A few weeks ago when Lesley Manville won Best Actress at the NBR for her work in Mike Leigh’s Another Year I think Oscar prognosticators – myself included – may have gotten a little carried away. I’ve yet to see the film, but Maville’s sudden appearance turned the race into something of a freefall – and considering that the NBR is generally a respected community it seemed that she was a serious threat for the race to Oscar. Of course, that was before the Golden Globes and the SAG gave out their nominations. As it stands Manville still has a chance of breaking into the top 5. The race isn’t as closed off as, say, the very bland 2006 race (where Annette Bening’s seminal Deidre Burroughs still managed to not make it onto the shortlist).
We have four women who look more and more like locks – tier one is Bening in The Kids Are All Right and Portman in Black Swan. These are the two who look like they actually have a chance of winning the Oscar, then tier two comprises Kidman in Rabbit Hole and Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, they’ll be nominated but their chances of winning seem especially slight...and who’s lucky #5 going to be? Gun to my head, I’d say Julianne Moore’s name even though I’m not certain that AMPAS members will fall in love with The Kids Are All Right she’s probably behind Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), Manville and perhaps even Hilary Swank (Conviction) as far as a nomination. Sure she has a Golden Globe nod, but so does Anne Hathaway for Love & Other Drugs.
Swank’s SAG nod was a bit of a surprise, are the actors’ guild that determined to see a Bening/Swank reunion? I’m not sure if there’s any place we could glean some tangible clues as to who that fifth nominee will be. It’d be interesting if Halle Berry (surprise Golden Globe nominee) makes it in, but the very last minute push for her film doesn’t make it all that likely, I’m moved to place my bets – for the moment – on Harvey Weinstein, because even if Nine was (unfairly, I say) shut out from last year’s race he still has the power. And if all that reviews are accurate, it’s the performance of a lifetime. Really, I’m dubious about claims like that...and I’m not sure if they’re going to go with three women under 30 to fill up their Best Actress slot. I’ll stick with Bening/Kidman/Lawrence/Moore/Portman for now, though I’m sure I’m wrong.
(How I wish a surprise like Patricia Clarkson in Cairo Time or Rachel Weisz in Agora could surprise us. Or why not a push for Sally Hawkins in Made in Dagenham or Helen Mirren in The Tempest (which I’ve yet to see)?
Which actress would you like to make it in who doesn’t have a shot? Which of the “assured nominees” would you be backing?