My friend and tipster has written in to explain his reasoning behind the possibility (no one said definite) sneak attack of Melissa Leo. I though you all might find it interesting. But before you lecture me about the validity of tips, let me just say that this is just food for thought – it shouldn’t influence your predictions. It is speculation and entertainment, nothing more, in a dry and drearily predictable season. Take it for what it is, the same way you should take my dream last night that saw Streep and Penn the winners.
It’s true that there are a lot of big names behind Leo – like Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, Roger Ebert, etc. But here are more specific reasons. After the jump.
WHY MELISSA LEO IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO WINSLET/STREEP
I’m not debating that her chances of actually winning are a long shot. But a LOT of actor votes are going Leo, and it will play a role in the outcome. And it’s very close.
1. Melissa Leo and Penelope Cruz have the same manager, Jason Weinberg, who is well known as one of the best awards strategists in town. He steered his other client Hillary Swank to two wins.
2. In the same way that Forest Whitaker and Cate Blanchett were lobbying for Cotillard last year and Dustin Hoffman for Theron in MONSTER, Leo has the open support from heavyweights like Dustin Hoffman, Quentin Tarantino, Whoopi Goldberg, Ron Howard, Marcia Gay Harden, Josh Brolin and Sean Penn who are rather open with the other members about their love for Leo’s thesping in the film.
3. Colleen Camp
4. Untitled Entertainment and William Morris have steered all of their clients who are Academy members to vote for Leo.
5. She is getting major support from Roger Ebert, who helped steer Halle Berry and Crash to their respective wins.
6. Melissa Leo is American. Yes, Cotillard was a foreigner last year, but her biggest rival was also a foreigner (Christie).
7. Leo’s performance is especially relevant in the current economic climate.
8. FROZEN RIVER was released on DVD during the voting, a factor which aided Denzel Washington’s win for TRAINING DAY.
9. More people in the Academy saw Frozen River before nomination time than you think. The fact that it was nominated in more than one category… for acting and writing proves that it was seen by more than just actors, as the screenplay nod KO’ed other bigger movies like BURN AFTER READING, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, SYNECDOCHE NEW YORK (now that is a movie that NO ONE in the Academy seemed to bother watching… way over their heads).
10. There has been a backlash against Winslet and READER in general since its nominations for several reasons:
a. DARK KNIGHT enthusiasts are attempting to shut out the film entirely so that it wins NO Oscars.
b. Did you forget how many Jews are in the Academy? Some have found the film offensive and Winslet’s character to be repugnant, detestable and unsympathetic.
c. As I said to you in my email before, Winslet’s shameless campaigning that she “fucking wants an Oscar” (Vanity Fair article) lacks the subtlety of successful campaigns in the past and is offputting to a lot of voting members.
11. Leo is this year’s Tilda Swinton, a relatively unknown Hollywood outsider who had a interesting and varide body of work leading up to her nomination. Equate Swinton’s snub for THE DEEP END to Leo’s snub for 21 GRAMS.
12. I must also remind you that there are 1200 actors in the Actors branch of the Academy, most of whom are not movie stars. There’s a certain romanticism involved with casting a Melissa Leo ballot as Leo reminds these actors more of themselves than movie stars like Streep and Winslet… One Academy member said that, “Voting for Melissa Leo is like voting for one of us: she’s a hardworking actor who just wants to do great work. In the same way that Halle Berry may have opened the door for women of color to land more elevated work in Hollywood, a Melissa Leo win could energize Hollywood in the same way and open the door for more work for character actors, namely out of work middle aged actresses.”
13. The argument that Melissa Leo cannot win because she is not a known entity should be completely disregarded. She knocked out Scott Thomas, Blanchett, Michelle Williams, Beckinsale and Hawkins out of the running so it’s a moot point really.
At the end of the day, actors will vote for the actors who moved them the most. And may the best performance, not campaign, win.