If you’re a big star, chances are you will get publicity when you do things like talk shows, show up places, walk the red carpet, cover magazines in fall. That could give a few stars the edge when it comes to this year, which features the most competitive Best Actress race in years. Even for the top spot it’s competitive: between Lady Gaga (the frontrunner), Glenn Close (the overdue veteran), and Melissa McCarthy (the potential dark horse) it’s a tough battle. If the last two spots are going to be given to Viola Davis (who has not yet won a Best Actress Oscar) and Olivia Colman (who is running in the lead category), how then do the actresses on the borderline make the cut?
Star power also helps land that necessary Golden Globe nomination. Often, Oscar pundits aim for the end goal, the Oscar, but there are big stops in between and the Globes is the biggest of those. Of course, SAG is also a big one and an essential one, but if you’re looking for publicity, you want to be present at awards shows and walking the red carpet. Once that happens, people make an effort to actually watch the movie you’re starring in if it isn’t, you know, A Star Is Born, which everyone will have seen. Just imagine the mob Lady Gaga is going to draw when she walks the red carpet at the Globes, the SAG, and eventually the Oscars.
What are the key dates we’re looking at?
The Spirit Awards announce their nominations Friday and that could give a boost to a few names that might not be in the frontrunner five. Glenn Close might be there, McCarthy might be there, Colman might be there. Kiki Layne for Beale Street might be there.
Golden Globe voting opens November 21, just a few days away.
Golden Globe voting ends December 2.
SAG voting starts November 15.
SAG voting ends December 9.
We’re heading right into the sweet spot of getting those nominations.
There are two big names pushing through late, mainly because they give towering, powerhouse performances, but it doesn’t hurt that they’re very very big stars. Let’s start with Julia Roberts who gives arguably the best performance of her career (one that required her to do more than be a bright light) in Ben Is Back. Julia Roberts has graced a few magazines so far this season, and to be fair she does have Homecoming playing right now on Amazon. She already had to do publicity, and the truth of it is that Julia’s face still sells, which is why she’s on covers almost every year, including last year.
On the other hand, it’s also great Oscar publicity. It’s harder, since the film has not yet been released, to tie the images to the movie and the role itself, but either way there is no such thing as bad publicity (although perhaps that phrase has to be a wee bit adjusted in the wake of Twitter).
The other big one out front is Nicole Kidman, who likewise gives a tour-de-force performance in Destroyer that ranks among the very best in her career. She too is out and about, doing lots of publicity. I’m pretty sure the Golden Globe folks are going to want both of them walking their red carpet and attending their telecast. I don’t know, just a hunch.
Beyond that, Carey Mulligan, Viola Davis, and Charlize Theron have all gotten some cover time. The covers, the talk show appearances, the photo ops: they all help build excitement and buzz around a contender. Whether that means the frontrunner five are going to be broken up or not is hard to say. But for any of these actresses, a Globe nod or a SAG nod, even if it doesn’t amount to an Oscar nod, is still good business where they are concerned.
Like all of the categories, the consensus seems foggy. No doubt, it will clear up in a month. But for now, it’s still anyone’s game.
I believe that the frontrunner five, at least right now, remain:
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Glenn Close, The Wife
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me
Viola Davis, Widows
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
All of the other names are most definitely in play. But which of these five gets ousted?
Here are some covers from October, November, and December. Of course, it harder if you’re someone like Elsie Fisher to get your face on a national magazine. Maybe someday.