This year, it feels like there is Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine and everyone else. It isn’t that anyone is confident Blanchett can win. When Anne Thompson suggested Blanchett was the frontrunner she was was pounced upon by many of her colleagues who said the often heard Oscar season phrase, “no way.” Even still, here it is September and a few performances insist upon sharing the spotlight. Most of the challengers, and even Blanchett herself, are prior Oscar winners. That means that the winner this year, at least so far, is likely to be a repeat winner.
Blanchett’s first and strongest competition (so far) comes from two such previous winners, Sandra Bullock (won lead for The Blind Side) in Gravity and Judi Dench (won supporting for Shakespeare in Love) in Philomena. The urgency to reward a winner tips in Blanchett’s favor, however, given that Bullock has won fairly recently, and Blanchett has an impressive grossly under-rewarded body of work behind her. Not having yet seen Philomena, it’s hard to gauge how good or powerful or undeniable the role is.