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OscarWatch: An Early Look at the Best Actress Race

As we head into another Oscar season you’ll see an array of representations of male characters of all ages and walks of life. Old, young, fat, thin, handsome, unattractive – you name it, they never run out of stories to be told about them. Women, such is not the case. Women have the choice of being the Bond girl, the superhero love interest, the regular love interest who helps male character achieve goal, the manic pixie dreamgirl, the young action star, etc. It’s even worse when you factor in race – Lupita Nyong’o, the hottest thing going last year, doesn’t seem to have any kind of industry that is prepared for her. Not yet, anyway. There isn’t a single black or Asian actress on my radar for a lead actress nod this year. Not so far anyway. With so much money at stake, the risk level drops significantly.

There are several major roles on the horizon to watch out for as we make our way away from roles that can be readily dismissed for Oscar consideration as being not meaty enough, not big enough, not outstanding enough to get a nod. Very young actresses who act in serious films have a hard time getting taken seriously by the voting Academy, or the Screen Actors Guild – there are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking an actress will have to earn her stripes to get taken seriously enough when the film itself is aimed at young adults.

Still, there are performances that are already being talked about for Oscar, or their place is being held in line in case the role achieves everything we all hope. This is how, in this very early stage, it’s shaping up.

*Performances I’ve already seen.

Early Predictions for the Best Actress Five:
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars*
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Hilary Swank, The Homesman*

Next in line:
Helen Mirren, The Hundred-Foot Journey
Jessica Chastian, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby*
Robin Wright, The Congress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Marion Cotillard, Macbeth or Two Days, One Night
Jennifer Lawrence, Serena
Juliette Binoche, The Clouds of Sils Maria

Effects-driven heroines:
Scarlett Johansson, Lucy
Anne Hathaway, Interstellar
Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending
Angelina Jolie, Maleficent
Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games

Lighter fare:
Diane Keaton, And So it Goes
Keira Knightley, Laggies
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Audrey Tautou, Mood Indigo

Young’uns:
Emma Stone, Magic in the Moonlight
Chloe Moretz, If I Stay (?)
Shailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars
Elisabeth Olsen, Very Good Girls
Dakota Fanning, Very Good Girls
Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything

Any of these names could pop into the top five. So why have I chosen the top five that I have? Here is why.

1. Julianne Moore in Maps to the Stars
Moore is one of the most overdue actresses in Hollywood. She is where Martin Scorsese was in 2006 when The Departed came along and slam-dunked his long-awaited Oscar win. With so many brilliant performances behind her, this beloved, talented actress has never won. The stumbling block for her is that she does not try to make her character likable. This part stabs at the heart of what it is to be an aging, desperate actress hovering on the fringes. Either voters will recoil in horror and hope that this movie and this part disappears so as not to have to confront the ugly side of fame, or they will bow down in gratitude that, at last, someone has put a face on something so utterly familiar and tragic about their world around them. Either they’ll say, wow, I know that woman. Or they’re say, ugh, I am NOT that woman. It’s a coin toss how it will go down but Moore’s is an unlikable, dark portrait of desperation. After the screening, Deadline’s Pete Hammond said it was a shame that it was such an ugly portrait as it might cost Moore an Oscar nod. I think that could be true but I also suspect Moore’s being so overdue will/could trump the horror, the horror of looking into the abyss and having the abyss look back at you.

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2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
David Fincher. Nuff said. You have to go back to Zodiac to find a Fincher film where the lead performance wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Why they shunned Zodiac defines much of why the Oscars are considered mostly irrelevant when it comes to acknowledging the true brilliance in American film. So why is this – it has to do with two things. 1) Fincher’s ability to know people in a Hannibal-like sense. He gets them, finds out quickly who they are, what their motivations are and works backwards from there. He casts people he knows can get to that thing he’s looking for. He works extremely hard to pull that performance out of the actor who may or may not even know they have it in them to get there. Surely this was the case with Rooney Mara, whom was underestimated by everyone, starting with the studio. So, given this, given the kind of part it is, we should all prepare ourselves for Rosamund Pike. Again, we’ll be looking at a very dark portrayal of a woman that will likely cause the social justice bloggers to explode, falsely believing this to be a misogynist film. That is, to me, akin to fascism where women will only be afforded opportunities to be portrayed in a positive light. We women know that our characters are not unassailable. We have much to confront within our own community – our hatred for each other, our continual obsession with self-improvement, the tabloid industry, our inclination towards fairy tales. This is all confronted brilliantly by Gillian Flynn in the book. I fully expect Fincher will go there, without flinching. So get ready.

3. Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Here is another overdue actress who could very well win it, especially with Weinstein Co. standing behind her. From the footage shown in Cannes, Adams seems to have finally gotten the right role for what she offers – slightly bitchy, really funny, quirky and obsessive. Her tone as an actress fits the material perfectly. All that will be required is one big Oscar scene. If she sticks that landing she could win the whole thing. But it is still too early and Tim Burton has been extremely hit or miss of late, usually missing. I trust that under Weinstein co. this will likely not be a miss.

amvy_day2-411

4. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
The fate of this film isn’t known yet but what is known is writer/director JC Chandor’s commitment to actors. Though Robert Redford missed out on an Oscar nod last year, anyone who is a fan of Chandor’s knows how hard he works to get the best performance he can. That he has the very very talented Ms. Chastain to work with increases the likelihood for a nod significantly. Chastain will also be in line for a nod with The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Hopefully she will not cancel herself out. What role gets in will likely be the one with more Best Picture heat and I’m guessing, at this early stage, that might be A Most Violent Year.

the_homesman_1-620x478

5. Hilary Swank, The Homesman.
The Homesman’s fate is still very much up in the air. It will get an Oscar campaign. Swank will be a major standout but this film will depend entirely on how the critics react to it. One thing it has going for it is its strong ensemble of SAG actors. Tommy Lee Jones’ own reach in the actor community, not to mention Meryl Streep’s and the other actors involved, could propel the film forward in the awards race. Remember, critics don’t vote on awards. This is an actors showcase, this film, and despite it’s non-traditional story structure, and Jones’ unwillingness to kiss babies and do the dog and pony show, the actors could very well drive this one through. There will be little debate that Swank’s will be among the most memorable performances of the year. The only problem is that the part could be a lot bigger…if it were me, I would re-edit the film to extend the first part with Swank to be 2/3rds of the film and make the last part 1/3. But it is not my movie and I trust in Tommy Lee Jones to tell the story he wants to tell.

Hopefully there will be many more performances emerging from the woodwork that aren’t being discussed here. It’s early yet. Summer hasn’t even begun. We have a long way to go before we settle this conversation. What do you think about Best Actress this year?

62 Comments on this Post

  1. I appreciate your crusade for women in film and you should not stop fighting the good cause. But at what point is this site no longer about the Oscar race and more about women in cinema?

  2. Bryce Forestieri

    I only want to know whether the distributors of MISS JULIE will avoid releasing it this year provided Chastain’s performance in MOST VIOLENT YEAR is a viable Oscar player; I’m assuming ELEANOR RIGBY as good as it might be, will probably not make a stand awards-wise, and that’s been the word hasn’t it? — because it would suck so much, to have to wait for MISS JULIE another year. Unfortunately I can see it playing out that way; Venice it, TIFF it, and, then 2015 it :(

    “Why they shunned Zodiac defines much of why the Oscars are considered mostly irrelevant when it comes to acknowledging the true brilliance in American film”

    Truth.

    Also, as much as I’m sure Moore knocks it out of the ballpark (I mean she won Cannes for Christ’s sake, over the much more promoted/advertised/”overdue” home favorite Cotillard!), I’m pretty sure there are easily five other performances out there that AMPAS will want to nominate.

    QUESTION: Is Meryl Streep in UNDER THE WOODS a lead? Because that’d be a lock Best Actress Nomination. Is it a meaty, show-steal-y supporting role that will probably be augmented somehow? Because that too is a Best Actress nomination lock.

    If Amy Adams gets nominated, it will only be because she’s -at this point- Amy freaking Adams, and good for her, but I can’t conceive Tim Burton making a good movie again, like, based on his last half a dozen films.

  3. julian the emperor

    Well, Matt, this article is about both, so count yourself happy.

  4. murtaza

    - I agree with Julianne Moore, Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain. I’ll probably go nuts if it comes down to these three, i don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pick one of them if they’re as good as they seem to be.

    – Hilary Swank can get in but I’ll place my bets on Marion Cotillard, she’s deserving as hell of not only another nomination but also another Oscar.

    – Rosamund Pike is pretty likely to be chopped off, Fincher or no Fincher, same Fincher has taken the risk of casting Ben Affleck also. The only time i came close to accept Affleck as an actor remotely was in The Town, (in which he could’ve also taken someone better than him) other than that Affleck has been a very bad actor.

    – I would like Patricia Arquette to get in for Boyhood or Robin Wright, but isn’t The Congress half animated?

  5. PatrickR

    Looking forward to seeing Julianne Moore this year. Calling her overdue is an understatement.

    Without having seen any of these films, I’d suspect if any of the ones listed above had to be bumped, I’d suspect it would be Swank. Unless she walks on water in this movie, Oscar voters would be hard pressed to give her a third Oscar – and would therefore see no reason not to eliminate her from competition altogether.

  6. Al Robinson

    It’s nice to see a lengthy list of female driven performances to focus on this year. I am looking forward to seeing them.

    Thanks for the list Sasha. :-)

  7. Al Robinson

    Okay, perhaps “female driven performances” doesn’t sound right. I suppose it should just say “female performances”.

    Female driven belongs to a “female driven film”, such as Gravity.

  8. What about Reese Witherspoon in Wild? It’s a great book and Strayed’s journey could make her a standout for strong female characters this year. And with DBC’s Jean-Marc Vallee directing and Fox Searchlight releasing in December, Wild’s probably going to be a player, right?

    Also, I saw Mood Indigo last year and that movie drove me nuts. Tautou was fine, but the film probably doesn’t have much of a chance Oscar-wise.

  9. murtaza

    Pat, Reese is a good contender, you’re right.

  10. Surely Arquette campaigns as a supporting actress?

  11. Christophe

    Methinks it’ll be a battle to the finish line between Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, though my guts tell me Amy’s part might be more palatable to the Academy, they’re both extremely overdue actresses, though Julianne might get extra bonus votes on that point for being the eldest.

  12. Bill W.

    I wouldn’t mind Witherspoon getting in again, but only if it’s for a role where she isn’t playing herself

  13. Bryce Forestieri

    Witherspoon is ‘Supporting’ in INHERENT VICE.

    That’s what you’re talking about, right?

  14. Melvel

    Jennifer Lawrence still? Her film can’t even get a release date.

  15. Aragorn

    ugh! If this boils down to Julianne Moore vs Amy Adams vs Jessica Chastain, it would be a tough choice. I havent seen any performance yet, but I really want to see J. Moore to win her first Oscar…She has such a great career with tons of great performances. It is about time to call her Academy Award winner. Then, there is Amy Adams, who is also building a very good filmography and has been quite Academy darling…I think I wouldnt mind if Jessica lost to one of those two great actresses. She will win Oscar someday soon anyway…Again it is too early in the year. I am curios who will be the surprise nominee that will come out of nowhere later this year…and I would definitely not mind if Marion Cotillard get another nomination, especially if she is as good in the Macbeth as some people say she is. And I am curious if Shailane Woodley may grab the young actress slot if that movie and her performance turn to be good. Very Exciting!

  16. Sandy

    If Julianne Moore is overdue for an Oscar, wouldn’t she have a better chance with Still Alice. She’ll play a very sympathetic character and that film should be out this year.

  17. Reese Witherspoon is a strong bet for Wild. The MPAA rating notes sexual content and nudity in the explanation for its R rating. Could Reese pull a Meg Ryan and strip off, defying all expectations? If she does, that, plus the film, plus how beloved she is in Hollywood could make her a likely contender for a nomination.

    Hilary Swank has been in this position before, for films that were also not very well-liked. It seems unlikely, no matter how good her performance, that Saban Films could push her to a nomination.

    Julianne Moore has also been overlooked before, though she’s clearly in a better standing at present. So many of her performance have been overlooked: Vanya on 42nd Street, Safe, Magnolia, A Single Man, The Kids Are All Right. It’d be so great to see her nominated again. Can you believe it’s been 12 years since her last nomination?!

    Not sure about most of your choices outside of the Top 5, Sasha. Among the Young’uns, I think Magic in the Moonlight will flop, If I Stay won’t come to much and Very Good Girls won’t be Oscar material.

    Among the Lighter fare, And So It Goes looks risible, Mood Indigo is barely on anyone’s radar (and is so not the Academy’s type, nor is Tautou particularly good in it) and will Meryl definitely be leading in Into the Woods?

    Among Effects-driven heroines, Jupiter Ascending will surely be a huge box office disaster (and Mila Kunis will surely only be ok at best in it) and Maleficent already hasn’t picked up the right kind of buzz.

    Among Next in line, The Hundred-Foot Journey is probably too light (and Helen Mirren probably too broad), Patricia Arquette looks supporting in Boyhood, though I haven’t seen it, Serena looks like a high-profile dud they’re trying to bury quietly and Robin Wright in The Congress? Gosh, I wish! What a film, and what an amazing performance Wright gives – her very finest work. But too many people dislike that film, and many more will emerge when the film is released to little fanfare. Plus, it’s half an animated film. And it’s very meta. And it’s almost as scathing toward Hollywood as Maps to the Stars. I’ll eat not just my hat but my entire wardrobe if she gets a single mention from any major awards body, and what a disappointment that’ll be too/

  18. Jennifer Lawrence still? Her film can’t even get a release date.

    Serena needs a US distributor before it can get a release date, and I’m assuming it needs somebody — anybody! — who’s seen it and liked it before it can get a distributor.

    Tragic, because the novel is genius and the role is as juicy as they come.

  19. Daniel B.

    I love Amy Adams but even though she has 5 Oscar noms I still don’t feel that she is overdue. It is true that she has built a momentum but I think that it may be Moore’s year. And what a great thing it will be! I believe that she is the single most deserving overdue actress out there. Even Glenn Close and Annette Bening can wait a little longer.

  20. Movieram

    You know, Sasha, if just half of your list ends up delivering acclaimed performances in acclaimed films, it will be a very good year for women indeed.

    I can’t see Magic Meryl garnering any Oscar nod for Into the Woods, supporting or otherwise.

    I would include Reese Witherspoon in Wild as a major possibility.

    I think we can rule out Angelina Jolie for Maleficent, but we need to watch for her in the directing category.

    I’m rooting for Serena to see the light of day. That was one terrific book and Jennifer Lawrence is great casting for the role.

    It will be hard for me to root against Jessica Chastain. Though I haven’t seen any of the possibilities thus far.

    Great article.

  21. Aaron

    Reese Witherspoon is a strong contender for Wild (terrific source material, meaty character, great studio, hot director whose last film was recently Oscar-blessed). I’d also add Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara for Carol (if it is released this year) as well as Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant (if critics remember her performance by the end of the year) and Nicole Kidman for Queen of the Desert (if it’s finished and picked up by a distributor).

    IMO, everyone seems a bit too optimistic for Julianne Moore in Maps to the Stars. David Cronenberg films are rarely embraced by Oscar, particularly sexually frank ones (Maria Bello in A History of Violence, anyone?). She’s definitely overdue, however, and if critics rally for her performance perhaps she can make it.

    There are talks that Jessica Chastain may go supporting for A Most Violent Year. Regardless, there’s a lot of buzz around that film. I’m not feeling Hilary Swank but The Homesman may be the Nebraska of this year (film greeted with mute appreciation at Cannes that ends up being widely embraced by US critics and Oscar at the end of the year).

    Also, PLEASE don’t forget Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin. I know it’s slim to none that she’ll happen but keep beating the drum for her! It’s still the best performance I’ve seen this year.

  22. phantom

    1. I think Julianne Moore will be succesfully campaigned in supporting for Maps to the Stars (a viable case could be made that Wasikowska is the true lead) and if that happens, she could go all the way, the Academy loves an overdue leading lady in a flashy supporting part…especially if she will be a double nominee again (lead nod with Still Alice), then the Academy may not be able to ignore her anymore, not with the Mockingjay exposure on top of all the acclaim she is bound to receive this year…then again Freeheld next year could be her golden ticket just as easily.

    2. Unfortunately I am also unsure if there will be (m)any great roles for leading ladies of color BUT I do know that we shouldn’t ignore Belle, a well-received period costume drama distributed by Fox Searchlight, it is doing solid arthouse business at the moment and Gugu Mbatha-Raw received good/great notices. Special attention must be paid because I’m fairly certain this is the first period piece with a female lead of color, a female screenwriter of color (Misan Sagay) and a female director of color (Amma Asante).

    3. Oh, Jessica Chastain, what will the Academy do with you this year ? Supporting nod for the modernladymachbetesque turn in A Most Violent Year OR who knows, maybe even Interstellar ? Lead nod for the widely acclaimed festival darling The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby OR for one of the best female roles ever written (August Strindberg) directed by living legend Liv Ullmann ? Oh, who cares, I’m just happy to see a young actress taking her craft seriously and sticking to her integrity, doing so spectacularly well.

  23. richard

    Streep will not get in. She did not get in for Mama Mia. I feel she is doing the same in Into the Woods. She sings fine and has fun, but there really is no meat to that role. Helen Mirren also will not make it. Too light. That’s two down.

  24. phantom

    Oh, what the hell, I’ll bite ! My first BA predictions of the season :

    Amy Adams (Big Eyes) – right noe, my blind guess for the win
    Marion Cotillard (Lady Macbeth) – if this will work, she’ll b EPIC
    Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) – fantastic actress in Fincher’s hands
    Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) – unless they campaign her in supporting
    Shailene Woodley (The Fault in our Stars) – she’s having a very jlawrencian year

  25. Eoin Daly

    When it comes to best actress this year there are alot of overdue women and not all of them will win. Adams with her track record seems likely to receive her third consecutive and sixth nomination overall for Big Eyes, Witherspoon who won this category nearly a decade ago seems likely to make her oscar return with her baity role in Wild (as well as producing Gone Girl), every year we seem to have a newbie nominee and of the potentials Pike seems likeliest even if she is not new but someone who has been around for some time and is finally getting the role of a lifetime that could get her in, Chastain is just a juggarnot and with many great films coming (Eleanor Rigby, Interstellar, Miss Julie, A Most Violent Year) it seems she is welcome for a return and while AMVY will be her biggest oscar film I see that more as a performance that might be very borderline and go supporting as not to pull focus from her many other leading roles which is why I have confidence with Chastain getting that double nomination a feet that is very frequent that it happens for women (shows the range of roles for women). For the final spot there is alot more competition and even though I’m basing this pick on word from Cannes I think Cotillard will finally get a second nomination after nearly 7 years of incredible work since her last nomination and win for her upcoming turn in Macbeth which is one of the greastest female roles for a women to play and unlike many women who have played the role Cotillard has proven herself to play sexy and madness which is the journey the character goes on and if done right there should be no questions. Moore is a brillant actress but the role and film/distributor do not look good for a lead nom but in a much more weaker field that is supporting Moore could make her return to the oscars. Streep is lead pure and simple for Into the Woods but there is the odd time when she is not nominated and with me not having much confidence in the film as disney has taken away one of the crucial turning points for the character which makes the character effective instead the character will be seem more cartoonish throughout as the consequences have been taken away from the character. Swank is also another question mark as her film was sourly received in Cannes outside of herself but because of the character and the twist that happens I do not see how a man or especially a women could vote for that character but that is coming from me but who knows how the US will react to this character. Michelle Williams I feel will also struggle from Harvey paying more attention to films like Big Eyes and Eleanor Rigby allowing her film which I hear is not good to fade away. Other then these women no one else seems to be in contention really so we will have to wait for the fall festivals. I mean toronto two years running has produced unexpected winners from Lawrence in Silver Linings to Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave (supporting).

  26. filmboymichael

    I love me some Julianne Moore (save for Psycho – “hold on, let me get my discman” is one of the worst lines ever in any movie)…she has been great in many movies big and small. She’s had iconic performances and performances where she far outdid the movie (Carrie, The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio), but she ain’t no Martin Scorcese, period, end stop.

    I’m looking forward to Map to the Stars – my friend plays Stu in the film. Julianne is a brilliant actress who has given brilliant, haunting performances year in and year out and she is overdue…but she ain’t no scorsese!

  27. Andre

    given how good David Fincher is with actors and how gifted Pike is, there must be either a monumental blunder in her performance or a VERY impressive crop of actresses for her not to make the cut.

    the role is just begging to be nominated for an Oscar. I’m really excited to see what Fincher will do with “Gone Girl”.

    off-topic: was very impressed by “The Normal Heart”. do you think it would have pulled Oscar traction had it been released in theatres? it has some of the very best acting I’ve seen all year by Ruffalo, Roberts, Joe Mantello and, surprisingly (to me) astonishing work by Jim Parsons (my MVP of the supporting roles), Matt Bomer (who had never even remotely moved me in anything else, but broke my heart here) and Taylor Kitsch (who I previously thought of as a substitute Channing Tatum who only coasted on his looks).

    top marks to all involved.

    also, once again: BRYCE!!!! THE WORLD CUP IS NEARLY HERE! E-MAIL ME, DUDE!

  28. Fadhil

    I thought Chastain is supporting in A Mlst Violent Year
    And I would be really happy if Pike is nominated, the bitch really need a real breakthrough.
    For me, it’s down to Adams vs. Moore

  29. Bryce Forestieri

    “BRYCE!!!! THE WORLD CUP IS NEARLY HERE! E-MAIL ME, DUDE!”

    I have.

    My MVP was Corey Stoll. He was on screen no more than a couple of minutes, but it was the only segment in the film where I felt that “anger” that has been brought up by reviewers here and elsewhere, actually, two minutes of Corey Stoll in THE NORMAL HEART gets the point across better than seven hours of screaming Al Pacino in ANGELS OF AMERICA. Overall, I really liked it but probably less so than the lot of ya. Some performances just didn’t connect with me, especially Roberts. Ditto on Matt Bomer, though like you, I had never been previously impressed by him, he was appropriately affecting in THE NORMAL HEART so here’s hoping he gets an Emmy nomination. I have many more opinions about directorial choices and regarding ‘adaptation’, but I’m over those now. I sound like a broken record, but let me yet again recommend Techine’s THE WITNESSES to everyone here — to my mind, still the best film about this period.

  30. Q Mark

    Quite the contrast to last year, eh? We have a ton of contenders in the mix and nobody is even sure who the leads are in many of these films….whereas on June 1, 2013, the Best Actress race had already been all but conceded to Cate Blanchett.

    I love Julianne Moore and it would be great to see her finally take home an Oscar this year, but saying she’s as overdue as Scorsese was is more than a little off the mark. As great as Moore is, she isn’t to acting what Scorsese is to directing.

    Marion Cotillard should have been nominated at least twice more since 2007 and arguably should have at least one more win, so I am truly hoping she finally gets back in the spotlight as Lady Macbeth. It’s not even a question if the performance will be great or not, it’s only a matter if it’ll so damn great the Academy can’t ignore her again. Wow, do I ever hope that movie ends up being as good as it seems on paper with Cotillard and Fassbender as the leads.

    “Why they shunned Zodiac defines much of why the Oscars are considered mostly irrelevant when it comes to acknowledging the true brilliance in American film.”

    Yeah, the Oscars really stuck it to American filmmakers in 2007, by ignoring Fincher and only nominating/awarding….uh, the Coens, PT Anderson, Reitman, Gilroy and Schnabel, one of the few years in recent memory the Best Director field was all-American (Reitman is half-Canadian, but still).

  31. Watermelons

    Any news on how Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road, Divergent) may impact the Oscar race this year?

    -Watermelons

  32. murtaza

    Trailer for Kill the Messenger is out, starring Jeremy Renner. Directed by Michael Cuesta, (Homeland, Dexter)

  33. Sketch

    The argument that Meryl wasn’t nominated for Mamma Mia so she won’t get nodded for Into the Woods is such a weak one.

    They’re very different roles and one is definitely better/meatier. Also, different directors.
    I also think it could make a play for a Supporting nod…not sure she’s a true lead (not that it’s ever stopped her before).

  34. melissa

    I really want to see Juliette B. In the mix.

  35. Nic V

    I think this year the Critics awards may very well play an important part in whom secures a nomination. NYC and LA may end up being what pushes the Academy to recognize a performance they may not particularly find attractive. I think that if Moore is as good as everyone seems to believe at this point NYC certainly would jump on the bandwagon and that could secure her a nomination. But that could also work for Swank as well. Adams is like the bridesmaid at this point and honestly nothing she’s done at this point has made everyone forget every other female performance but hers. There’s a “we’ve seen that before” kind of thing going on with Adams no matter how much she fine tunes herself. Cotillard could be a force to reckon with depending on how MacBeth is received by the critics. And from what I’m seeing so far with Into the Woods isn’t Streep’s character more a supporting role than a lead?

  36. Christophe

    The only question pertaining to Cotillard and MacBeth is whether the film will be released this year or next year. That film will not only be a surprise box office hit, it will sweep everything and win Fassbender his first Oscar, and Cotillard her second. There’s no doubt about it. Once we know the release date, the game will be over and its competitors would have better luck another year.

  37. Sonja

    @Sketch

    Quote:
    “The argument that Meryl wasn’t nominated for Mamma Mia so she won’t get nodded for Into the Woods is such a weak one.

    They’re very different roles and one is definitely better/meatier. Also, different directors.
    I also think it could make a play for a Supporting nod…not sure she’s a true lead (not that it’s ever stopped her before).”

    Exactly.
    Not only she had the much baitier “Doubt” out that year, MM! is still a jukebox musical, no more no less.
    Though I don’t think she’ll get in Lead, but who knows? If ITW scores best leading actress, supporting actress(es) and ensemble, I say she’s in. Otherwise supporting is a sure bet.
    And if Moore is plaxced in supporting, I have the feeling she could win there very well. It’s hard in lead because Harvey will campaign the hell out for Big Eyes and Amy.

  38. Sonja

    Best leading actress, best supporting actress(es) and ensemble at the SAGs I mean.

  39. Simon Warrasch

    Right now i would predict

    Julianne Moore “Maps to the Stars” (If she will go Lead)
    Jessica Chastain “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”
    Michelle Williams “Suite Francaise”
    Amy Adams “Big Eyes”
    Glenn Close “Always on My Mind”

  40. GoOnNow

    I’m betting on a 2014 “Carol” release ;)

    I think Harvey will want to exploit Blanchett’s momentum.

    Lastly, if you’re Cate Blanchett in a Todd Haynes film, you’ll be at least semi-brilliant if not completely. :D

  41. Roberto

    For me, right now, I believe these 5 can get it:

    Julianne Moore – Maps to the stars
    This will depende if the overall critics will love the movie and if the performance will be forgot.

    Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year or The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
    Great chances for her this year, probably can be her year.

    Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
    Not sure about this, because the movie doesn’t look so good as her performance.

    Amy Adams – Big Eyes
    Also not sure about this movie, considering that we are talking about Tim Burton, anything can happen. But if the movie do it great within the critics, Amy can finally win.

    Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
    This is different from Mamma Mia, because the role is more intense and she is singing dramatic songs that need great interpretation and the director e the production are better. If the movie receive good reviews, this can be one the highlights of the oscar’s.

    Also strong and with great chances:
    Marion Cotillard, Macbeth or Two Days, One Night
    Marion is coming strong this year again! But there’s a chance the critics ignore her again, as usual.

  42. I really hope that you’re right about Julianne Moore. She is definitely one of my most anticipated performances that I can’t wait to see. So sad that Oscar might go either way because of their own issues.

  43. Though you said that JMoore’s character in Maps wasn’t ‘likeable,’ that certainly had no effect on Cate Blanchett’s Blue Jasmine character who wasn’t very likeable either.
    *Any chance for MCotillard in ‘The Immigrant.’ Will see it if there’s potential.

  44. Bryce Forestieri

    “that certainly had no effect on Cate Blanchett’s Blue Jasmine character who wasn’t very likeable either.”

    But she kind of was, wasn’t she? In like an OMG-I-don’t-want-to-admit-even-to-myself-that-I-kind-of-like-this-person-but-I-kind-of-do-OMG-she’s-hilarious-huh-actually-be-lovely-to-meet sort of way.

  45. david

    No love for Zoe Kazan for ‘The Pretty One’??

  46. Jonny

    Anyone that thinks The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods is a light role, a supporting role or musical fluff have not seen or read the musical. She is a rather challenging and interesting role. The only way it could be compared to mama mia is if the studio has majorly rewritten the book and lyrics for the film adaptation. (something i doubt mr sondheim would allow.)

  47. Melissa

    Marion Cotillard has to be nominated at Oscar because she is perfect in Two Days One Night and The Immigrant. In Macbeth she could be very well too.

  48. Alan of Montreal

    Amy Adams should have won supporting for Junebug, but she was too new and the film too independent for the academy to give her anything more than a nod. Forget Audrey Tautou–Mood Indigo is too quirky and the performances too frothy for AMPAS, plus the film just drags in the last 30 minutes

  49. Don’t forget Mia Wasikowska’s terrific perfomance on TRACKS, distributed by Weinstein. I hope well for her this year, also for the (leading or supporting) role in MAPS TO THE STARS.

  50. Scott

    Julianne Moore all the way. I have not seen the new flick yet but after Boogie Nights and Far From Heaven and Safe and Short Cuts…no one on that list can compare.

  51. Scott

    And Gone Girl I believe is already overrated in terms of Oscar chances. I read the book and the characters while people I could identify with too closely were way too dark and unlikable for Oscar. If that’s the criterion that some are using for Julianne Moore’s chance being slim, gone girl in Gone Girl is incredibly unappealing. Grossly so, as is her husband and in this film version cast with the woody deadpan Ben Affleck?

  52. @Roberto:

    “Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
    Not sure about this, because the movie doesn’t look so good as her performance.”

    That’s basically what’s been happening with Meryl Street over the past years – good, strong performances, not to good movies.

  53. Sasha Stone

    I read the book and the characters while people I could identify with too closely were way too dark and unlikable for Oscar.

    Indeed, they are dark. But not too dark for Oscar. Maps to the Stars IS likely too dark for Oscar.

  54. Sasha Stone

    Don’t forget Mia Wasikowska’s terrific perfomance on TRACKS, distributed by Weinstein. I hope well for her this year, also for the (leading or supporting) role in MAPS TO THE STARS.

    YES. Thanks for the heads up on that one.

  55. Drood

    I doubt either Moore or Chastain will receive a nod for this year. Moore’s biggest problem will be getting an Oscar campaign at all if eOne handles US distrib; Chastain will likely have the same prob with AMVY (A24 has US distrib). Neither of these outfits has gotten near an AMPAS nomination. “Eleanor Rigby” has been seen and didn’t set the world on fire – and Weinstein has Adams, Williams and Cotillard to push as well. I’d forget about Swank and “The Homesman”, too – Saban Films is listed on imdb as holding US distrib rights (and, again, the film has been seen and didn’t exactly start a bidding war at Cannes)…

  56. rufussondheim

    I’m late to the game here about Meryl Streep and her role in Into the Woods. There’s nothing light about the role. Sure it’s a musical in which some familiar fairy tales get reimagined (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk) but that’s only the first half. The second half takes place after “happily ever after” and it’s devastating. (Spoilers ahead) In the second half, Meryl Streep’s character loses her only child and subsequently goes on a murderous rage. Well the murderous rage part is a bit of an exaggeration but it’s more the truth than not. The second “act” is filled with death and loss, though. The ending is not your traditional happy ending, unless you think a happy ending is the surviving characters accepting what’s just happened to them.

    (Spoilers over)

    What results is one of the most complex and interesting commentaries on child/parent relationships that exists in any artistic genre. (It’s far more about parenthood than either Parenthood, for example)and Meryl Streep’s character is central to these themes. She’s the story’s main villain, and it’s extraordinarily meaty.

    Sondheim, as a whole, will always be remembered for changing what’s possible in a musical and Into the Woods is some of his finest work (Burton fucked up Sweeney Todd, so please don’t use that movie version as a counter-example). Rob Marshall probably won’t fuck this up since his bread and butter is bringing Broadway to Hollywood, and understands the musical genre in ways Hollywood can’t grasp.

    My personal hope for this musical adaptation is immeasurable. For those unfamiliar with Sondheim’s work this film could be a revelation. I consider Sondheim to be the greatest talent of the 20th century in any art form (including literature, film and television). His work is extremely challenging. And with such diverse works as Sunday in the Park With George, Company, and Sweeney Todd, he’s managed to gain some commercial success along the way. But he’s also had some great work that’s mostly forgotten (Pacific Overtures, Anyone Can Whistle, Merrily We Roll Along) that deserve to be resurrected for future generations to enjoy) and it would be wonderful if Into the Wood’s is a success and everyone can eventually discover the brilliance of Sondheim)

  57. Manuel

    Amy Adams is not overdue, she is overhyped and over rewarded. Her nominations for American Hustle, The Master, Doubt and The Fighter are way too much. Also miscast

    I really hope Julianne Moore shines brighter than the light itself in Maps of the Stars. Also Kristen Stewart has gotten great reviews. Juliette Binoche can sneak in, Cate Blanchett may as well since Weinstein is working on a Carol 2014 release, Jessica Chastain has a marvelous year in front of her. Hilary Swank will never happen. Meryl Streep will never happen. Reese Witherspoon maybe

    Julianne Moore – Maps of the Stars
    Juliette Binoche – A Thousand Times Good Night/ Clouds of Sils Maria
    Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
    Marion Cotillard – The Immigrant/ Two Days, One Night / Macbeth
    Jessica Chastain – Miss Julie/ Eleanor Rigby/ A Most Violet Year

    Dark Horses:
    Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria
    Cate Blanchett – Carol
    Rooney Mara – Carol
    Mia Wasikowska – Maps of the Stars/ Tracks
    Michelle Williams – Suit Francaise
    Robin Wright – The Congress
    Anne Dorval – Mommy
    Maggie Smith – My Old Lady
    Scarlett Johansson – Under The Skin

    So much vanilla! Where are the Asian, Black or Hispanic actresses this year?

  58. Scott

    I have not seen it yet but I expect MAPS TO THE STARS will be one of my very favorite films of the year. Cronenberg and Julianne Moore and Hollywood…the perfect cocktail.

  59. Anonymous

    Emily Blunt is the female lead in INTO THE WOODS. I’d peg her as a Best actress nomination over Julianne Moore. Moore is a great actress and very overdue, but MAPS TO THE STARS won’t get the Academy’s attention. Meryl Streep for INTO THE WOODS as supporting actress. Rosamund Pike’s role in GONE GIRL isn’t the type Academy members will see or remember either. Marion Cotillard would be on my list except her independent movies are flopping. Cotillard’s only shot is a best foreign film nomination for one of her movies. MISS JULIE is Jessica Chastain’s strongest role. If it doesn’t get released this year I’d say she’s left off the list unless A MOST VIOLENT YEAR for supporting actress. No chance for Robin Wright in THE CONGRESS but she will get Golden Globes and Emmy nominations for HOUSE OF CARDS. Patricia Arquette if she tries for supporting actress. Juliette Binoche won’t make the cut. Jennifer Lawrence will definitely get in for SERENA. Reese Witherspoon role in WILD is tailor made to win awards. Cate Blanchet is a lock for CAROL whenever it’s released. There’s a good chance 2015 will finally be Amy Adam’s turn to win with BIG EYES. Emma Stone could sneak in with supporting actress for BIRDMAN. MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT looks too twee. Keira Knightley supporting for THE IMITATION GAME. She is overdue for another nomination.

    Predictions Best Actress
    Amy Adams
    Hilary Swank
    Emily Blunt
    Reese Witherspoon
    Jennifer Lawrence

  60. JacksonsBollocks

    Hopefully Herzog finishes Queen of the Desert so Nicole Kidman can get in contention.

  61. ROBSESIONADA!

    JULIANNE MOORE ♥ Y DAKOTA FANING!

  62. ROBSESIONADA!

    JULIANNE MOORE ♥ MAPS TO THE STARS! ! ! YA LA QUIERO VER! Y YA QUIERO VER A MI AMORRRRRRRRRR! ROBERT PATTINSON!♥ LA PERFECCION! ! !

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