Thursday, January 09, 2014

Scott's Predictions for Best Lead Actress Nominations

Scott's back with his picks for Best Lead Actress nominations.  Who do you think has the best shot this year?

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Today’s Predictions – Lead Actress

This category, more than any other this year, is just packed to the brim with possibilities. There have been so many great performances from skilled actresses that it has become a shark’s pool, with no clear run away favourites. It goes a long way to speak of the depth of this category when you start thinking about the calibre of talent that may not even receive a nomination this year.

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine – Blanchett delivered an outstanding performance and acting clinic as the socialite separated from the life of luxury and facing mental illness in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Out of the performances I have witnessed this year, there seem to be none that are able to rival this one and is one of the only two ‘locks’ that I can think of for Best Actress nominations. So far she has nominations from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild.

Sandra Bullock – Gravity – This is the only other safe bet that I can think of in this category, as there has been so much talk about Bullock’s performance in the outer space adventure that is Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. If people think she brought the heat (I guess pun intended) in The Blind Side, she ups the ante with her performance in this one. The plot is simple and straight forward, and it is her acting that gripped viewers and pulled them along. Bullock, like Blanchett, has a nomination from the Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG.

Judi Dench – Philomena – Dench brings her dramatic skills out to play as well as wowing audiences with her wonderful comedic timing in a performance that shows many dimensions to her character, Philomena Lee. Dench has had her name surface many a time at the Oscars before, and this role is the heartwarming sort that could easily see her being nominated once again. Just like the previous two mentioned, Dench currently has a nomination from the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and SAG.

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County – My reasoning for this one? Simple: it’s Oscar time and it’s Meryl Streep. The two go hand in hand. She has been so well deservedly dominant in Oscar nominations over her career that she has become a very justified magnet for that attention. Her performance has gotten her a Golden Globe and SAG nomination for her performance, and she should be able to get in there this year as well.

Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks – Thompson’s performance in Saving Mr. Banks was a standout performance that, much like Blanchett’s, was able to portray a character who had some serious emotional turmoil underneath her uppity exterior. She has not been nominated for an Oscar since 1996, and this could put an end to that cold streak. Thompson’s performance was the only Golden Globe nod that Saving Mr. Banks received, and she has also gained a BAFTA nomination as well as an SAG nomination.

What really makes this list remarkable is when you start looking at the names and performances that are not on there. Amy Adams (American Hustle) is Oscar nomination gold, but the competition was just too tight for me to feel confident with inserting her, especially since she missed out on a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. As well, Kate Winslet (Labor Day) finds herself in a similar situation. I think of actresses like Julia-Louis Dreyfus in Enough Said and Brie Larson in Short Term 12, both who easily could have gained a nomination if their performances came in any other year.

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