Best Actress: The Veterans and the Rising Stars

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When Emmanuelle Riva won the BAFTA for Best Actress it underscored what we’ve been saying for years — that you have to go all the way to France to find storytellers who are willing to contemplate the idea of women as whole human beings with their own arcs. It’s astonishing to me that we’re headed for yet another Oscar Best Picture win where American women are almost invisible onscreen. It’s no worse than last year, but things sure ain’t getting much better. In Europe they don’t retire women after the age of 40. In Europe, they don’t have to appeal to 13- 18-year-old boys. In Europe, they don’t hide age, or run from it, or sell their citizens endless anti-aging products. But in America, if you’re Meryl Streep and you’re working still you are one of the very few, a rare orchid in the hottie hothouse.

Now Best Actress is down to three. And each role represents a very distinct type of actress and a very distinct type of character. Riva defies everything Hollywood represents and yet has the best chance to win, it seems. Jessica Chastain plays the only part that isn’t defined by a male character. Jennifer Lawrence is the more traditionally accepted female — the love interest, the hottie with a heart of gold. All three actresses do great work. But Riva stands out for reasons that go even beyond the performances.

American storytellers are hit with so many roadblocks. For women and people of color, Hollywood is a World of No. No, you can’t hire an 85 year-old woman and make a movie about her and her beloved husband aging and dying. Who’s going to buy tickets to that?

Riva’s is one of those once-in-a-lifetime performances and it is in keeping with the kind of thing Oscar would reward if filmmakers wrote more characters like that, if America weren’t under the thumb of having to appeal to the wallets of adolescent boys. Amour’s lovely Anne starts out as a healthy, elderly wife and then in the space of a heartbeat begins to abruptly deteriorate. It isn’t just a matter of playing someone who is slowly losing her ability to speak, to move around, or to use the bathroom on her own. It is the array of emotions internally that Riva conveys so magnificently.

Somehow, Mark Boal either didn’t get the memo about Hollywood’s “rules” or else didn’t care to follow them when he wrote Maya in Zero Dark Thirty. She’s the kind of character we now only see on television, on cable, and on the indie scene. But it’s mostly unheard of for an Oscar movie, let alone a critically acclaimed one, to simply be about a female character. Forget any other detail, just that simple fact alone — when was the last time a movie like that won Best Picture?

Jessica Chastain’s character has less of a chance to win because she doesn’t have the opportunity to emote so much. She only has one “Oscar scene” and the rest of the time she is a slow simmering kettle focused on the work at hand. To know how good Chastain is as Maya is to know her real life personality and the roles she’s taken that show her versatility. To that end, Maya is startlingly different from the other parts we’ve seen Chastain take on.

“I don’t do that. I am not that girl who fucks.” Maya is a character whose work is more important to her because she never really had a choice in the matter. She was plucked out of high school to hunt down Bin Laden. How much more voters would have loved it if there had been a love story tied into it? Or at least distinct vulnerability, as was the appeal of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. She was tough and independent but she was noticeably vulnerable and in need of “saving.” Maya is one of the first characters we’ve seen in a very long time who is defined solely by her work.

A versatile, well trained actress, Chastain came up the ranks by playing supporting roles, always choosing something different to show her range. She has graduated this year to full fledged star. There is no question in my mind where her career is going. One look at her in The Help the same year as Tree of Life shows what she can do. But her role isn’t “Oscar friendly” and thus, she has a harder time winning because of that.

Probably Emmanuelle Riva’s biggest rival would be Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. The only time we saw her go up against Riva, though, was at the BAFTA awards where Riva won. The surprise nominations for Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actress for Amour seem to give Riva an edge but the four acting nominations for Silver Linings seem to indicate that film has an edge of its own. Lawrence won the SAG, which almost always means she will win the Oscar.

Lawrence’s biggest stumbling block is that she’s 22. That’s really too young to win an Oscar. Voters know it, which is one of the reasons she stands in such stark contrast to Riva. But Lawrence fans should realize that she has a lot of years in front of her to prove herself worthy of a win; after all, Meryl Streep won when she was young — but she won in the supporting category. She had to do Sophie’s Choice to finally win lead. That honor should be reserved to those who have reached for a higher peak. How can anyone say Lawrence has done her career peak at 22? No, if she wins it will be one of those situations where voters simply fell in love with her, which is entirely possible.

Silver Linings Playbook was all about Tiffany and Jennifer Lawrence until they sought to refocus their campaign to making the movie about mental illness. They’ve been sending Bradley Cooper everywhere to make this point — his character is the one who suffers from bi-polar disorder and thus, that’s their gravitas hook. Lawrence plays the pretty girl who chases after Bradley Cooper relentlessly until he finally gives in. It is a tribute to Lawrence that she was able to make Tiffany such an interesting character but there is nothing more to her than her ability to save Bradley Cooper’s character. Her needs are way down the list and any sexual liberation she displays is taken down a notch every time Bradley Cooper’s character calls her a slut and a whore. Sure, it’s funny and it works but come on. You can’t have it both ways. If that isn’t enough, she must spend much of the movie in clingy dance-wear bouncing up and down in front of the camera lens. I think most women, not young girls raised in today’s sexist media climate, would feel frustrated and suffocated by Tiffany, who is a supporting character, not a lead. All the same, Lawrence is the girl of the moment. She is beautiful and is doing all of the needed publicity. What I like best about her is that she doesn’t really seem to care if she wins or not. Right now, she still has it all in perspective and that’s a refreshing thing to see “on the campaign trail.”

The roles Lawrence and Chastain have taken this year represent opposing sides of the way women are portrayed in Hollywood. The two women are just as different in their approaches to acting — Chastain paid her dues, went to community college and built a background in theater after refining her craft at the prestigious Juilliard School. Lawrence was plucked off the street to be a model, decided she wanted to be an actress, doesn’t prepare her lines at all before she gets in front of a camera and works from instinct. Lawrence is a big franchise star now in the Hunger Games, Chastain just finished a show on Broadway. They couldn’t be more different, and neither could the parts they play.

Oscar tends more towards the Lawrence side of things. They like their women endlessly fuckable and if a character in one says she’s not that girl well, they’re not going to fall in love with that girl particularly. They will fall in love with Lawrence, both the actress and the character and that makes her a bigger threat.

The other two actresses in this year’s field are Quevanzhane Wallis and Naomi Watts. Wallis seems way too young to win but if she did win, she would be only the second African American actress in the history of the Oscars to do so.   Wallis is the youngest, and Riva is the oldest. Both were in films that surprised everyone when their directors took the place of Ben Affleck (famously) and Kathryn Bigelow.  That makes them both threats, I think.  Wallis a threat because if voters want to reward Beasts of the Southern Wild they might choose Wallis, or they might choose screenplay or they might choose Zeitlin for director. Unlike the Best Picture category, which frowns upon anything polarizing (no great film will ever win again) the other categories have weighted ballots. That means, simply, the actress with the most votes win.  I doubt Beasts of the Southern Wild is going to go home empty handed so Wallis could be that movie’s one big surprise win.

Meanwhile, Naomi Watts might have been able to catch some buzz, finally, for her work in The Impossible.  Theoretically she could win if the other actresses split the vote.  Surely Watts’ and Wallis’ are the two most emotionally wrenching performances next to Riva’s.  Watts winning would be a total shocker.  It’s true she does have a whole movement behind her, something we didn’t see at the SAG awards or at the BAFTA but could prove very powerful among the more elite Oscar voters – with people like Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Junior championing her. When we talk about frontrunners we talk about who has the buzz and who has the statues.  But Watts has paid her dues more than either Lawrence or Chastain and would be a very worthy winner indeed.

Watts plays a woman whose family is flung apart by a tsunami — half of her leg is torn off and she spends much of the movie simply trying to survive, to stay alive for her son. She is very close to death every step of the way and it is a testament to what a good actress Watts is that you never for once question whether it’s real or not.

Watts has been repeatedly overlooked for her work throughout her career, never quite managing to reach that level of stardom her pal Nicole Kidman fought for and won.  But that’s not to say that her work in The Impossible won’t give the other young actresses a run for their money. I think Riva might still beat her, though. But one never knows how these votes will turn out.

 

160 Comments on this Post

  1. Frankie D.

    Wasn’t Peppy Miller a magic pixie dream girl?

  2. Nice, levelheaded write-up. I’m sorry that Naomi Watts couldn’t have caught on, because I feel like any other winner is almost a throwaway. However, the way this season has gone down, I could only be happy for Riva to win over the two pageant queens and the oblivious child. When the category is weak, I’d like the award to go to someone to whom it means something. I know Chastain wants it terribly, but I don’t think her performance in this particular film justifies the outward display of ambition, though she has calmed down quite a bit since her Globe win. She and Lawrence will have other opportunities, for better films and performances, and then they’ll have every right to hustle without being scrutinized for it.

    One quibble, Sasha: you doubt Beasts is going home empty-handed? What is it going to win if not Picture, Director, or Screenplay?

  3. And you think Bejo in The Artist had a better part than LISBETH SALANDER!

  4. And you think Bejo in The Artist had a better part than LISBETH SALANDER!

    I was talking about Best Picture winners….sorry — but Dragon Tattoo not getting nominated was a travesty.

  5. “Lawrence won the SAG, which almost always means she will win the Oscar.”

    In the last 10 years the 4 times the SAG winner didn’t win Best Actress, the BAFTA winner did. Sure, that still gives the edge to Lawrence, but also suggests that Riva is most certainly at least a VERY close runner-up at the moment.

    My favorites are Riva, Chastain and Watts in that order and would be VERY happy if one of them won the Oscar. As I said earlier, I have two major problems with the lovely and talented Jennifer Lawrence’s performance : 1. as great as it was it doesn’t belong to the lead race 2. in my opinion, Russell’s take on the character is just way too calculated and shamelessly designed for Oscar-season.

    Tiffany is a TEXTBOOK Best Actress performance – hot, likable, endearingly neurotic with a few VERY Academy-friendly flashy crazyscreamingcrying Oscar scenes. You know whose performance isn’t typical Oscar-bait ? Jessica Chastain’s, a tough, unlikable, no-nonsense, emotionally crippled female who has to convey emotions with silence and only a look or a muscle in her face. She doesn’t have the luxury of just losing it big time in a diner and with teary eyes fall into the arms of her big strong male love interest. You know who else don’t have those luxuries? Naomi Watts and Emmanuelle Riva. They had to deliver their performances from the neck up and were truly remarkable. All three of Lawrence’s closest ‘rivals’ delivered expertly executed, outstandingly difficult performances playing strikingly strong female characters, and that’s why I have a hard time rooting for Lawrence whose work I love. I simply don’t consider Tiffany lead, and I think she nailed a complex performance that had the advantage of remarkably Oscar-friendly (=calculated) writing and execution, something Chastain, Watts and Riva didn’t have and in my opinion, that’s exactly why they ended up delivering considerably stronger and more memorable performances.

    If Jennifer Lawrence wins for this role, I firmly believe it will be her loss. Winning for an arguably supporting fantasy girl role will probably prevent her from winning in the year when she delivers her career-best lead performance, something I expect her to deliver in the next decade.

  6. Sasha, there’s a secret with BAFTA that should be noted. EVERY SINGLE year since BAFTA moved to before the Oscars, the winner for BAFTA Best Actress has lined up with the Oscar winner for Best Actress. ***In the years they have NOT lined up, the Oscar winner wasn’t nominated. Here’s the past 12 years:

    2000 – Julia Roberts
    2001 – Judi Dench (Halle Berry not eligible that year)
    2002 – Nicole Kidman
    2003 – Scarlett Johansson (Charlize Theron not eligible that year)
    2004 – Imelda Staunton (Hilary Swank not eligible that year)
    2005 – Reese Witherspoon
    2006 – Helen Mirren
    2007 – Marion Cotillard
    2008 – Kate Winslet
    2009 – Carey Mulligan (Sandra Bullock not eligible/not nominated)
    2010 – Natalie Portman
    2011 – Meryl Streep

    This strongly suggests that Emmanuelle Riva is the likely Oscar winner. –Though if there was a year to deviate with this trend it would be this year.

  7. In the last 10 years the 4 times the SAG winner didn’t win Best Actress, the BAFTA winner did. Sure, that still gives the edge to Lawrence, but also suggests that Riva is most certainly at least a VERY close runner-up at the moment.

    Thanks Phantom.

  8. You thought Berenice Bejo in The Artist was one of the two BEST female parts in the last two years? Seriously?

  9. I really disagree on the fact that someone should win if its a career best performance. The award isn’t Best CAREER performance by an actress. Its Best Actress. If that was the case why is it about a specific performance in a specific movie. It should be about someone deserving to win for that specific performance in that specific movie, thats it. Otherwise people would win for multiple movies like they can for critics awards. Anne Hathaway won a few not just for Les MIs but also for Dark Knight rises. It turns the award into a peoples choice award and not citing a specific performance for a specific movie. What made Scorcese’s win for The Departed so great was that he completely deserved to win for that regardless of past snubs. The past snubs just made it that much more satisfying. But if he won for Gangs of New York or the Aviator then we all would of known it was just because of past snubs and not really because he was the best director of those 5 nominees that year. When Sandra Bullock won for the blind side, it was way more of a career win than she gave the best performance that year in that specific movie. People look back at Halle Berry;s oscar as a waist bc she hasn’t lived up to that performance since then and was in really crappy movies. So what? Those crappy movies and bad performances do not change what she did in Monsters Ball and the fact that she gave an award worthy performance in that movie that year. If Emanualle Riva wins this year, her age, her birthday, her career should in no way factor into it, all of that can be a nice icing on the cake but she should deserve it regardless of any of that. If Jennifer Lawrence wins than her being 22 and not knowing what her career will be like, should be irrelevant. If she does crap the rest of her life, than this win has nothing to do with it. Its not a “most promising artist” award or a “career best performance” award.

  10. Elton Almeida

    Riva totally deserves the win and I’m deeply rooting for her. I think she deserves it not only for her performance in “Amour” but also for her brilliant long career, she’s an iconic european actress.

    Also rooting for Haneke to take Best Directing home

  11. I see Chastain as the least likely of the 3 to win. The unfortunate, unfair smear campaign around that movie is enough to convince me it will walk away empty-handed. And they rarely reward those “woman who is defined by work doesn’t need her man” roles unless there’s something truly transformative about it or it’s “safe” enough. I guess Erin Brokovich? Maya is not that. She’s a threat to males in a male-dominated industry/line of work.

    I see Chastain going down the same road as Kate Winslet – a brilliant actress taking on hard, challenging, complex roles, and (unfortunately) getting passed over for that reason for a while until she gets behind something that someone can push and maybe not win for her best role (hopefully she becomes Kate Winslet and say not Naomi Watts or Julianne Moore or Laura Linney).

    I agree with you that Lawrence is too young. I adore her, but this is not her best role yet. But she does have Harvey behind her and she has made an emphatic point to remind everyone Harvey is behind her in every speech.

    Riva’s is the best performance, I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that. And they may want to give Amour something outside of the (unfairly) “ghetto” of Foreign Language Film. The only question is if enough people saw the movie. If they did, there is no doubt in my mind that she will win.

    In past years when it’s been close I always look to the “better” performance for the win. My favorite of that is Cotillard vs. Christie. Cotillard was simply better that year. I would say Streep v. Davis, although I know most of you will disagree on that.

    Still, I think that, as with the C vs C year, if enough people saw the French movie, and with it having 5 nominations, 3 more than La Vie En Rose, it will probably be seen by a lot, I would say it’s Riva’s.

    I love Jennifer Lawrence and am confident she will get another shot.

  12. You thought Berenice Bejo in The Artist was one of the two BEST female parts in the last two years? Seriously?

    I should have clarified — in BEST PICTURE contenders. I actually just deleted that first paragraph…it didn’t make any sense.

  13. Elton Almeida

    @KT

    wow, this is a BIG deal, I never noticed this.

  14. Chastain went to Julliard not community college – on a scholarship no less.

  15. I agree with Mike. The Oscars isn’t a lifetime achievement award. Or who has the best potential to do great things. It’s about who gives the best performance in a particular category in a particular year. So, all the points you made about Lawrence not being deserving because of her age just doesn’t follow for me.

    Also, in terms of feminism, I don’t really see Riva’s performance/character any better than Lawrence’s. I mean, both movies mostly revolved around the leading man. Riva’s performance is painfully beautiful, but her character is in a helpless position for half the movie while her husband is the one with most of the control. I mean, if Haneke really wanted to be progressive, he could have reversed the roles.

    I mean, I think based on performance, Lawrence should win…but I think this is a strong category. Besides Wallis (who I believed deserved her nomination and that should be award enough), I think any of these 4 could/should win. I have a feeling if Riva wins, more people here will simply be happy that Lawrence lost, not necessarily because Riva won.

    Great article, like usual though.

  16. “That honor should be reserved to those who do their career best.” I guess I thought it was supposed to be about the best performance, in which case Riva should still win. But if Lawrence had given the best, then yes, she should win despite her age.

  17. Thsnk you Sasha. Great column. If there is any justice in Hollywood and at the Oscars, it would be rewarding Emmanuelle Riva for her beautifully sad performance. It’s a shame her costar, JEan Trintignant, was not nominated also. To me those 2 are the best performances by far and that includes the always magnificent Daniel Day-Lewis. And for those who don’t know Riva, she’s won a slew of awards in Euope, is a huge star there, writes poetry, stays out of the limelight, lives in a small apartment in Paris, she leads what she calls a very rewarding but uncomplicated life. She’s truly what I would describe as an actress. Looking at how interesting a role is compared to looking at it as being a star maker.

    I guess I’m just not in love with ZDT as so many are nor Chastains role and performance. I’ll quote what a friend of mine said about the film who lives in the UK, where it’s not been well received. It’s a good thriller that’s too predictable and too long with an ending known. Outside of the US the film just doesn’t resonate the same way. And frankly I don’t understand this story I keep hearing about how this is the only role undefined by a man. Rivas isn’t defined by a man but her life and relationship as much as her costars is dependent on her.i frankly think its a BS complaint, and while I acknowledge good roles are hard to find for women, there are a ton of roles over the years where the woman is the driver and the ceterpiece vs the man, starting with the iconic performance by Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind to Norma Rae to every role Streep has played in the last 20 years. And I find it sad that Bigelow, while a good director, gets so much praise for being a female director making male films and guess who the critics are, mostly men and shes also good looking. Jane Campion, a true artist, who won the Golden Palm in Cannes for The Piano, is said to make “female” films and gets nowhere near the praise here in the US, yet every film she’s made is generally centered on strong females. By the way you do know Chastain went to Juliard right?

    I love Naomi Watts and I think her performance was remarkable in an epic film. It’s a shame she’s not getting the recognition her performance deserves. She’s had a long history in Hollywood of great roles and performances and I can’t figure out why Nicole Kidman is a bigger star than she is other than the Tom Cruise factor.

    I love love love Jennifer zlawrence, I like that she comes across unaffected, natural, and isn’t afraid to not look like a stick figure. And I actually love Silver Linings Playbook and her performance. I’m not crazy about the media lush for the film and I think I’ve let it impact my love for her performance. She’s terrific but it’s not a Sophie’s choice . But fra key I enjoyed the film and her performance more than Chastains.

    Wallis did a terrific job in a terrific film but she’s not even a contender IMO. I’m glad she did get recognized though.

  18. My only issue with predicting Riva is that it leaves me with little choice but to predict SLP in Screenplay. If the BAFTAs couldn’t let it go home empty-handed, I doubt the Oscars will.

    Then again the BAFTAs had the liberty of voting for Affleck for Director. Will voters who are picking Argo for Picture really refuse the chance to give it another major award…for SLP?

    Or Lincoln could win, Riva, SLP’s script, and everything would support the notion that the Academy never liked Argo as much as everyone else. Argo would probably only win editing in this scenario.

    SLP could go home empty-handed. But I doubt it.

    What if both Argo and Django win the Screenplay awards? First time in years that neither winner was up for Director?

    And don’t tell me De Niro is winning it. That would be Argo winning without a Director nomination, Riva without a SAG, and De Niro without a Globe or BAFTA (and they saw and liked the film). So many stats would be broken it would just be offensive.

  19. rufussondheim

    I read the first chapter of Ron Rash’s Serena yesterday. The film adaptation is due to arrive later this year and Jennifer Lawrence has the plum role of the title character. Although I am merely 7% of the way into the book, I can already say that this character is complete Oscar Bait and it’s right up Jennifer Lawrence’s alley (she’s somewhere between The Hunger Games and Winter’s Bone.) I’m not familiar with the director’s work, but she seems completely competent and if the book is like other Rash I’ve read, it’s going to be gangbusters good.

    I mention this because I think Lawrence has the potential to be a Hollywood Icon and, one day, SLP will likely be considered second-rate for her.

  20. ah, but the Oscar often *IS* given as a “lifetime achievement award” (see: Al Pacino and many others)

  21. rufussondheim

    Zach, I really think most are underestimation that chance for Russell to win best director. I’m not part of the Hollywood Scene and I talk to absolutely no one of importance outside of Awards Daily, but a strange confluence of events and situations are lining up where I think he’s got an extremely realistic shot at winning. KT has described this elsewhere, but it’s something I’ve considered a real possibility when Affleck/Argo started his sweep after BFCA and the Globes.

  22. steandric

    Now Best actress is five. We have five nominees here and not until the very last moment the envelope is opened and read, the number of Best Actress is five, and it is everyone’s chance to win, no more no less.

  23. In Best Director, I think Haneke could be the big surprise. His film WILL win one Oscar (Best Foreign Language Film), maybe even two (Best Actress) and I wouldn’t be surprised by three (Best Original Screenplay) and if those happen or at least two of those three, BD could be a logical pick from then on.

  24. You know what, I don’t disagree with you. He’s been around long enough, “paid his dues,” they clearly loved the movie, they love to reward directors who craft great performances, and he’s worked with a lot of actors. I guess most don’t hate him either. Affleck has won everything without an Oscar nomination, so why should the Oscar winner be unforeseeable and stat-breaking as well?

    I think we might go crazy on Oscar night though. Argo without Director, Russell without DGA, Riva without SAG, hell, maybe Waltz without SAG too. Django and Argo winning script without Director.

    Amour is one of the biggest question marks on Oscar night. It could Actress and Screenplay or one or neither.

    I’ll probably end up with two sets of predictions — one based on the temperature of the season, where I predict Argo where I can and figure out a way for SLP to win something, and another where I go with my heart and how I think it would go in an ordinary Oscar season — Lincoln, Spielberg, Kushner, Jones, Riva, and God knows what for Original Screenplay, with SLP unfortunately probably still winning something and Argo relegated to Editing.

  25. I’m predicting Riva to win this too, but I’ve just come to think about this: would Silver linings go home empty-handed, then? I mean, I would be glad as hell if it did (far more deserving [and nominated] movies have been snubbed like this before, e.g. True grit), but I can’t see that happening when campaigning has been so substancial. I guess the only real shot left is De Niro. So sad for Lee Jones :/

  26. Oh yeah, look out for Silver Linings Playbook: in Director, Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay. But look at BAFTA – when SLP got eight Oscar nominations, BAFTA did a U-turn and decided they liked it after all, having only given it three nominations themselves before Oscar’s opinions were made known. They awarded it their Adapted Screenplay award over their Best Picture and Director winner, Argo, and their most nominated film, Lincoln, the two frontrunners in the Oscar race in that category. But, when it came to Best Actress, their love for Emmanuelle Riva snuck up and spoiled their belated SLP party. The same could happen at the Oscars – Silver Linings Playbook wins at least one other award, but Riva beats Lawrence. And David O. Russell does another idiotic gurn.

  27. *why *shouldn’t* the Oscar winner be unforeseeable and stat-breaking as well? – Referring to David O. Russell for Director

  28. Emmanuelle Riva will not win. This isn’t 1990 anymore where it was OK for Jessica Tandy to be photographed holding the Oscar.

    The media, tabloids and blogosphere want to be able to photograph and write about a young hottie and the Academy is only happy to oblige.

    This is why Chastain, or more probably Lawrence will win.

    That being said, if I were a voter I’d vote for Riva.

  29. Sasha at her writing best. If only you cover the BP race with the same objectivity !!

  30. Btw (I’ve mentioned this before):

    Never before have more than one of the Oscar winners in the acting categories not been nominated for the SAG. Only one winner tops, and only once – Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock. That’s 1/72.

    Should Emmanuelle Riva pull this off, she’d be the second in 76. Should Christoph Waltz also win, it’d be the first time more than one non-SAG-nominee had won the Oscar.

  31. Exactly. And we seriously doubted the nomination chances for Riva, Waltz, and Russell in directing. But Affleck was number one on my predictions. This year is psychotic.

  32. I am rooting for a Riva win- but I love Chastain’s performance just as much. Even though she’s only broken through in the alst couple of years, you have a sense with her (body of work so far) that she will be nominated again (kind of like the mentality with Streep)- whcih in the end may hurt her chances. There obviously is a strong support for Amour. Hanecke will get his award in Foreign, and I have a feeling that they will want to award Riva as well. This is how I would like it go down:

    Jean Dujardin opens the envelope. He doesn’t announce the winner. Instead, he asks the audience to stand up and sing Happy Bday…to the best actress of this year, E Riva. She walks up to the podium while Kodak Theater is serenading her with Happy Bday (except for Russell). Fin.

    (Alternate ending, Lawrence shoot her with an arrow).

  33. Backson. Careful with the spoilers!!!! I’ve seen the movie but many have not.

  34. While I agree that women should be more front and center as much as men are in films, two movies that are based on true stories are the front runners for best picture. Lincoln does show more women than Argo, however they are biopics. We can only see what the filmmakers believe happened, or changed to dramatize. As a matter of fact between Lincoln and Argo there are two very brave females. Lincoln’s maid sitting and patiently waiting for the final count and listening to all the hateful speech (not just bigotry but actual beliefs that African Americans are lower than whites) and the house keeper in Argo who lies to the authorities when they come looking for the 6 Americans. Women in the middle east are still treated poorly, can you imagine what was going through her head when she lied? If you think about it, it’s two women who are house keepers and face sexism and racism that give a pretty strong backbone. Again, Argo took place in a male dominated era so it’s completely understanable that there were more male actors than females. As far as Sally Field goes, she didn’t seem invisible on screen to me. She lit the bitch on fire!

  35. One quibble, Sasha: you doubt Beasts is going home empty-handed? What is it going to win if not Picture, Director, or Screenplay?

    I think the point of phrasing it that way was to say that this is the best reason why Wallis could win.

  36. BTW I finally got around to Beasts the other week…it was so beautiful I was nearly emotional in the first 5 minutes. I was in tears by the end. It’s hard to believe the part was originally for an older girl but Wallis NAILED it. I still have yet to see Watts and Riva though.

  37. The two best-written roles for women in film this year are Mary Todd Lincoln and Fantine. Too bad they are competing against each other and too bad they are both supporting (Sally Field could have been bumped to lead).

  38. Mr-Cinema

    There’s no race here. Lawrence has this in the bag. It’s just like 2009. Bullock won all the pre-Oscar awards, then the BAFTA chose Mulligan. And then, everyone started saying it’s a race again! And Bullock won the Oscar. It’s no different here.

    Every year we try to drum up fake suspense in some of these acting categories, and most often times, the status quo prevails.

  39. Mr. Cinema, lest you forget Julie Christie was winning all the awards just a handful of years ago minus the BAFTA and LAFCA, which went to the eventual winner, Marion Cotillard.

  40. I don’t think anyone thought Carey Mulligan had a chance or that Bullock wasn’t winning at that point.

    If anything, we knew that Mulligan would win for being British.

  41. daveinprogress

    I do not agree that Jennifer Lawrence is in the wrong category – she is the leading actress. Hers is no different to the Reese Witherspoon colead in Walk the Line. Whether she is a co-lead or not, her role is still crucial as the catalyst for the other lead to develop and come to terms with his lot in life. Although i find the movie quite insulting and laughable (and not in the comic sense), Lawrence is in the right category.

    I’m not completely sold that Riva will now win, but they are the two most likely to win right now. One has to go back 26 years to find a Best Actress winner as young as Jennifer lawrence, but then likewise, 23 years for one anywhere near the age of Emmanuelle Riva. Personally i would prefer to see Jessica Chastain the winner. It would have to be the closest race in history for Naomi Watts or Q Wallis to take the prize. That would put alkl 5 actresses within a percentage point of each other. My sense is still that SLP wins 1 Oscar, and the most emphatic winner from its pool of 8 nomns would be Jennifer Lawrence.

  42. I really disagree on the fact that someone should win if its a career best performance. The award isn’t Best CAREER performance by an actress. Its Best Actress.

    That’s not how I read. I took it to mean “a career peak” and I think it’s hard to argue that a smallish role like this is going to look like much of a peak in 5 or 10 years time if the trajectory and promise of Lawrence’s stays on track.

    I mean, yeesh, I would think it’s a sad commentary on what the future holds for Jennifer Lawrence if SLP is a peak. That would be depressing.

    But I see your point, Mike, and we might adjust that line to say “That honor should be reserved to those who have reached for a higher peak.”

    after all, Sasha is not suggestioning that Sophie’s Choice was a “career best” for Streep — but it’s sure a lot closer to a pinnacle than a win for The French Lieutenant’s Woman would have been just one year prior

    * (an interesting parallel because that’s the year Katherine Hepburn won — becoming the oldest actress to ever win an Oscar for lead actress).

    It was Katherine Hepburn’s last great role and wonderful moment to see her rewarded. Did it do much damage to Meryl Streep when the Academy held off ejaculating for one more year?

  43. Stephan Olbina

    There’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. Neither “Django Unchained” or “Silver Linings Playbook” is going to win Best Picture and they’re both movies by The Weinstein Company. Let’s say “Django Unchained” wins Best Original Screenplay and maybe Best Supporting Actor. I know that Emmanuelle Riva is considered the frontrunner right now for Best Actress, but what about Jennifer Lawrence? Her movie is backed by Harvey Weinstein and “Silver Linings Playbook” is being campaigned very heavily these days. Is it possible that it could go home empty-handed?

  44. Oscar prediction scores could be very low this year. If you pick Riva for actress, you might pick DeNiro for supporting actor so SLP can have an acting prize. But it could be Lawrence and Lee Jones or Waltz. Director could be anyone. You might pick David O Russell for screenplay or director. Will Haneke win screenplay or director. Oy oy oy.

  45. rufussondheim says:

    I read the first chapter of Ron Rash’s Serena yesterday. The film adaptation is due to arrive later this year and Jennifer Lawrence has the plum role of the title character. Although I am merely 7% of the way into the book, I can already say that this character is complete Oscar Bait and it’s right up Jennifer Lawrence’s alley (she’s somewhere between The Hunger Games and Winter’s Bone.) I’m not familiar with the director’s work, but she seems completely competent and if the book is like other Rash I’ve read, it’s going to be gangbusters good.

    I wish these was a font bigger than bold that made those words flash on and off in bright gold. This cannot be emphasized too much. We Jennifer Lawrence fans (and I’m one of them) are about to have our socks knocked off.

  46. The only way Beasts would not go empty handed is if they cared about listening to its score… as it looks they didn’t, it was not nominated and It’s not winning anything but the Directing nod is such a huge accomplishment. It’s like a win.

    I don’t think Lawrence has this in the bag at all. In 2009, the only actress that could have a 1% chance of beating SaBu was Meryl Streep but the film was a light comedy that didn’t appeal to the Academy (actually I think the film was not that successful primarily because of Amy Adams performance… and this comes from a fan of her… who thinks she should have won for The Fighter… but in Julie & Julia she was really not good).

    SaBu was more than 40, was one of the top 5 most popular actresses in the business, has worked with “everyone” in Hollywood… Jennifer Lawrence is 22 years old (ok! With only 20 she scored a nomination Sandra Bullock took more than twice her age to get) but she’s really young… And Jennifer Lawrence competes with an overdue respected star (Naomi Watts) and a rising Jessica Chastain… both are NOT winning but can take precious votes from Jennifer Lawrence since the brits and foreigners are likely voting strong for Emanuelle Riva. Imagine people from the tech branches… they are likely not voting for Riva but… they are not all necessarily voting for Jennifer Lawrence. Naomi Watts may have quite a lot of votes… she worked with many there. Jessica Chastain is in a film that appeals to the tech branches. Those votes that both take from Lawrence in the tech branches may let Riva take the lead with the actors, writers and directors.

    In the end, Jennifer Lawrence is a very vulnerable frontrunner. And we actually have no clear frontrunner to win Directing, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor. Lots of races unclear after GG-Guilds-BAFTA. That’s pretty much rare.

  47. Paddy!

    “idiotic gurn”

    love it.

  48. “Watts has been repeatedly overlooked for her work throughout her career, never quite managing to reach that level of stardom her pal Nicole Kidman fought for and won. ”
    Sure, Watts didn’t manage to reach the super-stardom of Nicole, but still she is an A-list actor and has the resume to match Nicole or even Winslet, both of whom have been recognized more than Watts. But I have no doubt in my mind that with time she will be considered one of the greatest actress of her generation along with Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman.

  49. It was a Bullock love fest around US in 2009. I do not see anything near that level for Lawrence. This category is pretty much Riva’s from now on.

  50. daveinprogress

    Although voters may not be terribly aware of how their 4 acting prizes are handed out as a group – it would be a rare event for the 2 women in one year to be as young as a hypothetical Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway double. I feel the latter is a sure bet, but for me that would point more to a Riva win.

    ‘Amour”s 5 noms is spectacular, but i just can’t see AMPAS in a year where American films were so strong, give this quiet and foreign movie much more than Foreign Film. There is almost always a foreign inclusion in the main categories whether it is a Demian Bichir or Fernando Mereilles.

    Marion Cotillard over Julie Christie is not a huge surprise – the former was a tour de force, a bio pic of a legend, the actress was young and gorgeous. The latter was a previous Oscar winner and repeat nominee in a movie with similarly devastating content to that of Haneke’s movie about the impact of degenerative conditions. It does seem ridiculous comparing the elegance and depth of Haneke’s movie to the banal and phony rom com of Russell, but that is the Oscars. The ‘best’ rarely wins.

  51. Am I alone thinking that actually Trintignant did the better job in Amour? Personally I thought Lawrence and Watts were the best this year.

  52. In terms of her career thus far, Silver Linings Playbook still isn’t Jennifer Lawrence’s peak. That’s Winter’s Bone.

    Also, to clarify:

    @ Mr-Cinema: Carey Mulligan beat Sandra Bullock for two reasons – she’s British and Bullock wasn’t eligible. Emmanuelle Riva is not British and Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t just eligible, she was nominated too.

    @ KT: Hilary Swank was eligible the year Imelda Staunton. There was a fuck-up with screeners for M$B, and it got snubbed as a result.

  53. * the year Imelda Staunton won

  54. SeattleMoviegoer

    the notion of SILVER LININGS leaving the ceremony with ZERO Oscars in tow brings a smile to my face. i’m no fan of the film. apart from Bradley Cooper’s performance, the rest felt so false to me. and Lawrence never convinced me for a second. granted, she is talented, but it was a nothing performance–to me, at least. hers is the least impressive of the 5 noms. the result i anticipate with relish is the first fall-on-his-face situation for Mr. Weinstein. maybe, just maybe, he will begin to lose his ability to buy Oscars. the ad campaign going on now for SILVER is the type that moves earth and sea. MAMMOTH print ads, the tv media blitz with cast and crew interviewing with anyone that has a place for them to sit in front of a camera, Russell giving that sad story of his bipolar son (whose condition must REALLY be improving now with the publicity), etc. etc. Russell’s pissed, WTF look on the BAFTA’s made me think that Lily Tomlin was right. maybe this is the year that knocks Harvey off his pedestal.

  55. @daveinprogress – You are right but for many Amour is the strongest movie in the BP line-up. You cannot ignore that fact which will probably lead to multiple oscar wins for Amour.

  56. Paddy: Then Million Dollar Baby was snubbed across the board, as it received no nominations. Still, the BAFTA matchup continues. In the years BAFTA and Oscar Best Actress have NOT lined up since moving before the Academy Awards, the Oscar winner wasn’t nominated

  57. Film Fatale

    @Zach

    Yet again you assert that “I know Chastain wants it badly” — recently you said she was “begging for it” and used … her Globes speech as evidence??? The one were she graciously discussed being a working actor for years? And that said what, exactly? You seem to be one of the few who thought her Globes speech indicated an entitlement or wanton, craven desire for an Oscar.

    I’ve seen Chastain discuss ZD30 several times and read her Facebook posts… She is the most gracious loser (even describing how badly she wanted to see Riva again at the BAFTAs but didn’t)…. READ BELOW, from Facebook:

    “Hello from London! I had a great time at the Baftas. It was my first snowy red carpet. After the insane day of travel, I was shocked that I even made it on time. Thank you Stephen Fry, our incredible host, for making me laugh till my stomach hurt. It was a very fun evening. I would have loved to see the exquisite Emmanuelle Riva, but I got to meet her at the NYFC dinner and one shouldn’t be greedy.”

    “I find it very sad that media makes up bogus stories about women fighting in this industry. Filming The Help was the most amazing experience and yet, that is the film Im most asked about in regards to “fighting on set”. Why do we support the myth that women are competitive and cannot get along?
    I think all of the actresses recognized this year have given incredible performances. But more important, they’ve all shown themselves to be filled with generosity and kindness. I’ve done two photo shoots with Jennifer Lawrence over the years and have found her to be utterly charming and a great talent. I’ve told her how beautiful her film work is.

    Please don’t allow the media to perpetuate the myth that women arent supportive of each other. Everytime an actress is celebrated for her great work, I cheer. For the more brilliant their performance, the more the audience demands stories about women. With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film, is just a great year for film xxjes”

    SHE HARDLY SOUNDS LIKE SHE WANTS IT SO BADLY.

  58. Film Fatale

    Fantine is one of the “two best written” female roles this year? LOL for real? Fantine is merely a tragic figure and symbol, not a real character. This may not be the case in Hugo’s novel but indeed is such in the musical, which I love.

  59. @Ryan Adams – “..It was Katherine Hepburn’s last great role and wonderful moment to see her rewarded. Did it do much damage to Meryl Streep when the Academy held off ejaculating for one more year?”

    I almost fell into a snowbank with that!
    .

  60. I almost fell into a snowbank with that!

    :)

    I’m glad I toned it down from the original NC-17 wording.

  61. I think Riva will win simply because they are not ready to award a newcomer or a rising star. Let’s not forget that Winslet also had a second nomination at 22/23.

    @ruffo… Calling Lawrence a potential icon is quite the stretch. She has THG, sure. But there are other young actresses with franchises and recognition as well. I like her but much of her current hype and people’s obsession with her is due to the fact that Hollywood needed a new it girl who wasn’t as insufferable as Kristen Stewart and Jennifer proved herself to be the complete opposite. For her to become an icon, she will need to reinvent herself a la Streep (and in before Winston arrives here), I don’t think she has it on her. Not because she is talented but there is a pattern on all her roles: strong, opinionated (which she is). Will she be able to change to something different? I don’t know. She is not a classic actress with the features of Carey Mulligan or Mia Wasikowska, she bombed in SNL and showed poor line delivery and she is one interview away of saying something extremely offensive but the over-adulation with her will not stop for people haven’t really backlashed her for her phobic comments. We will have to wait and see.

  62. Tero Heikkinen

    Backson, you spoiler, you!!!

    Lucky that I HAVE seen the film, but some have not.

  63. “Jean Dujardin opens the envelope. He doesn’t announce the winner. Instead, he asks the audience to stand up and sing Happy Bday”

    I would love this, too, d.p.

    I doubt they can resist Lawrence, though, and they’ll award her for the wrong film and then pass her over for Serena, or another more worthy project, when she truly deserves it. Hey – maybe they’ll pass her over for Chastain because she would be “overdue” by then.

    The cycle feeds itself.

  64. @Film Fatale

    She wants it terribly, she’s just playing the game and being a good gracious loser. I have no doubt her appreciation of the other women in her category is genuine. And I don’t disagree with the notion that the fact that she has been knocking on doors for years means she has paid her dues and makes her even more worthy and deserving now. I definitely think she was trying to put it out there into the universe in her Globes speech and elsewhere earlier this season. She definitely wanted to be seen as the anti-JLaw, someone who wants it badly and hasn’t just lucked into it. And why shouldn’t she want it? She’s worked hard, and it would make a big difference for her career, for sure. But she’s prepared for the loss now.

    Again I don’t deny her motives or her merits. But I don’t think that speech did her any favors, even if she was right. (There have been far worse acceptance speeches though.)

    As for Fantine? Yeah, the lyrics to “I Dreamed a Dream” automatically make her part better than 8 of the other lead and supporting nominees, forgetting Victor Hugo. That’s how weak a year it is for women. Well, I did like The Sessions a lot, but more for John Hawkes. Hunt’s character was really interesting, but her arc was conventional. The rest of the women minus Field were props and plot devices more than real characters, though both Watts and Riva were excellent.

    But I take that back with respect to Adams and Chastain until I’ve seen their movies.

  65. And OK, Hushpuppy was written well enough.

  66. yep, Backson, we have to remove that spoiler, alright? Wish I had seen it a hour ago. Hope no readers had the movie ruined for them.

  67. Tero Heikkinen

    But what a 10-minute scene that is, Ryan. Again, without spoilers, if that is not “amour”, then I don’t know what is. Toughest thing I had to see all year.

  68. Sasha,

    Meryl actually won the Oscar at the age of 30, nearly 31.
    Meryl received her first nomination a few months before her 30th birthday.
    And she had her very first role at the age of 28.
    So that’s pretty late for Hollywood standards.

    Go RIVA!

  69. BTW David O. Russell’s face is everywhere. Lawrence looks pissed, too.
    I wonder if it will really do damage.

  70. @Mel,

    Great comment. I thought I was the only one who secretly considered Lawrence’s performances all variations on the same character.
    That doesn’t mean she’s not great at that type of role, or that she can’t do something different. But I haven’t seen it yet. And, indeed, her live performing skills on SNL were incredibly lackluster. Compare her hosting to someone like Emma Stone or Anne Hathaway or even Natalie Portman…the SNL writing usually sucks, but a great live performer can elevate it.

  71. The wait till they’ve earned it theory should have been laid to rest with Heath Ledger

  72. My favorite female lead performance of the year is Jessica freaking Chastain followed closely by Emmanuelle Riva so i personally would be happy with either of them winning. Lawrence is good too but i honestly don’t want her to win in the presence of the former 2. Lawrence won many accolades so far and yeah she is more suited to win Indie Spirits than an Oscar for this particular performance.

    Will Win: Emmanuelle Riva/Jennifer Lawrence
    Should Win: Jessica Chastain
    Shouldn’t be Here: !!!
    Should Have been Here: Rachel Weisz

  73. The wait till they’ve earned it theory should have been laid to rest with Heath Ledger

    Not a very graceful way to phrase it. But aside from that, nobody is stating any theory in those terms

    (what would the alternative theory be called? The Don’t Wait Till They’ve Earned It Theory? That’s not a very sound theory either.)

    Heath Ledger wasn’t passed over for Brokeback Mountain because people thought he hadn’t earned it. He lost because Philip Seymour Hoffman was winning everything that year.

    Heath Ledger wonuld still have won his Oscar for The Dark Knight Rises even if he had been alive to accept it in person — his death put the win in doubt at first.

    It might seem hard to believe in retrospect, but in the the earliest predictions for 2008 most pundits did not have Ledger winning for his role of The Joker — because it was thought that the Academy didn’t like to give Oscars to actors who were deceased. Precedents were extremely rare.

    Awards Daily was one of the first sites to buck that conventional wisdom — I should know; Sasha let me write the argument. We said so in July, and plenty of people told us we were nuts.

  74. I have now seen all best actress performances, and my two personal favorites are Jessica Chastain and Quvenzhane Wallis. I recently watched AMOUR, and I’m not particularly wowed about Emmanuelle Riva’s performance like a lot of people are here. I thought Jean-Louis Trintignant (the actor who played the husband) was the absolute standout performance in that film. He would’ve made my best actor list. What a magnificent and poignant performance. His inner pain and frustration will break your heart. I empathized with his character inner turmoil even if morally and ethically I disagreed with his final decision. He broke my heart in that film.

    What I wouldn’t give to see a tie in this category alas Katherine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand win in 1969. Oh well, a girl can dream..

  75. *draws deep breath*

    Time to enter this thread, which should actually be titled “Jihad against Jennifer”. Or, “Let’s Give it to the Experienced Actress because she’s been around forever.” And the line for the Emmanuelle Riva Special Kool-Aid Kiosk is stretching out into the parking lot. But I’m here to maintain this race is already over, despite the predetermined BAFTA best actress result.

    I can’t believe I’m imparting advice to a sworn enemy, but all Harvey has to do is make this point and hammer it home in the last 2 weeks. The Screen Actors Guild membership *had a window of opportunity to see Amour in the balloting period*. They could’ve requested screenings, as well as DVD screeners from Sony Classics. While the deadline was tight, it was nonetheless DOABLE. When the smoke cleared, Mirren and Cotillard got the Euro slots, NOT Riva. That should matter to the actors branch.

    Sunday was all about, and nothing more, setting up a challenger for Lawrence. The BAFTA loss wound up being Chastain’s last stand, the final nail in the ZDT virtual coffin in that category. Wallis and Watts at this late in the hour are placefillers, with the nomination being the award. Process of elimination, folks. Who was left? BAFTA put 2 and 2 together and that’s why we’re at where we’re at. It’s time AMPAS stopped being BAFTA’s bitches in this category and vote on their own, not parrot the UK results.

    Once more, with feeling, part 1: Jennifer Lawrence is the LEAD ACTRESS in The Silver Linings Playbook; Jackie Weaver is the supporting actress. Only a Sith deals in absolutes, it’s told. This is just such an absolute. Once more with feeling, part 2: SAG CHOSE NOT TO NOMINATE RIVA. Lawrence was. Lawrence wins SAG. Game, set, match.

    And as for the pretend, non-issue of her being ticked off that Riva won, chalk that up to “I came all this way for nothing.” I guess Lawrence was a little bit greedy and wanted a SAG-BAFTA double, And those oddsmakers who made Riva 7/1? Total miscalculation; I should’ve bet a c-note on Riva Sunday night. :)

    Full disclosure; I will never see Amour and say so upfront. Having lost my dad to lung cancer last October, 2 days after his 77th birthday, what would be the point? It would be self-waterboarding to see a 2-hour death scene. I can’t imagine how anyone who also lost a loved one wouldn’t be averse to spending $ to see something so relentlessly depressing and still for me hits too close to home.

  76. comedywontwini

    Comedy won’t win….JLAW is out. May be she will win for Hunger Games II.

  77. In such an unpredictable year, it would only be fitting if Naomi Watts’ name was announced this Sunday. I know it’s impossible at this point (sorry, no other word), but one can only hope. It would be the most delightful shock.

  78. I’m a huge HUGE fan of Chastain. I have to say that this girl really wants it bad.
    Her performance is very well-carafted in Zero Dark Thirty. It’s just stunning. The character, Maya, stays with you. So, I’d say give her the award because she deserves it.

  79. Please Academy, give the OSCAR to Emmanuelle Riva, she is the best in the category!

    And I think Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) deserved the nomination more than Jennifer Lawrence…

    Sasha and Ryan, are agree with me? Who is your snubbed favorite actress?

  80. I just want to say I am going to be absolutely heart broken for about ten min if chastain doesn’t win.

  81. PaulH, there’s a reason it’s called Amour. It’s about the love between two people dealing with a situation.
    It does not end how you think it might. I’m not going to spoil it.

  82. Karl,

    my choice for alternate Best Actress nominees? Have to agree with you: Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone

    after Marion:
    Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
    Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz
    Nina Hoss, Barbara

  83. Robert A.

    “I can’t imagine how anyone who also lost a loved one wouldn’t be averse to spending $ to see something so relentlessly depressing and still for me hits too close to home.”

    I lost my mother a couple of years ago, and I’ve seen Amour twice. But I don’t see the movie as just “relentlessly depressing.” It’s painful, yes, and devastating and heartbreaking, but it’s also beautiful in that way art has of transforming the unbearable. Strangely, when I leave the theater after seeing Amour, I feel more alive than when I walked in…and extraordinarily grateful for being alive and healthy.

  84. Unfortunately, just because a thespian is older, everyone automatically assumes rewarding an actor with an Oscar is a “career” Oscar, notwithstanding the fact that that actor gave a really terrific performance worthy of an Oscar. Last year, Christopher Plummer’s Best Supporting Oscar was totally deserved. It was a great, Oscar-worthy performance.

    However, again unfortunately, AMPAS has been so guilty in the past rewarding actors with career Oscars in the competitive categories. George Burns’ win for “The Sunshine Boys” in 1975 was the most glaring example of this that I can think of. Even Jessica Tandy’s win in 1989 for “Driving Miss Daisy” pushed that career-Oscar envelope (when everyone expected Michelle Pfeiffer to win for “The Fabulous Baker Boys”.

    Am I alone here? I had never even heard of Emmanuelle Riva until “Amour” was released this year. So one can hardly claim it to be a “career” Oscar. It just happens to be a rather remarkable acting accomplishment by a lovely actress who was in the right role at the right time. I’m actually routing for her to win.

    Like Sasha said in her article, Lawrence, Chastain and Watts are all younger actresses with whole careers and multiple Oscar nominations ahead of them. People won’t feel too badly NOT voting for them this time around.

    And let’s face it. Riva, like Daniel Day Lewis, deserves to win Best Actress and Best Actor because their characterizations essentially captured something very special on film.

    One bitchy comment here: I’m still a bit ticked that Javier Bardem wasn’t given a shot at Best Supporting Actor in Skyfall. His was an incredible supporting performance, one that will be remembered long after some of the other nominees (Alan Arkin? Weh, don’t really understand that one).

  85. Karl and Ryan:

    I think Charlotte Rampling was snubbed for her little seen and seldom mentioned, but ultimately beautifully tectured, heartbreaking and complex performance in the Australian film, “Eye of the Storm”.

  86. He lost because Philip Seymour Hoffman was winning everything that year.

    And awards season the better for it. Seriously, I can’t understand how people suddenly want to deny Hoffman for his wonderful performance in Capote to award Ledger’s mumbling in Brokeback Mountain.

    Anyway, I still think Lawrence is the frontrunner despite Riva’s BAFTA win. Lawrence has been popping up at more precursor awards than Riva, and even though precursors don’t always mean everything, they tend to be accurate.

    Full disclosure; I will never see Amour and say so upfront. Having lost my dad to lung cancer last October, 2 days after his 77th birthday, what would be the point? It would be self-waterboarding to see a 2-hour death scene. I can’t imagine how anyone who also lost a loved one wouldn’t be averse to spending $ to see something so relentlessly depressing and still for me hits too close to home.

    With all due respect, I think that’s why you should see it. The best movies are the ones the provoke the most personal emotions from us, right? Considering you have felt that kind of tragedy, it might allow you to relate to the movie. Just my opinion, but you should at least give it a shot.

  87. If this was truly about best IMO, it would be between Watts and Riva

  88. Actresses in their 50’s don’t win Best Actress. I say it all the time, but it’s true. Shirley Booth was the only one. Hollywood just isn’t interested in middle aged women.

    The one thing the older Best Actress winning actresses had going for them is massive doses of sentiment, and I think that is why you see them win every decade or so. Of the 60+ year olds who have won, they each get to have an emotional, wet-faced sob scene (except for Meryl, but she’s a special case). Think Marie Dressler getting hauled away to jail in Min and Bill or Katherine Hepburn trembling at Spencer Tracy’s words in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, or to Henry Fonda’s words in On Golden Pond. It’s catnip to voters. It also gives the Academy an opportunity to distance itself from accusations that it prefers the young ladies to the old dames, at least for a little while.

    If Riva won, it would be great. It’s about that time someone of her vintage won. It would be BETTER if a middle aged, fiftysomething (character) won with any regularity. There is HUGE amount of storytelling that hasn’t been touched and no one seems willing to devote a movie to it. So this year really isn’t any different from the rest.

  89. My personal preference would be Chastain because there just are not that many films out there that are female-centric the way 0D30 is in which a female character is not defined by a man and also I admit i am personally biased since I am a huge jessica Chastain fan. I feel she has the same type of quality in her acting as a young Meryl Streep. I am just so impressed by the versatility and range she has shown in her body of work in the lst 2 years which really screams longevity and also hopefully sustaining excellence. With that being said I still believe Riva gave the best performance by an actor this year regardless of gender and perhaps one of the best performances in decades. It truly is a masterclass towering performance and she thus deserves to win. After Amour premiered at Cannes no performance has come close to hers and perhaps Chastain in a fair world would be her closest challenger but thus the world doesn’t always award the most deserving. Here is hoping to a Riva win but if she should not hopefully a Chasatain win (VERY UNLIKELY).

  90. The only performance of the 5 I would have trouble accepting is Jennifer Lawrence in SLP. As first of all I find it category fraud just like Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line among others. It is clearly a supporting role. Also of the 5 it is clearly the most conventional role and clearly is served for Bradley cooper’s character’s arc as her role/character in the film doesn’t really have her own arc. Her performance as Tiffany is wonderful but it would be travesty for her to win for SLP IMO only because I feel the other 4 nominees gave a better more rounded performance and most full fleshed out as well. She certainly is talented and I hope to see her in more unconventional roles. I still feel she was way better in Winter’s Bone. I am still rooting for a Riva upset. Chastain winning would be great but with the backlash she has little to slim chance

  91. I’m so sick of Jessica Chastain’s OVERRATED performance in Zero Dark Thirty. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good heroine centered film but Jessica was given nothing to do in ZDT. In fact, it was the men once again taking control in the torture, interrogation, and hunting scenes for Osama. How can anyone call this a feminist film? Jessica was just a mere accessory in the film. I think Jennifer Lawrence gave a much better performance in Hunger Games if we’re going by female led films. And Claire Danes in Homeland anyone? I would say this race is between Riva and Lawrence right now.

  92. decent article however the chastain “she only has one oscar scene” is the only part i dont agree with. no offense but she was literally onscreen for over two hours and in almost every scene. she had ample time to nail it but didnt. dont know, just really wasnt that impressed with her performance and in situations where she could of hit it, i didnt think she did and i was left feeling meh. just stating my opinion and im not saying she didnt act well but i can think of dozens of actresses who if would of given the role would of powerhoused it because again–she was on screen for so long. oh well guess im in the minority on that one–dont care! *giggles*

  93. “Actresses in their 50′s don’t win Best Actress. I say it all the time, but it’s true. Shirley Booth was the only one. Hollywood just isn’t interested in middle aged women.”

    –Wasn’t Helen Mirren over 50 when she won?

  94. I would have nominated:

    Jessica Chastain – ZD30
    Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
    Rachael Weisz – The Deep Blue Sea
    Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
    and
    Naomi Watts – The Impossible

    With Riva winning. Chastain and Weisz would’ve been my second choices.

  95. PaulH,

    While I don’t blame you for not wanting to see Amour, the fact that you won’t see it negates your ability to give an opinion on merit in this category. The truth is that you don’t actually know who should win, and in this case, you never will.

  96. PaulH,

    I’m confused over how pointing out the fact that the SAG members didn’t watch Riva’s performance (nor did they request screeners) would help Jennifer Lawrence’s chances. If anything, it puts a question mark on her status as the favorite because it makes it seem as though she only won SAG because most SAG members didn’t watch Riva (or Chastain since I read ZD30 didn’t get a lot of screeners out for SAG members). That undermines her win.

  97. 300,000 people in America have seen Amour. PaulH gets a kick out of pretending that 150,000 of those people represent the entire membership of SAG.

    Because, yeah, that’s just how sophisticated every actor is who’s ever done a Doritos commercial.

  98. Who would rich, straight white men aged 50 to 70 vote for? Someone who’d flatter their egos (e.g. Meryl) or their libidos like J Law. Combine both which is the ideal, but if left to choose one you know which direction it’ll go, down.

    Not someone inaccessible like Riva, or ball hurting like Chastain’s Maya.

    The older, the less evolved, the more primal. That’s how to predict the Oscars for women.

  99. The misandry in this post is astounding. “Oh men only like her because she’s fuckable oh because she’s so pretty blabla!”

    Seriously these women have done great jobs but there is honestly no need to make men look like pigs all the time for goodness sake. As a woman I’m happy about this year but the snarkiness on this post infuriates me. Us women do not need a helping hand explanation by blaming men on everything. Ugh.

    Rant over, but I only want Riva to win. Jessica seemed too forced for me and I disliked Silver Linings, it’s touch on mental disorder and the “happy ending” was a bit insulting to people with mental disorders since it totally forgot about that issue.

    Riva deserves it. She gave the most subtly moving performance.

  100. While J-Law (it’s a thing now, LOL!) has a decent shot, her age will once count against her; the Academy went gaga for Titanic, but Kate Winslet didn’t win the Oscar, exactly because people felt she was too beautiful and talented to not win eventually. And she had a dramatic role, unlike Helen Hunt.

    As for the rest of the SLP nominees:

    De Niro ain’t winning Supporting Actor- now that Harvey has a Golden Globe and BAFTA winner, that is also hosting SNL, I don’t see him wasting such a good candidate in name of De Niro, that has no Globes or BAFTA nom and already has two Oscars. I’m also not sure if people will forget so easily his terrible work in the last two decades.

    As for Russell, I don’t think people will forget his early shenanigans so easily. The man got into a fist fight with George Clooney, for crying out loud. And his face when Riva won is unlikely to win any votes.

    Unless of course they are THAT gaga for SLP and give it Best Picture. But it’s not going to be the movie’s only award.

    But again, the award that was tailor-made for SLP (and De Niro) was the SAG, and they didn’t win it. I don’t see the Academy going crazy for it either.

    Russell is also going against Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Michael Haneke. One will try to compare to Haznavicius (sp?) and Hopper, but they were in heavy front-runners that also led the nominations.

    And Fincher and Aronofsky, talented as they are, don’t have the gravitas of those three, with a combined 3 Oscars, 5 DGAs, 2 Palms D’Or and 2 Golden Lions between them. And they are not in minor films on their careers, unlike Woody Allen, Scorsese and the Coens.

  101. I haven’t seen Amour yet so can’t comment on Riva – I know, I know, I need to see it. But otherwise, I think while all the performances I’ve seen in the best actress category have been fantastic, the roles have been super disappointing. I thought Chastain was award-worthy but I am sure her subtlety will be under-appreciated (plus her movie has sadly been thrown under the bus). Other than her and Riva, it’s Lawrence in a Manic Pixie Dream Girl supporting role that she did her best to elevate, Watts as a suffering white lady in a foreign land that she did her best to elevate, and a six-year-old girl who was great but could you even imagine the masculine outcry if a six-year-old boy was nominated for best actor??? In such a great year for films overall, it’s sad that it’s been such a weak year for female leads.

  102. edkargiir

    Paul H , Sorry for your loss. But you should still see Amour it is not amount a character dying .i have disagreed with you on this sight but I think. You will appreciate the performances.

  103. “I’m confused over how pointing out the fact that the SAG members didn’t watch Riva’s performance (nor did they request screeners) would help Jennifer Lawrence’s chances. If anything, it puts a question mark on her status as the favorite because it makes it seem as though she only won SAG because most SAG members didn’t watch Riva (or Chastain since I read ZD30 didn’t get a lot of screeners out for SAG members). That undermines her win.”

    No it wouldn’t, Scotty, because until the SAGs, Lawrence’s main competition was Chastain. But the weight of the allegations surrounding ZDT ultimately weakened her candidacy to the point where SAG was IMO a win-or-go-home crossroads. And we know how that turned out. So a new challenger had to be christened to try and ensure some suspense. Enter Riva. Even though she was held to a draw by Lawrence when the LA Film Critics spoke up.

    And Lyn, one more time: Lawrence is the lead actress in SLP, no matter how many times you or others insist otherwise. Am I supposed to believe Jackie Weaver was the female lead? No.

  104. Okay, first of all…Jennifer Lawrence is a LEAD in Silver Linings Playbook. I don’t understand the assumption that just because she isn’t onscreen every second of the film that she should be subjected to the supporting category. She has her own history, story arc, ample screen time, and she is a vital aspect of the overall effect of the film. She is in the right category. I don’t understand why so many are so averse or simply unaware of the fact that films are allowed to have co-leads…it’s especially disheartening this year where the supporting categories are STOCKED with actors who are certainly not “supporting” actors (*cough* Waltz, Hoffman, Hunt *). And I loved all three of these performances (and I should probably just be grateful that Hunt was even nominated for her subtle and graceful turn. She’s so non-actorly in it that she easily could’ve been overlooked). But these performances are all co-lead roles where the script follows them and their stories outside of the confinements of the main protagonists. I think performances like Adams and Jones this year are true examples of supporting turns, abetting and aiding the structure, flow, and beats of the film.

    Regardless, relating to the topic at hand, Emmanuelle Riva is leaps and bounds above everyone else in this category, and that’s not a diss to the other actresses, who are all extraordinary and who all deserve to be here. I don’t think she has it in the bag at all, though, even after the BAFTA winl–Silver Linings is the first film since Reds to be nominated for all acting categories and the first since Million Dollar Baby to be nominated for the “big five” (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay). Obviously, all the branches of the Academy REALLY like it (An editing nom? Really?), so I think it’s going to have a big showing Oscar night and Lawrence could easily be one if its recipients.

    On a side note, does anyone else find it weird (particularly with the foreign films in contention this year) that two-handlers like Amour and Rust and Bone have consistently yielded accolades and recognition only for the female lead? Don’t get me wrong, I loved Riva and Cotillard in both films, but Trintignant and Schoenearts were both equally outstanding and both of them were also the driving force for the action of their films. Wish both of them could’ve received more recognition.

  105. PaulH: Not all films have a “lead actress”. Just because Jennifer is the actress with the biggest screentime in SLP does not necessarily make her role a lead one.

    While I do think that it is a supporting role (just as Jennifer Connelly’s role was supporting in A Beautiful Mind), I’m not as bothered with the category confusion/fraud here as I am with PS Hoffman’s and Christoph Waltz’s roles classified as “supporting roles”. Those are lead roles. As much as I think they were the best in the supporting actor category, I want neither of them to win because it’s category fraud. TLJ should be the rightful winner there.

  106. While I disagree with Kiefer’s other points, this is fact, and this is what I am so weary and wary of:

    “However, again unfortunately, AMPAS has been so guilty in the past rewarding actors with career Oscars in the competitive categories. George Burns’ win for “The Sunshine Boys” in 1975 was the most glaring example of this that I can think of. Even Jessica Tandy’s win in 1989 for “Driving Miss Daisy” pushed that career-Oscar envelope (when everyone expected Michelle Pfeiffer to win for “The Fabulous Baker Boys”.”

    This.

  107. Unlikely hood

    I love this race. Even if J-Law wins it was still fun.

  108. riva is 7/1 on my site….is it worth action

  109. How was sag a do or die when the voters didnt get screeners for zd30? More like a confirm death.

    I guess is just me trying to find justification that she still stands a chance..

  110. Pablo (Col)

    I think Sasha here is right on the money. It’s all true and there’s no point in arguing it. But knowing that I think we all know Riva’s chances are very slim, even if they should be much greater. And although Chastain’s character “is not defined by any man” that’s not really true in the great view of things and even if it was the character simply lacks a real story arc and a certain deepness to feel really “relatable”.

    Lawrence is great, but yeah, she has character that has been done a lot of times in many disguises.

  111. PaulH

    You are absolutely sure Emmanuelle Riva doesn’t deserve the Oscar yet you haven’t even seen Amour ? Then what are we talking about and have been for months ? It’s OK if you opt not to watch the film but it is NOT OK to NOT watch it and still deem the performance undeserving, a performance you obviously have no idea about. Now I have to ask, have you even seen Zero Dark Thirty ? The Impossible ? Or you only saw The Hunger Games and its BO numbers and decided last March that Jennifer Lawrence NEEDS to win for whatever film this year because she is the biggest movie star in the category ?

  112. Tero Heikkinen

    OK, PaulH, I see you have a personal reason not to watch Amour. i see, but I don’t see. We all have lost close people (=part of life), but yours happened recently. The film is called Amour, it’s about LOVE. My very close cousin (age 28) was murdered a little over a year ago. Does that mean that I should stop watching films where people brutally kill each other? No.

    I have a feeling that whether you had lost your father recently or not, you STILL would have refused to watch this film. You are so into American products that even Life of Pi is something foreign for you.

    Anyway, there’s very little you can say about this category… now that you will never see all the nominees. Add to that, that you think that The Hunger Games gets some extra points if Lawrence wins… well, very hard to take you seriously.

    Btw, I thought you were a 20-year-old boy (or maybe your father was really a grown man when having you).

  113. Tero Heikkinen

    Seems to me that 90% of readers on this site agree on Riva being the absolute best and the most deserving. If we were Academy, she would win the Oscar easily. Of course, we are not, we just drink the Kool Aid.

    Which reminds me that I still have not drank my morning coffee.

  114. I can’t imagine how anyone who also lost a loved one wouldn’t be averse to spending $ to see something so relentlessly depressing and still for me hits too close to home.

    Well, I suppose the problem lies with you then. You’re the one who can’t imagine how others could be of a different opinion to yours. But you’re not in a position to say that Amour is ‘relentlessly depressing’ if you haven’t seen it.

    I’ll remember your comments here, PaulH, on Oscar night. If anyone other than JLaw wins, such definitive statements as ‘I’m here to maintain this race is already over… The BAFTA loss wound up being Chastain’s last stand, the final nail in the ZDT virtual coffin in that category… SAG CHOSE NOT TO NOMINATE RIVA. Lawrence was. Lawrence wins SAG. Game, set, match.’ will be proved definitively wrong.

    And no-one’s arguing that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t the female lead in Silver Linings Playbook. A film does not have to have both a male lead and a female lead. They’re arguing that she has the most prominent female role, but that it’s still a supporting role. You’re not supposed to believe that Jacki Weaver is the lead in SLP. I know imagining a woman over the age of 40 in a lead role makes you nervous.

  115. I believe Lawrence in the frontrunner for many reasons.
    I also believe that Riva is a STRONG possibility.

    And yet … Im thinking Chastain for a sec …..

    She won the BFCA over Lawrence.
    She won the GG Drama.
    Shes been nominate everywhere and won quite a bit.
    I bet she was in the running for BAFTA (with a lot of votes, ditto SAG).
    Shes one of the new IT girls.
    Shes caaigned everywhere.
    She has left-over love from last years accomplishments.
    And she is the biggest chance for the Academy to reward ZD30 somewhere.

  116. Basically, the top 3 could be splitting votes across the branches and someone will benefit from that. Lawrence may wind up on top thanks to Harvey. But i dont think theres a clear leader. Watts can also be included in that in some way.

  117. John

    Also important to note that SAG voters didn’t receive ZD30 screeners, and Harvey Weinstein made SAG a priority for SLP with many, many screenings, Q&As and obviously the screeners. And though Russell’s BAFTA win might suggest otherwise, I don’t think Lawrence has a big chunk of the British-vote in the Academy, obviously BAFTA went with Riva so she can probably count on the European vote the most, but seeing how important nominations ZD30 received there, I would say Chastain was probably second with BAFTA voters…meanwhile we could be EASILY underestimating the eventual winner, Naomi Watts, who not only has great and high profile industry support (Angelina Jolie, Edward Norton, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo), but also could get a big push from the technical branches, being the only Best Actress nominee in a tech-heavy film.

    We’ll see, for now I think Lawrence – as every SAG winner before here – is the frontrunner; Riva – as every BAFTA winner before her – is a VERY strong possibility; and Chastain could be the ‘Boys don’t cry’ pick a.k.a. the girl with the Drama Golden Globe but neither the SAG or BAFTA. And though I consider those three the strongest contenders, a case could be made for a Naomi Watts victory : if the it girls split votes and the painful truth will be the Riva doesn’t have the most dominant Academy Branch, the actors on her side (=no SAG nod), the beloved, overdue and highly acclaimed Naomi Watts could just go all the way, when all is said and done.

  118. I had forgotten that Hillary Swank lost the SAG award to Annette Benning. Looking back, that seems ridiculous (and I liked Benning’s crazy performance in American Beauty).

  119. Scotty

    Not just the SAG, Annette Bening won BAFTA, too…poor Bening, I don’t think there are any other actresses out there who didn’t win the Oscar with the usually ironclad SAG/BAFTA combo. Having said that, I have no problem with Swank winning that year, her turn in ‘Boys don’t cry’ was phenomenal and definitely Oscar-worthy…HOWEVER I do have a BIG problem with the second time she won over Bening, I would have given her Mrs. Beatty ‘Round 2′ (=2004) in a heartbeat, her performance in Being Julia was all about her and she nailed it, probably the most glorious screen performance of her career, meanwhile though a solid and devoted effort, Swank’s performance in Million Dollar Baby was pure, calculated Oscar-bait and with Eastwood and Freeman in the pic, she didn’t have to carry the film this time like she had to with ‘Boys don’t cry’. I LOVED Bening in American Beauty, but I rationalized the equally deserving Swank’s victory by saying she won because her film was all about her and if Bening’s film was all about one character, it was Spacey’s. That’s why it annoys me to this day that when Round 2 came around and the roles were reversed (Bening THE lead, Swank the CO-lead), the Academy was lazy and just simply jumped on the M$B bandwagon.

  120. I would love it if Riva won because (apart from the beauty of the performance) this would TOTALLY MESS UP Best Actress 2013.

    Here’s how it goes:

    Riva wins and =>

    Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) + Lawrence (Serena)

    arrive to Oscar 2013 with strong “overdue” vibes

    Naomi Watts already sort of has that vibe and she will probably lose this year, so her Diana 2013 will be an even stronger threat

    add to this Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) + Kidman (Grace of Monaco) + Streep/Roberts (Osage County)

    and Actress 2013 has a strong sense of unpredictability powered by some of the biggest names of the game.

  121. ^ Glad to see I’m not the only one waiting for this year’s charade to be over. I’m looking forward to the excitement that will be next year.

  122. GoOnNow

    Oh, boy, you provoked me to do this and I tried REALLY hard not to :) Anyway, here is a longlonglong list of potential Best Actress contenders for next year. What can I say, I was booored out of my mind yesterday, made one for every main category. So here is Best Actress 2013 :

    POTENTIAL FRONTRUNNERS
    1. Meryl Streep (August : Osage County)
    2. Naomi Watts (Diana)
    3. Kate Winslet (Labor Day)
    4. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)
    5. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)
    6. Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco)
    7. Jennifer Lawrence (Serena OR Catching Fire)
    8. Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby OR Inside Llewyn Davis)
    9. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
    10. Judi Dench (Philomena)

    STRONG CONTENDERS
    11. Rooney Mara (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints OR Side Effects OR Her OR Untitled Malick)
    12. Emmanuelle Seigner (Venus in Fur)
    13. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine OR Knight of Cups OR Untitled Malick)
    14. Julia Roberts (August : Osage County)
    15. Amanda Seyfried (Lovelace)
    16. Reese Witherspoon (Devil’s Knot)
    17. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
    18. Marion Cotillard (Lowlife)
    19. Dakota Fanning (Effie OR Night moves)
    20. Jessica Brown Findlay (Winter’s Tale)

    TOO INDIE ?
    21. Lake Bell (In a World…)
    22. Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now)
    23. Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)
    24. Julianne Moore (What Maisie Knew)
    25. Elizabeth Olsen (Theresa Raquin OR Oldboy)
    26. Hilary Swank (You’re not you)
    27. Catherine Deneuve (On My Way)
    28. Brit Marling (The East)
    29. Olga Kurylenko (To the Wonder)
    30. Natalie Portman (Knight of Cups OR Untitled Malick)
    31. Teresa Palmer (Knight of Cups)
    32. Helen Mirren (The Door)

    TOO GENRE ?
    33. Olivia Wilde (The Third Person)
    34. Mila Kunis (The Third Person)
    35. Maria Bello (The Third Person)
    36. Penelope Cruz (Los amantes pasajeros)
    37. Chloe Moretz (Carrie)
    38. Mia Wasikowska (Stoker)
    39. Emma Watson (The Bling Ring)
    40. Jodie Foster (Elysium)
    41. Rachel McAdams (About Time OR A Wanted Man)
    42. Michelle Pfeiffer (Malavita)

    NEXT YEAR ?
    43. Amy Adams (Janis Joplin : Get it while you can)
    44. Lily Rabe (The First)
    45. Cynthia Nixon (A Quiet Passion)
    46. Anne Hathaway (Get Happy)
    47. Elizabeth McGovern (The Chaperone)
    48. Jennifer Connelly (Noah)
    49. Viola Davis (Untitled Barbara Jordan Biopic)
    50. Renée Zellweger (Bridget Jones’s Baby)

  123. rufussondheim

    I still have not seen Being Julia so it’s hard for me to say whether Bening deserved it, but I don’t think Swank did. I loved her (and still do) in Boys Don’t Cry. Everyone was expecting Bening to win in 1999 and I said, “no no no” if people just see Boys Don’t Cry, Swank will win in a heartbeat.

    But in Million Dollar Baby, I don’t think Swank gave us anything new. I think her performance was inferior than Boys Don’t Cry as well. It’s a great performance, don’t get me wrong. But I think if you are going to win your second Oscar it should be for a role that displays a different facet of your talents.

  124. rufussondheim

    Jennifer Lawrence won’t win for Catching Fire. If she loses this year phantom, I would put her at #1 (or maybe #2 after Watts.)

    I think Streep will knock it out of the park in August, and think she’s a virtual lock for a nomination, but I think her chances of winning a 4th (which should happen one day, I hope) are slim compared to Watts and Lawrence (assuming they lose this year). And I can almost guarantee that Roberts will be pushed to Supporting for Oscar consideration for August.

  125. rufussondheim

    And if you have a list for Best Actor, phantom, I’d love to see it. Of course you can wait until Sasha puts up her Best Actor article.

    Hopefully you give Chiwetel Ejiofor some proper respect. He’s a very talented actor that will likely give a career defining performance in a film that will bring one of the most talented young directors to the A-List of Hollywood.

  126. rufussondheim

    I don’t think Lawrence could win for Catching Fire. I think she COULD win for Serena but if that film disappoints, she MIGHT sneak into the top5 with Catching Fire IF the film is as good or better than its predecessor, it does have a VERY Academy-friendly November release date, after all.

    I know why you think Roberts will be placed in supporting, but I still don’t think that will happen. The film has at least three remarkably BAITY supporting female characters played by Juliette Lewis (Karen), Julianne Nicholson (Ivy) and Margo Martindale (Mattie Fae), maybe even four if we count Abigail Breslin (Jean). So I think we will have a ‘The Help’ situation on our hands : so many great female parts in a film, that they will have several contenders in both actress categories…and clearly Roberts’s role and status suggests that she will be the obvious choice to stay in lead and that could allow at least two from the Lewis-Nicholson-Martindale trio to make the cut in supporting…and who knows, the Academy might not be able to turn their back on the Streep-Roberts duo in Best Actress, either. I will follow this one closely, the play has so many great roles, and now that we covered the women, I think it’s worth mentioning that Benedict Cumberbatch has probably the best male role, so he could be a strong player in supporting for this and maybe even in lead for The Fifth Estate in which he plays Julian Assange. Damn, the man seems to be heading for an AMAZING year, between those two films AND the Star Trek villain role AND Twelve years a slave AND the second part of The Hobbit.

  127. Robert A.

    It wasn’t hard for Annette Bening to beat Hilary Swank at BAFTA for 1999…since Hilary Swank wasn’t even nominated. I think Boys Don’t Cry hadn’t been released over the pond yet. Plus, the BAFTA ceremony occurred after Oscars in those days, so they had no real impact on the Oscar race.

    SAG was the only prize that Bening won over Swank. Swank cleaned up with most of the vital critic awards, plus won BFCA and Globe, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise when she won Oscar. (Actually, Bening winning SAG was the bigger surprise). Also, that was the year the Wall Street Journal did an Oscar poll with a certain # of Academy voters, and Swank was way ahead of Bening in their poll, also tipping us off that Swank would probably win. I remember there was a line in the article that read, “Voters are assuming that Annette Bening will win…but they’re not voting for her…” and then went on to give the odds that were pretty big in Swank’s favor.

    In fact, the only category the WSJ poll got wrong that year was Best Actor, and the poll said that was the tightest race and pretty much too close to call. Denzel for The Hurricane had the slightest edge over Spacey, according to the poll, but of course, Spacey pulled it off.

  128. rufussondheim

    Of course, he has been on my radar for a long time, and have been considering him strongly for Best Actor next year basically since they announced his casting. Here is the list, sorry everyone else for the OT comment :

    POTENTIAL FRONTRUNNERS
    1. George Clooney (The Monuments Men)
    2. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street OR Baz Luhrmann)
    3. Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale)
    4. Colin Firth (The Railway Man)
    5. Tom Hanks (Captain Philipps OR Saving Mr. Banks)
    6. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave)
    7. Daniel Brühl (Rush)
    8. Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher)
    9. Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
    10. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club OR Mud)

    STRONG CONTENDERS
    11. Hugh Jackman (Prisoners)
    12. Michael Fassbender (The Counselor)
    13. Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight)
    14. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis OR Therese Raquin)
    15. Josh Brolin (Oldboy OR Labor Day)
    16. Bradley Cooper (Serena OR The Place Beyond the Pines OR Untitled David O. Russell)
    17. Mathieu Amalric (Venus in Fur)
    18. Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
    19. James McAvoy (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby OR Trance)
    20. Colin Farrell (Winter’s Tale)

    TOO INDIE ?
    21. Casey Affleck (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints OR The Third Person)
    22. Christian Bale (Knight of Cups OR Malick OR Out of Furnace OR Untitled Russell)
    23. Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
    24. Liam James (The Way, Way Back)
    25. Tom Sturridge (Effie)
    26. Steve Coogan (What Maisie Knew OR The Look of Love OR Philomena)
    27. Ryan Gosling (Only God Forgives OR The Place Beyond The Pines OR Untitled Malick)
    28. Daniel Radcliffe (Kill your darlings)
    29. Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now)
    30. Terrence Stamp (Unfinished Song)
    31. Alexander Skarsgaard (The East OR What Maisie Knew)

    TOO GENRE ?
    32. Jeremy Renner (Lowlife)
    33. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate)
    34. Liam Neeson (The Third Person)
    35. Adrien Brody (The Third Person)
    36. Jude Law (Side Effects)
    37. James Franco (The Third Person OR Oz, the Great & Powerful)
    38. Matt Damon (Elysium)
    39. Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners)
    40. Ben Affleck (Runner Runner)
    41. Domhnall Gleeson (About Time)
    42. Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man)
    43. Jesse Eisenberg (Night moves)
    44. Peter Saarsgard (Night moves)
    45. Antonio Banderas (Los amanted pasajeros)
    46. Robert De Niro (Malavita)
    47. Matthew Goode (Stoker)
    48. Brad Pitt (World War Z)
    49. Armie Hammer (Lone Ranger)

    NEXT YEAR ?
    50. Russel Crowe (Noah)

  129. I have to disagree completely with your view of JLaw’s character. Her character is not merely a showpiece to save the leading man. While she suffers from a mental disorder, she displays a unique insight into coping with mental illness which all sufferers strive to uncover. This character embodies the notion that we all suffer together on some level, and only by helping one another can we get through this crazy, fucked up thing called living. The idea of finding someone to cope with after being given up on by society and it’s “norms”, which really we shouldn’t be so driven to emulate in the first place. If all you got from watching her truly stunning performance is that she’s a young, pretty thing who saves the lead male, then you completely missed the point of the film and just how amazing JLaw’s performance truly is. In this case, the fact that she is so young makes it all the more amazing, that she could unleash the emotions and intricacies of the character in a raw performance beyond her years.

  130. Tero Heikkinen

    Yeah, it looks like Streep’s performance will be a tour-de-force (based on the material), but that will not be enough for the win, even if she clearly gives the best performance of the nominees. To win a 4th (and so soon after 3rd) is going to be hard, unless they – for example – make a case that she should definitely tie with Katharine Hepburn, because she’s Meryl Streep. Or the other four nominees are really not that great (which is hard to believe seeing the list of potentials above). Streep will get her fourth, I believe, but a decade must pass for her to win another Lead Actress. Supporting Actress she could win any year.

    But Streep is in and there’s “only” 4 spots up for grabs in Best Actress for next year.

  131. Tero Heikkinen

    Phantom, damn you’re fast with those lists. Could we have Best Picture? :)

  132. Tero

    You can have Best Picture / Best Director :) And again, sorry for hijacking the comments section !

    POTENTIAL FRONTRUNNERS
    1. The Monuments Men (George Clooney)
    2. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
    3. Fruitvale (Ryan Coogler)
    4. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
    5. The Railway Man (Jonathan Teplitzky)
    6. August : Osage County (John Wells)
    7. The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann)
    8. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)
    9. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
    10. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
    11. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
    12. Inside Llewyn Davies (Joel & Ethan Coen)
    13. Twelve Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
    14. Rush (Ron Howard)
    15. The Counselor (Ridley Scott)
    16. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash)
    17. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery)
    18. Labor Day (Jason Reitman)
    19. Serena (Susanne Bier)
    20. The Butler (Lee Daniels)

    STRONG CONTENDERS
    21. Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski)
    22. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
    23. Devil’s Knot (Atom Egoyan)
    24. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
    25. Her (Spike Jonze)
    26. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)
    27. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Ned Benson)
    28. Effie (Richard Laxton)
    29. Therese Raquin (Charlie Stratton)
    30. Lowlife (James Gray)
    31. Diana (Oliver Hirschbiegel)
    32. Grace of Monaco (Olivier Dahan)
    33. Winter’s Tale (Akiva Goldsman)
    34. The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon)
    35. Philomena (Stephen Frears)
    36. The Third Person (Paul Haggis)
    37. The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola)
    38. To the Wonder (Terrence Malick)
    39. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
    40. Untitled Terrence Malick Project

    TOO GENRE ?
    41. The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson)
    42. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
    43. Oz : The Great & Powerful (Sam Raimi)
    44. Elysium (Neill Blomkamp)
    45. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
    46. About Time (Richard Curtis)
    47. Runner Runner (Brad Furman)
    48. Man of Steel (Zach Snyder)
    49. Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)
    50. Stoker (Chan-wook Park)
    51. World War Z (Marc Forster)
    52. The Hunger Games : Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence)
    53. Oldboy (Spike Lee)
    54. Carrie (Kimberly Peirce)
    55. Thor : Dark World (Alan Taylor)
    56. Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)
    57. Star Trek : Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams)
    58. Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro)
    59. A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn)
    60. Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper)

    TOO INDIE ?
    61. Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt)
    62. Mud (Jeff Nichols)
    63. Trance (Danny Boyle)
    64. The East (Zal Batmanglij)
    65. Kill your darlings (John Krokidas)
    66. In a World… (Lake Bell)
    67. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
    68. What Maisie Knew (Scott McGehee & David Siegel)
    69. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
    70. The Place Beyond The Pines (Derek Cianfrance)
    71. The Company You Keep (Robert Redford)
    72. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mira Nair)
    73. At Any Price (Ramin Bahrani)
    74. Unfinished Song (Paul Andrew Williams)
    75. Los amantes pasajeros (Pedro Almodóvar)

    NEXT YEAR ?
    76. You’re Not You (George C. Wolfe)
    77. Noah (Darren Aronofsky)
    78. A Quiet Passion (Terrence Davies)
    79. Get Happy : The Life of Judy Garland (?)
    80. The First (Jennifer Delia)
    81. Untitled Barbara Jordan (?)
    82. Janis Joplin : Get it while you can (?)
    83. The Chaperone (Simon Curtis)
    84. Bridget Jones’s Baby (Peter Cattaneo)
    85. Untitled David O. Russell / Abscam Project

    TOO ANIMATED ?
    86. The Croods
    87. Epic
    88. Monsters University
    89. Despicable Me 2
    90. Turbo
    91. The Smurfs 2
    92. Planes
    93. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
    94. Mr. Peabody and Sherman
    95. Frozen

    STRICTLY GOLDEN GLOBE ?
    96. Malavita
    97. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
    98. Red 2
    99. Last Vegas
    100. The Sapphires (Wayne Blair)

  133. @ phantom

    your lists are fantastic as usual, but in Malick’s projects, I would bet my ass that most of the women, if not all of them, are supporting.

    Now, another super Oscar-sounding film makes me wonder about its future course, and that’s Clooney’s “The Monuments Men”;

    The film will draw a lot of attention and the release date is confirmed. Blanchett’s the only female in it and reports say there is a very strong love story in the heart of the film (Blanchett and Clooney’s characters).

    If that film is well received I can see her going Lead for it.

    She could be campaigned Supporting in “The Monuments Men” if the year ends up being too competitive and if “Blue Jasmine” is another “Match Point” or a “Midnight in Paris”. She will easily get a Leading nom for it (you know, the name Cate Blanchett in a Woody Allen film brings more Oscar attention than Owen Wilson or Scarlett Johansson).

    On the other hand, if “Carol” is finished in time, “Carol” can easily be IT.

    Considering all of her projects this year she might have another 2007 with a Leading and Supporting nomination at the same time. I’m just confused about the roles.

  134. Tero Heikkinen

    Wow, that was a quite a list.

  135. GoOnNow

    I think it was Robert A, who pointed out that in the book Blanchett’s character isn’t that prominent or flashy to warrant Oscar-love, so I guess if they don’t change the character A LOT for the film, she probably won’t go lead, BUT in her hands, it could be still a memorable, Oscar-worthy supporting performance. I agree, she will have a very busy and potentially brilliant year, and you’re not alone with your confusion, she is in three VERY mysterious, secretive films (Blue Jasmine, the two Malick projects) with undisclosed plots, so at the moment we can’t possibly now what to expect from her Oscar-wise this year and in which category. My money is on a supporting nod for The Monuments Men, but an additional lead nod for Blue Jasmine would make perfect sense, as well.

  136. Yes, I hope Cate Blanchett pull double nods again and finally -win- the Best Actress. I will be back on Team Blanchett after Riva wins this year, lol.

  137. Phantom – you dazzle! DAMN, that’s impressive!

  138. rufussondheim

    Thanks Phantom, I do indeed think Cumberbatch is going to have a great year, not quite like Chastain’s 2011 since we all know Cumberbatch coming in, but he’s in so many of films of many different varieties that I think he should be an awards contender somewhere.

    For the record, I’m fairly confidant it won’t be for 12 Years a Slave. Yes, he plays a slavemaster, but it ain’t your typical slavemaster as he’s very kindhearted and generous and performs several acts that may make him seem heroic, but I’m not sure how much of that will make it into the movie. While it’s no doubt a unique and interesting character, I don’t think it will provide him enough range to be Oscar material. Plus, I think the standout supporting male role in that film is Michael Fassbender who would easily be my #1 pick for Supporting Male Oscar based on my limited knowledge of what’s coming.

    And, for the record, you saved about 100 hours of work for every Oscar Blogger out there with those lists. Hopefully they give you credit when they cut and paste those lists onto their blogs (with a few minor changes so it looks original)

  139. rufussondheim

    I’d also put Bennett Miller up higher for Foxcatcher – his last two films, Capote and Moneyball both made the BP list and this material is extremely strong.

  140. Let’s be bold here.
    You can write this down, tattoo on your forearm, whatever:

    Micheal Fassbender will win the first of his two Oscars next year for Twelve Years a Slave. Like DeNiro, Streep, Spacey (and probably Blanchett) it will be in the supporting category.

    His slave-owner portrayal will be a 180 turn-around from the Django-games we got this year.

  141. ha – rufus – didn’t see your post!

  142. Tero Heikkinen

    “…when they cut and paste those lists onto their blogs (with a few minor changes so it looks original)”.

    Crossed my mind, too.

  143. rufussondheim

    Yeah, everyone likes to claim they knew Anne Hathaway was going to win this year the moment her casting was announced. I think that’s pure hyperbole, but after we saw her in the first preview, it was pretty obvious she was the frontrunner.

    I don’t know how to compare that to Fassbender, but at this stage in the game, I’m 100% confidant in my calling him the frontrunner. Yes, it’s early and anything could happen, but it’s going to take a great performance to dislodge him from that position.

  144. When you consider what he is capable of, who is directing him, and last year’s omission, it’s a done deal. He’s also going to bring a lot of humanity to what is essentially a monster, I’m sure.

  145. Thank you, people !

    rufussondheim

    I will embarass myself with bragging now, but I called Hathaway long before the teaser trailer, back in March :

    phantom / March 31, 2012

    I hope the film will be good AND the criminally underrated Hugh Jackman will get his first Best Actor Oscar nomination : he is an action star, who won a Tony for a musical (!), got a Golden Globe nomination for a romantic comedy AND worked with Woody Allen and visionary directors like Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Baz Luhrmann…he is clearly versatile and remarkably talented, he just needs a great role/project…hopefully, this will be it.

    By the way, I would put money on Anne Hathaway’s Oscar victory in the best supporting actress category…she is a previous nominee, a leading lady in a supporting role (the Academy LOVES that), playing a VERY Oscar-friendly, iconic part, not to mention she will probably have an excellent year with ANOTHER iconic role in Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film. The Oscarless duo, Helena Bonham Carter (as the legendary Miss Havisham in ‘Great Expectations) and Amy Adams (in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master) will probably give her a run for her money, but in the end, I have a strong hunch, Hathaway will win…I know, I know…too early.

    http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2012/03/31/first-look-at-russell-crowe-in-les-mis/#comments

  146. I think Lawrence will win for sure, but Riva gives one of the best performances this year (alongside Trintignant, and Levant in “Holy Motors”, DDL in “Lincoln”), AND also deserving for her illustrious career.

  147. rufussondheim

    Well, if Fassbender wins, Steve and I will have outdone you since it’s only February! :)

  148. Tero Heikkinen

    Btw, if Hathaway wins and it sure seems that way… who are some other winners that were frontrunners from casting to actually winning it AND not playing a real-life person (because those always do well no matter what)?

  149. @ phantom

    I geeked out on your list and made a top 17 for Best Actress :P

    POTENTIAL FRONTRUNNERS

    1) Naomi Watts (Diana): Overdue vibe + Momentum + Big Name Biopic alert + Babe Factor;
    2) Meryl Streep (August: Osage County): Meryl Streep
    3) Julia Roberts (August: Osage County): Oscar Winner + A Star + The project sounds great + Harvey
    4) Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby): if she loses now => an exceptionally strong Overdue factor + her name alone has already transferred to strong Oscar bait;
    5) Jennifer Lawrence (Serena): same as Chastain, behind her because she has a stronger shot at winning now;
    6) Marion Cotillard (Lowlife): She’s definitely nomination overdue (Nine; Inception; Rust and Bone) + Babe factor + Oscar Winner + I think Harvey bought this last year + Fantastic cast;
    7) Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco): An Oscar winning star portraying an Oscar winning star;
    8) Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks): Oscar winner + Legend + it’s been a long time factor + Biopic alert;
    9) Sandra Bullock (Gravity): a few people have said she’s brilliant in it + Oscar winner + a star + “let’s hug her” vibe after her horrible post-win trauma;
    10) Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, The Monuments Men, Carol): A huge Oscar name and one of the most respected actors in the world + if Woody hits it => she’ll immediately jump to top 5 status + you never know what will happen with the rest of the projects;
    11) Kate Winslet (Labor Day): a recent Oscar winner directed by a shaky Reitman that I’m placing out of the top 10 for now;
    12) Zoe Saldana (Nina): Biopic alert + babe factor
    13) Judi Dench (Philomena): A legend, yet Frears is such a hit or miss;
    14) Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby; Inside Llewyn Davis): a really talented actress + OMG look who’s directing; the Gatsby release date fluctuations make me go “hmm” + how leading is she in Llewyn Davis?
    15) Julie Delpy (Before Midnight): legions of fans + critical acclaim is anticipated;
    16) Hilary Swank (You’re Not You): the project sounds painfully Oscar;
    17) Michelle Pfeiffer (Malavita): a star and former Oscar nominee in a great-sounding project;

  150. GoOnNow

    GREAT rankings, you’re right, Roberts could end up in the top5 along Streep, it will be a Harvey campaign after all and thanks for bringing Nina to my attention, that one escaped me until now.

  151. Personally, my top choices for Best Actress are Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, and Jennifer Lawrence, in that order. As lauded as Riva’s performance has been, I don’t understand why it is her performance and not Jean-Louis Trintignant’s that is nominated. Personally, I thought Trintignant had the more complex role. But going back to the Best Actress race, I thought Chastain had the more powerful performance, that she is also young should not matter.

  152. Charlotte

    @PaulH: Regarding the supposed hate against Jennifer Lawrence…absolutely not true. Both Sasha and Ryan are big fans of Lawrence along with many on this site. Sasha just didn’t care for how the character of Tiffany was written…not Lawrence or her performance which Sasha has praised many times. Ryan as well has always been supportive and I agree about Serena…it will knock our socks off, it’s a hell of a role for Lawrence–a character unlike any she has played before…should be amazing. I also agree with what ruffussoundheim wrote regarding Lawrence and her potential to become a Hollywood icon…yeah, she’s on that trajectory. So, there’s no hate, it’s just the same people posting the same bullshit on the board whenever there is a post that has anything to do with Jennifer Lawrence… really, they amount a handful…an annoying handful but really it’s the same handful and frankly, they are boring. I loved SLP and Lawrence as Tiffany but, I think Riva will win the Oscar (Jennifer Lawrence is only 22, but she’s also very talented..she has time) and that’s great!…all the actresses nominated gave wonderful performances and all should be supported and I look forward to what each of these women will do next.

  153. Charlotte

    rufussondheim: I spelled your name incorrectly in my post…my apologies!.

  154. I understand the point of “she’s great, but too young, will have plenty of opportunities in the future to win”.
    Get more experience, an undeniable performance and then win.
    It still irks me, though.
    So many actresses and actors with plenty experience and actually an undeniable performance got denied and never won. You all know the names. Maybe they’ll never win…
    It’s really not about the performance. It SHOULD be about it alone, but we all know it just is not.
    It’s about the moment, especially the campaign. People love to make fun of Anne Hathaway, but she really REALLY wants that Oscar! (I fear for her sanity if she somehow looses that night…. honestly…)

    It’s madness and it’s even more sickening we follow this crazyness year after year. Only one can win, four will loose.
    Some will come back (and maybe win), some not.

    Like I’ve said, I understand the “next time” argument. It just don’t come true for plenty of people. Sadly…

  155. I think Naomi Watts give the year best actress performance,a wonderful and touching real tour de force,she is really better than Jessica,Jennifer or even Riva.She is the best actress working know a days in Hollywood but unfortunally also the most underrated actress.Thanks Naomi Watts you made me cry with a so beautiful performance,so strong and subtle too.

  156. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a brilliant performance as Tiffany, the saucy, feisty widow whose candor and wit surpass Pat (Bradley Cooper), a troubled, delusional former teacher diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her words and gestures convey and romantically match the manic-depressive male lead. Her zeal for individuality distinguishes her from typical female leads-Oscar Worthy indeed.

    Pat Sr., (Robert DeNiro), a Philadelphia Eagles zealot; Dolores (Jacki Weaver), Ronnie (John Ortiz) and Danny (Chris Tucker) are just as clamorous in their assertions and assumptions. They support and comfort their friend/son’s transition into optimism with love expressed through Eagles games, gambling, ballroom dancing and seeking silver linings in life including matters of the heart.

    Silver Linings Playbook is a refreshing change to most mundane commonplace cinema. It’s intriguing, honest interactions should not be ignored-rather embraced for its bold, intentionally impertienent cast & adapted screenplay as well. Great Job Indeed!

  157. Snooby Dooby Doo

    I am English and I disagree that in Europe age isn’t everything but I suppose that it is not as big a deal as it is in America. Also I think Bafta are more focused on performance than appearance

    Also one of the main reasons the English can’t connect with the film is probably because it’s too comedic to be drama but too serious to be a comedy. Our idea of a comedy is definitely different to SLP, which is too Americanized anyway.

    I am rooting entirely for Riva (but will be happy with a Jessica or Naomi win) and will probably be very upset if Jennifer wins. Her performance wasn’t nearly as good as Riva’s. And I despise all these Weinstein excessive campaigning. I will smile and laugh if it goes home empty-handed.

  158. And, for the record, you saved about 100 hours of work for every Oscar Blogger out there with those lists. Hopefully they give you credit when they cut and paste those lists onto their blogs (with a few minor changes so it looks original)

    We’re going to put up a poll of most anticipated films in an hour or so and I cross checked my list with what phantom collected and found about 25 titles to add to the 50 I already had.

    thank you phantom. what you posted here last week is amazing.

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