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Shifting Landscape of Best Actress

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At tomorrow night’s Golden Globe ceremony you will see two competing Best Actress contenders likely win: Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, who are in two different categories.  These award shows can sometimes build momentum in one actress’ favor propelled by how well they do in front of a crowd accepting the award.  Speeches can sometimes make a difference, though not always.  Both are beautiful young women with very bright futures ahead of them. But we will likely end the night still not knowing who will win Best Actress and that’s because the state of the Best Actress race has suddenly shifted.

When Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild were nominated in the Best Director and Best Screenplays categories, the chances for Emmanuelle Riva and Quvenzhane Wallis to win skyrocketed. The frontrunners are still the two bigger stars, Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. The fifth contender is another potential dark horse, Naomi Watts for the Impossible.

My first instinct when I heard the nominations was to say that Emmanuelle Riva, the oldest ever Oscar nominee, is the biggest threat. But Wallis and Beasts is hard to resist. If you loved that movie you will love her in it. And if she won she would also make history as only the second African American actress to win Lead. In 85 years.

Riva, on the other hand, is 86 years old. One year older than Oscar himself and her birthday is on the day of the Oscars – she will turn 87. How do you resist that?

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My money is still on Jennifer Lawrence at the moment, with Chastain right behind, and the reason for this is that if you’re going to make the long shot prediction you wait until closer to the ceremony. Lawrence is not only beloved for her work, her beauty, her humor, but she fits into that category that is irresistible for many voters — they want to give her character an award. This is where the irrational takes hold with the way the Academy votes. They get so caught up in the movie they believe, however irrationally, that they are awarding the characters themselves.

Let it be said that, to my mind, both the women rescue Silver Linings Playbook. The surprise nominee of Jacki Weaver was my favorite thing about the movie. She doesn’t say much but she has such a comforting presence overall and plays the polar opposite of the mom she played in Animal Kingdom. Lawrence makes what would be a fairly typical whore with a heart of gold into someone interesting, lively and unpredictable. The movie is loved by both men and women and doesn’t seem to settle better on either side. That helps her, to say nothing of her $400 million dollar box office smash, the Hunger Games.

Moreover, with FOUR acting nominations, Silver Linings Playbook is very likely to win one of those. If it isn’t Lawrence it’s going to be Weaver, De Niro. Cooper would have to beat Daniel Day-Lewis and if that happens the Academy will have to forfeit its credibility card for all time. That makes it down to the supporting categories and Lawrence. De Niro could so win this thing, by the way.

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Wallis is such a threat, though, that there’s already a smear campaign against her. Remember that you can’t attack someone that cute and young directly so you have to attack them indirectly and the attack-du-jour appears to be that it’s “child abuse” to have let her star in the film and then run for awards. A laughable notion once you see the happy little sprite at awards shows keeping things in perspective, climbing all over Benh Zeitlin during photo shoots, a total ham. Having worked with children myself I can tell you straight up, that’s a happy healthy kid.

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Wallis’ one of two performances that carry two Best Picture nominees. The plot turns on them and it has nothing whatsoever to do with their relationship to men. Wallis, perhaps some, because she’s the daughter of Dwight Henry, but Beasts is a movie about her imagination, her inner world and it’s a wow. A whole big lot of wow. It has been said that no skill is involved where she is concerned and that it’s the director who got that performance out of her. But I’d say the opposite is true; the director got out of her way to allow her to give that performance. That is why Zeitlin is a genius and why Wallis gave a great performance.

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The other actress who anchors her film is Jessica Chastain, who takes on that rare leading female role you rarely see anymore. You just don’t see it. The fanboy/box-office driven entertainment industry has marginalized women to supporting roles, even when they’re leading roles. Jennifer Lawrence’s character, as good as she is, is a supporting role – functioning only to support the man. People always say well she gets something too – she gets the man. Yeah, that’s because it is a really popular notion that getting the man is all a woman should want. So Bradley Cooper gets the girl, too, but he gets so much more.

Chastain is “not the girl who fucks.” She says that at the outset and is the central figure in Zero Dark Thirty. She is the hardcore CIA trainee whose been bred to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. She’s been trained to withstand “enhanced interrogation techniques” and in the process lost a sense of identity, her own humanity, and any idea of where she might go next. Who is she, the movie asks us at the end? The most telling scene that toys with our notions of gender is when the detainee is stripped naked and has soiled himself – Jason Clarke leaves the room and even the Al Qaeda suspect believes that Chastain’s character should offer up humanity to him but she just says, tell us what we want to know and he’ll stop. It’s a shocker of a scene, especially in 2012. We’re tricked into thinking, because she’s a pretty redhead and a woman that she’s supposed to be “nice.” But she isn’t. She does the job she was trained to do, just as a guy would.

Will the controversy hurt Chastain’s chances? Without a doubt. She’s up against four more likable characters. She’s also hurt by the fact that it’s a procedural — and she has only a small handful of “Oscar scenes.” Anyone who’s seen her work from last year, particularly The Help, knows no one can do those Oscar scenes like Chastain. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, she’s the closest thing to Meryl Streep I’ve seen in Hollywood. I think she can do anything. If she doesn’t win the Oscar this year, she will have many opportunities in the future.

It is a story that isn’t going away either. Part of the phenomenon is the rise of protest groups and mobilization in the post-Occupy world where internet brings people together like never before and has turned the far-reaching Anonymous into a kind of people’s army. For more on this watch the Hacktivist documentary currently streaming on Netflix. They protested the premiere and they will protest screenings and you can bet they’ll protest the Oscars.

But let’s pretend, for a moment, that it wasn’t controversial. Could Chastain have won? Will she still win? I think she had/has a great shot at it. The only thing is, up against an actress and character people LOVE (Lawrence, Riva, Wallis, arguably Watts) it’s a little tougher.

Naomi Watts The Impossible

Naomi Watts is overdue, to my mind, for an Oscar by now. Her great work in Mulholland Drive alone makes her overdue. She’s been kicking around Hollywood for years, even before she got her big break. But what Watts has that others don’t is tremendous support from some very big, well connected names. Angelina Jolie, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr. That’s nothing to ignore nor to sneeze at. Sometimes it takes a gated community village to get an unlikely win the win and this could finally be Watt’s year.

Watts gives a hell of a performance in The Impossible, with half of her leg torn off by the Tsunami she must find the strength to survive, for her family’s sake and namely the sake of her one surviving son, the BRILLIANT Tom Holland.  Throughout the whole thing, you never doubt the authenticity of the moment and that’s due to Watts — she makes us believe that the horror is playing out before our eyes is real. And that could, at last, win her the Oscar.

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Emmanuelle Riva probably gives the most accomplished performance in Amour, as she plays wife whose life fades away in rapid decline. She must go from functioning to not functioning throughout the entire movie and the frustration with herself, the anger at inability to even say a sentence is shattering. At 86 years old, Riva is in full command of her instrument, mind, body and soul.  If it were me, I could not choose anyone else.  But we know that other factors are at play in the Oscar race – star power, popularity and mostly how much they like the movie. Now that Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour have those pivotal director and screenplay nods,  these actresses are no longer dark horses – they are suddenly front and center.

Right now, I still think it’s Jennifer Lawrence’s to lose. But we’ve a ways to go yet, Oscar watchers.  Stay frosty.

 

202 Comments on this Post

  1. So so so happy for Rica and Wallis. Both did an out standing job in two of the years best. Thanks to the amps for showing huge love to both films.

  2. I honestly don’t know who will win the best actress award, but I have a soft spot for both Emmanuel Riva and Lil Q. One thing that I will say though, is the fact that I’ve been having this weird feeling since the nominations were announced that an unexpected director will win on Oscar night. I will go on a limb and predict Behn Zeitlin to win the best director award for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

  3. Fingers crossed for Riva. She truly deserves it.

  4. In terms of performance I think Chastain deserves the Oscar.

    In terms of career trajectory I think Watts deserves it. She, like Lawrence and Chastain, has one prior nomination. However, she has worked with the following directors over the course of her career: David Lynch, Gore Verbinski, James Ivory, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Gregor Jordan, David O. Russell, Mark Forster, Peter Jackson, John Curran, David Cronenberg, Michael Haneke, Tom Tykwer, Woody Allen, Doug Liman, Jim Sheridan and Clint Eastwood.

    She is clearly a top class talent who has not received enough recognition over the years, possibly because she has starred in a lot of these directors’ middling efforts – though they are all still interesting and unique films.

  5. If the Academy has stagecraft in mind, then they’ll surely like the idea of Riva being handed her Oscar by Jean Dujardin.

  6. Sasha, I believe Riva is 85 years old, not 86.

    I feel like Zero Dark Thirty will go home empty-handed on Oscar night.

  7. This is the first time since the 1996 race that I truly would have hard time deciding who should win Best Actress among three out of the five nominees in regards to Wallis-Chastain-Riva. It’s not quite how I felt torn among Frances McDormand-Emily Watson-Brenda Blethyn race, mostly because I was and am in love with the 1996 crew’s movies (three of the best films of the 1990s!), but still a toughie.

  8. “If the Academy has stagecraft in mind, then they’ll surely like the idea of Riva being handed her Oscar by Jean Dujardin.”

    Add on to that, Meryl Streep (arguably the greatest actress who just received her third) handing the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis (arguably the greatest actor who just received his third).

  9. Christophe

    I’m glad you also liked Watts’ performance, I believe each actress will have a strong group of passionate supporters so they could all end up with around 20% of votes and all bets are off in such a situation.

    As for Jlaw, I’ve just watched SLP and I’m really unimpressed. I can’t possibly understand why it’s doing so well this award season. sure bradley cooper gives a good performance, jacki weaver is irresistible and de niro is… well de niro, but i found Jlaw very weird and not that attractive.

  10. Lucas Prata

    Riva all the way! Man, is it possible to find better acting than that? I answer: NO IT’S NOT!

    Sooooo excited for this!

  11. Phil Boroff

    Love the picture of Riva and Wallis. Jennifer Lawrence will probably win. Jessica Chastain should probably win, But wouldn’t it be great if Riva, Walls or Watts did? THAT would actually make the Oscars fun and interesting. Let’s hope for an upset.

  12. Sadly I’ve only seen Chastain’s and Lawrence’s performances, which is sad because I just bought Beasts and haven’t watched it yet (and I sadly passed on the chance to see it at Sundance) and I’m hoping to see The Impossible today. But I feel like any one of these fine ladies can win the big kahuna and I’d be okay with it. This is the only time I’ve felt that “anyone can win and I’d be okay with it” since the cinematography slate when There Will Be Blood won…damn that was a good year for photography.

  13. One disadvantage for both Lawrence and Chastain is being too young – a long career in front of them. Look at Kate Winslet who won on sixth or seventh attempt I suppose. So this brings Riva to the frontline.

    One advantage for Riva is that Academy loves borderline roles – (Rain Man, Forrest Gump, My Left Foot and many others) – I mean she is on another planet in terms of the dynamics and difficulty of her role. You may also think about Jean Dujardin of last year – silent film star in a silent film with no speech and only mimics!

  14. And Sasha has to be thanked by all the “Beasts” people, because she, more than anyone else, IMHO, has kept BOTSW front and center ever since she saw it at Cannes.

    That was a lonnnnng time ago, and Sundance, where it debuted was almost exactly a year ago.

    Qu’venzhane is irresistible. In “Beasts” on the awards circuit, which she is playing like it was her own Stradivarius. And people who were joking about her name, and calling her “Miss Unpronounceable”(I’m calling YOU out Pete Hammond)are now pronoucing her beautiful name exactly correctly. EXACTLY! And they are allll saying it with respect, and also with a smile.

    That means MILLIONS! Could L’il Q take down the Weinstein machine beyond Jennifer Lawrence. If any one could, SHE can.

    The last time I saw her, at the Gotham Awards, I asked her “Do you remember me?” and she COURTSIED to me! She stop signing autographs to all the screaming fans outside and she turned around and COURTSIED to me, like a real little lady! This child knows EXACTLY what it takes to win an Oscar!

  15. @Kane – I agree. That was a really good year for cinematography. No Country For Old Men should have won it in my opinion. It was a very very beautifully shot movie.

  16. Sasha–I just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs through the years. I love the way you defend your favorite films and a particular performance in a film even if I don’t always agree with your assessment. Thank you for continuously highlighting the need for diversity in films. We need more women and minority centered pictures that reflects the changing demographics in America. And I hope that ‘liberal Hollywood’ wakes up and start producing more films that actually reflects America. The audience is there if they truly care.

  17. It’s surely a competitive year for Best Actress, which makes it fun, but I can’t get myself excited for anyone other than Naomi Watts. Sure, I’m biased, as I’ve had a thing for Australians for years and think Naomi is both overdue and worthy for Mulholland Dr., 21 Grams, and even King Kong.

    For The Impossible to happen and Naomi to prevail over 4 women from Best Picture nominees, let’s realize that she is the most overdue in a group of overrated performances. Riva is excellent, but the character has very little personality, distinctive character traits, dialogue, or even direct screentime. Wallis is cute and stirring, but she’s just a child, and I have to hope that the Academy will quit while they’re ahead with her nomination. Her performance was molded by the director (good for him), and even though she is one of the only two self-sufficient characters in this race, it isn’t that complex a role. She’s a cypher for the movie’s story and makes Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider look like a complex performance.

    Jennifer Lawrence certainly has the most dynamic role of the nominees, veering quickly and naturally between drama and comedy. And I’m sure she’ll win because she’s a box office darling and Harvey Weinstein bought her win a la Gwyneth Paltrow (who was much better, in a much better, legitimately crowd-pleasing film). Not to say that Lawrence isn’t a terrific actress and screen presence with a great career ahead of her, but it still feels too much, too soon. To me this was just another Jennifer Lawrence star turn, not some great comedic or dramatic performance, and yes, everyone in the cast gets a chance to shine (except for Jacki Weaver; don’t even get me started on her nomination). But like Sasha said, she’s a supporting player to Bradley Cooper’s more complex — if less showy, less electric — portrayal of mental illness. But she may be the only viable choice for the Academy in a weak year.

    I have yet to see Chastain, but I don’t deny she is likely turning in another accomplished performance. However, I don’t care how many movies she made last year and how many more she has lined up; Naomi Watts is still more overdue, and Chastain has yet to match any of her performances, though she did impressive character work in both The Help and The Debt. Besides, as important a role Chastain has in ZDT, it doesn’t seem to be a very well-defined character (cf. Carrie Mathison on Homeland), and the film looks to be dead in the water for the top categories anyway.

    I’m seeing The Impossible today. I’m sure there are limitations to Watts’s performance because the real star is the tsunami, and screentime is split amongst the stars. But I’d like to see Chastain or Lawrence pull off what she pulls off before they win an Oscar. Despite The Ring, Naomi Watts will never be a conventional “movie star.” She doesn’t have the movie star personality of a Sandra Bullock, or her BFF Nicole Kidman. I don’t care. Lawrence is the biggest movie star here, and the other big one, Cotillard, was snubbed. So let’s not make this about Harvey Weinstein or the power of a good(?) love story or the Academy’s love for the movies themselves or this year’s It girl, rising star, or charity case. No, in a wide open year like this, give it to the most accomplished, most overdue, most expressive, and most emotional performance and that’s Naomi Watts.

    P.S. Riva and Wallis aren’t up for the SAG, and it would be rare for them to win without it, so Watts is still in this! :)

  18. Sasha,

    I hope you will not be pushing that “second African American woman to win Oscar” card for the rest of the season. That label would be unfair to Wallis.

    Also, I am wondering, since there is no Mirren in the race now, would British (and Aussie) votes go to Naomi Watts? In that case, Watts may have an advantage.
    Granted her movie doesnt have other major nominations, but that did not stop some former Best Actor winners.

  19. I said it before in Gold Derby forums but the fact that there is no clear number two only means that Lawrence is that much higher as number one. Same situation that DDL faces.

  20. I’m solidly in camp Riva right now, and base this strictly on performance quality.

    Being overdue, cute, hot or the biggest moneymaker don’t make my list of criteria used to judge a performance anymore than the swimsuit or evening gown competitions. I’ll leave that thinking to the experts that vote.

    That said, I plan on seeing Zero Dark Thirty today (bandwagoning boycotters be damned) and we’ll see if Chastain can surpass. I’m not expecting that she can, simply because of the role, but I’ll gladly switch over if she does.

  21. A great year for Best Actress nominees. I’m hoping for Chastain, Riva or Wallis but Lawrence is a good bet too.

    Just really happy people are mentioning Tom Holland by word of mouth. A lot of people who saw The Impossible have felt the need to acknowledge him since it has been quite obvious the big names will overshadow his performance. So…just wanted to put it out there. He deserved a spot for Best Supporting if not Lead, and sucks since I think all of the Supporting Actor nominees have already won?

    I would like to see Riva or Wallis win. But that’s only mainly because I want to see a film not many have seen to get some limelight. It’s a great year for acting. I DO think Chastain has it but you mention she’s like Meryl Streep but she sort of reminds me of Amy Adams. I love both Amy and Jessica but I fear Jessica will become a generic good actress like Amy who is always expected to bring great performances and as time goes on will be harder to impress (also like Leonardo DiCaprio).

    Although I would love to see Jacki Weaver win Best Supporting Actress. I still think she deserved her award for Animal Kingdom.

  22. The Japanese Viewer

    “Who’s da man!?” “I AM DA MAN!”

    That kid is so cute. Good for her. : )

    But I am still rooting for Lawrence. Or the lovely birthday gift from Oscar to Madame (Riva) would be equally savory as well.

    Sasha, as usual, a great read, la plus enjoyable and something to think along with. Merci bien.

    PS: When I first spotted the part Sasha’s written about the so-called attack du jour above, for some reason “Michelle” came to my bel esprit XD…. It would be utterly amusing if you tracked her down and found out that the IP address turned out to belong to one of the rival studios’ : ) JK JK….

  23. I still wish that Chastain won last year for her role in the Help. It was a much stronger performance for me. But I was/am happy with Octavia Spencer’s win as well. In fact, I liked her in everything she did so far (I didnt see her Broadway play). As Sasha said, she will have many other opportunities and nominations. By the way, it is very possible that in the same year (2013), she may win both Oscar and Tony, and i dont know if that ever happened before.

    I wonder if Jennifer Lawrence wins, what will that mean for her career? Too early peak? A possible backlash? or more opportunities beyond Hunger Games?

    I really believe that In Wallis’ case the director deserves all the praise. Hers was more just being a child than acting, but it is just me.

    Riva is great in a very hard to watch role, espcially I have grandparents at the same age. But she is very good, not very showy.

    Watts has the most physical role and I think she pulls it off quite well. She may have a surprise win.

    Finally in my opinion, one of the best performances didnt get nominated. I really loved Marion Cotillard, but again I am almost sure that she will be back to Oscars later. I think 2 French actresses in the same year were just too many :)

  24. Gabriel Oak

    I would like to see Riva or Watts win personally.

    @Stephen Holt — Though I agree Sasha has championed Beasts from the beginning, the film has gotten nonstop attention for months so the rest of the media has really promoted the film a lot. I know this because I have tracked the film online at my job for articles about Benh Zeitlin since Beasts premiered at Sundance.

  25. Gabriel Oak

    I’ve always found Watts underrated by the Academy. She was marvelous in The Painted Veil, along with Edward Norton, and no one noticed her. Loved her in Mullholland Drive, King Kong, and 21 Grams. But maybe Watts will have another chance for this year’s Princess Diana film.

  26. I think Jennifer has this locked because she’s not filming her next movie until April. She’s doing SNL next week and has a number of talk show appearances that follow. Lots of campaigning. If she wins, I won’t fault her but I really believe her roll in SLP was just supporting.

  27. Christophe

    @Gabriel Oak
    Or maybe Watts will win for The Impossiblle.

  28. I agree with Aragorn here. I feel that the performance of Wallis was mostly down to Zeitlin’s great direction.

    I’m going for Riva.

  29. Jennifer Lawrence will win. She’s young, wildly famous, and a huge moneymaker.

    That being said, I find her performance the least accomplished of the five nominees. The only way she can hurt herself is if she sticks her foot in her mouth during one of her speeches. In the last several months, she has made homophobic comments, transphobic comments, sexist comments, and insensitive remarks about the mentally ill.

    I hope that someone finally calls her out on her ignorance.

  30. Michelle

    I would find interesting to discuss about how correct is reward child labor. I know many people disagree with my opinion. But if Spain Academy of Cinema (Goyas), has strict rules on child labor. Why not the Hollywood Academy?. I think we could create an interesting debate on this issue.
    Don’t censure my comment.
    Thanks.

  31. You know….. this kind of thinking “Ah, she’s good, but she’ll be back again next times” has happened more than enough, although no voter would ever admit it.
    It should be all about the performance, but as we all know…. it’s just not. It’s about “the moment”.
    Critical acclaim, campaign, politics…. you know the stuff.
    Only one can win and I wish all the contenders the best. Age regardless.

  32. dinasztie

    I don’t see why the Academy would lose credibility if DDL lost. I think he’s kind of overrated in that role. I’d love an upset. (It might be because that I’m not American, though).

  33. Damn, Naomi Watts blew me away with her performance! She has absolutely no chance in winning, but she gave a great performance. I think this will put a stop of people continuously calling her “Nanny Watts” lol. An inside joke, since Nicole Kidman is pretty much always nominated for an award, Watts taking care of her children lol.

  34. Robert A.

    I agree that Lawrence is still the one to beat at the moment. I think Chastain is going to lose some votes because she’s starring in the “hot potato” movie that AMPAS looks more and more inclined to largely ignore. I loved Wallis in Beasts but am not sure I see her actually winning the award because of bias toward her age. If there’s going to be someone snatching the lead from Lawrence, I suspect it will be Riva, who also has general support for the movie behind her, or Watts, who has several very vocal and high-profile cheerleaders in her corner.

  35. Yesterday I´ve seen “Rust & Bone” in the theatre. Damn, so sad that Marion Cotillard didn´t receive a nomination for her great performance, but I guess the Academy thinks they already gave her an Award and that´s it for a long while. Especially because it´s for a foreign language film, and many members are not willing to watch that many foreign films. “Amour” nominated, credibility for the cinephile mob assured – job done. :-)
    That said, I don´t think Riva and Wallis have that much of a chance to win Best Actress. Not only because they are not on the SAG-list, but the Academy won´t give leading actress to such a young child. I don´t believe that. And Riva? Her nomination is the honor, the film will get Best Foreign Language and maybe – VERY maybe – Haneke for his screenplay. But that´s it.
    Naomi Watts is due, I´m totally with Sasha in her opinion about Watts, but this is not the film she will win for. It´s between Chastain and Lawrence. But one thing could be crucial: The Academy has obviously not that much love for “Zero Dark Thirty” (5 nominations is not nearly as much as I expected it to get – Hurt Locker received 10, right?), and they are REALLY excited about “Silver Linings” – great mainstream dramedy, I loved it too. It´s too lightweight for a Best Picture-win, but Best Actress is the category wo reward it.

  36. BFCA : Jessica Chastain
    GOLDEN GLOBE (Comedy) : Jennifer Lawrence (no alternate)
    GOLDEN GLOBE (Drama) : Jessica Chastain (alt : Naomi Watts)
    SAG : Naomi Watts (alt : Jennifer Lawrence)
    BAFTA : Emmanuelle Riva (alt : Jessica Chastain)
    OSCAR : Emmanuelle Riva (alt : Naomi Watts)

    I think Emmanuelle Riva is quite possibly the most likely acting nominee EVER who could win an Oscar without a SAG nomination. Her Oscar-narrative is simply unbeatable in my opinion, but clearly I could be wrong.

    Thanks to the GREAT (and remarkably high-profile) support from her peers (Angelina Jolie, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Edward Norton, Reese Witherspoon), I think Naomi Watts will take the oh-so-crucial SAG Award and that will put her into the top2 come Oscar-time. IF Jennifer Lawrence pulls off the SAG – which wouldn’t be a big surprise, they LOVED her film – , obviously she will be stronger than Watts, but if Watts somehow manages to get both the SAG and the Golden Globe, she might have the kind of Oscar-winning perception every contender needs for the final round. What works against her is clearly the BP-heavy competition and the fact that she has VERY baity roles in her near future (Princess Diana, Gertrude Bell), so they might just decide to wait for those to recognize her. I don’t consider Chastain top2 for the SAG because Watts seems to have considerably more passionate and vocal supporters and Lawrence’s film is the big SAG-favorite this year and it seems they weren’t really into Zero Dark Thirty (no Ensemble nod though it IS a big and acclaimed cast) BUT as Sasha pointed out if the HFPA really embraces their ‘The Year of the Women’ theme and give BP/BD to Zero Dark Thirty, then Jessica Chastain could win the Golden Globe, too.

    I don’t think Lawrence has a shot at the BAFTA, Chastain might thanks to the lovefest they had with her film (picture, director, screenplay nods), but taking everything into consideration, I feel they will go with the more viable European choice and give it to Emmanuelle Riva and since there are A LOT of Bafta-voters who are also Oscar-voters, I think Riva’s win there could be the strongest clue Oscar-wise.

    In the end, I think the Academy will go with Emmanuelle Riva because they will be painfully aware that this could be their last opportunity to recognize the talent of this truly remarkable actress, meanwhile the other four nominees are expected to be back in the Oscar-game for many, many times in the future, hell, all 4 could be nominees as soon as next year (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Serena, Twelve Years a Slave, Diana).

    Bottom line : In my opinion, when it is all said and done, surprisingly enough it won’t be a Chastain-Lawrence battle, I think it will be down to Riva and Watts. Strange Oscar year, indeed…

  37. No offence but Lawrence will not be a deserving winner. It’s such an ordinary role and not even lead. Personally Riva, Cotillard, Chastain are all better than her. Don’t know what to think of Wallis. Was she great? Yes but it feels disrespectful to award a child over professionals with years of experience, hard work and education.

  38. Dinasztie,

    I wouldnt say Academy would lose credibility if DDL lost. They gave Oscar to Sandra Bullock for God’s sake. But at least for now, and last 6 months, DDL is the clear frontrunner. He played a beloved President and gave a great performance. He is very well respected among his peers. He won TONS os critical claim and wards from critics groups. His movie just got the highest number of nominations and is also one of the frontrunners. And if I am not wrong, no lead actor or actress of a Spielberg movie ever won an Oscar.
    So, at least on paper he is a lock. But if he loses, probably to Hugh Jackman (?) it will be a big surprise. There will be posting that try to explain it. Some people will make nasty comments. But we will all move on!

    And I will respectfully disagree with you as i think he is not overrated with his Lincoln performance.

  39. I think this is the first time in a long time that all five nominees are NOT previous oscar winners. We usually have previous winners also making the top five a la Streep, Close, Kidman, Blanchett, Jolie, Winslet, etc.

    I believe Lawrence, Watts and Chastain each have been nominated only once before.

    My previous hunch was that Chastain would take the Oscar, but now I’m leaning toward Lawrence (because the film got so many nominations this week).

  40. Best acting race, by far.

    I could honestly see anyone winning, though, Wallis seems least likeliest to me at this juncture.

    It’s funny, even though I was least impressed by Lawrence and her film, what she has going for her (other than the obvious … Looks, the hunger games! Weinstein) is that the character has “warmth”.

    Chastain and Riva give very technical, skilled performances (I think the best in he category). But there isn’t the charisma or warmth present with the Lawrence character/performance.

    And then Watts is the one who is, perhaps, most due. She’s well-liked. And the role had a high degree of difficulty, if not with verbiage.

    I really don’t know what will happen. I’m hoping for Chastain, but feel like it will be Lawrence with an outside shot of Riva.

  41. Agreed that this race is wide open, but with Lawrence slightly ahead of the others, based on SLP’s popularity. We won’t know how the post-nominations race is truly shaping up until SAG announces in just over two weeks, as the HFPA had no idea of the Oscar nominations when they were casting their votes. But Chastain’s BFCA win surprised me, as I thought they were going all out for SLP and for JLaw, and it only makes things even tougher to predict.

    Naomi Watts or Emmanuelle Riva could easily win tomorrow night. That would be something I could see the HFPA doing. But Chastain remains the lead. And JLaw can’t lose. But then Riva can’t win the SAG and Watts can’t win the BAFTA. Like the Best Picture race, this one could come down to the only contender that could win them all. At present, that’s Jessica Chastain!

    One thing, Sasha: Emmanuelle Riva is 85, not 86. She’ll be 86 on Oscar night. I don’t want this to become widespread false reporting. Empire did it yesterday. That’d piss me off.

    And two points on which I thoroughly disagree with you:
    – Quvenzhane Wallis: she cannot win. No way.
    – Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver: neither can they. Certainly not Weaver. Not even the smallest chance.

  42. Edkargir

    I would vote for Wallis, but the Academy cannot go wrong in this strong catogory. I would have perfected Rachel Weisz in this catogory over Watts. I would vote for Cooper over DDl who will win.

  43. I’m rooting for a Riva or Watts win! Sadly, I haven’t seen three of the performances since ZD30 and the Impossible just opened yesterday. Also, need to get the DVD for Beasts. However, JLaw’s performance is not even in my top 5. If I get to nominate, I would definitely include Riva (for the win), Streep in “Hope Springs” (might I say, even a better performance than the “Iron Lady”), and Michelle Williams in “Waltz with Me”.

    Right now, my worst fear is Silver Linings Playbook winning best picture or director haha. I guess Russell has found a direction that works well for the Academy (see the Fighter), but so far I’m not impressed with this new direction that he’s taking.

  44. Forgot to add Rachel Weisz in “The Deep Blue Sea”!

  45. Naomi Watts was fantastic in THE IMPOSSIBLE (a Top Ten film of the year for me) but the film was stolen by Tom Holland, who deserved a nomination as either Actor or Supporting Actor.

    Rachel Weisz should have made the short list, though I am not sure at which nominee’s expense. I am a rare dissenter on BEASTS, no perhaps Wallis, though I can’t say anything negative about her fine work in it, and I do have a soft spot for a nine-year old child.

    Jennifer Lawrence is indeed the front-runner, and if she actually isn’t she would become one because of the lamentable ‘Harvey Weinstein Factor.’

    Jessica Chastain was extraordinary, and would be a deserving winner.

    Who actually deserves to win of these five?

    85 year-old Emmanuele Riva.

  46. Paddy,

    I agree with most of you said.

    But then you said “Quvenzhane Wallis: she cannot win. No way”.

    If you dont mind can you please tell us the reason for this certainty? I am just curious. I dont think she should even got nominated, but since she is one of the top 5, still she may have a chance. So why “no way” ?
    Thanks

  47. Sorry Jennifer Lawrence fanboys, but she doesn’t deserve to win “Best Actress.” Jessica Chastain is a revelation as Maya, CIA agent determined to track down Osama! Naomi Watts also have a stunning performance.

  48. Like you Lars, I am dreading anything connected to SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

    Already I am thinking it is possible that Harvey has wined and dined the Globes voters for tomorrow night, and LES MISERABLES will lose out in Picture and Actor, not that the Globes are anything to fret over.

  49. I think Jennifer Lawrence will win, btw. They loved that film, and it’s not a frontrunner in any other category. Then again, look what happened to frontrunners in other categories. If their choices for the winners are anything like their choices for the nominations, it’s gonna be a very unpredictable night! But I often think that unpredictable nominations culminate in predictable winners, and predictable nominations culminate in unpredictable winners.

    For sheer effort, JLaw would be a fine choice. She took a hideous character, misogynistic in its conception, and worked it out terrifically. She gave it some spunk, so to speak.

  50. Paddy, unfortunately Emmanuelle Riva wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe, it is (probably) downt to Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts tomorrow.

  51. Don’t quite know what “Lynn” is talking about here. Most of us DO NOT WANT Jennifer Lawrence to win!!!

    We are serious cineastes with abent for foreign language cinema, and no we do NOT want Jennifer to cop this prize.

    Haven’t seen many of those fanboys here.

  52. The second i thought we were unusually civilized debate in this thread, someone used “fanboys” and we know what happens after this!!!

    Lynne,

    I dont know for how long or how much you come to this site, but this year’s best actress discussion, at least so far, is the least fanboy infected discussion I can remember. (Probably will change as we get closer to the big night)

    Many people think J.Lawrence may win but not because they are fanboys, just because of some quite valid points. I dont think J.Lawrence is big-enough star yet to have some crazy fanboys, a la Streep or Bullock style! So lets keep this thread as it is. If only possible:)

  53. From IMBD: Behn Zeitlin on directing six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis: “She was so focused and poised and just was fierce. She wouldn’t do just what I told her to do, she questioned what I was saying. She’d say, ‘I don’t like this word’ and she’d delete it. I allowed her to own the words and understand what they meant.”. She’s not a little girl doing what older people told her to do.

    I’m so happy and proud of seeing this young man with all the talented people around him, getting the outstanding reception and aclamation they are receiving.
    A little out of this post’s subject, buy maybe of interest to someone else:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/01/11/how-the-beasts-of-the-southern-wild-director-reacted-to-his-oscar-nominations/
    Impossible not to feel rejoice about the story behind their 4 nominations.

  54. Shit yeah that was a mistake. Emmanuelle Riva obviously can’t win the Globe. I call for a WRITE-IN NOMINATION!

    Aragorn, I just think the other four contenders have too much heat for Quvenzhane to win. She won’t win any precursors now, guaranteed, she’s not overdue like Riva and Watts, and she’s not flavour of the moment, like Chastain and Lawrence, who’s also in one of the strongest Best Picture contenders. Beasts was so lucky to get what it got on Thursday (not that I’m hating, I liked it a lot), and the chances of enough of the Academy ticking its ballot box for the win are damn small.

  55. Paddy broke my heart this morning with this review:

    http://screenonscreen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/review-les-miserables.html

    LOL!!!! Just kidding. Nice work, though I’m heading over now to add my two cents. Obviously I like the film far more.

  56. Aw shit, yeah, the fanboys have been waiting in the woodwork this year methinks. They’re on their way out. Hopefully things won’t kick off like last year.

  57. What IF Marion Cotillard wins tomorrow night????

    Does anyone know when was the deadline for Golden Globe votes? I know nothing about their process. I wonder thursday morning’s nomination announcements could have affected their voting process and results…

  58. I knew I would, Sam! It gives me a nasty perverse pleasure to cause people that kind of pain!

  59. Christophe

    Not afraid of being called a fanboy, I loved the impossible (#4 on my ’12 best films list) and a watts win is the only chance for the acad to acknowledge this incredible film. so i wish this time they actually watch the movie and make up for the BP snub.

  60. “If 2013’s Oscar nominated movies told the truth—The posters!!!”

    This is priceless!!!!!!!

    http://www.theshiznit.co.uk/feature/if-2013s-oscar-nominated-movie-posters-told-the-truth.php

  61. Paddy, thanks.

    I was also thinking that Beasts needed 5% of the votes as the top movie to be included in the BP category. I wonder how many of those in that 5% were from Acting branch and how many of then the would vote for Wallis?

    Yeah, today I have a very curious mind for some reason:)

  62. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Does anyone know when was the deadline for Golden Globe votes?

    wiki knows:
    January 9, 2013 Deadline for receipt of final ballots by Ernst & Young

  63. Thanks Ryan,

    That wiki knows everything:) And I am lazy enough not to check it:)

    So this means that they voted before the Oscar announcements. it could easily mean that Marion Cotillard could win Best Actress in Drama or we can see a Zero Dark Thirty sweep…(or Argo sweep similarly).

  64. Saw those posters yesterday, Sam. They’re hilarious! Although the Zero Dark Thirty one pisses me off slightly by crediting Kathryn Bigelow as an ‘Academy Award-winning writer and director’. WRONG!

  65. I think this year is really going to be split year. So 5 nominees, all with their passionate supporters, split the votes and hence all it’s required to win is get around 25% of votes. Now, I think the only two contenders who have a real shot at getting that number is Lawrence and Watts. So, there you have your front-runners if only by a small margin.

    I also do believe Watts has a real chance to nab both Golden Globes today and SAG later. Golden Globes because Impossible has been smash hit internationally and SAG because of the ever increasing peer support for her. So, lets wait and watch how the most unpredictable of all categories pans out.

  66. Danemychal

    If I had my way, Chastain would win out. But now there are already 3 academy members publicly boycotting ZDT and urging Academy members not to vote for it in any category. This issue has gotten huge, folks. It is going to cast a strange pall over the awards season. And how do you treat it at the Globes? Have Tina Fey make a crack about it? Pretend its not even happening? It’s really too bad because I found the movie didn’t condone using torture at all. Those scenes were difficult to watch. But if torture wasnt used, that’s another matter. I just can’t see Boal & Bigelow making it up out of the blue when they took such great pains to make everything else in the film so authentic.

    I think Lawrence wins Best Actress, with Riva a possible upset. Safe Academy members will steer clear of the Chastain vote. :(

  67. There’s Lawrence, and then there’s everybody else. Maybe in a different year, but not this time. Hunger Games + SLP = versatility that outclasses Chastain.. Riva will get the sympathy vote because of her age.

  68. Sorry, I’m bored, so here : My Favorite Female Performances in 2012

    LEAD
    1. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
    2. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
    3. Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
    4. Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina)
    5. Marion Cotillard (De rouille et d’os)
    6. Helen Mirren (The Door)
    7. Alicia Vikander (En kongelig affære)
    8. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
    9. Meryl Streep (Hope Springs)
    10. Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
    11. Ann Dowd (Compliance)
    12. Maggie Smith (Quartet)
    13. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed)
    15. Emily Blunt & Rosemarie Dewitt (Your Sister’s Sister)

    SUPPORTING
    1. Jennifer Lawrence & Jackie Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)
    3. Sally Field & Gloria Reuben (Lincoln)
    5. Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
    6. Amy Adams (The Master)
    7. Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
    8. Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas)
    9. Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)
    10. Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect)
    11. Kelly Reilly (Flight)
    12. Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
    13. Janet McTeer (The Woman in Black)
    14. Pauline Collins (Quartet)
    15. Carmen Ejogo (Sparkle was shit but SHE was a revelation)

  69. Andrew R

    I don’t doubt for a second that any of these ladies can win. The nominations levelled out the playing field significantly, and I’m not seeing Jennifer Lawrence as this frontrunner everyone’s making her out to be. Her performance definitely isn’t the strongest, and she’s got this Kiera Knightley thing going on where she’s pretty to look at but annoying to listen to in interviews.

    Whether or not anyone agrees in that respect, I think Wallis should win. In my opinion, the most heartfelt performance of the five. Those saying that her performance was a total directorial triumph are out of their minds; every performance, unless you’re doing a solo performance in the woods somewhere, is the product of COLLABORATION. Of course Behn Zeitlin had his hand in the story of Hushpuppy, much like Stephen Spielberg does with Lincoln, and David O. Russell with TIffany, and Michael Haneke as well. She’s old enough to win because she gave a genuinely great performance that is competitive with performance from those 20 to 80 years older than her.

  70. I wonder about this year’s Lead Acting races as to who would be the Brody and the Berry come Oscar night.

    Phoenix? Watts?

  71. Jennifer Lawrence has this in the bag! Multiple Critic’s choice awards (3), Harvey behind her, left over support from “Winter’s Bone” Best Actress nominaton a few years back and unexpected additional support for her film, including Weaver’s unmerited nomination. She has also been campaigning like crazy—magazine covers and hosting SNL!!!

    She IS A FUCKABLE actress that these old 60 year plus White Men farts want to award for her looks or body, not performance. Think Roberts, Paltrow, Witherspoon, Bullock, etc. For this category, it is rarely about the performance, but a beauty contest. Last year was a rare exception–Meryl was long overdue and they felt guilty for not awarding her the years Bullock, Zeta Jones and Hepburn won.

    Riva and the lil Q don’t have GG or SAG nominations–despite their film’s numerous nominations, not having these nominations may hurt them. Also, the Academy never rewards AFrican-Americans in consecutive years (Spencer-supporting last year); therefore, lil Q won’t win this year.Making history as as the youngest best actress nomination is enough—if she were cute and white–she would have a greater chance.

    My fav Viola Davis needs to release her Barbara Jordan film next year and have some hot nude lesbian scene for her to win Best Actress–its’ the only way she’ll ever win. The academy couldn’t fanthom awarding her last year. If they had only awarded Meryl when they should have, Viola might have won last year! Look at Angela Bassett–easily the best AF female lead performance in the history of film didn’t win cause she wasn’t nude enough as Holly Hunter for “The Piano” was; I saw both film performances and Bassett was robbed. Berry only won for being a AF sleeping with a white trash guy and she was nude! These old White Men saw themselves sleeping with Halle…..LOL.

    Watts is the real darkhorse, in my opinion. Actors support might propel her to win the SAG award. GG are also unpredictable.

    Chastain, has her chances and defeating Lawrence at the Critic’s Choice Awards, usally a very good predictor, left over love from “The Help” and numerous award worthy performances in the last 2 years. However, her director NOT getting nomination, controversy of her film, likliehood that she will deliver many award-worthy future performances (ala Blanchett, Kidman,Winslet)–they will wait to award her.

    Watts in an upset would be AWESOME !!! Everyone will be in tears :)

    On another note, I hope the Academy does a better job for rewarding performances—this is how I see it: Best Actress: beauty contest; Best Supporting Actor–old fart White Actor who is overdue for an Oscar or they want to award again—this year’s nominees are all previous winners–what a shame Eddie R., Matthew M., Michael Pena and/or Leo should have been nominated. De Niro and Arkin had NO BUSINESS being nominated; Best Supporting Actress-ingenue award…….

    Only Best Actor is truly about the performance—in most cases!

  72. Linc4Jes

    Q. Wallis was about the best thing at the Critic Choice Awards. She was so beautiful as she went up to receive her award and if acceptance speech mean anything her reading her acceptance speech from an I Phone was a delight to see and the best speech of the night. She did it so easily. Even Day-Lewis had problems coming up with words in his acceptance speech.

  73. Linc4Jess

    After watching “ZDT” yesterday I can see split voting between all the actresses to where just about any one of them can win. This said, I haven’t seen “Amour” but guessing from what I read Riva is right in there with the other four.

  74. SallyinChicago

    To Sasha:
    because she’s the daughter of Dwight Henry, but Beasts is a movie about her imagination, her inner world and it’s a wow.
    ^^ the smear campaign is running wild on the message boards on IMDB but it’s about the “abuse” of the father. Even on the radio show there was a host who complained that the father was abusive to the daughter. So depending on how you interpret the father’s motivation, it’s either a hit or miss smear campaign.

    It’s not far fetched that Little Q could win, but I think Naomi Watts is going to win because she’s campaigning very hard.

  75. I truly wouldn’t be shocked with any of these ladies winning expect for Wallis. She’s too young to pull out the victory, imo.

    That being said – I think Naomi Watts deserves it this year. Not just for her beautiful performance in “The Impossible”, but for her career.

  76. Paddy—Riva cannot win a Golden Globe; she isn’t nominated. Neither is lil Wallis :(

  77. I like Jennifer Lawrence but agree her Oscar win would be for being Katniss as much as playing Tiffany. Naomi Watts is great in her role, but for a long stretch of the movie she is immobile, and I think the film may be too harsh for Academy members. Jessica Chastain has one of the better American female roles in years. She does remind me of Meryl Streep, because of her training, versatility and maturity. This is really evident now in the era of franchises and movies that look like video games. My money is on her for the win.

  78. I believe that the race is really between Chastain and Riva…

  79. The only performances I’ve seen so far are Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence’s. I don’t understand why people think Chastain should win. Sure she’s in a female centric film but she doesn’t get to do anything. Her character is boring! Her scenes are boring except for one scene. Once again it’s the male CIA agents who do everything in the torture and actual hunt scene. Chastain does not deserve an Oscar for her performance in this film and I think she did a much better job in The Help. As for Jennifer Lawrence, she’s so young but at least she gave a more interesting and even physical performance than Chastain despite popular belief that she was a supporting actress

  80. I love phantom’s comment about Watts. Hope this true.

  81. Riva should win

  82. Robert A.

    “Also, the Academy never rewards AFrican-Americans in consecutive years (Spencer-supporting last year); therefore, lil Q won’t win this year.”

    Huh? Who says they can’t. Just because they haven’t in the past doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t in the future. I doubt Wallis will win either, but if she doesn’t, it’s not because they can’t give her the award this year because they met their African-American quota last year.

    If the Oscar nominations showed us anything, it’s maybe that all bets are off this year. Maybe this is a year voters toss out the rulebook and let their Oscar freak flag fly. (Now watch the most predictable group of winners triumph in the end– Lincoln/Spielberg/DDL/Lawrence/TLJ/Hathaway.)

  83. daveinprogress

    Right now, i still feel it is Lawrence – v- Chastain, and the Globe results won’t clarify that scenario any further, but this category will shift in perception all the time and right up until the ceremony probably. Recent history of the awards suggests the younger women in the race will prevail. I can’t see the oldest nor the youngest winning, despite their films receiving major nods in other categories. Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are ‘so hot right now’ actresses, and both their films have received huge attention and acclaim. I disagree that Naomi Watts is overdue. That word feels exaggerated for Naomi. She has delivered some fine turns in 21 Grams (a nod), Mulholland Drive which she should have been nominated for, but not a whole lot else has impressed me enough to think she was a contender in other years. Judy Davis is overdue. Laura Linney and Julieanne Moore overdue. Having watched Naomi from her earliest tv and film appearances in Australia, her beauty and elegance limit her, in my opinion. She needs gritty, sparse roles to show range. I am pleased she has nomination #2.

    Winter’s Bone was a revelation of a movie in so many ways, and Lawrence will continue to shine in a variety of ways. Perhaps the Hunger Games and its success and her youth and beauty will all help along with the very strong showing in all 4 acting and film, director, screenplay etc for Silver Linings to perhaps propel her to victory this year, but right now for me it is Jessica Chastain. Her many films of the past 3 years have introduced the world to an amazing and versatile actress. The next set of awards – BAFTA and SAG will point a little more towards which way this race is heading.

  84. I love Watts but this isn’t the movie. I love Chastain but she doesn’t do enough in ZD30. To me the best actress in this group is far and away Lawrence. I just watched it a second time. And she nails EVERY MOMENT in the movie. What she does, what she doesn’t do, what she says, what she doesn’t say. It’s the most complete, full bodied performance. It may be light, but it’s deep. Balancing humor and drama is tough. Watts is all drama. Chastain all drama. Wallace I love but she’s too young. There’s no craft just directed performance. Let the nomination suffice.

    Team Lawrence. And no, I’m not some weird Hunger Games fanboy. Just a huge fan of SLP and her performance in it. Can’t wait for the film to expand – I think it’s going to play really well with mainstream audiences if given a chance.

  85. Just saw ZD30 last night and I wasn’t very impressed with Chastain. The most riveting part of the film (the raid) didn’t feature her at all. But hers is the only BA performance that I have seen so I don’t have much to compare to. Can’t wait to see the others soon. The best performance from an actress this year for me is still Hathaway in Les Miz, but that was a very small role.

  86. Jerry Grant

    Fascinating race. From a birds-eye view, I would say JLaw, given the love for SLP, but this race is hard to call for this reason: Her performance does not feel Oscar-worthy. I love her performance and I love the movie, but it simply may not be *good enough* to win the prize.

    My guess goes to Riva. My guess is that there will be a growing ground-swell of support for this movie and this performance in the coming weeks.

  87. After seeing all of these performances…please let it be Riva or Watts. Even though they both spend a large section of the movies in bed dying…they are 5 times the actors that Lawrence or Wallis are….and Chastain, though a great actress is miscast and just not great in Zero Dark Thirty.

    Overall…I think it is a terrible state of affairs in movies that we can barely find actresses to nominate. Even in supporting.
    I love Jackie Weaver, but for SLP?

    I have made a few people mad over my Jennifer Lawrence comments…but, I am not a hater, just don’t think she is accomplished enough to be at 2 noms already…and if she wins for this picture that, you can mark my words, won’t hold up, I will be very disappointed.
    Nominating a child who I doubt could have told you what her role was or her intent in any given scene was is just sad. Most of the time the performance wrought was really engaging…but, those moment when you saw through it…you could see a clueless 6 year old.

    Come on and get me…but, I am a trained actor turned small time director. I am DGA though and have worked on many sets over the last 15 years. I do know a thing or two.

  88. Jerry Grant

    As for the Best Actor race: Obviously, there isn’t much of one. DDL is tremendous. However, it bears commenting that in another year there would be two nominees who would be *very* strong contenders to win: Hugh Jackman and Joaquin Phoenix. Both honestly give Oscar-win-worthy performances, the kind of performances that have depth, variety, strangeness, and and clearly required difficulty. Hugh Jackman: in another year, there would be a ground-swell of support. He is the best part of the movie, along with Hathaway. The two of them tower over a largely-mediocre movie. Such range, such power, such talent. Joaquin Phoenix: There has not been much chatter about his performance unfortunately. To say it is Phoenix’s best performance says a lot on its own. But we also have to say: since Heath Ledger in “Brokeback” there have been few male performances that recall the uncanny powers of Brando. How did Phoenix get his mental state into this role? Baffling and unforgettable.

    Oh well—-another year, fellas!

  89. Film Fatale

    @PaulH

    Excuse me, but did you just actually assert that Jennifer Lawrence is more “versatile” an actress than Julliard-trained Jessica Chastain, who DISAPPEARED into diametrically opposed characters in:

    Tree of Life
    The Help
    The Debt
    Take Shelter
    Coriolanus
    Texas Killing Fields
    Lawless
    AND ZERO DARK THIRTY?

    Not a shred of resemblance in any character — vocally, physically, distinct manners and actor’s choices in each? THAT is versatility.

    And “class” you say? Really? II suppose you intentionally forgot to include how “versatile” the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence was in the “classy” trash movie The House at the End of the Street, which of released now would kill her Oscar odds???

    You need to pay attention.

  90. Unlikely hood

    1. Love the Space Invaders default icons

    2. We are gonna keep coming back to this category’s race again and again amd again. Because its the only major one guaranteed to produce a new Oscar winner, and because whatever people may say, there’s no real frontrunner. By comparison, the other races are boooooooooring

  91. Jerry Grant

    The only other interesting category besides Actress is Picture.

    The supporting actor race is not obvious, but it’s so boring now that they’ve nominated 5 oscar-winners instead of including DiCaprio or Jackson or Henry. Probably Tommy Lee Jones, but who cares at this point?

    Director – Probably Spielberg, but by process of elimination (Zeitlin, Haneke, Russell, Lee I simply can’t see winning).

    But that does not mean Picture will necessarily go to “Lincoln”. There are options…

  92. I think the strong Hollywood support for Naomi Watts is the most notable thing about this category. It says the community is very strongly behind Watts and I really believe the oscar is hers to lose. I think Riva has a strong chance to upset, but, Chastain is THE actress of the future, and many Academy members know she will be nominated, like Meryl Streep, for practically everything she does in the future, and Lawrence performance, to me, is not academy award worthy. I love her, but like Chastain, she will have to wait.

  93. Although I feel like Tony Kushner is locked for the win, it’s also refreshing to see that there are no past winners in the Adapted Screenplay race.

  94. What is this whole ‘child abuse’ thing? I’ve been on the IMDb message boards to investigate, based on Sally’s comment above, and found nothing, although I didn’t look for very long. Spend too long on those boards and I begin to lose faith in humanity (what little I have). Is it just Michelle’s maniacal comments these past few days?

  95. daveinprogress

    Jerry – I agree with you that the Supp Actor race is not obvious, but for me that makes it fascinating – and despite all being previous winners, it is going to be, for me, a tough one to predict. I would love to see DeNiro win #3 or Hoffman #2. I’m sure there will be other posts to comment on this further, but many of the categories this year are going to be nail biters on the night.

  96. I think Wallis will be deemed too young especially with such strong competition. I think Lawrence’s role seems too lightweight really and along with Chastain is a likely best actress winner in the years ahead. I think the race is Watts (seems popular amongst the actors) and Riva (her film surprised a few with a BP and director nod which suggesting it was well liked). I think they will go with Riva and wouldn’t be surprised to see Amour take director and BP too.

  97. One other thing:

    I’m encouraged at the attitudes of people on this thread. Not just looking at the precursors, but understanding the potential influence of other factors, like Watts’ industry support, or Riva’s age and status as an acting legend. Normally, people put all their faith in stats and precursor awards, and then things like Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke happen.

  98. Im sorry but people actually do think Jennifer Lawrence was fantastic! I personally fell in love with her character. That diner scene was explosive and she gave a great performance. Acting is subjective and i personally think people on this forum are prone to hysteria and hype. Love the performance regardless of other people.

  99. Please people, don’t try and knock ANY of the Actress performances that have been nominated, because each one is worthy. It’s amatuer to have to paint your favorite as “good” and the competition as “bad”. In some years that may be the case, just not this one. This category is loaded.

    I have to laugh when I read about how unaccomplished Lawrence is in SLP. It’s a great movie, a COMEDY (which always gets short shrift in awards seasons), and she holds her own against De Niro and everyone else in the movie – she dominates her scenes in an high-quality movie!

    I’m just as big a fan of dour, moody dramas as the rest of you, but don’t disparage the rare comedy that comes along that gets the recognition it deserves.

  100. Jerry Grant

    Also, Original Screenplay:

    If people seriously think the Academy is punishing “Zero Dark Thirty” (and given that Boal has already won), then Haneke and Tarantino both have a real chance. Especially Haneke.

  101. All 5 are great in their respective work this year and all are deserving the Oscar. I’ve never experienced an Oscar night with the excitement to see what is written in that envelop sure to be happy with the outcome.

    I have my favorites dough, Riva and Watts and Chastain … and Wallis and Lawrence…

    A tie like that year with Streisand and Hepburn would be so nice: Riva and one of the other 4 together on stage.

  102. Jessica Chastain for the win!!!!! Bar none. Naomi will get and deserve it with Diana.

  103. * though … sorry

  104. Bryce Forestieri

    Emmanuelle Riva gives the best performance of the year in the best movie of the year, she is a legend. If she doesn’t win it’ll be a goddamn travesty!

  105. daveinprogress

    I just wanted to sing out the name and performance from 2011/2012 which really impressed me – Michelle Williams in ‘Take this Waltz’. Sarah Polley’s film was given U.S release in June 2012, and has registered some recognition, but Michelle is such a brave and interesting performer on screen. I love her choices of movie roles.

    Off topic I know, but in the spirit of singing the praises of Leading Actresses last year…

  106. SallyinChicago

    Paddy, I may have used the terms too strongly, but here’s an example of recommending against seeing the movie, the dad’s abuse:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125435/board/thread/202523376

    by fair_maria (Sat Sep 1 2012 20:15:25)

    The children are never abused or harmed? Serously? striking a child to the ground is not abuse? I’m not saying behind it there is not context, but much of this film moves in metaphor. In my theater, some uninformed parents brought their tykes, and I sympathetically listened to their legitimate questions as their parents hushed them. Metaphors in film can be difficult for children (and let’s be honest, some adults) to follow.

    The OP wants to know can she take her kids to see the movie and the majority say no, there is child abuse at the hand of the dad. Also, on the radio today the host said he didn’t like the movie because of the dad’s abuse. It never bothered me, because as a minority, I can understand stress in the household and how people react when they’re under stress and worried about the little things, like how to feed the family.

  107. FrankieJ

    Great piece, Sasha. Such an interesting year. My heart wants Chastain but I can see any one of the five winning. That will make for an exciting night.

    What is this about 3 Ampas members already boycotting Zero Dark? Can someone elaborate? Who are they?

  108. The Academy’s “credibility card”…

    Surely you jest.

    They lost that many many moons ago when the likes of Citizen Kane, Dr. Strangelove, Taxi Driver/Network, Raging Bull and umpteen others lost.

    The lost it when the likes of City Lights, Notorious, A Matter of Life and Death, Singin’ in the Rain, The Searchers, Vertigo, Psycho, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Mulholland Dr., and umpteen others weren’t nominated.

    And then there was that little matter of Brokeback Mountain losing to 69 metacritic Crash.

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg, in Best Picture only. From Talk to the Animals beating non-nominee Mrs. Robinson, to Ennio Morriocone being robbed for The Mission and others, to too many acting and directing travesties to even begin to mention, the Academy has NO credibility.

    Sasha, will you stop watching and blogging if DDL somehow loses (no, he won’t, but what if?). It wasn’t enough for you that dozens of Academy members openly said they wouldn’t even watch Brokeback because it was gay? Or that they didn’t nominate Do the Right Thing for the obvious reasons it was racially charged? Or that they snubbed your beloved Social Network in favor of tv-movie-of-the-week sentimental King’s Speech? What does it take????

  109. Bryce Forestieri

    As of now (voting hasn’t even started) here’s how I see it:

    PIC:
    will win: SLP
    should win: Amour, Lincoln

    DIR:
    will win: Russell
    should win: Haneke, Spielberg

    ACTOR:
    will win: Daniel Day-Lewis
    should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix

    ACTRESS:
    will win: Jennifer Lawrence
    should win: Emmanuelle Riva

    S. ACTOR
    will win: Tommy Lee Jones
    should win: Tommy Lee Jones, Phillip Seymour Hoffman
    shouldn’t be there: Alan Arkin

    S. ACTRESS
    will win: Anne Hathaway
    should win: Amy Adams

    ORIGINAL
    will win: Quentin Tarantino
    should win: Tarantino, Haneke, Anderson & Coppola

    ADAPTED
    will win: Kushner
    should win: Kushner, Russel

    DP
    will win: Miranda
    should win: Kamiński, Richardson

    EDITOR:
    will win: Goldenberg
    should win: Kahn

    SCORE:
    will win: Williams
    should win: Williams

  110. I think Amour will win

    Best Foreign Language Film
    Best Original Screenplay
    Best Actress

    and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Haneke pulled a Polanski in BD, especially this year when that category is such an unpredictable mess.

  111. SallyinChicago

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/oscar-voter-zero-dark-thirty-academy-rules/
    Over at Deadline, there’s an anti-Zero movement among Oscar members.

    What is this about 3 Ampas members already boycotting Zero Dark? Can someone elaborate? Who are they?

  112. I love your analysis in this column I am very excited for this race

  113. houstonrufus

    I’m with you Sasha. Were I voting, there is just no way I could pick anyone else but Riva. It’s such an accomplished performance.

  114. Phantom, I must say that is a very persuasive call there on those three categories.

    Foreign Film looks like it’s in the bag, even with the Academy’s propensity to surprise in that category. But they did pick the heavily-favored A SEPARATION last year, so the odds are AMOUR is just too strong with those five nominations. The Canadian film WAR WITCH is an absolutely masterpiece, but it appears to be off the radar despite the nod.

    As far as Original Screenplay, I’d say it will take that. Kushner will win in adapted of course.

    So it comes down to Actress, and Riva seems to be gaining some buzz now.

    It all could happen.

  115. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    “Sasha, will you stop watching and blogging if …”

    why won’t somebody ever ask me similar questions?

    Ryan, will you disown your family if they ever disappoint you again?
    Ryan, will you stop watching the news if journalists keep broadcasting nonsense?
    Ryan, will you renounce your American citizenship if half the country ever elects the wrong dumbass guy again?

    No
    No
    No

    [I fixed your typo “just” to “jest” Bette. Because I accept when people screw up and I try to appreciate the things they do right.]

  116. Jessica Chastain’s performance in Zero Dark Thirty was so plain, so uneventful, and so dull but I don’t ble her. She was given nothing. She was in 3/5th of the movie and that’s weird since people have been calling it a female driven film. I love Jessica, I think she’s very talented but she does not deserve an Oscar for her performance in this film.

  117. Scott (the other one)

    Mathematically, it is possible for anyone who was nominated to win. The very fact that someone was nominated means they probably have some significant support, although we never know whether one person got 90% of the nomination votes and the remaining four got 2.5% each or whatever. But one can probably never say never.

    But I feel absolutely certain (!!) that QW has NO chance of winning this. I just do not see the Academy voting for a 9 yr old kid for Best Actress. This nomination absolutely screams “an honour to be nominated”. I think if the Academy wants to go for someone who is not a conventional Hollywood movie star, they are far more likely to vote for Riva, for an incredibly naked and powerful performance by a woman towards the end of her career. So I am sticking my neck out and saying that, from my perspective, it is a certainty that QW will not win.

    I love Naomi Watts, and people are gonna dump on me for this, but I would myself never vote for her in The Impossible. It was a performance made up pretty much entirely of screaming, crying, and then lying comatose in the hospital for the second half barely speaking a word. She did these things well, and it was exactly what the script called for (I’m not faulting her), but if I were casting a vote, I always prefer performances that are more about acting those subtle small human scenes of everyday life. Naomi should have won for her stunning work in Mulholland Drive, but not so much for The Impossible.

    Haven’t seen ZD30 yet, but I agree with whoever said that it could come up with no awards on Oscar night. The backlash will hurt Mark Boal, who would seem to me to be much more responsible for the controversy over the questionable politics of the film than the director was.

  118. Danemychal

    Sally in Chicago – Martin Sheen and Ed Asner are apparently both now calling for ZDT boycotts.

  119. Danemychal

    Scott – A film’s director holds court over everything included in the film ultimately. Bigelow has to own at least half the responsibility for anything that might be wrong with it. Its best chance for an Oscar is probably still Original Screenplay at this point, but I doubt that will even happen now.

  120. I agree that 2012 and 1996 is similar when it comes to talents involved and beloved movies given multiple nominations.

    Riva is the favourite to me and Amour is going to win 2 awards I think come Oscar night. Best Director and Best Actress is most likely cause both awards will be like a lifetime achievement award to two brilliant artists. And AMPAS would never nominated a French film just for fun. The really really love Amour.

    Watts is the other fav because of the heavy support from Jolie, Witherspoon, Norton, Downey Jr and Ruffalo. Thats a lot famous names combined with a huge network and popularity. Jolie is “married” to Pitt and Kidman is Watts´ best friend. Kidman will never forget the struggling years before Watts landed the real role in Mulholland Drive. Naomi Watts is also an incredible actress

    Jennifer Lawrence is a babe but she will not win. Its just not her time. The same with Chastain. Jessica is so talented and has a great future. Wallis is too young

    Golden Globe drama: Chastain or Cotillard
    Golden Globe comedy/musical: Lawrence
    SAG: Watts
    BAFTA: Riva
    Oscar: Riva or Watts

  121. When the nominations were first announced I also thought that this was one of those extremely rare five-way races but I also felt that the things would change in the six weeks and now before even the first week is over I’m counting Chastain totally out of this race. This insane smear campaign is not something to take lightly in terms of awards prospects since it’s unfortunately coming from liberals, not from some obvious nutjob extreme right-wingers. If the liberals are against you in Hollywood you are as good as dead.

    By the way Chastain’s Brecht quote from last night was exquisitely chosen in my opinion and was a very subtle and intelligent answer to all those bilnd accusations without dishonoring the character she played.

  122. Kidman is Watts´ best friend. Kidman will never forget the struggling years before Watts landed the real role in Mulholland Drive. Naomi Watts is also an incredible actress

    I know! My girls!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsoAYatP6FY

    I wish my Nicole was nominated this year. Maybe she’ll be invited anyway. They can walk down the red carpet holding hands again! Naaawwwww!!!

    Chastain’s Brecht quote from last night was exquisitely chosen

    Wasn’t it? Normally, I find things like that a bit pretentious. But it was so perfect. She’s advocating good sense and thoughtfulness. I’m finding the attitudes of people like Ed Asner and Martin Sheen rather simplistic – they don’t like the feeling of ambiguity produced by Zero Dark Thirty, and decide to take the righteous stance.

    Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

  123. I think Lawrence would be a deserving winner. She gave a complex performance in SLP. It is not just shouting, crying, worried look face. She gave more than that. She gave an extra punch to an underwritten role that could easily be a typical dream girl, zooey deschanel type role. The restaurant scene alone, the crying scene with Veronica, when she saw Nikki proves that. Well, this is coming from someone who loves BOTSW, Amour, The Impossible, ZDT. The only problem I have with Chastain is the way she delivered her script because it felt very scripted. She could have give a better performance if the role was written better. The script could have been more natural. Riva gave the most technically accomplished performance of the year just like Yoon-Jeong Hee in Poetry and Charlize Theron’s performance in Young Adult. Naomi Watts gave the most physically demanding performance in “The Impossible.” She has the Oscar written over her role. She was part of a tragic movie. She suffered and delivered. Every time she’s on screen, you can feel the certain gravity that pulls you out on your seat. She has a short screen time for a lead performance that could hurt her chances because it’s emotionally packed movie. Minute by minute there is a heartbreaking/emotional scene. Those jumps could well lead to not feeling her in the film at all. If the impossible got nominated at least for BP/or on one of the technical categories, she has a stronger chance. Wallis gave an elevating performance in BOTSW. She is a revelation and the center of the film. She carried with such grace and brilliance that could be mistaken as not an acting at all.

    Well anyway, I’m predicting Riva to win.

  124. Unlikely hood

    Paddy: seen it yet?

  125. And Sasha has to be thanked by all the “Beasts” people, because she, more than anyone else, IMHO, has kept BOTSW front and center ever since she saw it at Cannes.

    100% TRUFAX

  126. Not a fan but Jennifer Lawrence gave a more dramatic and interesting performance than Jessica Chastain. Jessica didn’t have anything else to do but sit in an office and obsess over Osama. There was no action or excitement from her and I blame mark boal

  127. I saw Beasts last night and one thing that stood out for me was 90% of the film is voiceover by Wallis. Who knows how many takes that took, but with voiceover in post-production, you have a lot more flexibility. So I think it would be a huge mistake in terms of actual rewarding craft and talent by giving the award to Wallis. Being nominated should be plenty of recognition already without going all the way.

  128. @Brent

    well, but an acting performance is not just lines said and dialogues.
    From Riva (nom) to Holly Hunter (win) to Dujardin (win)… don’t think their work is that verbal

  129. “If the Academy has stagecraft in mind, then they’ll surely like the idea of Riva being handed her Oscar by Jean Dujardin.”

    “Add on to that, Meryl Streep (arguably the greatest actress who just received her third) handing the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis (arguably the greatest actor who just received his third).”

    The idea of these events happening on February 24th gives me chills of joy!

  130. I completely agree. Think of Anna Paquin in The Piano. I just think it’s a sign that Wallis’ role wasn’t as complex or difficult as the other nominees, and a good deal of it didn’t have to be captured on film. I came away thinking what an impressive child actor, but to compare to what the other nominees were doing is a whole other matter.

  131. The Academy has been less generous to the very young and the very old the past 20 years. (One example out of many: Gloria Stuart in TITANIC lost to Kim Basinger.)
    Chastain will be the new Winslet/Blanchett, an eventual winner, though later than expected/deserved.
    Jennifer Lawrence almost has it in the bag: SLP + Hunger Games = Win

  132. Well, I just saw Zero Dark Thirty (rant appears in the Bigelow/waterboarding thread) and I’m now for firmly planted in camp Riva.

    For a prediction, I’d have to say Lawrence because, hopefully, that will be as high as SLP can reach. Plus my predictions are always worst case scenarios that will esnure some happy surprises during the broadcast.

    Emmanuelle Riva, imo, gave the best performance this year, although a win Watts, Chastain, Wallis or even Lawrence would not be the end of the world.

  133. Daveylow

    SallyinChicago writes: “I think Naomi Watts is going to win because she’s campaigning very hard.”

    How so? I haven’t seen much of her in the press.

  134. SallyinChicago

    I saw Beasts last night and one thing that stood out for me was 90% of the film

    ^^ Hmmm….I have to see it again, I don’t remember 90%voiceover — that’s excessive….but, you also must remember that at 6 years old she could barely read the script.
    You may not know this, but Dame Judi is experiencing the beginning of Alzheimers and I read somewhere that to remember her lines, she has someone recite them to her in an earpiece.

  135. I can’t help but feel the only reason Q Wallis (along with Denzel Washington) got their nominations was in fear of racisim accusations from the public, had the acadamy snubed them.

    @Sasha

    surely you must have felt that if they wanted to play the race card they could have found stronger performances to award!

    Apart of me also feels that awarding two foreign language actresses in non-American films would have shown how Hollywood doesn’t write good leading roles for Women, let alone women of race.

    Out of all the 5 nominees plus Weisz, Marion and Michelle Williams’ performance non of the films released this year with compelling female leads were huge studio hits COMPARED TO the male contenders films.

    I loved “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and I though Wallis was ‘cute, charming and loveable’ but what Marion and the other more older ladies did in their films was far greater.

    I take great offence when people dismiss Marion’s performance and suggest she didn’t give the strongest performance in the film.
    Out of the 5 ladies nominated Watts would have been the only one to have been able to give the performance Marion did.

  136. “Out of the 5 ladies nominated Watts would have been the only one to have been able to give the performance Marion did.”

    Well, as much as I think Cotillard deserved a spot in the top five, I don’t think you can justify that comparison by dropping poor Riva or L’il Q in an Orca tank. That would be like ringing the dinner bell, wouldn’t it?

  137. I just saw The Impossible, and man, it was incredible! I was hoping for another great, full-bodied turn by Naomi Watts, but I wasn’t expecting the film itself to be as strong as it is! Anyone who dismisses it, like much of the Academy apparently, really irritates me. I can see why they wouldn’t nominate the screenplay; there isn’t much of a plot there and there isn’t much dialogue. And as good as Holland and McGregor are in places, it’s really Naomi has the most to give (and no, I disagree with anyone who thinks she was supporting or doesn’t have enough screen time to win in lead; she was barely offscreen and clearly dominates the film).

    But rather than simply being a showcase for Watts’s enormous reservoir of talent and emotion, the film is a visual feast. I think it was so ripped off in the technical categories and especially in Best Picture, considering they could have nominated 10 movies this year and included Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close last year, despite weaker reviews. And whereas EL&IC barely skimmed the surface of 9/11 (as hard as that might be), The Impossible was an immersive, gripping, and powerful film to watch on the big screen. What they were able to accomplish without CGI was impressive. The director skillfully handled the pacing of the film, in a year with so many overlong, overindulgent studio contenders like Django, Les Mis, and The Hobbit. The emotionally resonant scenes are just as powerful as the breathtaking tsunami. The editing and underwater cinematography are first-rate, and apart from Anne Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” the tsunami and the later scene where Naomi Watts remembers the tsuami are THE most memorable scenes in film in 2012.

    It’s all politics. This movie isn’t backed by Weinstein, Scott Rudin, or an indie producer they wanted to vault to A-list status, so it gets the shaft. You’d think with how liberal and self-congratulatory Hollywood is, they’d feel remiss not to give a film like this one greater recognition. It’s truly upsetting. And considering how many films this year are flawed, self-indulgent, or remote, The Impossible does the improbable of being one of the best films of the year.

    @Rameo, you have your points, but Kathryn Bigelow got snubbed, at the risk of the Academy being called sexist (and the directors probably are). Maybe if Naomi Watts’s competition were like Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (let alone every superior movie Meryl has made in the last decade), maybe then I would understand the Academy feeling compelled to reward someone other than Naomi this year. But consider the depth and power of her performance and nothing else in Best Actress this year comes close. The others are all so overrated, and I agree that Marion was clearly snubbed despite giving one of the stronger (if more conventional), deeper dramatic performances of the year.

  138. Having finally seen all 5 nominated performances, that’s how I rank them:

    1. Riva
    2. Lawrence
    3. Chastain
    4. Wallis
    5. Watts

    Silver Linings was the last one of the nominated movies that I have watched, and I’ve been sceptical of all praise Lawrence received, but I have to say, that her brilliant performance almost equals Rivas. And all of you, who compare her eventual win to Roberts, Bullock and Co – well, hard to take it seriously…Lawrence wipes the floor with all of them. That said, it has to be Riva for the Oscar, and hopefully every voter will see Amour at last – a complete, and hauntingly natural tour-de-force-performance.

  139. I’m glad someone pointed out that Jessica Chastain’s performance in Zero Dark Thirty was overrated. I thought she was amazing in The Help and Tree of Life but she wasn’t as impressive in ZDT. I’ve seen a much better performance from Claire Danes in Homeland. I wouldn’t call ZDT a female centered film either because all we have Jessica doing is standing in the back with a frown during hte torture scenes, sitting in an office, and other agents chasing the suspects and doing all her work for her. I really hope she doesn’t win because what an overrated and dull performance.

  140. I think this is finally Noammi Watts’ year to win. You know how many powerful big name people are rooting for her? She has been working for decades without ever winning. Maybe this is her year. Also if it really is down between Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain, I hope Lawrence wins because she gives a far superior performance in Silver Linings than Chastain did in Zero Dark Thirty. That doesn’t mean Lawrence is more talented than Chastain or vice versa, it’s just Lawrence was given a lot more to do than Chastain.

  141. LillyB45

    I’m pulling for the Octogenarian or the little girl. Since the child’s prize is being nominated, I think Riva has the better chance of the two.

    I’m underwhelmed by Watts, Lawrence and Chastain. Honestly.

  142. @ Aragorn

    Sandra Bullock was great in the Blind Side. what’s your problem with Sandra Bullock ? she did fantastic job and won.

  143. Regarding Chastain: I like her very much, she was great in every role, but I think the initial praise for her Maya-portrayal was far too much. Even though she is supposed to be front and center of the story, she feels like, I don’t know…an accessoire? It’s not that her part is badly written, because the whole approach to the story is clinical itself…but it’s a thankless part for an actress of her caliber. She does what is required, but that’s not automatically worth an award. I am actually suprised, that the so called BFCA went with Chastain…the nominate Lawrence and especially Riva, but reward Chastain with the prize? For all their neverending mocking of Oscar’s decisions, they don’t fare better themselves.

  144. christiannnw

    I always love how the Best Actress category inspires such passionate discussions on this site, and this year’s set of nominees certainly warrants it. In my eyes, only two of these actresses (Emmanuelle Riva, Jessica Chastain) are inarguable, with the other three being somewhat questionable (Watt’s overpraised flailing and shrieking, Wallis’s lack of dynamics, Lawrence’s category misplacement), they’re all unique performances from completely different films.

    Honestly, I can’t imagine Riva losing this. Being nominated was her biggest obstacle, and now that she’s firmly within the Academy’s bubble, her potent humanism and delicate fragility coalesce into a towering accomplishment of screen acting. I want to bang my head on my desk when I read about Lawrence’s frontrunner status, as if her character actually warrants being on a list that includes Vivien Leigh, Meryl Streep, Glenda Jackson, Simone Signoret, Holly Hunter, Sissy Spacek, etc. I’ve always maintained that Lawrence is a very fine actress who could understandably have an Oscar under her belt already (for Winter’s Bone), but if she wins an Oscar for this role, it will be for her current celebrity rather than anything she did in “Silver Linings Playbook”.

  145. I think the whole “child abuse” talking point originated from Breitbart’s “movie” site. Then again they historically have issues with predominantly black films, but heck if they can explain just why that is.

    By the by the more people attribute Wallis’ performance to Zeitlin’s influence, does that increase his chances for a shock upset. He’s the director who is going to get the most press of the nominees.

  146. Film Fatale: One word. “Mama”. That’s Chastain’s Norbit.

  147. Yes, seeing a second woman of color win Best Actress would be great, but Wallis is probably the least likely to win. I just saw ZERO DARK THIRTY today, finally, my most anticipated film of 2012, and I have to agree with Patrick: I think 0D30 is leaving Oscar night trophy-less (except for, maybe, editing. Maybe). Chastain was good, but I think this is actually now between Lawrence and Riva. Remember, Riva could make history, too: passing Jessica Tandy as the oldest Best Actress winner ever. And it’s her birthday. And Frenchman Dujardin is (probably) presenting. And they clearly LOVED Amour. Honestly, though, this is the absolute best Best Actress lineup I’ve ever seen. I’m genuinely happy for whoever wins. They all earned their respective nominations. Were I to pick, though, it’d probably be Riva.

    Have to disagree about Weaver, though. Loved her in ANIMAL KINGDOM and glad she’s well liked, but Lawrence was the only good thing I took from SLP. I practically forget Jacki was even in it. Her nomination is more of a testament to how loved the film was than anything else.

  148. One more slightly off topic take on Zeitlin. Go on YouTube and check out a short 20 minute film he did called Glory at Sea. In retrospect it seems like a test run for Beasts. Pretty stunning stuff.

  149. daveinprogress

    Christiannw – i so agree with your statements and sentiments, and yet your last line is unwittingly truthful for many of the Academy’s choices – Reece, Julia, Sandra, Nicole. I’m not denying these actresses gave good performances, time after time more weighty or worthy or impactful performances have been either overlooked (un-nominated) or nominated and then passed over for a more famous, more glamorous, more publicised and pushed actress and performance. Yes the likes of Vivien

  150. daveinprogress

    (Sorry finger trouble) Vivien Leigh, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Geraldine Page Streep, Sarandon etc etc will also be in the same historical framework as Cher, Gwyneth, Reece, Sandra etc. We never get what we want.
    But I love your description of Amour – can’t wait for it to open here.

  151. As good an actress and screen presence as Jennifer Lawrence is, she’s not dropping dead anytime soon and could afford to wait a year or more for her win, rather than go the Helen Hunt route and (OK, other than Hunger Games) struggle to reclaim her Oscar glow for years to come.

    You can say all you want about Cher, Gwyneth, Reese, Julia, and even Sandy in the The Blind Side, but all of those actresses had already made more of an impact on audiences over the age of 25 than Jennifer Lawrence has yet. I don’t have a problem with youth. I have a problem with the film and anyone winning from it. With the exception of Sandra and maybe Reese — who has still done better work in other films than JLaw has thus far — the other actresses all gave better performances than Tiffany in SLP.

  152. I was so excited to see ZDT until I saw it last night and was underwhelmed. I don’t care what anyone says but Jessica Chastain was a SUPPORTING ROLE who just stood around and did nothing. I don’t understand what people were going crazy over? The performance was so boring and not even worth an Oscar. Just hype and I agree with others, Jessica did a far better job in The Help. Also Noami Watts seems be the one who might end up taking that Oscar home.

  153. And when you bring out names like Vivien Leigh (both times), Bette Davis (both times), Meryl Streep (both times), Katharine Hepburn (all four times), and Susan Sarandon, newsflash, nobody this year is going to compare. (I’ll leave out Geraldine Page because we all know she stole Whoopi’s Oscar; Riva is this year’s Page?).

  154. People have a problem with Jennifer Lawrence winning because she had a “small role” but what about Jessica Chastain? I’m sorry but that was a small role with her character, Maya, doing nothing. Absolutely nothing in the film. Funny thing is she stood in the background during the torture and interogation scenes while the men dealth with everything. This also includes the actual hunt with appearances of an angsty worried Jessica shown every few minutes. Really? Is this what we are rooting for? This is a feminist movie? You’ve got to be kidding me. I will turn off my tv if she wins. She should win for a better performance not this one. At least Jennifer Lawrence gave an interesting, exciting, and out of the norm performance. I’ve got to say I was impressed what she did with what little material she had.

  155. heath932

    Won’t be surprised if Naomi Watts wins out of nowhere. She has been struggling and acting for decades without any Oscar recognition. People like Robert Downey Jr, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sean Peen, and many other powerful industry people are rooting for her because of this reason alone. It will finally be her time… or not. I just hope Jessica Chastain doesn’t win for that ridiculously overrated performance. WTF were people smoking calling her role revolutionary? Emanuelle Riva was also amazing in Amour.

  156. daveinprogress

    Zach, in the immportal words of Travis Bickle “Are you talkin to me?”

    I wasn’t making any direct correlation to any of the 5 nominated women this year – you did so! I was picking up on Christian’s earlier point and examples of how certain winners that were considered the ‘greats’ sit along side others who may have got their Oscars for their fame rather than for their performance. I chose actresses that I perceive to be regarded as examples of the finest of generations. And then some who i perceive were rewarded for their fame more than the ‘best’ of that given year. I also find your statement about Page ‘stealing’ Whoopi’s Oscar curious and that ‘we all know that”. Do we?

    Time will tell on at least 3 of this year’s women. I fathom that few people had even heard of Emmnanuelle Riva before last month, and the percentage of child actors who are able to graduate to adult actors is not high. Lawrence and Chastain have bright futures, and Watts has lots of good work ahead for her too. This is a curious set of nominees pitted against one another.

  157. I stil didn’t see ZDT because 3 movies came out here yesterday but I’ll get around to it. I saw THE IMPOSSIBLE. I didn’t want to, but my old Ma thinks Ewan McGregor is her secret boyfriend so… Anyway, it was a lot better than I thought. Because I haven’t seen ZDT, I can’t say Naomi deserves it over Jessica, but I thought she was good. I’d be happy for her if she wins. I’m still not happy about the campaigning for her. Now I’m at the point where I wonder why they think she needs their campaigning. It’s kind of insulting.

    What I think is really upsetting about all of this is that the schedule has really taken any hope of fairness out of it. People are saying that ZDT doesn’t have torture in it because they found out just now. This propaganda has been raging for weeks when only a handful of people had seen the film. Now yes, all the people who vote get screeners. But you know as well as I do that they mostly go on what they’ve heard. If the word on the street is that the film condones torture and it doesn’t, that’s because the people on the street are passing rumors with no chance of seeing it. I think many performances and films have suffered from this schedule. What’s good and bad is only coming to light now, after the nominations and some actual awards have been decided. I’m of a mind that no awards and no nominations and no top ten lists should come out until January 1st of the next year. That’d make it a little fairer, imo.

  158. christiannnw

    daveinprogress:

    Thanks a bunch for the response. I’m actually one of the few people out there that believes that no “bad” performance has ever won Best Actress (save for Marion Cotillard, don’t ask!), and I actually admire winning performance that are frequently crapped on, such as Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cher. I don’t think a win for Jennifer Lawrence will be the end of the world, as she fleshed out her character way beyond the contours afforded to her by the screenplay. But in a year abound with rich female performances, I can’t fathom how Lawrence is considered the frontrunner right now.

    In regards to posts that criticize Jessica Chastain’s performance in “Zero Dark Thirty”, I’ll offer my reasons as to why I think her portrayal is so indelible. In my opinion, Maya isn’t a character as much as she is a blank slate upon which (particularly American) viewers can project their feelings towards the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent ten years leading up to Osama Bin Laden’s death. The film’s matter of fact, procedural approach to this subject appropriately reflects how our nation has become gradually anesthetized towards 9/11 due to it’s preeminence in our culture and the media; instead of effectively grieving 9/11, these attacks have become an integral part of our identity as Americans.

    Many of the commentators here have insisted that Chastain has been given a thin character to portray, but I think this criticism precludes reasoning as to why her performance is great. Instead of laboriously grappling with the film’s subject matter, Chastain frequently REFUSES to grapple with it, and it’s this refusal that makes Maya so unnerving. As the film closes, following Bin Laden’s death, Maya is at a loss, contemplating or not contemplating the future she must now confront. This moment of indecision is a beautiful summation of our nation’s future following Bin Laden’s death, a fork in the road where we must decide whether or not to lay this baggage to rest for good.

  159. Wallis is good, but it’ll be a travesty if she wins. She’s 9 years-old for fuck’s sake.

    And Riva? Havn’t you people realized by now that the Academy favors younger women and older men? It’s Lawrence or Chastain, both of whom would deserve it.

    Chastain a supporting role who does nothing? Get the fuck outta here with that nonsense.

    Oh, and Sasha?

    You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that the two women save Silver Linings. Bradley Cooper is brilliant and DeNiro gives his first good performance in I don’t know how long.

    You want to see a “nothing” performance? Just look to Weaver.

  160. “But Wallis and Beasts is hard to resist. If you loved that movie you will love her in it. And if she won she would also make history as only the second African American actress to win Lead. In 85 years.”

    Sasha, I´m afraid of you!!!!!!!
    You really scare me!!!!!!!!!!

    I hope the nominated child is able to clean her butt alone, without being directed by the director and editor for this …

    Now, let´s go to the pont. For serious adults.
    I think Riva really could win.
    But in a French movie and not being nominated to Golden Globes and SAG, it´s really hard.

    Lawrence´s only problem is being too young. It´s her only obstacle.

    I don´t see Chastain taking the Oscar. It´s too early…

    But I see Watts winning. Ok, for her carrer. Anyway, it would be a “safe vote” and I think, after the nomination´s chaos, it´s all everybody needs…

  161. I agree. Claire Danes gave a much better performance in Homeland than Jessica Chastain did in Zero Dark Thirty but I think it was because she wasn’t given much. Her performance was overhyped even before the film came out. Her acting is only looking worried in her office, frowning, looking at her computer, and talking to her headphone while others did her job for her. I personally felt like she was overrated after watching the film yesterday.

  162. “Oh, and Sasha?

    You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that the two women save Silver Linings. Bradley Cooper is brilliant and DeNiro gives his first good performance in I don’t know how long.”

    Sorry to burst your bubble “TonyR” but Sasha is 100% right. And though I have always loved DeNiro, he is pretty much in late career mode here with yet another ‘Smirking Bob’ portrayal.

  163. The nomination for Wallis is laughable. Plain and simple, it’s laughable. And people, get over Bullock winning. It’s over, it’s done, it happened, move on.

  164. Once the voters have seen ‘Amour’, it will be Riva’s to lose. I’m fairy certain that Riva will start winning from BAFTA and carry on to the Oscars. I think Watts will take the SAG.

  165. Antoinette

    I can understand if people think Wallis doesn’t deserve the award because you think she didn’t do a good enough job. But too many of the comments just refer to her age as the problem. Why does her age disqualify her from being worthy of an Oscar?

  166. The genius of Chastain’s performance was precisely that it seemed boring. She was steely and reserved. She did not reach for the obvious “female emotions” and she gave us a female character like we haven’t seen probably since Clarice Starling. People bitch about “oscar bait” but then that seems to be what they truly do want. Because she was not fucking and flashing her bod or wretching and crying and throwing fits during the whole film is was “boring.” I happen to think it was brilliant, she didn’t give a fuck about showing off to please everyone. She cared about her character and she rocked it.

    Also You may not know this, but Dame Judi is experiencing the beginning of Alzheimers and I read somewhere that to remember her lines, she has someone recite them to her in an earpiece.

    That is 100% untrue. She has macular degeneration, which makes you go blind. She can’t SEE the script, so that is why the lines are read to her.

  167. What I really want to know is, who died and made Chastain the new Julianne Moore?

    And is JLaw the new Helen Hunt?

    They just feel like types to me.

  168. Well, since Julianne Moore is still alive, I guess no one. Or are we not allowed to have two really good actresses with red hair?

  169. We do, and their names are Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman.

    OK, I think Chastain is talented. I just think both she and JLaw are overpraised, over-discussed, over everything. I know it’s “their year,” but enough. If only we could all agree that neither one is giving the performance of her life here.

  170. Having just seen Silver Linings, I really don’t think Lawrence gave the best performance of the year. It was just such a nothing role to me.

    Riva is the most deserving, and most difficult, but they will give it to Lawrence in the end. This category tends to give it to the biggest “movie star” – Bullock, Roberts, Witherspoon, Portman, Theron – and Lawrence is the biggest star.

  171. Daniel B.

    How is a performance genius when it seems boring??? Chastain is was overpraised.
    I have a feeling that it will be between Riva and Watts.

  172. Well said, Mel – people do bitch about “Oscar bait” and then gripe when an actor doesn’t fall into histrionics.

    Fans complain that comedy is ignored. When it is included, they are dismissive (how is Cher in Moonstruck terrible?).

    I think it would be cool to honor Wallis with the miniature Oscar they used to give child actors back in the day. She will not win mainly because of her age, which is excatly why they used to hand out those little guys.

    Is anyone else reminded of Away From Her when watching Amour? Julie Christie was the supposed frontrunner that year, until Frenchwoman Cotillard “stole” it from her. If Riva loses, would it be considered ironic?… eh, perhaps if darkhorse Jennifer Lawrence nabs the Oscar with her performance in “Piece of My Heart”, a emotional Janis Joplin biopic.

  173. Daniel B.

    I would rate the performances:(I don’t care whether it is Riva or Watts at the end)
    1.Riva
    2.Watts
    3.Lawrence
    4.Wallis
    ….
    ….
    Chastain

  174. True. Jessica Chastain’s performance is overrated, overpraised, and overhyped.

  175. Daveylow

    Antoinette writes: “I can’t say Naomi deserves it over Jessica, but I thought she was good. I’d be happy for her if she wins. I’m still not happy about the campaigning for her. Now I’m at the point where I wonder why they think she needs their campaigning. It’s kind of insulting.”

    Actors are making a point of singling out Watts’ performance because it’s obvious many had not seen The Impossible so late in the year and they did not want Watts’ acting to go unnoticed. I have no idea why McGregor and Holland have not received recognition, and the film could have certainly been nominated in technical categories as well.

    I’m glad actors have said something about Watts because otherwise she might have not been nominated at all.

    And you don’t think other actresses haven’t been campaigned for? Of course, they have.

  176. If I were to rank the performances, it will be:

    Riva: Changing ship now… Before I was rooting for Watts, but after I re-watched Amour and with this “oldest Oscar nominated actress” buzz, then I’m rooting for her….

    Watts: Such a performance that will definitely pierce hearts out! And that is without all that loud theatrics of the other contenders… And I would LOVE her to win if not Riva

    Chastain: The very center character of a well-accomplished movie… I also think that not every leading woman in Hollywood could pull off that subtle performance… She may not have that “Oscar scenes” but that scene with Kyle Chandler’s character is enough, I guess…

    Wallis: I honestly thought that she doesn’t have much acting to do in the movie since her age perfectly fits Hushpuppy, but her presence in the movie is a force that made me think how bright this child’s future in Hollywood will be…

    Lawrence: She maybe the love interest of Cooper’s character but I still stand by what I said that her character perfectly fits in a supporting role… And could definitely give Hathaway a run for her money!

  177. Funny thing…people complain that “oscar bait” performances get all the attention, then when Lawrence and (especially) Chastain give subtle-ish performances people say they don’t deserve the award and call them “nothing” roles.

    Most of the time, all five performances in any category are fairly equal (with the rare exception of a Jackie Weaver or Jonah Hill who are pretty much filler), and the only way to decipher who truly deserves it is…who has been turning in great perf after great perf recently? Well that’s Lawrence and Chastain.

    Riva and Wallis? This is Wallis’ first role and Riva’s first great performance in my opinion. Watts could also be deserving but I can’t exactly argue for her since I havn’t seen the movie yet.

    Lawrence? Winter’s Bone, Like Crazy, The Hunger Games, and now SLP. All good/great performances.

    Chastain? Even better…Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter, Lawless, and now ZDT.

  178. @Sam

    I’d agree that Deniro’s isn’t exactly a bravura performance, but he deserves his spot more than Arkin and Waltz.

    Cooper, on the other hand, was a revelation. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

  179. Sato – I like and agree with your rankings; mine would be the same.
    Riva
    Watts
    Chastain
    Wallis
    Lawrence

  180. Let’s be frank. After Amour getting five nominations including BP and BD, Riva has become the frontrunner in this category. Nominations show the Academy loves Amour and do not forget it is always very difficult for a foreign language film to get nominated for BP. This shows Amour is a first class movie on Academy merits.

    Chastain was the early favorite but Bigelow failed to score BD nod and this is not a good sign – Chastain is out in my viwe.

    Lawrence is very young and her performance is not leading the film and is not oscar caliber. Bradley Cooper is the main character.

  181. TR: With all due respect I did not see what DeNiro did as anywhere near Waltz’s turn in DJANGO.

    If I were voting I would choose Waltz of these five in fact, though my absolute favorite is the un-nominated Tom Holland for THE IMPOSSIBLE.

    But fair enough, we have our varying opinions.

  182. **She IS A FUCKABLE actress that these old 60 year plus White Men farts want to award for her looks or body, not performance. Think Roberts, Paltrow, Witherspoon, Bullock, etc. For this category, it is rarely about the performance, but a beauty contest. Last year was a rare exception–Meryl was long overdue and they felt guilty for not awarding her the years Bullock, Zeta Jones and Hepburn won.**

    So Roel you know all these over 60 white men farts personally? You’ve spoken to all of them and they’ve confided in you? Ya just gotta love generalities. I know that there are probably a lot of gay men in AMPAS who wouldn’t want to sleep with Lawrence. They might want to help her buy shoes or pick out a dress but sleep with her? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh no I think a lot them would pass.

  183. This is the MOST exciting year in Oscar racing I remember in terms of not-locked winners. Save Anne Hathaway, that seems a pretty done deal, I don’t see a single cathegory that isn’t open or torn. Best Actress is probably the most f*cked up and all 5 women should be preparing the accepting speeches “just in case”. However, this is how the situation stands, in my opinion.

    1. Chastain. She’s in a roll, Zero Dark Thirty disappointed in the noms and many people would make safe that the film takes something big, now that Best Picture seems a longshot. Given than Boal won for “The Hurt Locker”, when in doubt, no big worry that the ZD30 supporters may focus their efforts in voting for Jessica.

    2. Watts. ZD30 disappointed in the noms, but The Impossible has one only chance to be recognised. Despite the tepid reviews (in my opinion, the film is closer to The Tree of Life, in spirit and makes a perfect double feature with its dark reverse, Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, which has been embarrassingly ignored on all levels), the film scored BIG support from key Hollywood names, and it is one that hits hard in the guts. Their supporters will also believe that rewarding Watts is also rewarding not only the film itself, but also her costars, specially Tom Holland who should have been nominated in Lead. How many times do we see a child become a man, believably, on screen, the whole proccess, taken in a couple of days “real time”?

    3. Lawrence. The “it” factor, the big star being born. SLP has scored 8 noms and so, but, she’s reminding me tremendously of Julia Roberts’ 2nd nom, for “Pretty Woman”. It’s maybe too soon, for an actress that is aiming to be quite often at the contenders role call. Also, people tend to think of this as a bit of cathegory fraud, while the others (with the possible exception of Watts, pun intended) are obvious leads.

    4. Wallis. She has a really good chance, even thought “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a film that the AMPAS nor Hollywood actually CARES for giving it the Oscar winner brand, truth is, Wallis may be the best shot. Oscar LOVES shots like Anna Paquin’s acceptance speech, on the media. Increases ratings and Wallis seems to be the soul of the film.

    5. Riva. Repeat with me… OSCAR DOESN’T OWE ANYTHING TO RIVA. OK? Got it? Right. IF they want to reward Amour, first they will give it Foreign Film. Then, Original Screenplay. Then, Best Direction. Then, Riva. Then Best Picture. That’s the order. They didn’t have a single problem to give it to Bassinger rather than to Gloria Stuart, in the most successful film of all times (11 Oscars and worldwide b.o. record back at the time). Do you really think Riva is going to succeed where Fernanda Montenegro, for example, couldn’t? It would be nice, but this is the kind of Mastrioanni (Marcello) nomination. European great actor that can achieve an Oscar nom in his/her resume at old age. Would it be nice? Yes. But this ain’t the European Film Awards, folks. REMEMBER THAT.

  184. 1. THE IMPOSSIBLE did not get “tepid” reviews at all, but very solid ones. Check out the sites.

    2. Who is saying anything about the Academy “owing” Riva? That’s a bizarre way to frame it. People here are predicting that Riva might win. Are they allowed to do that?

  185. Sam Juliano:

    The Impossible is way better than reviews are saying, only a few of them notice that the real value, the real themes of the film are different than what people is talking about. The film uses a real life story as excuse to actually focus and explore on the randomness of the struggle for survival. These people don’t do ANYTHING special that others didn’t do in order to survive, not to mention to deserve that the whole family is reunited. Some people criticize that, and it is why the film is highly unpopular with some groups, it’s an agnostic, probably atheist POV that is bitter to swallow. The film is also accused of manipulative and exploiting the tragedy. God, how much I wish this people saying this ever enter a refugee camp as I have done, then they will notice how shy Bayona was to actually show too much on screen. It’s soft compared to real life, ’cause the point was never to exploit the suffering but to analyze it.

    On Riva, everyone is entitled to champion whoever they want. Riva can win, for sure. I said it’s a really open race. But she’s the most unlikely winner, along with Wallis. I think it’s Chastain to lose, Watts as possible spoiler and Lawrence as dark horse.

  186. SallyinChicago
  187. I had thought Lawrence was the front runner, but I’m changing my mind after considering the overall AMPAS support for “Amour” – especially the Best Picture/Best Foreign Film/Best Director/Best Screenplay citations.

    Riva is the front runner, by a nose. Lawrence and Chastain are still so young and new to the industry. AMPAS may wait until they each have racked up some more nominations (which they undoubtedly will given their talent. Watts has earned her spot with great work over the years, but “The Impossible” not being nominated in other categories doesn’t show a lot of branch support for this movie, so I suspect she’ll be left in the dust.

    It’s a very difficult race to call this year. Love it!

  188. The idea that Lawrence is supporting in SLP is laughable. Just because she is not onscreen for the first 10 minutes of the movie doesn’t mean she’s not lead. She and Cooper carry the movie, from the first meeting at Veronica’s house to that horrible ballroom dance routine at the end. The belief that her 2 hours of screentime should be in the same category as Hathaway’s 30 minutes makes no sense at all.

  189. Jesus:

    The two ways we have to gage cumulative review summaries are META CRITIC and ROTTEN TOMATOES. At both sites THE IMPOSSIBLE is doing very well.

    At MC, the number is a solid ’74’ with 5 100% ratings.

    At RT, the numbers are 121 favorable to 30 negative with a stellar composite of 80%.

    Your argument in behalf of the film is very convincing and well-written.

    You can count me as a huge fan of the film. It made my own Ten Best list for 2012.

  190. And since when does screen time became the sole basis to determine if the performance is lead or supporting? Many argue that Arkin’s performance in Argo shouldn’t even be nominated because of little screen time. But he made the most out of the few scenes he’s in… That’s why I think he deserves to be at least nominated… And yet Hopkins even won for Silence of the Lambs for the lead…

  191. Never mind that 99.99999% of moviegoers outside of forums like this have no idea who the frak Riva is.

  192. NAOMI WATTS DESERVES TO WINS THE ACADEMY AWARDS,THE SCREEN ACTORS AND THE GOLDEN GLOBES.
    She gave the best female performance of the year, a real tour de force performance,she is much more better than Jessica,Jennifer or Emanuelle Riva.
    She is the most underrated actress working in the movie business know a days,she finally deserves to win her first Oscar.
    Thank you Naomi you made me cry with a so visceral and in other hand so subtle performance.

  193. Concerning Wallis: I’m going to go rogue here for a minute. If you’re a lazy reader, just keep moving…

    Needless to say I’ve been a champion for this kid since the get go (meaning Sundance 2012) & I’m ecstatic about her Oscar nomination.IMO, she delivered a fantastic performance & deserves this. Props to her.

    I think it’s absolute BS & sheer garbage on the part of many people here who assume (emphasis on ASS) that a 6 year old ACTRESS (remember that word people) cannot deliver a worthwhile or solid performance due to mostly talent & smarts. It chaps my hide that some folks just HAVE to be contrary & attribute her performance mostly to Benh Zeitlin.

    Yeah, his direction was great; however, delivering such a beautiful, touching performance takes TALENT. Zeitlin could have thrown “directions” at her all day long, but without some kind of greater intelligence or insight, she wouldn’t have even come close to what anyone saw on that screen. That last scene where “Hushpuppy” watches with dignity bidding a silent “goodbye” to her father was sheer beauty. I don’t give a damn what the doubters say–I’m attributing that to plain talent & intellect.

    Anyone that has seen “Nazie” in interviews should recognize that she’s not your average kid.In her audition footage it is crystal clear that she has something beyond the “cuties”.There’s a bit more depth of understanding involved here.

    People need to understand that when child actors are being sought after to play a role with complicated emotions, they HAVE to understand. There’s no getting around it. It’s what many call the “X Factor”. It’s not about being just “adorable” or having coached precociousness. It’s about REALness. IMO, young Nazie had it, that why she got the job. They saw thousands of cute girls I’m sure, but she was able to stand out because of portraying reality convincingly.

    Has it ever occurred to any of you who assume she was only “following the General’s orders” that Quvenzhane may just be *gasp* uh, SMART? Wow, gee Beav, guess not. I guess kids who are considered geniuses aren’t that intelligent either. They just happen to blindly follow the leads of smart adults issuing the orders because they’re not really smart enough to understand anything beyond “The Wheels on the Bus”. Ridiculous.

    Was Jodie Foster “too young” or not “intelligent” enough at 12 to grasp the pain & suffering of prostitute Iris in “Taxi Driver”? Was Dakota Fanning at SIX (hello, can you hear me now?) not smart enough to portray the distress ,confusion & embarassment of a child being raised by & removed from the care her mentally challenged father? Of course not.

    Children are, get ready you all: HUMAN, therefore, why shouldn’t they have the ability to portray these emotions honestly, without having to loan it to only “taking orders” from adults?They may not be as experienced in life as adults,but if they are gifted enough, they can portray difficult emotions just as well.

    It’s plain stupid to assume that a 6 year old isn’t “capable” of translating emotions of pain, sadness, fear & joy all on their own, without an understanding & RESPECT for what their character is going through. If a young child loses a loved one, are they not distressed & saddened as well? Of course they can be. So why assume that they are “incapable” of acting out those emotions too—withOUT a great deal of coaching from grown ups.

    To be honest, kids are some of the best actors on the planet. We see it everyday,but take it for granted. We just call it “pretending” on the playground, or “manipulating” Mom/Dad in the store by throwing a “tantrum”. Get the picture now folks? Whether one is 6 or 60, a great performance can be accomplished by the gifts of talent,intellect & understanding. Nazie has all of these.

    Congrats to her. She’s got a bright future ahead—with or without the opinions of the doubters.

  194. Someone mentioned Fernanda Montenegro. She absolutely broke my heart in Central Station. Out of all the Best Actress Nominees this year, Riva gives the most accomplished, inwardly quiet and yet the role spoke volumes type of performance. I am utterly perplexed though at the lack of recognition for Jean-Louis Trintignant. He was brilliant in Amour. Absolutely brilliant.

  195. Brad Thompson

    Sadly, I think it will be 1998 all over again in the Best Actress category. Cate Blanchett, who should have won the Oscar, took home the Globe for drama and, thanks to Weinstein & Co., comedy Globe winner Gwyneth Paltrow went on to beat her. That, to me, is in the running for worst “popularity over talent” display in history, with the biggest competition for that title being Julia “I wore a push-up bra and said the f-word a lot” Roberts beating the likes of Laura Linney, Ellen Burstyn, and Joan Allen in 2000. Disgusting. While I like Jennifer Lawrence, her work in SLP is not in the same league of that of Chastain, Riva, or Watts. But, on her worst day, Blanchett is about a thousand times the “actress” Paltrow is on her best. At least Lawrence has some talent.

  196. I just hope for a surprise. and Jennifer Lawrence’s winning would be the only case that is not quite surprising mainly truly because of the Weinstein relation.
    Don’t get me wrong, JL’d shown how much talent she has and how exquisite she is comparing with other young actresses in “Winter’s Bone”. That was an absolutely stunning performance. Thus giving her an Academy Award for Silver Linings might feel more like a Reese Witherspoon win (who showed a better performance in, for instance, “Election” ), something that is not quite convincing, something that just happens to fit all the game rules.
    Riva has undoubtedly the most difficult role. It must have been very difficult for her as a human being not connecting this role to her real life and age. But she not just overcame, she brought us through the film subtly the fading life of a lady with so much self-esteem.
    I love Wallis. Her performance is a phenomenon. But I really do not love to see her win. It’d still be too overloaded for her age.

  197. Ah, I wish I was a part of this post form the get-go…the Best Actress race is (as usual) one of my favorite subjects to discuss. This year, it’s pretty insane and I’m happy that it’s not a clear Streep vs. Davis story.

    Instead, they nominate a 5 year old’s performance.

    SWP, you make a great case for her performance and you throw in words like gifted and talented, which no doubt you are right. Wallis is defintitely gifted and talented, she’s obviously a smart kid to know how to channel someone like Hushpuppy. But how much ACTING SKILL do you have at that age? Not sure if you’re old enough to have any, and that’s why some people are scratching their heads and being all uppity about this nomination. She got Marion Cotillard snubbed for Chistsakes (have you seen Rust and Bone?) and to say that Wallis, now 9 years old, deserves it more than Marion Cotillard (given that all the other four save for Lawrence deserve it, that’s what makes this category so good) is clearly missing the point as to why some people are surprised and kind of upset over it.

    She’s a child and you have no idea how much Zeitlin’s direction helped her or not, but considering the fact that she’s so young you’d have to wager that it was a lot of direction. It was mostly instinct, and natural gifts for portraying some emotion. That’s Oscar worthy? Please, give me a break. Acting is a combination of talent & skill and all this Wallis nomination did was bring a lot of media attention and mark another history changer for the Academy. They got overwhelmed with emotion for the overrated Beasts of the Southern Wild perhaps, and ticked the box. Still, very undeserved nomination especially when you have performances like Cotillard’s on the sidelines now.

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    {This sort of|This type of|Such|This kind of} clever work and {exposure|coverage|reporting}!
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    {Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hey there|Hello|Hey} would you mid letting me
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    the {layout|format|structure} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {blog|weblog}.
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