As we head into another Oscar season you’ll see an array of representations of male characters of all ages and walks of life. Old, young, fat, thin, handsome, unattractive – you name it, they never run out of stories to be told about them. Women, such is not the case. Women have the choice of being the Bond girl, the superhero love interest, the regular love interest who helps male character achieve goal, the manic pixie dreamgirl, the young action star, etc. It’s even worse when you factor in race – Lupita Nyong’o, the hottest thing going last year, doesn’t seem to have any kind of industry that is prepared for her. Not yet, anyway. There isn’t a single black or Asian actress on my radar for a lead actress nod this year. Not so far anyway. With so much money at stake, the risk level drops significantly.
There are several major roles on the horizon to watch out for as we make our way away from roles that can be readily dismissed for Oscar consideration as being not meaty enough, not big enough, not outstanding enough to get a nod. Very young actresses who act in serious films have a hard time getting taken seriously by the voting Academy, or the Screen Actors Guild – there are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking an actress will have to earn her stripes to get taken seriously enough when the film itself is aimed at young adults.
Still, there are performances that are already being talked about for Oscar, or their place is being held in line in case the role achieves everything we all hope. This is how, in this very early stage, it’s shaping up.
*Performances I’ve already seen.
Early Predictions for the Best Actress Five:
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars*
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Hilary Swank, The Homesman*