It’s a frustrating conundrum, this Patricia Arquette thing in Boyhood. There seems to be some confusion as to whether she will go lead or supporting. When this subject comes up I always go to Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. She is, to my mind, a supporting character but she won in lead and never stopped winning in lead. Arquette seems to me too big of a star with too much of a career behind her to be considering supporting and yet many in my field are saying supporting is where she has the best chance to win.
Boyhood is clearly about a boy, a young kid growing up from age 9 to 18. Arquette plays his mother, who also clearly evolves dramatically from the beginning of the film to the end. Her character changes from young mother to college professor. All of the characters in Boyhood evolve because they have been evolving in real life, for one thing – but they also consider who their characters are when they re-assembled with Richard Linklater to film every 12 years. When I interviewed Arquette (to be posted soon) she talked about spending time considering who her character would be — different from who she herself was — at a given point in time, even considering whether she would be wearing her hair long or short but also where she’d be emotionally. Since the film jumps forward in time, Arquette had to figure out how to go from young mother, to tired single mother, to rescued but then abused wife, to single mother again, to rescued then physically abused wife, to finally, self-possessed, confident woman. Hers is one of the most notable trajectories in the film.
And yet, one can make the argument for supporting being her better chance to win, but her part being TOO BIG for the supporting category.
Anne Thompson has just put out her Oscar predictions — she never predicts films she hasn’t seen so her list is preliminary, not what you generally see around the web, which are SIGHT UNSEEN predictions. She currently has Arquette in lead, not supporting.