Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

The competition: Amy Adams’ 70s con woman (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett’s disturbed socialite (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock’s panicked astronaut (Gravity), Judi Dench’s kindhearted mother (Philomena), and Meryl Streep’s pill-popping matriarch (August: Osage County).

Previous winners: Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard
My winner: Adèle Exarchupoulos
The facts: All but Adams are previous winners. Streep is the most-nominated actor of all time, and has won three times, most recently in 2011 in this category. Bullock won on her only nomination in 2009 for “The Blind Side.” Blanchett won in 2004 for “The Aviator,” and Dench won in 1998 for “Shakespeare in Love.” Though she has never won, Adams is on her fifth nomination in less than ten years. Adrien Brody managed to overcome a field made up entirely of previous winners in 2002 on his first nomination, so Adams does have a statistical shot. Adams, Bullock, and Dench all have their films nominated for Best Picture.

Who should win: The only one of these women who remotely makes my radar is Dench, though I’d be fine with Bullock too.
Who will win: Last year, Lawrence was the frontrunner with Chastain nipping at her heels and Riva up for an upset. This year, Blanchett is in the undisputed lead position, but it’s possible that some of this recent Woody Allen controversy might decrease her chances somewhat. Roman Polanski won in 2002, but his actions were ancient history by that point, while allegations against Allen are news now. Streep has no shot, Bullock doesn’t have the buzz for her performance or film as a whole that she would need, and Dench just doesn’t have the momentum. That does leave Adams, who was up against Blanchett only at the BAFTAs. Her winning would be a surprise, but her film won’t necessarily be rewarded elsewhere, especially if Blanchett’s takes the Best Original Screenplay trophy. Though this is hardly the Adams performance I’d want her to win for, I think there’s a good shot of her upsetting in this race, and that’s my current prediction.

No comments: