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Best Actress 2015: Is red the new gold?

by Jazz Tangcay

Will 2015’s Best Actress race be The Year of the Redhead? It’s only July and some might consider it a bit too early to be making any predictions about who’s going to win, but we can’t help ourselves.

Amy Adams is already generating buzz for her upcoming role in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. Julianne Moore already has one award under her arm after winning Best Actress in Cannes for Map To The Stars, and Jessica Chastain has three films that are all hot contenders for the race.

Adams, Chastain and Moore are all redheads, and all three actresses have yet to win their first Oscar.

Our Contender Tracker (http://www.awardsdaily.com/contender-tracker/best-actress/) lists all our predictions, but for now let’s take a look at our top tier actresses and the race for Oscar Gold.

1. Amy Adams – Big Eyes

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The Weinstein Company have set this Tim Burton film for a Christmas Day release, and we all know what that means. It’s going to be in a prime spot for that Awards Season push. Adams stars in this biopic based on the life of artist Margaret Keane, famous for painting children with large eyes.

It’s worth noting that Adams has had five nominations, her most recent for American Hustle. But Adams has yet to taken home the Oscar’s Golden man.

2. Julianne Moore – Maps To The Stars

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Moore took home the award for Best Actress at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her turn as Havana Segrand in this film that looks at the messed up side of show business and Hollywood. Segrand is a washed-up, faded Hollywood actress, self-obsessed and self-loathing.
Moore has yet to take home Oscar Gold after four nominations, but when this screened in Cannes, she won rave reviews.

3. Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year, Eleanor Rigby or Miss Julie

TheDisappearanceofEleanorRigby_article_story_large

It’s her role in the much anticipated The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby that sparked the most buzz at Cannes. But Chastain has a terrific year ahead of her with not just one film opening, but three. All three of Chastain’s films could create a sensation.

Rigby was showcased at Toronto last year and received rave reviews. It was re-edited and was shown to the audience at Cannes who had nothing but praise for Chastain. It’s also a Weinstein Picture, so the odds are this will be getting a strong push when the time comes.

A Most Violent Year is a gritty crime drama set in 1981. Chastain plays the wife of an immigrant (Oscar Issacs) and together they create opportunities for themselves during New York’s most violent and crime-ridden year.

Finally, Chastain and Colin Farrell play star-crossed lovers in the period drama Miss Julie. Chastain plays the daughter of a Count, Farrell plays a senior servant. They embark on a sexual relationship that ends in tragedy.

Chastain has three chances to garner an Oscar nomination, all three films are due out around Awards season which means Chastain will be on Oscar’s radar.

4. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl.

pike

Gone Girl opens later this year and is based on the New York Times Best Seller by Gillian Flynn. David Fincher’s body of work speaks for itself: Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, House of Cards, Se7en and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In Gone Girl, Pike plays Amy Flynn, the wife who mysteriously vanishes on her fifth wedding anniversary. Ben Affleck plays her husband, Nick, who’s accused of her “murder.”

Gone Girl is one of the most anticipated films of the year, and it opens in October. There’s every chance Pike will be getting a nomination.

5. Mia Wasikowska- Tracks

tracks

Tracks is another biopic contender, based on Robyn Davidson’s memoir as she recalls her trek across the Australian desert on by camel. Wasikowska is said to give a determined and headstrong portrayal of the woman who spent nine months traveling.

What are her odds on being shortlisted and taking home an Oscar? We all know Oscar likes to get behind a good biopic.

6. Anna Kendrick – The Last Five Years

Anna Kendrick filming kissing Jeremy Jordan on the movie set call 'The Last Five Years' in New York City. Pictured: Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan Ref: SPL565017  200613   Picture by: Splash News Splash News and Pictures Los Angeles:	310-821-2666 New York:	212-619-2666 London:	870-934-2666 photodesk@splashnews.com

Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods and The Last Five Years, it seems Anna Kendrick has got the musical itch. Streep will probably get a Supporting nod as the Witch in Into The Woods, and there’s some buzz about Emily Blunt, possibly getting a lead nod for her role as the Baker’s Wife, but Kendrick will also star in this screen adaptation.
The story follows a couple whose love is doomed. Kendrick stars opposite Smash’s Jeremy Jordan, a young couple who are torn apart by jealousy, adultery and deception. Kendrick and Jordan appear in every scene.

7. Carey Mulligan – Suffragette

Carey-Mulligan-Suffragette-1

Suffragette has an all star cast — Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan all playing central characters in the story of the Women’s Suffragette movement. Mulligan plays Maud, a woman who stood alone as a soldier in the fight for equality. The press release for Maud says, ‘The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller. It is also heart-breaking and inspirational.’

Sounds like this has all the ingredients to make this a perfect contender for at least one of the leading ladies and we predict it’s going to be Mulligan.

8. Hilary Swank – The Homesman

The-Homesman

Swank returns to the screen later this year in the Tommy Lee Jones film, The Homesman. This is another film that won rave reviews and Swank’s performance made some critics sit up and take notice. This could be her comeback.

9. Reese Witherspoon – Wild

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Like Swank, Witherspoon returns with a true story. This is a one-woman show about Cheryl Strayed who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail after her world falls apart. It’s an emotionally charged film that sees Strayed go through the emotions as she braves the wilderness alone.

Wild is Witherspoon’s show as she carries this film. Gaby Hoffman and Laura Dern also make appearances. Note, Wild is directed by Jean-Marc Vallee who is also responsible for Dallas Buyers Club.

These are my top predictions for who could take home Oscar Gold come February 22, 2015. It’s still early days and there are bound to be dark horses, but for now it looks like red is the new gold.

Who do you think will take home Oscar Gold? Vote in our poll:

41 Comments on this Post

  1. Is the role in Gone Girl a really great part (and a lead role)? I haven’t read the book, and I know Pike has never been on the Oscar radar before (nor had a great role under her belt). Just wondering… Kind of seems more like a vehicle for Affleck/leading man.

  2. It will be the year of the Red Heads.

  3. KT, if you haven’t seen An Education, Rosamund Pike is very good in that role.

  4. I love redheads so I wouldn’t mind.
    Go Amy!

    BTW How many redheads have won an Oscar so far? I only can think of Susan Sarandon, but I’m sure there’s more. Or not?

  5. Princess of Peace

    Susan Hayward won an Oscar for I Want to Live. She was a readhead.

  6. adam Lewis

    Mia is fantastic in Tracks. I found the film incredibly moving and emotional yet it’s not really about that much. Was more about the general atmosphere. Would love to see her nominated!

  7. I’m going with Moore for Maps To The Stars, even though I’m aware that the film might not play well with Academy members. But Adams has a real shot for Burton’s film, having seen it already. That is right down their lane, if decidedly not down mine. The big question mark of the year is whether one of the 3 Chastain roles pulls to center stage instead of all 3 canceling each other out. If that happens, there’s your dark horse (or possibly frontrunner). I’m not fully on board with a Pike win yet, although I’m sure she will be terrific in the film. With those 4, I’d add Witherspoon for now, but again that doesn’t get a guarantee from me until I see Wild. Swank, Chastain’s Eleanor Rigby performance and Shailene Woodley all have a shot as well (Woodley’s name should be on the ballot). Anna Kendrick has absolutely NO chance to get in for that crap, mark my words, and I don’t think Suffragette is coming out this year (neither is Carol, which would put Blanchett at the top of the contenders list). The final question of the year is, will Jennifer Lawrence be seen for Serena in time for consideration?

    Best Actress:
    Julianne Moore – Maps To The Stars
    Amy Adams – Big Eyes
    Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
    Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
    Reese Witherspoon – Wild
    Alt. Hilary Swank – The Homesman, Jessica Chastain – Eleanor Rigby, Shailene Woodley – The Fault In Our Stars, Jennifer Lawrence – Serena (2015?)

  8. Oh and I’m counting out Wasikowska because her film is too superficially similar to Witherspoon’s big Oscar play.

  9. @Chris

    But I’ve heard from other people who’ve seen the film that Adams’ part isn’t very showy. Is that true?

  10. I’m going for Amy Adams or Julianne moore

  11. Is Rosamund Pike a redhead? She seems quite thoroughly blonde to me. Maybe she went red-haired for Gone Girl?

  12. JamDenTel

    The 3 red-headed actresses prominent this year provide an opportunity for a catchy headline but that’s only a jumping-off point for a more inclusive post about the entire field of the Best Actress hopefuls.

    (Real-life auburn hair notwithstanding, the character Amy Adams plays in Big Eyes is a blonde.)

  13. KT, Gone Girl is a major role for Rosamund Pike. It’s Pike/Affleck sharing co-lead in every respect.

  14. @Lucas,

    What her part is is damn likable, which is the number 1 path to Oscar success. Sure, its not super showy, but she’s got at least 1 or 2 “Oscar scenes” in there, and again the sympathy card will pay dividends for her.

  15. Scott (the other one)

    I love Amy Adams, but let’s face it — almost always, the IDEA of Tim Burton movies is ten times better than the actual execution of the films. He hasn’t made a movie since Ed Wood that was not a substantial let down from what was anticipated. Sweeney Todd was decent, but not outstanding. He is virtually incapable of conveying human stories that have any actual emotional resonance. I mean, have you ever felt an emotion at one of his films, since the first few??? His movies are triumphs of art direction, costume design, and wilfully eccentric tics over any of the things that constitute actual art in filmmaking, like: story, character, and a genuine filmic visual sense that is not based sheerly on a sickening accumulation of colour, pattern, and fussiness.

    So I don’t expect that Big Eyes will actually be any good, and therefore Amy Adams, as good as she may be, will have her Oscar chances tied to “yet another disappointing Tim Burton movie”.

  16. rufussondheim

    Minorly spoilerish for Gone Girl.

    Assuming it’s like the book, the female lead is the better role, she will get to show a wide range of emotions and she’s in a huge variety of situations. It’s a challenging role for any actress and if she’s good and the film fires on all cylinders she could be tough to beat.

  17. Tracey

    This is a pretty white list. Any women of color rising to the top so far?

  18. rufussondheim

    You should be watching The Leftovers.

  19. Richard B

    I wouldn’t count out Michelle Williams in Suite Francais.

  20. Is it 100% confirmed that ‘Carol’ (for Cate Blanchett) and ‘Macbeth’ (for Marion Cotillard) won’t be released until 2015?

    If that’s the case, then hopefully they’ll both make their debut at next years’ Cannes.

  21. Jeff,

    Principle photography on Carol wrapped the 3rd week of April. Tight window to try to get it edited and through post before the festivals this Fall. Although Todd Haynes has an illustrious history of debuts in Venice.

    We also have the Harvey factor to consider. If Carol doesn’t enter the current Oscar cycle then it will mean Weinstein believes Amy Adams in Big Eyes is his ticket to the Oscars. But if we start to hear that Carol might be a late entry in time to qualify in December then this would signal that Weinstein has seen Big Eyes and knows that it’s not going to be Adams’ year.

    Incredibly, these two women-driven movies are the only ones TWC is holding for their Oscar hopefuls this year. Unless there’s a surprise at TIFF or Telluride that’s been flying under the radar for Weinstein to pick up for distribution.

    I’m secretly and crazily holding out hope that we won’t have to wait a full year to see Carol. You’re right, Cannes 2015 would be a logical launch platform — but that would still mean a theatrical release date 15 months away. Argh!

    I even had an alternate feature photo ready to substitute for the one you see at the top of the column. But I didn’t want to try to disrupt the predictions Jazz was making. Not enough evidence yet to predict Carol for 2014 — nothing but my own pipe dreams.

  22. Thanks for the response Ryan.

    And, I wonder whether Jennifer Lawrence will have a serious chance for her performance in “Serena”?

    The last I read was that director Susanne Bier claimed that she was waiting for Jennifer Lawrence to finish her filming commitments on “Hunger Games” so that looping/ADR could be completed on the movie.

    Hopefully now that the “Hunger Games” movies have finished filming, that post production can finally be finished on “Serena” so it can debut at one of the Fall festivals (I assume that ‘Magnolia’ will be distributing the film, as they are also behind the film’s production).

  23. Bryce Forestieri

    As someone already said Tim Burton hasn’t delivered in a *long* time, chances are the movie will suck, but remember this is “Best Actress”, a great movie is a nice thing to have but not required.

    And just a friendly reminder that Meryl Street is a mortal lock for UNDER THE WOODS! So limit y’allselves to come up with only other four!

  24. “Tim Burton hasn’t delivered in a *long* time”

    Two years ago (with Frankenweenie) is not a long time.

  25. Bridgie James Rosenthal

    Early Best Actress (in a leading role) predictions:

    Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”
    Jessica Chastain, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”
    Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
    Michelle Williams, “Suite Francaise”
    Reese Witherspoon, “The Lost Boys” (not “Wild”)

    NOTE: If ever Amy Adams (five-time nominee), Jessica Chastain (two-time nominee), and Michelle Williams (three-time nominee) will make the cut, Harvey Weinstein will be in the same situation as 1997 (Best Actress nominees Helena Bonham Carter for The Wings of the Dove, and Judi Dench for (Her Majesty) Mrs. Brown), 2002 (Selma Hayek for Frida, Nicole Kidman for The Hours (a Paramount-Miramax co-production), and Renee Zellweger for Chicago), 2005 (Judi Dench for Mrs. Henderson Presents and Felicity Huffman for Transamerica), and 2011 (Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady and Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn).

  26. Bridgie James Rosenthal

    ERRATUM:
    Reese Witherspoon, “The Good Lie” (not “Wild”)

  27. Bryce Forestieri

    “Two years ago (with Frankenweenie) is not a long time.”

    This is true. FRANKENWEENIE was brilliant.

    In my defense though I’ll say the margin error for animation, versus the endless variables of “production”, is pretty large. Just ask any PCTOTFP*, e.g., “eh let’s animate that again…”

    I’ll also confess to loving Burton’s PLANET OF THE APES, which is nowadays a very uncool thing to admit.

    *Pixar Committee to Oversee the Final Product.

  28. my predictions

    1-Amy ADAMS
    2-Amy ADAMS
    3-Amy ADAMS
    4-Amy ADAMS
    5-Amy ADAMS

    I don’t need another name. Amy all the way :) good luck !!!

    and sorry for Julianne Moore. Maybe next year (just searched Freeheld movie on Google).

  29. Mariano

    I just watched “Tracks”, and Hell YEAH, Wasikowska’s performance blown my mind, she REALLY deserves at least a nomination. She has more life behind her eyes than many actors do in their entire body.

  30. (I know, I know, I’m that guy in the thread)

    The new trailer for Patrick Ian Polk’s “Blackbird” is out, featuring Mo’Nique in her first substantial role since her Oscar win. http://vimeo.com/86641697

    This is drawing back the curtain on the hush-hush-we-don’t-acknowledge lifestyles of many gay black men in America.

  31. Glenn UK

    I too have reservations about Rosamund Pike being nominated. There is nothing to go off other than she is attached to a David Fincher movie and I am not sure that Gone Girl is going to be an Oscar powerhouse. Time will tell but it certainly would not be on my radar right now until I have something more concrete.

  32. I’ve heard something concrete. Can’t talk about it. Try to trust me. I’ve heard very good things.

  33. david

    No love for Zoe Kazan’s performance in ‘The Pretty One’? I hope it would get some Oscar consideration

  34. Ryan, is that in regards to Glenn’s comment?

  35. Kane, yes, in response to Glenn.

  36. Robin Write

    If the three front-runners are still Adams, Moore and Chastain by next year, then there is no way I can be disappointed with the winner of that category. I suppose a slight disappointment if there is not a tie. :-D

  37. Stergios

    If Marion Cotillard doesn’t get her second Oscar nomination this year for her heartbreaking tour de force as a Polish immigrant in ’20s New York in “The Immigrant”, there’s simply no justice at all in this world we live in. It’s almost inconceivable that she hasn’t won her second Oscar yet. For Christ’s sake, she wasn’t even nominated for “Rust and bone” or “Nine”. I mean, come on, how on Earth can she not be nominated for “The Immigrant”? It feels absolutely insane. Her performance there is gigantic, to say the least. Watching her transform into the role of Ewa Cybulska is like an otherwordly experience. She inhabits her character so completely it ends up extremely scary. It doesn’t feel like a performance at all. You find yourself thinking you’re watching the most crucial parts of her character’s tormented existence unfolding in front of your eyes. No-holds-barred, Cotillard dares to abandon herself into her role in a way no actress in the history of cinema can claim she did. It’s a marvel to watch, an unforgettable tour de force, a performance for the ages. Body and soul, she gives her all. Every single time. And I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME. And let’s face it, Cotillard is the best actress ever born (better than Katharine Hepburn, better than Meryl Streep, better than any woman who ever attempted to become an actress) and she should have had at least 15 oscar wins by now. I mean, really, let’s be honest, shall we? How can any performance by an actress be put next to a Marion Cotillard performance (let alone the one she delivers in “The Immigrant”) and being preferred? It seems almost irrational to me. This year, with two highly praised and definitely towering performances in both “The immigrant” and “Two days, one night” and the juiciest female role ever written from William Shakespeare, the one from Lady Mabeth in Justin Kurzel’s upcoming “Macbeth”, I don’t even want to imagine the possibility of her being snubbed again. I really hope Cotillard ends up being nominated and winning, but unfortunately I have my doubts, after watching the Academy snubbing her unrelentlessly all these years, after her win back in 2008 for giving the greatest performance ever by an actor, male or female, in “La vie en rose”. As for Jessica Chastain, I mean what can I say, it’s really disappointing that she hasn’t won yet. She has shown an incredible range and has come to show her abilities in full display. But I’m a little worried about the campaign strategy behing “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”. I hope it isn’t too baffling for voters. I haven’t seen any of the three films, but I have the feeling that the real showcase for her is “Her” and not “Them”, which obviously is the only version of the movie in circulation during awards season. I have a feeling Julianne Moore will go supporting for “Maps to the stars” and judging from the nature of the film, I doubt she has much of a chance, even for a nomination (which of course is a shame). None-the-less, she has this “due” factor that may help her grab a nomination. I’ve seen “The Homesman” and Hilary Swank is really incredible. It’s easily her best performance since her Oscar-winning turn in “Million Dollar Baby”, a tour de force of acting. But I think she has a better shot if she goes supporting. “The Fault in our stars” seems too YA to my eyes to help Shailene Woodley score her first nomination. She’s one of the greatest actresses of her generation and I think she was criminally snubbed for “The Descendants”, but I doubt she’ll earn her first nomination for Boone’s film. Of crouse, with box office numbers as high as the ones the film has scored, it is definitely within the realms of possibility. It’s a shame of course that box office numbers can influence the prospects of a performance being nominated. Sublime acting in experimental diamonds like “Under the skin” will always be out of consideration. It’s such a pity for Johansson’s amazing performance. Rosamund Pike and Carey Mulligan seem like solid bets, but I guess we’ll have to wait to see the response to their films. As for Jennifer Lawrence, if “Serena” finally comes out this year, I think it’s very likely she will be nominated again. Personally, I think she’s a tremendous young actress, aside the fact that she’s one of the most popular in the world right now and that inevitably causes many people to envy her or disregard her. In my mind, there’s no way Amy Adams wouldn’t have the Oscar this year, if it hadn’t been for Cate Blanchett’s “bigger than life” performance in “Blue Jasmine” (the fact that two of the five performances included in the Best Actress category this year at the Oscars are two of the 50 best female performances of all time is undoubtedly encouraging). Amy Adams is one of the greats and I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen anything from her yet. I’m sure she kills it again in Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” and I really want to see her as a winner at some point , but, how can any actress put next to Marion Cotillard and being preferred? It seems almost irrational to me.

  38. Stergios

    Don’t bother voting. Just give Marion Cotillard her second Oscar for “The Immigrant” already! I feel totally safe to say this already: If Marion Cotillard won’t get her second Oscar in A Leading Role for her gigantic performance in “The Immigrant” at the 2015 ceremony, this will be the biggest injustice in the history of Oscars. Ever. In any category.
    Her performance as Ewa Cybulska is so powerful that can overshadow any performance given by an actress of the last five years. It’s such a miracle of a performance no one’s work can even come close.

  39. Drew Williams

    I also believe another redhead ( sometimes) will be in the ” race” Nicole Kidman for Queen of the Desert. She could very well win a Razzie for Grace of Monaco and a Oscar not ( or win) for ” Desert” She needs a comeback in the worst way.

  40. Simon Warrasch

    Right now i am pretty sure, that we have three Locks. They are…

    Julianne Moore “Still Alice” (Predicted Winner)
    Reese Witherspoon “Wild”
    Amy Adams “Big Eyes”

    Runner Ups:

    Felicity Jones “The Theory of Everything”
    Rosamunde Pike “Gone Girl”
    Jessica Chastain “A Most Violent Year”, “Miss Julie”, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”
    Meryl Streep “Into the Woods”
    Shailene Woodley “The Fault in Our Stars”
    Marion Cotillard “The Immigrant”, “Macbeth”, “Two Days One Night”
    Jennifer Aniston “Cake”

  41. Simon Warrasch

    My Personal Favourites right now are:

    Marion Cotillard “Two Days One Night”
    Julianne Moore “Still Alice”
    Jessica Chastain “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby”
    Anne Dorval “Mommy”
    Alba Rohrwacher “Hungry Hearts”

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