This year, especially in the Best Actress category, it feels like there are more true-ish stories being told than fictional ones. Manohla Dargis points this out in her article on all of the dead women being revived this year:
For actresses, it is no longer enough to be young and beautiful onscreen, they have to be dead and famous, too ‚Äî one of history‚Äôs immortals. Filmmakers have long resurrected the dearly and notably departed with actors and actresses who flatter their memories, of course, partly because Academy members like to reward other success stories. Last year, Marion Cotillard warbled her way to the awards podium for her turn as √âdith Piaf in ‚ÄúLa Vie en Rose.‚Äù Since 2000, six of the best actress awards were for biographical performances, most of dead women. This year, Julia Child, Coco Chanel, Queen Victoria, Keats‚Äôs great love, Fanny Brawne, and now Amelia Earhart are all making a run for it.
Although her point that dead women make great Oscar contenders is well taken, one notable exception (which Dargis herself mentions) is Carey Mulligan, who plays the young Lynn Barber in An Education. Barber is, of course, still alive.¬† Dargis also says:
A woman has to have been legitimized by history, ruled a country, inspired a poet, or ignited a revolution in fashion or cooking to have a shot at some serious screen time. It also helps if she‚Äôs played by Meryl Streep.
Can we also add Helen Mirren, playing the very much alive Queen Elizabeth, to the list.