monday, January 19, 2009

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Like Best Actor, this race is down to seven leading ladies with three extremely unlikely spoilers waiting in the wings. I think I’m one of the very few people who have seen performances by Kate Beckinsale (Nothing but the Truth) and Michelle Williams (Wendy and Lucy), and in a less crowded year, they might even have a decent shot. If voters go wild for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Cate Blanchett could capitalize on its popularity and get recognized in the same way that stars Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Henson have for what are, in my opinion, sub par performances. Interestingly enough, there’s only one secure lock, and that’s 14-time nominee Meryl Streep (Doubt). I’d like to consider Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) just as safe, but recent snubs by different organizations have me a bit worried. Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long) seemed like a much stronger contender a little while back, and while it’s very possible she could benefit from vote splitting among other actresses, I’m not going to bet on her. Kate Winslet is on the top of the world right now after twin Golden Globe wins, and her position has been solidified now, with only one major potential factor standing in her way. I think that her role in “The Reader” has been firmly accepted as a supporting one, though if voters can’t decide between that and “Revolutionary Road,” she may not garner enough votes for either. I’m fairly certain she will prevail and end up a double nominee. Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) just won the Golden Globe, though like Hathaway, she got snubbed a whole lot than she should have. I think it’s a popular enough performance that she shouldn’t have a tremendous amount of trouble getting in. Most prognosticators are betting on Angelina Jolie (Changeling) since she has managed both a Globe and a SAG nomination. Last year Jolie had the same stats for a more universally-supported film (A Mighty Heart) and then missed out on nomination day. In years past, Paul Giammati (Sideways), Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), Richard Gere (Chicago), and others have been snubbed after getting in with both precursors. While I liked both of Jolie’s performances and would love to see her nominated, I just think the category is too crowded. My pick for the fifth slot is Melissa Leo (Frozen River), whose performance had people like Quentin Tarantino talking this summer. A SAG nomination showed that people haven’t completely forgotten about her, so maybe she’ll be able to sneak in. This is a volatile category, and any seven actresses could easily comprise the list of nominees. These nominees are all very competitive, and with this list, I’ll predict Hathaway right now for the eventual win.

Final predictions:

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