Saturday, 18 February 2012

Incoherent Oscar: Actress

The bad thing about awards’ season is that as it winds down everyone forgets about the “fringe” nominees and zero in, only, on the potential winners. So, what we’re hearing is Viola vs Meryl at the expense of the performances nominated. There are five women nominated for this year’s Actress prize…right?

The Nominees: Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis in The Help, Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

A single first-time nominee, and four previous nominee (one of them a two-time winner). It’s an impressive slate of actresses, regardless of what one thinks of their actual performances.

Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
With this sixth nomination (which shall most likely be a non-winning one) shall lead Glenn to joining the ranks of Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter as the most nominated women with no wins – an auspicious bunch, surely? It’s a passion project; it’s an atypical performance – from Glenn specifically, for any actor generally – and I’d assume that some voters would have been impressed with the lack of vanity which came with the performance. Of the four nominees who’ve previously been here, Glenn has had the longest dry spell. All others have been remembered within the last ten years, Glenn’s last citation was over twenty years ago in 1988 for Dangerous Liaisons.

Viola Davis in The Help
Viola Davis will be winning an Oscar after being snubbed for years…at least that’s what some pundits are saying, although I’m nonplussed about which performances she was “snubbed for”. Viola is lovely in The Help, nonetheless. Her Aibeleen provides an emotional centre to the story and she delivers – to great effect – the honest poignancy of the character. This, her second nomination after being cited for Doubt, is a performance being heavily touted and it is perhaps, perhaps not, the frontrunner for the category.

Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In her first real lead role Mara lands an Oscar nomination, so congratulations to her. Even as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo pervades with a seeming interest in a missing person investigation, the film is more interested in the machination so of the salacious Miss Salander. Like three of the other nominated performers, the physical transformation of Rooney is a significant portion of her work here a she immerses herself in the character. The role is shrouded in mystery and it’s just the type of titillating, broody, enigmatic role that attracts audience, and apparently voters too.

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
This nomination marks Meryl Streep’s seventeenth Oscar nomination (five of them occurring within the last five years). Accent, popular political figure, aging, memory loss – these are the things noteworthy turns are made of and even though appreciation for the film is somewhat spare, Streep has been garnering overwhelming support for her work. Two Oscars, it seems, is not enough and the movie-gods demand she get a third. It’s not Meryl’s to lose, but it is a strong possibility.

Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn
Playing an icon could be difficult, and maybe it is, but the critics’ bodied lined up eagerly to fête Michelle’s performance. So much in the film occasionally feels off and does Michelle become Marilyn? Who knows. Williams’ focus on attempt to recreate with specific attention to detail, and the very fact that she’s playing this icon is a package that appeals to voters (and not just AMPAS voters). It’s her third nomination after Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Blue Valentine (2011) and some other time this would have been a stronger contender…

Prediction: Viola Davis
Alternate: Meryl

Ultimately, I don’t see AMPAS avoiding the narrative of duo acting wins for the women of The Help.

Or, is it really Meryl’s own? You tell me, who’s wining Best Actress.


Castor said...

I'm pulling for Viola Davis and she might have a slight edge much like Meryl Streep had at BAFTA for playing a British Prime minister. Nonetheless, it's probably too close to call.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

castor ranking them it'd go glenn > viola > michelle > rooney > streep. but, i'm sort of bleh about the nominees here generally, even though i DO like glenn and viola's work.

Jose Solís said...

This category is so bleh this year, especially after the embarrassment of riches we got last year. Where were the likes of Kiki and Elizabeth Olsen? Those two were stunning.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jose i know, right? i think we're being forced to pay for our sings because last year's list (even with the snubs of julianne and patty clarkson) was just excellent. any of those five could turn and kick this entire team's butt.

Ryan T. said...

My horse on this race is Michelle Williams as I've made it clear a few times already, but it's definitely Viola vs. Meryl for the win. It'll be a great story whoever wins, but I do think Viola will eke out the win especially with The Help's box office performance and Best Picture nomination.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

ryan incidentally, i wouldn't mind if michelle wins just to screw with everyone.