Kris Tapley, who has seen The Impossible, said he walked away thinking Naomi Watts had the best chance in the film for a nod. This is hard to believe, looking at the film’s trailer, because it gives the definite impression that Ewan McGregor turns himself inside and out for this.  But Tapley goes on to say that Summit will push instead for Tom Holland in the leading category, and Ewan McGregor in supporting.  An interesting development — of course, it never really matters how the studio pushes any contender – hope springs eternal in this, the early phase.

To me it’s significant that Tapley singled out Watts as the only one who might get a nod – that tells me it might not be a performance-heavy piece, despite how the trailer plays.  Privately, he told me only that the film was incredibly heavy. More of his thoughts are here.

The hardest thing about the Oscar race is planning how the kid’s wedding is going to go before he’s even born.  So many people ask me if

I think this or that film is going to get nominated, or whether a certain film will WIN. I have always believed that it’s spitting in the wind to make predictions you hope will come true this early.  Movies have to be, at the very least, seen before you can make any sort of call.  This is why I’m going to take Tapley’s word for it on Watts and add her to the contender tracker.

Naomi Watts is one of the most overlooked actresses at the Oscars.  There is no apparent reason for this other than her choice of mostly difficult, non-Academy-friendly material. Watts doesn’t do touchy-feely so well, which makes her a force to be reckoned with but one that is perhaps a tad confrontational for alpha male steak eaters who like women who know their place.

Watts has been overlooked for her astonishing work in Mulholland Drive, King Kong (in my opinion), The Painted Veil, Mother and Child, Fair Game, J. Edgar. She’s been nominated once for 21 Grams.  But perhaps The Impossible might just be touchy-feely enough for voters to notice Watts — an actress who has long since paid her dues.

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  • Kevin Klawitter

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who adores Watt’s performance in “King Kong”. She’s just so underrated, it’s shocking.

    Hope she gains some traction with this. And if she doesn’t, then there’s always her Princess Di biopic next year.

  • Beau

    How Joan Allen and Naomi Watts got passed over for one of the weakest years for actresses in the history of the Academy still astonishes me. NOBODY talks about Huffman, Dench, or Theron from that year. Fewer still remember Witherspoon other than the fact that she won for having the most charismatic performance of the year.

    Knightley is the only one I distinctly remember as being wonderful and deserving of her nom in 2005.

  • Camila

    I love Naomi Watts, she deserves a nomination and a win but she does not need that, she has probed that she she is the best

  • julian the emperor

    Watts’ performance in Mulholland Drive is one of the most pitch-perfect female performances in the last 15 years, as far as I’m concerned. On repeated viewing that performance just gets under your skin like few others, in so many subtle ways. What a breakthrough that was. I don’t think Watts has matched this since, even though her nom for 21 Grams was deserved.

  • Patryk

    So many great performances by Watts have stayed with me. “The Ring” is one that still haunts me. Too bad “21 Grams” came out the same year as “Monster.” Truly underrated actress. Hope this one brings her some Academy attention.

  • couldn’t have put better than “one of the most overlooked actress in Academy history” .. The fact that Naomi didn’t even get a nomination for Mulholland Drive when actually she should have won the Oscar that year .. simply befuddles me what Academy members were thinking tht year … Infact now that a decade has passed since MD released one can look back and say it was easily one of the finest of not only that year but of tht decade …
    … Then due to poor campaign she didn’t get nominated for her 2nd best performance after MD i.e. The Painted Veil … Come to think of it she hasn’t got nominated for her 3 best performances if u also include King Kong to it !!!
    Academy members do tend to show partiality when it comes to certain actors … I have NO IDEA why ??? Kate Winslet has been nominated 6 times .. not that she didn’t deserve … but Naomi in terms of acting capabilities and also the body of work is easily comparable to Kate … but see the difference in nominations … I’m just aghast ….

    Anyways .. I believe the next 3 years is going to be Naomi’s … her plate is full of good projects .. starting with Impossible … then Diana … Two Mothers … Queen of the Desert .. expert her to be in the nominations list every year from now on …. atleast for the next 3 years … nd if Academy members finally realize their mistake thy might even decide to give the Oscar to her …

  • 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    I’d add Funny Games and Ellie Parker to your list, Sasha. Her performance in Mulholland Dr. is an all-time great. I lose a little bit of control when my Naomi comes up in conversation so I’ll shut up now and sit and grin for a while.

  • steandric

    Unbelievably surprised to see this on this site.

  • Karen

    You’re absolutely right about King Kong. She’s great in it. Of course her best perf is Mulholland Drive. The thing is she’s a very naturalistic performer, she’s the opposite of Cate Blanchett, and the Academy favours showy acting, which is why they always go gaga for Meryl Streep even when she’s not so subtle (or not subtle at all) like in Doubt.

  • steve50

    The fact that Watts is not “showy” in either style or choice of parts has definitley kept her off the nomination list. She’s still amazing and I think Queen of the Desert will be the one to push her to the front of the line. Gertrude Bell was a fascinating character and the biopic should provide Watts with all the bells and whistles the Academy likes.

  • “Watts doesn’t do touchy-feely so well, which makes her a force to be reckoned with but one that is perhaps a tad confrontational for alpha male steak eaters who like women who know their place.

    I never thought of it that way, but you are so right! Such an inspiring actress. Love her work.

  • Karen

    @ steve50

    But it’s directed by Herzog. Not exactly the most Academic-friendly director there is out there. But I’m almost certain Watts will win the Best Actress Oscar next year for Diana. The Academy can’t get enough of the English Ruling Class : Helen Mirren in The Queen, Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady… Watts winning for Diana makes perfect sense.

  • rufussondheim

    She’s lucky Streep got her third, because Streep’s part in August Osage County is a barnburner. It’s one of those rare plays that should translate well to film, the only question is length, will it be edited to pieces to fit a more acceptable running time? I hope not.

  • steve50

    “But it’s directed by Herzog. ”

    Well, let’s hope Harvey W is in the mood for another epic when it’s released. Also, by then, Herzog could be one of those directors they feel is due for attention.

    I agree, though – Watts will definitely get some attention for the Diana thing.

  • Aara

    I’m glad you mention her performance in Mother and Child. The movie itself wasn’t that good, but I thought her performance was fearless, certainly deserving of awards recognition.

  • phantom

    She is ridiculously underrated. If there was any justice, she would have at least one Best Actress Oscar now (Mulholland Dr.) and at least 4 lead nominations (21 Grams, King Kong, The Painted Veil, Fair Game) and one in supporting (Mother & Child). The Winslet-comparison is spot-on : based on talent and body of work, they should be close to equal acclaim-wise and they are not even close.

    Having said that, even though I can easily see her scoring three lead nominations in the near future (The Impossible, Diana, Queen of Desert), I can only see her winning this year if her film becomes a blindsidesque family sleeper hit of the Holiday Season, and I think next year will be VERY competitive with Meryl Streep in August : Osage County and probably Anne Hathaway playing Judy Garland in Get Happy. Both Weinstein productions and Harvey will be probably wise enough to start production on the latter in order to ride Hathaway’s recent AND most certainly upcoming hype thanks to the smash hit The Dark Knight Rises and the probably-awards-magnet Les Miserables.

  • Bill

    I can’t think of Naomi Watts as anything other than supporting in King Kong 🙁

  • AND

    David Lynch, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Peter Jackson, Woody Allen, David Cronenberg, Jim Sheridan, Tom Twyker, Clint Eastwood, MICHAEL HANEKE!!! (WHO IN AMERCIA HAS WORKED WITH HIM?)and of Course Werner Herzog. She has worked with the best.

  • keifer

    I, too, am a great admirer of Watts’ performance in “The Painted Veil” with Edward Norton. Both performances are wonderful and should have been nominated.

    Why didn’t this film gain any traction around Oscar time? I thought it was a shoo-in for the leads, best picture, best cinematography, and best score. Not one nomination for this picture that year? A head scratcher.

  • The Painted Veil got rather lost in the ’06-’07 season. I think it fell victim to Bob Yari’s bankruptcy, didn’t it? And for such an understated film with a very late release date, it needed a much bigger push than its studios were willing to give it. Eggs were put in other baskets and The Painted Veil had to make do with a few awards here and there. It perhaps could have done with an earlier release, particularly internationally, where it had more potential to break out. Such a disappointment for such a well-made film that was a labour of love for Ed Norton and John Curran – they spent a lot of money and time getting it made at all. I believe Edward was a bit pissed off with how little it came to.

  • Manuel

    She is a really good actress and does not need the so called acclaim from the Academy. Watts is not an Oscar begging actress

  • keifer

    Paddy M: Thanks for the insight/explanation.

    Manuel re “Watts is not an Oscar begging actress”. All the MORE reason to reward her in my opinion!

  • tombeet

    I’m a big fan of Naomi Watts. Many of her performances literally took my breath away. But I think she have been type-casted for the last few years (a la Queen of Remake and Queen of Suffer). I hope she would do more range in future project (eg more comedy roles, only I Heart Huckabees comes to my mind).

    Hopefully she can grab an Oscar someday (she well deserved that)

  • Rich

    I like that you say Tapley’s idea sounds far-fetched because you’ve seen the trailer whereas he’s actually seen the movie. That sounds smart!

  • Nik Grape

    Shout out for The Painted Veil! Sorely underrated movie, and Watts was brilliant in it. She’s an all-around fantastic actress, look at her turn in I Heart Huckabees! She’s completely deranged and plays it perfectly!

    I’m looking forward to The Impossible (seeing it at TIFF) but I also feel like she hog most of the attention as Diana next year.

  • LLB

    And as usual Ewan is not talked about enough. He’s been overlooked so many times. It makes me sad.

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