The race for Best Actress has not yet gotten started but looking over the year’s slate, finding five nominees should be easier than it’s been in a while. It already looks like a competitive season, with most of the big performances yet to be seen.  Already, Rooney Mara in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Julie Delpy in Before Midnight and Berenice Bejo in The Past have made an impression, but the year ahead will also bring us leading roles by Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Emma Thompson, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, to name a few.

The race for Supporting Actress also looks strong so far, with performances by Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station, June Squibb in Nebraska, Kristin Scott-Thomas in Only God Forgives, and Shailene Woodley in The Spectacular Now already having been seen, and Catherine Keener in Captain Phillips, Julianne Moore in Carrie, Amy Adams or Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle,  Carrie Mulligan in Inside Llewyn Davis, Oprah Winfrey in The Butler, Naomie Harris in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (again, might be campaigned as lead) still to come.

All in all, that makes 2013 a better than decent year for actresses, but particularly for those older than 40.  Is there a winner yet or even a frontrunner? Most would probably say Meryl Streep for August: Osage County, and indeed, Streep is the best there is. With two lead Actress Oscars and one Supporting, Streep could very well win her third lead Oscar as she approaches Katharine Hepburn territory.  But Cate Blanchett has never won lead, and neither has Annette Bening, and either of them could lean toward achieving that honor this year, theoretically. All of the other major names that might be in the race have already won at least one Oscar — Roberts, Kidman, etc.

Usually the two most exciting Oscar categories are Best Picture or Best Actress. There isn’t usually enough oxygen in the room for both to burn with equal passion. This year, Best Actress might be where all the heat is. But let’s go through the contenders that rise to the top so far, bearing in mind that other names and other performance could break through.

The Powerhouses

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County, who should bring the roof down in August: Osage County, might be looking at her 18th Oscar nomination and potential 4th win. Streep, who is probably the best actor who ever worked in Hollywood, male or female, doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.   Her win for the Iron Lady was recent, and who knows how the critics will respond to Osage County (not to mention theater purists).  Those factors could be potential obstacles. But first and foremost, Streep always fills up the screen and never turns in a lazy or uninteresting performance.

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County, who might be campaigned in supporting to give more room for Streep. But the trailer indicates that Roberts is the lead, and those who’ve seen the play all say Roberts and Streep are both co-leads.  So it will just depend on how the film’s received, how well Roberts stands up to Ms. Streep, and how well the film is liked overall.  Is Roberts getting better as she gets older? She seems to be more comfortable in her own skin and this young Southern woman is close to home for her (though Roberts is from Georgia).

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks, of which Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere wrote, “The script, which appeared on the 2011 Black List, is so wise and clean and well-crafted that you can hear Hanks and Thompson say the lines as you read them. It seems highly likely that Thompson will end up as a lead contender for Best Actress.”  Thompson is beloved in the Academy and always a welcome presence whenever anyone has the good sense to turn the camera on her. She’s won two Oscars already, one for writing and the other for acting.


Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.  When Woody Allen puts his focus on a single female character it can produce interesting results, particularly when he’s working with a seasoned actress. One of his great underrated works, and one of the most overlooked performances in any of his films, has to be Gena Rowland in Another Woman. While early word has it that Blue Jasmine is “one of the good ones,” we’ll have to wait and see. As with most of Woody’s films, this one has been kept mostly under wraps.  EW’s synopsis: “After recent excursions to London, Paris, and Rome, Woody Allen shifts his focus back to American shores, following Cate Blanchett’s New York housewife through a personal crisis that takes her to San Francisco. Alec Baldwin plays Blanchett’s husband, whom the actor describes as ”a go-getter, hard-charging corporate type who wants to buy her everything and keep her happy. Then he turns around and trades her in for a younger woman.'” Sounds like territory that hits particularly close to home.


Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco.  It’s going to be a tough hustle for the Weinstein Co with this film and Osage County in terms of promoting lead performances for actresses. Kidman was brought out in Cannes and many minutes of Grace of Monaco were shown. The Weinstein Co. also have Ain’t Them Bodies Saints with Rooney Mara, who was also present in Cannes. But it looked to me like they were putting their chips behind Kidman, hard core, perhaps because they think Streep is a no-brainer and that Kidman’s Grace might need a little more of a push. The film focuses on a specific point in Kelly’s career, “Grace Kelly, age 33 and having given up her acting career to focus on being a full time princess, uses her political maneuvering behind the scenes to save Monaco while French Leader Charles de Gaulle and Monaco’s Prince Rainier III are at odds over the principality’s standing as a tax haven.”

Sandra Bullock in Gravity.  Surprisingly, Bullock has her name above George Clooney’s on the poster.  She plays a brilliant scientist who gets detached from her ship and ends up floating in space.  This is Bullock playing against type, meaning she’s not the funny one or the cop.  It will be somewhat interesting to see her go up against Meryl Streep again, should a nomination come to pass, but since both women have won relatively recently neither might pull it off again so soon.


Annette Bening in The Face of Love. [comingsoon’s description] “The story of a widow named Nikki (Bening) who, several years after the loss of her husband Garrett, meets a man named Tom (Harris) who looks exactly like her deceased spouse. Suddenly, a flood of old feelings rush back to her and she realizes she’s met the love of her life….again. The film is a romantic story filled with humor, surprise, and reflections on the mystery of love. Weixler will play Bening’s daughter in the picture.”  We’re all still rooting for Ms. Bening to finally collect a deserved statuette, as we are for Michelle Pfeiffer, Viola Davis, Julianne Moore and others who have come so close and yet, for whatever reason, didn’t capture the prize.

Chloe Moretz in Carrie has got a hard act to follow, no doubt, since Sissy Spacek stands as the definitive Carrie. But with a part this good one has to consider the possibility that this promising young actress can really pull it out. She is closer to Carrie’s real age in the book, though Spacek’s age allowed her more life experience to bring to the role. Still, Moretz could knock it out of the park.

Already seen:

Berenice Bejo in The Past. We’ve been down this road before, with two best actresses contenders from France out of Cannes. Last year it was Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone and Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. Where it seemed at first like Cotillard would have had the edge — since she is younger, hotter and more naked — in the end, Riva was nominated, only to travel to America to attend the Oscars on her 86th birthday and then lose to a 22-year-old American actress who was really more of a supporting player than a lead. But let’s not go there, shall we? Either way, because of the scant few names in the pot already for Lead Actress, Bejo must be considered. Her performance is so good you’d never know it was the same actress we saw tap dancing her way through The Artist. Can Bejo last until the end of the year?

Julie Delpy in Before Midnight, another French actress but acting in an English language film, has never been nominated for Actress though this could be her year.   Delpy brings two decades of backstory to her work as Celine as they approach the harder parts of their relationship. Does she get extra points for having also co-written these three films? Maybe.

Rooney Mara in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.  Buzzed out of Sundance and definitely primed for Spirit award attention, Mara is worth remembering as one of the year’s standouts.  Wildly different here from her role in Side Effects and Dragon Tattoo, Mara is one of the few actresses working who continues to challenge her boundaries as an actress.

Audrey Tautou “stars as a provincial housewife in 1920s France, whose suffocating marriage to a boorish landowner inspires her to a fatal bid for freedom, in the late director Claude Miller’s adaptation of the classic 1927 novel by François Mauriac.”

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  • Mia

    No Marion Cotillard? I thought there were rave reviews regarding her performance in The Immigran? And especially since a lot of people thought she was snubbed this year

  • I would think that Winslet and Dench would be high on the ‘power house’ list…

  • Mia

    Sorry, I meant The Immigrant* of course..

  • Alex

    I think it has to be between Blanchett and Thomson, although I am quite partial to Kidman just because her film choices are so off-kilter.

    Let’s just hope that Blue Jasmine is not minor Woody like Whatever Works, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger etc.

    Meryl can’t possibly win again so soon after The Iron Lady. Sandra and Julia are lucky to have Oscars in the first place.

  • Alex

    Andrew is right about Winslet. She stands a good chance of getting nominated, especially because Jason Reitman is so consistent in terms of quality.

  • lenka73

    I will be very happy if Bejo will be here again……

    ONE CURIOSITY: WHAT ABOUT ZOE SALDANA IN THAT NINA SIMONE BIOPIC? everybody (or anyway people who talks about it) is spending very harsh words….I wonder if this could turn in a “solidarity factor” for STAR TREK girl

  • Sonja

    This year feels STACKED with big names in baity roles, I really wonders who’s going to make the top 5 in the end.
    Weinstein has 3 likely bets: Dench, Kidman, Streep, plus possible Roberts in lead (though he might push her into supporting, if she allows that).
    Then there are plenty of previous winners like Blanchett, Bullock (not underestimating her again), Winslet.
    And there always has to be a newbie-someone who has never been nominated before.
    Amy Adams could be campaigned in lead, too.
    Many possebilities.

  • knee play

    Really hoping some critics’ prizes recognize Cosmina Stratan’s work in Beyond the Hills and gets her back into the conversation after sharing the Best Actress prize with her co-star at Cannes last year. Hers is easily the performance I’ve seen this year so far.

  • Watermelons

    I believe Oscar-winner Kate “The GREAT” Winslet (The Reader, Movie 43) has a great chance of being nominated for Best Actress for her work in Labor Day. Adele is a significant, moody role (the character in the novel suffers from depression and agoraphobia). With Jason Reitman writing/directing, I feel that Winslet’s name should be on this list!

  • Genadijus

    My personal list of TOP10 contenders for Best Actress:
    1. Naomi Watts – “Diana”
    2. Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”
    3. Kate Winslet – “Labour Day”
    4. Jennifer Lawrence – “Serena” or “American Hustle”
    5. Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    6. Marion Cotillard – “The Immigrant”
    7. Nicole Kidman – “Grace of Monaco”
    8. Jessica Chastain – “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”
    9. Berenice Bejo – “The Past”
    10. Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”

  • John

    This looks to be a year in which theres absolutely no way of knowing who the contenders will be til the critics awards and industry noms start rolling out. I see 10-15 strong possibilities already. Thats crazy.

  • Joao Mattos

    How about Naomi Watts or/and Robin Wright for “Two Women”, which seems a bold look on women sexuality? In my country will open next friday. According to IMDB it already was shown in Sundance, but in USA, only opens in September.

  • Jpns Viewer – I’m rooting for Ms. Bening!

    I’m rooting for Annette Bening all the way. In an alternate universe, she would have already won one or two Oscars for Best Actress, either standing upon stage on her own or tied up with another actress (talking about Hilary Swank, both years). (Swank herself deserved it those two years in my book; so I guess, sometimes, still I just couldn’t get over the bygone fact. Because Annette Bening could have won as well. . . . And well deservedly so.)

    Sorry [not really] for sounding sarrogant [arrogant] but to me Oscar owes Ms. Bening at least one or two of their naked gold guys. . . . Just say’ng!

    I love Woody Allen’s films. I’m in my mid-30s and cosmopolitan, occasionally hipsterlike, but his conventional directorial style works well with my Asian heart and mind for some reason. To me he is another genius whom viewers can trust as director-writer for the same film; that it will turn out well no matter what. So, naturally, I’m rooting for both Blanchett and (Alec) Baldwin for their association with Allen in this piece.

    Last but not least, I guess all our Miss Congeniality, reportedly one of the nicest ladies in the industry, needs to do it to fare a little bit better than her usual efforts to garner OMG another hopeful win for Best Actress. . . . Here’s your sign. . . . (I love her and as a casual moviegoer, I’ve seen some of her pop corn flicks and, to be honest, enjoyed them as well. But we are talking […] Oscar here.)

    Thanks for the update, Sasha.

  • Sasha, you completely skipped the strongest contender on paper – Naomi Watts for Diana ??

    We already saw last year what a support base she has in the industry. And she will carry the goodwill too from last year, where many thought she should have won. Not to mention the “overdue” factor.

    The only hindrance is if the movie turns out to be a real bum. Well, that can be said for any of the contenders whose movies are yet to be seen. But, if Diana turns out to be even half-good, Watts takes the top prize in a walk. I don’t see even Streep coming in way of her, just based on the goodwill she enjoys in the industry.

  • Genadijus

    Actually, I don’t see any chances right now for Annette Bening to be nominated. In my personal opinion, she is a little bit overratted actress, but has a couple of great performances in her filmography.

    One really interesting point to add regarding Best Actress race this year is that’s possible that all nominees will be previous winners and/or nominees and none of them a 1st time nominee for the Academy.

  • My Top 5 at the moment:

    1. Naomi Watts – “Diana”
    2. Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”
    3. Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”
    4. Julie Delpy – “Before Midnight”
    5. Judi Dench – “Philomena”

  • Jpns Viewer

    Thanks for the response, Genadijus.

    (About Bening) To each his own. : )

    “… but has a couple of great performances in her filmography.”

    Just being curious: American Beauty, and Being Julia? (Just my wild guess.)

  • Genadijus

    Exactly, Gautam.

    5 main reasons for Naomi as a TOP contender right now:
    1. She has overdue factor (she could win for “Mulholland Drive”, “Painted Veil” or “Impossible”).
    2. Naomi has a strong supporting among actress and actors community, as well as directors (she worked with starting from Lynch and Haneke and finishing with Eastwood and Cronenberg. Moreover, she is well-respected among bit studio persons and indie-movie artists).
    3. Naomi plays probably one of the most famous person of our lifetime and definitely will create effective dramatic portrait.
    4. Naomi proved how hard she was working to be invited into big cinema.
    5. To play a British Politics/Royal person is a half win (remember, Mirren, Streep, Firth).

  • Genadijus

    I forgot about Judi Dench. Firstly, I need to hear and read a lot more about this “Philomena” project. and if I’m nor mistaken it’s bought by Weinsteins, so it says a lot. However, Weinsteins have a lot of contenders so more than half of them will miss TOP5 line, for sure.

  • Emma Thompson is in. She could even win this year, although I wouldn’t be stupid enough to count out Meryl.

  • I think Roberts and Kidman might miss. Two best actress nomination from the same film is outrightly difficult. I don’t remember it happening anytime in recent past. And I hear from the people who have seen rushes of Grace of Monaco that it’s isn’t all that great. Moreover, the release date of the film doesn’t help either.

  • Banjoman

    It’s definitely significant that TWC picked up PHILOMENA over DIANA at Cannes. Dench is in.

  • I agree to all your reasons, but just to add caution to the wind, Diana hasn’t been picked up by a major US Studio. That might be an indication that film isn’t all that good.

    But having said that, even if the film is only half good, that should be sufficient enough to guarantee Watts a nomination. And after the nomination phase, the race turns into a different beast, where Watts’ overdue factor will strongly come into picture.

  • Jo

    Sasha – i’m going to go there. I saw Silver Linings recently and am still rolling my eyes HARD over the fuss being made of it. How on earth was Jacky Weaver nominated? That was a joke. Bradley and De Niro were both good at their roles and i guess Jennifer was serviceable, but HOW was she nominated? I have zero bias against her or anybody in the movie so i am coming from a fair and reasonable place, but that was the greatest load of balls ever! The film itself was melodramatic and quite unrealistic, and i saw that as somebody who was raised by somebody who suffered with serious mental health issues over the years.

    Ugh, just UGH!

    Hoping the Academy shows some originality next year!

  • Genadijus

    I liked Annette in “Running with Scissors” where she deserved nomination much more than for “The Kids are All Right”. “American Beauty” – it looked like a supporting role, “Being Julia” – too thearical performance, IMO. So, only “Bugsy” looks like really deserved nomination. She lacked a collaboration with some great directors.

  • I pray that Greta Gerwig gets remembered come awards season for Frances Ha. What a terrific performance

  • Christophe

    Melissa McCarthy – Identity Thief

  • Genadijus

    That’s my biggest consern regarding N. Watts. It’s possible that EoNE Films selected “Diana” to make quite impressive enter into U.S. market. I hear a version that Weinsteins saw a clip from “Diana” and considered it as a very strong push for “Diana”, but they’ve been already made a decision on “Grace of Monaco”, that’s why they;re dropping so many female lead performances into the race: N. Kidman, M. Streep, M. Cottilard, J. Dench, just in case to have more chances of possible nominations as they understand that Naomi is so strong this year.

  • Genadijus

    Golden Globe nomination is possible… It’s interesting because there aren’t any strong comedy-type performances this year.

  • John

    This seems impossible right now. But my early crack at guessing is for:

    -Streep (it just seems like it will happen)
    -Watts (for all the reasons mentioned in an above post)
    -Kidman (Weinstein seems focused on her and her reputation has grown over the years within the industry)
    -Bejo (critics may push her right in, recently nommed too)
    -Dench (the material looks very strong)


    Look outs for Blanchett, Cotillard, Roberts, Thompson.

  • John

    Would Oprah be Lead or Supporting?

  • steve50

    The only way any cast members of Identity Thief will get into the Oscars will be as seat-savers.

    If Kidman goes outside for a smoke or Meryl has to potty, you might get a glimpse of MM keeping her seat warm.

  • Eric P.


    I’m really glad to hear that someone else loves “Another Woman” as much as I do.

    My best actress contenders so far:

    -Cate Blanchett “Blue Jasmin”
    -Meryl Streep “August: Osage County”
    -Kate Winslet “Labor Day”
    -Naomi Watts “Diana”
    -Berenice Bejo “The Past”

  • caleb roth

    I can already hear people cry when Diana dies and Candle in the Wind plays.

    I can’t see Watts not winning if she’s up against four previous winners, like Streep, Roberts, Kidman, Cotillard, Dench…

  • Movie ram

    My early gut instincts tell me that the Academy could well find Emma Thompson to be an irresistible force this year.

    I also think Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Serena will be stronger than her role in American Hustle. both roles could make her win for Silver Linings Playbook look weak. (Jessica Chastain should have won it hands down!)

  • My pick for early favorite is Naomi Watts for Diana. Not only has she been nominated a couple times and is yet to win, but she should have a strong British vote to back her. Look at all the recent winners for playing British royalty or politicians (Mirren, Firth, Streep). I like her odds.

  • Eww…Chastain was pretty mediocre.

  • I was surprised at the omission of Greta Gerwig as a possible nominee. It seems incredibly likely to me her performance in FRANCES HA will remain in the conversation up to awards season.

  • The fact that Chloe Moretz in Carrie is listed as a ‘Powerhouse’ and Naomi Watts in Diana and Marion Cotillard in The Immigrant (which has already earned her raves) are absent entirely is an egregious oversight.

  • brace

    I’m rooting for Julie Delpy, cause she’s the one who hasn’t yet been nominated and she didn’t make this movie for Oscar. Hopefully new, unexpected contenders will emerge by the end of the year (at least one).

  • Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Serena will be stronger than her role in American Hustle

    Rest assured the role of Serena is strong because it’s the strongest role, on paper, of any female role of the past few years. But I’m wondering about the strength of the movie itself and the lack of Oscar know-how its distributor Magnolia has shown. (Magnolia, which did such a bang up job fumbling Ann Dowd’s Oscar prospects last year). If Serena the movie has been put together right then I’d expect we’d be hearing more optimistic rumblings about it by now.

    Strong roles alone don’t mean a damn if nobody associated on the distribution end has the cash and savvy to handle an Oscar campaign. Just ask Tilda Swinton about her incredibly impressive roles in Julia, I Am Love, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

    On the other hand, a movie doesn’t need to fire on all cylinders so long as it serves its Oscar vehicle purpose as a gussied-up pumpkin carriage. Ask Meryl about The Ion Lady.

  • AaronSGreen

    Streep winning two years ago will not be an issue. Tom Hanks and Hepburn won back to back Oscars, and Day Lewis only had to wait 5 years to win his 3rd lead Oscar.

    I’ve seen a screening of August: Osage County and it, in my book, is Streep’s best performance and it will be iconic along the lines of Miranda Priestly. The film is solid, so all the claims of diminishing the quality of the film due to Wells lack of director experience are ridiculous.

    Streep will be the one to beat. If Roberts goes to supporting, she as well.

  • Genadijus

    TWC selected “Philomena” because they aren’t so ensured that Nicole can be nominated and Meryl will win her next Oscar. That’s why they decised to add another possible contender to diversify their probability of Best Actress race during the awards season.

  • julian the emperor

    Chloe Moretz over Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts and Judi Dench?? I don’t think so…

    On another note: I think you (Sasha) are being far too kind with Meryl Streep. She has never done a “lazy” job or an “uninteresting” one? Ok, I guess she puts in a lot of effort every time (too much effort, to my taste, but be that as it may), but she is definitely lazy when it comes to choosing collaborators and projects. All movie stars are allowed the occasional dud, but there are few with so many of them as Streep. Besides, tell me what’s interesting about Streep’s roles in – I don’t know – Mamma Mia, Music of My Heart, Marvin’s Room, Evening (the list goes on). The notion that Hollywood’s greatest stars are somehow immune to making bad movies, bad choices or turn in lazy performances is conventional thinking at its worst. The stars are exactly in a position where it is all too easy to be phoning it in. Meryl is certainly not the only – or the worst – offender. It’s just a side effect of being incredibly rich, famous and popular. It breeds complacency and self-indulgence in just about anyone. But mainly the studios are to blame. The last really interesting Meryl part? That’s an easy one: Adaptation. Would it really be that courageous of her to go back to that kind of territory? I’m afraid so. You cannot expect that from a star so seemingly oblivious to quality projects – or rather, too lazy to engage with them.

  • phantom

    The strange part is that we could have an all-Harvey lineup…easily.

    MARION COTILLARD (The Immigrant)
    JUDI DENCH (Philomena)
    NICOLE KIDMAN (Grace of Monaco)
    JULIA ROBERTS (August : Osage County)
    MERYL STREEP (August : Osage County)

    TILDA SWINTON (Snowpiercer)

    His problem is all her BA contenders are previous winners and though one could make an excellent case that Dench should have a BA Oscar, too, unfortunately her film looks like the quietest in the bunch.

    Also, the Academy tends to nominate someone young and semi-unexpected like Dakota Fanning (title character in the Emma Thompson-penned ‘Effie’), Jessica Brown-Findlay (on-paper very prestigious ‘Winter’s Tale’), Elizabeth Olsen (Therese based on the famous Zola novel ‘Therese Raquin)), of course the might just give the ‘youngster’ slot to someone they have already recognized like Jennifer Lawrence (Serena) or Rooney Mara (Her OR Ain’t them bodies saints). And if we look at French actresses like Bejo and Cotillard, I think we shouldn’t forget about Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur) who received rave reviews for playing a Tony-winning role and we should probably never underestimate Hilary Swank (You’re not you), either

    I wrote about all this a few months ago

  • phantom

    Also, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jessica Chastain won the whole thing…for MISS JULIE. It is a great female role, directed by a great female director, based on very prestigious source material…and it has been in post-production since May. So long story short, I think it is entirely possible that it will get a year-end release date and maybe even a Toronto-slot. If we are going wild, I’m going to predict her ‘Julie’ for the win. The only reason they might push it to 2014 is that it is also a possibility that ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’ will be a big bluevalentinesque indie hit and they wouldn’t want to risk split votes.

  • knee play

    Isn’t it time for an actress playing a real person to win again? Looking back on the winners for the past 15 years, they usually only skip one year. That would mean Watts or Kidman in the lead.

  • John

    As of now, id only guess indie spirits, satellites, maybe gg comedy.

  • Nice thoughts on the Best Actress race Sasha.

    I think there are definite names that were left off that I listed.

    -Jennifer Lawrence in Serena
    -Kate Winslet in Labor Day
    -Judi Dench in Philomena
    -Michelle Pfeiffer in Malavita (sentimental factor perhaps?)
    -Keira Knightley in Can a Song Save Your Life?
    -Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers

  • I don’t expect Gerwig to be discussed much as Oscar nears. I think her film/performance is what the Spirit Awards were made for.

  • Ryan B

    Love this group. Anxious to see if Robin Wright might join them.

  • oscar

    Berenice Bejo – “The Past”
    Annette Bening – “The Face of Love”
    Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine”
    Marion Cotillard – “The Immigrant”
    Judi Dench – “Philomena”
    Nicole Kidman – “Grace of Monaco”
    Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle”
    Jennifer Lawrence – “Serena”
    Rooney Mara – “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”
    Michelle Pfeiffer – “Malavita”
    Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”
    Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”
    Naomi Watts – “Diana”
    Kate Winslet – “Labour Day”

  • for actress in a leading role, the academy’s five favorite are

    Judi Dench – “Philomena”
    Nicole Kidman – “Grace of Monaco”
    Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”
    Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”
    Naomi Watts – “Diana”

  • and the oscar goes to…

    Meryl Streep – “August: Osage County”

  • Jack

    Is Amy Adams in the mix for any of the 4 or 5 movies she’s doing this year or are they all supporting?

  • Winston

    Berenice Bejo, The Past
    Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
    Michelle Pfeiffer, Malavita
    Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

  • Clinging to Julie Delpy until my dying breath.

  • GoOnNow

    no no, I want Cate Blanchett to be great in “Blue Jasmine” and to win a Leading Oscar.


  • Sonja

    Well, I have lost faith in Watts as a winner (or even nomination) because of the fact that the film needed more than one week at Cannes to find a US distributor.
    Weinstein bought TIL in Cannes 2011 based on a five minutes clip for 7 million $ in a heated fight.
    Plus Weinstein might be the most powerful, but they’re not the only distributor the US has. Sony passed, Fox passed, Lionsgate was rumored but passed, Warner Bros. and so on. Why, if it’s Oscar Gold even in just a few categories?
    The distributor of “Diana” is one I’ve never heard of. Not really a good sign imo, but who knows?

  • I agree with Ryan’s wise comment earlier in this thread. With SUCH an abundance of Best Actress contenders for the first time in DECADES, look to the distributor for the answer. And yes, Magnolia really botched poor Ann Dowd’s Oscar chances for “Compliance” I couldn’t believe. She had to spend over $16,000 of her own money and didn’t even score a nomination! Sheesh!

    Who knocked her out of contention? The undeserving Jackie Weaver in a Weinstein film that everybody saw(For Jennifer Lawrence’s performance who WON) in a Weinstein film “Silver Linings Playbook”). And Yes, I could see TWC getting all FIVE slots.

    I would say they, the Academy, love Harvey W. more than anyone else in the biz. So count them all in.

  • Donna

    The Streep bashing is so tired. Why on earth would she make choices entirely to please one person? Every actor has strengths and weaknesses.

  • Jonathan

    Sorry, but I just don’t see Naomi winning, and maybe not even nominated. She’s a great actress, but I think she was miscast.

  • keifer

    Something tells me there may be a backlash against “biopics” as obvious Oscar hunters go for the gold. That could bode ill tidings for Kidman and Watts. These pictures “could be” pretty awful if not done properly.

    I think Dench has a shot with “Philomena” – AMPAS seems to love her, even in mediocre fair.

    And I’d love to see Cate Blanchett in the mix again, and for the great Audrey Tatou to finally receive a Best Actress nomination. She’s due one after delivering some wonderful performances in the last few years.

  • keifer

    Re comment above “Just ask Tilda Swinton about her incredibly impressive roles in Julia, I Am Love, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

    Totally agree with you Ryan. TS could have (and should have) been rewarded with nominations for each and any of these films.

    Maybe we should just be looking at how films are distributed come Oscar time, rather than the quality of the performances. It’s irritating to me when I see “throw-away” or ‘career” nominations go to actors. That used to happen all the time (Lauren Bacall, Fred Astaire) and even Jack Palance, James Coburn and Al Pacino won Oscars for what clearly could be seen as “career” Oscars and not for their best work (not by a long shot).

  • Manuel

    Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
    Meryl Streep – August Osage County
    Berenice Bejo – The Past
    Emma Thompson – Saving Mr Banks
    Michelle Pfeiffer – The Family

    Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
    Meryl Streep August Osage County
    Berenice Bejo – The Past
    Nicole Kidman – Grace of Monaco
    Emma Thompson – Saving Mr Banks
    Rooney Mara – Aint Them Bodys Saint

    Annette Bening – The Face of Love
    Julie Delpy – Before Midnight
    Emma Watson – The Bling Ring
    Melissa McCarthy – The Identity Thief
    Greta Gervig – Frances Ha

    Meryl Streep – August Osage County
    Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
    Berenice Bejo – The Past
    Julie Delpy – Before Midnight
    Jessica Chastain – The Disapperance of Eleanor Rigby: Her

    Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
    Judi Dench – Philomena
    Emma Thompson – Saving Mr Banks
    Meryl Streep – August Osage County
    Berenice Bejo – The Past

  • brandz

    From here, I see this as a showdown between Streep and Dench.

  • GoOnNow

    people saw 2011 as a showdown between Streep and Close

  • Tania

    Marion Cotillard was her best performance on The Immigrant and she shall be nominated to Academy Award for that role.

  • superkk

    cottilard really has been snubbed so many times its redic. she should have been nominated supporting for Nine and gotten a nom last year for rust and doubt. heres hoping this year is her year.

    in other news i still think rooney mara was fantastic in side effects and am sure shell be overlooked so hopefully a aint them bodies saints nom makes up for it.

  • TOM

    Bullock (Gravity) – With the recent flopping of After Earth and the cool reception of the other 2 space films, she’ll really have to outdo SWeaver’s character in Aliens if she wants consideration.
    Moretz/JMoore (Carrie) – To protest Hollywood’s obvious artistic bankrupty by remaking a certified classic, everyone should snub this movie.
    Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) – If this role is a drama like Another Woman…I can’t wait. If its a light-comedy…these recent ‘comedies’ have all been groaners.
    Roberts (August:) – Seeing how TWC can squeeze CWaltz’s Lead Django role into a ‘supporting’ slot – I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the same misclassification happened with this project.
    Kidman (Grace of Monaco) – Ah…from the still spot alone, she looks more like Tippi Hendren/Marnie than Grace Kelly/retirement. Not having seen any clips, I’d kind’ve think that Naomi Watts would’ve made a better impression in this role.

  • JP

    Please, Moretz is a powerhouse but Naomi Watts playing Lady Di is not? Dont get it. And i would add Watts, Laura Linney and, of course, the most overdue of all, Glenn Close, in the overdues list.

  • Nic V

    ** If Serena the movie has been put together right then I’d expect we’d be hearing more optimistic rumblings about it by now.**

    I think this is a very asute commentary on the entire season so far. There have been little rumblings about anything to be honest. The box office has been ruled by what Sasha likes to call “fan boy” films. All the contenders seem to be taking a nap right now. It’s seem to me to be too quiet.

  • Kholby

    I can’t wait for the Nicole Kidman/Naomi Watts best friends nominated for lead best actress oscars in the same year and showing up wearing complimentary dresses and stepping out of the same limo story. That’s the one I want this year.

    I’ve been waiting for this for 15 years. It’s time for me to get what I want.

  • brandz

    well, we know who won that one!

  • GoOnNow

    I’m saying this in reference to the fact that it eventually was a Streep VS Davis showdown.

    Close never stood a chance – and that I’m saying in reference to Dench.

  • Sharon

    I think that pronosticators are underestimating Naomi Watts in Diana. Her nominations last year proved that she’s got a strong support base in the industry. You can see that she’s respected and well-liked. She probably doesn’t need a strong studio to back a nomination for playing Diana, who was one of the most famous women of the last century. The film might be to tabloid-y, but the director and the writer have a proved track record.

    Both her and Kidman can be nominated because Grace Kelly was not just another princess, she was first and foremost a Hollywood Star (not to mention a Fashion icon). Hollywood has a soft spot for famous actors playing famous actors (see Blanchett in The Aviator).

  • Patrick

    The two times that Annette Benning had a strong shot at winning an Oscar, she lost to Hilary Swank. (I was also pulling for her in 2010, but it was clear that Natalie Portman was going to win that one from the start of the race.) Since Swank isn’t showing up as a contender now, this could be Annette’s year. While the description for “The Face of Love” hasn’t pulled me in, I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see it. This actress is overdue for the prize!

  • casey

    i would love if we saw a showdown of some older, gorgeous, classy, talented ladies:

    Streep, Kidman, Pfieffer, Blanchett, Dench

    woah what a powerhouse lineup that would be

  • Engin


    Magnolia isn’t distributing “Serena”, its US rights are still available.

    Also, this from some blog:

    Somebody sent an e-mail to Magnolia and their people responded: “IMDB is incorrect. The film is still in post-production and our sister company 2929 produced it. The film won’t be released until next year. It is unclear if we’re releasing the film or not at this point.”

  • ok so that’s good news ?

  • keifer

    Hate to say it, but I have to agree with you.

    I saw an interview with Streep (on Entertainment Tonight I think?) years ago when she stated the only reason she did Mama Mia was (1) for the money and (2) a 3-month shoot on a beautiful Greek island. Paid vacation anyone? I can’t fault her reasoning for doing it (I’d go to a Greek island in a second being paid that kind of money), but one can certaingly fault the performance (I think it’s her worst performance in a movie). Ironically, it’s the Streep movie which has made the most money (and so proves the point that the masses have no real taste).

    I think her turn in “August: Osage County” will be an interesting one. It’s a great role. Estelle Parsons did it on Broadway and was sensational. I always felt it was a betrayal to Parsons not to have been offered the movie lead. Parsons is the right age for the role. Streep is a bit young to play the grandmotherly matron overseeing her family. Ah well, I guess that’s what makeup artists are for.

  • Sonja


    What? Meryl’s too young to play Violet Weston? She’s 65 in the play and Meryl’s 63 (still), so she’s two years younger, but not too young.

    I doubt the lineup will be only +44/45 years old actresses. Though I’d like to see that happen, there’s always a young newbie.

  • MM1985

    Best Actress Nominees:

    Nicole Kidman – Grace of Monaco (my bet to win)
    Meryl Streep – August: Osage County (she’s excellent in the trailer)
    Jennifer Aniston – Untitled Elmore Leonard Project (watch this space)
    Naomi Watts – Diana (it might just be her time)
    Marion Cotillard – The Immigrant (going on buzz alone, she;s a dead cert)

  • AP

    I wish there were even a slight chance for this to ever happen.

  • eric

    its bit too early to tell who will make it on the magic 5. But this year is one of the most engaging oscar race for leading actresses. lets wait and see who will emerge from these amazing actresses.

  • david

    I think noomi rapace deserves some consideration for dead man down she was fabulous

  • Mirko

    I think Emma Thompson for Saving mr Banks.

  • rufussondheim

    Anna Kendrick in The Last Five Years.

  • Patryk






  • lisa zhen

    Blanchett seems a sure lock for nomination. Even if the film is horrible there is no way Streep will get snubbed given the source material she is given to work with (if she can get in for Iron Lady & win, she can get in for Osage County). I just do not believe both Watts and Kidman can both get in assuming that both films are well recieved so with that said it leaving Adams, Dench, Bejo, Winslet, Delpy, Cotillard, Bullock, Thompson, Chastain and others fighting for the last spots. I honestly believe Bejo will get that foreign nominee spot (remember there has been a foreign nominee in this category since 1992 minus 2011 where it was all Americans). The last spot I deem will be the so called newcomer/ingenue spot which I firmly believe will be Amy Adams that gets in (she’s never been nominated for Best Actress). From the scripts I seen and also comments from Russell she is the heart of the film and an extremely heavy role.

    Current Predictions:
    1. Cate Blanchett (Tour de force Performance)
    2. Meryl Streep (The Veteran Slot)
    3. Nicole Kidman (Diana looks like it will flop/Biopic Slot)
    4. Berenice Bejo (Foregner Slot)
    5. Amy Adams (Newcomer/Ingenue Slot)

    Yeah this is all conjecture at this point

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