Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep

This year’s locks: Julianne Moore, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike

Very likely: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston

Possible: Marion Cotillard, Hilary Swank

Unlikely: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Quvenzhané Wallis

The rundown: The past two years, there were contenders waiting in the wings to snag slots that seemed set for other people. In 2012, Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard got replaced by two actresses with no crucial precursors, Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhané Wallis, whose films had strong showings at the Oscars after being almost entirely absent from Globe and SAG races. Last year, Emma Thompson got snubbed in favor of Amy Adams, who had won the Golden Globe and then been omitted by SAG. This year, the five nominees for SAG were also recognized by the Globes. I don’t think that Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Emily Blunt (Into the Woods), or Quvenzhané Wallis (Annie) can get their comedies taken seriously enough to break into this race. Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) are sure things. I’m worried that Reese Witherspoon (Wild) is vulnerable, and something about Jennifer Aniston (Cake) being an Oscar nominee just doesn’t seem entirely possible. The two actresses likeliest to bump either or both of them are Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), who herself got bumped two years ago when she gave a stronger performance, and Hilary Swank (The Homesman), a two-time winner in this race whose film I really didn’t like. I think this could be a safe set of five, but that seems way too easy.

One possible crazy scenario: Oscar favorite Helen Mirren (The Hundred-Foot Journey) gets nominated for a performance that doesn’t exactly ask much of her.

Forecasted winner: I think it’s Moore.

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