While the Best Actor race is a dogfight littered with worthy candidates, the Best Actress race continues to seem more like Juliane Moore vs. The Field. The general consensus (amongst critics, awards predictors, everyone, etc.) is that Moore is the heavy favorite to walk home with the award. I’m not going to play devil’s advocate. She’s a great actress in a weak year with a killer role (cognitive psychologist diagnosed with Alzheimer’s). She should be the heavy favorite even without bringing up the fact that JULIANNE MOORE HAS NEVER WON AN OSCAR.
We’ll get into that in a second. Below you can find links to my too-early predictions in other categories.
For now, let’s focus on the leading ladies.
And the predicted nominees are…
1. Juliane Moore (Still Alice)
Okay, back to Julianne Moore. I wasn’t joking. She’s never won an Oscar. Even more so than Joaquin Phoenix never having won, this infuriates me. Jennifer Lawrence is 24 with three nominations and a win. Meryl Streep has more nominations than “Pro Athlete X” has kids (she’s got three wins too). Can somebody donate an Oscar to Moore, who at 54 years old, has established herself as one of the greatest and without a doubt the most versatile actress of her generation?
Moore has been nominated four times: twice in supporting (for Boogie Nights and The Hours), and twice in lead (for The End of the Affair and Far from Heaven). Moore should’ve won for The Hours but that was the year of Chicago where people thought it was actually okay to give Catherine Zeta-Jones an Oscar. What a joke. Far from Heaven got Moore a nomination in lead THAT SAME YEAR but she lost that one to her co-star in The Hours, Nicole Kidman.
Maybe that paragraph was confusing, I’ll clear it up. Juliane Moore was nominated twice in the same year but lost to the girl from Zorro and the lady who used to be married to Tom Cruise; while outshining the lady who used to be married to Tom Cruise in the same movie that said lady won for. This was all about a year after that lady and Tom Cruise got divorced. My head hurts.
And let’s not forget Boogie Nights; where she gave one of the sexiest, most complex, and thoroughly-heartbreaking supporting turns in the history of cinema. I can’t think of another actress on the planet who could’ve pulled off that role. She had to:
A) Do a surprisingly intimate sex scene with a young Mark Wahlberg and deliver this line without laughing⇓.
B) Provide motherly consolation to Wahlberg and Heather Graham throughout the movie.
C) Ground the ego of
Burt Reynolds Burt Reynolds’ character.
D) Make us root for her to get her kid back.
D) Do all of the above while never letting us forget that she is a coked-out crazy woman.
A+ performance by Julianne Moore. They should give her two Oscars this year and let her speak for twice as long.
As for actual analysis, I haven’t seen Still Alice, but it’s hers to lose for now. She’s a big name having a big year (was also in the Hunger Games), it’s a meaty role, and she’s long overdue. Seems like a no-brainer.
2. Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
A previous winner (in supporting for Walk The Line), Reese Witherspoon has experienced a bit of a comeback thanks to a good turn in Mud as well as the buzz surrounding Wild and Inherent Vice. Her performance here garnered a ton of acclaim on the festival circuit and while there are concerns about enough voters actually seeing Wild, Witherspoon is a big enough name that it should be seen by enough of the acting branch to score her a nomination.
Witherspoon, as well as Moore and #’s 3/4 on this list, seems to be a safe bet.
3. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
Felicity Jones had an as good of, if not a better, chance of scoring a nomination for The Theory of Everything than her co-star Eddie Redmayne. She’s the new big thing, the girl everyone is talking about, this years Lupita Nyong’o. The British vote is always a very powerful factor with the Oscars and she’ll certainly appeal to those voters. Also, Jones is supposed to be outstanding here as Jane Wilde Hawking.
Given the weak year, Jones’ growing star power, and the British factor….she’s a shoe-in.
4. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
I have a laundry list of complaints about Gone Girl, but Rosamund Pike is not one of them. She was absolutely captivating as “Amazing Amy”. Every scene she walked through felt as if it was being manipulated by her presence, even before the story unfolded. Pike was the standout performer in this movie, and that seems to be the general consensus.
One of the most famous actresses in England, Gone Girl should elevate Pike’s status beyond “the Bond girl in the crappy Bond movie” in the eyes of Hollywood movie-goers.
5. Emily Blunt (Into the Woods)
Into the Woods is this years awards season wildcard and Blunt’s turn (which is technically a lead) has a chance to be swept in if the entire project resonates. We’ve seen the “singing thing” work out great for actresses and actors in the past, and frankly, it’s time Emily Blunt gets some damn credit for something. She’s never been nominated for an Oscar and she’s having a very good year thanks to Edge of Tomorrow.
Blunt’s screentime could hold her back, as could some names below that are more “due” for an Oscar, but other than the top four, she’s got as good a chance as anyone.
Didn’t make the cut this time around…
6. Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
Ever since Cake premiered at Toronto there’s been talk of Jennifer Aniston getting a nomination. That has remained just talk, as Aniston hasn’t been cited by critics guilds and the film hasn’t made any sort of impact. It’s a very small project that surely won’t be up first in a stack of films an awards voter receives.
Also, are people ready to take Aniston seriously as a dramatic actress? I’m not. It’s going to be hard for her to campaign here while Horrible Bosses 2 is in theaters and with the sour taste of We’re the Millers still in everybody’s mouth. But she’s a star giving an acclaimed performance, so she’s in the hunt.
7. Hilary Swank (The Homesman)
As a two-time winner (for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby), we know the academy respects her. This is another one of those “woman not sticking to the confines of what we think womanhood is” roles that feel like they were written for Swank. The Homesman (directed by Tommy Lee Jones aka the original smiley face emoji) received a ton of praise at Cannes, specifically for Swank’s performance.
She’s in the hunt as always but I unfortunately confirm rumors that she has agreed to star in the upcoming Kyle Korver biopic.
8. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle)
This performance has received a lot of hype and British period pieces are always great for actresses. But I have two questions:
1) How many voters have/will see this movie?
2) Who the hell is Gugu Mbatha-Raw?
It’s probably just not her time yet and this probably isn’t the movie to catapult her to superstardom. Though, if there was ever a year for a complete shocker in this category, it’s this year.
9. Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars)
Woodley, who probably should’ve been nominated for The Descendants, is an actress who will likely go on to a whole slew of nominations. You just wonder if they’re ready yet, and if this is the right project. The Fault in Our Stars is a tear-jerker, albeit one that is apparently skillfully made with outstanding performances. But usually, this isn’t the kind of movie that gets any nominations.
Woodley may have to wait. If they weren’t going to nominate her for The Spectacular Now, I can’t see what would compel them to nominate this turn.
10. Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
Amy “5 Nominations, 0 Wins” Adams always has a chance (though I think she really only has 4 nominations, I credit her cleavage with the American Hustle nom). They love her. One of the big stories surrounding last years show is that she has never won, and that story will continue whether or not she’s nominated for Big Eyes. She’ll have a ton of people pulling for her.
Amy Adams is a younger Julianne Moore!
But nobody’s seen Big Eyes. There is concern that it might be bad, and maybe they’re getting tired of nominating Adams. Make her earn it.
11. Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night/The Immigrant)
Choose one of the two acclaimed Marion Cotillard performances above and that can be what you yell about when she’s left out. She won this award seven years ago for her turn in La Vie en Rose.
Next up for Cotillard: she’ll be playing Lady Macbeth opposite Michael “never plays nice guys” Fassbender.
12. Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)
This two-time nominee was an early favorite but the entire three-film did not do very well and has been forgotten. Her best chance is likely in supporting for A Most Violent Year. Chastain is currently shooting The Martian, a Ridley Scott-helmed sci-fi epic that also stars Matt Damon.
13. Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)
She’s hilarious and the film is supposed to awesome. But Slate will likely have to settle for a nomination in the comedy category at the Golden Globes.
Next I’ll be going through Best Supporting Actor & Actress, which are always fun categories.