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Prediction Updates: Lead and Supporting Actress

Oscar obsessives around the web, including myself, have been hung up on the Glenn Close vs. Meryl Streep Best Actress '80s Rematch! narrative for quite awhile now with Albert Nobbs and The Iron Lady still without real movie trailers to give the already popular media angle extra flavor. Less often discussed, and it's been nagging me for awhile now, is which young actress the Oscars will glom onto this year. Best Actress is often, statistically speaking, a beauty pageant who's who of hot 20 and 30something stars. This is not to say that the main race can't be between two 60-something ladies (it can if their names are Close & Streep) but we already know that that won't be the whole story even if it does turn out to be The Story.

There are three more slots to consider and more than that if you include the possibility that Close or Streep might not happen, if you include the precursor awards (which have room for more players) and the Supporting Actress category which has slightly more diverse preferences but which is still a sucker for a new "it" girl.

Which young beauties will be competing for gold? There isn't room for all of them.

Fresh Faces.
Which will Oscar get a Mulligan / Lawrence style insta-crush on?
ROONEY MARA, 26, with sociopathic edge and punk styling in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
FELICITY JONES, 27, doing young romance drama in Sundance hit Like Crazy.
ELIZABETH OLSEN, 22, winning acclaim as cult member in Martha Marcy May Marlene and probably winning credit for being talented younger sibling of the gajillionaire Olsen twin sisters.
MIA WASIKOWSKA, 21, proving she can carry a film and also be excellent while doing so in Jane Eyre.
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH, 29, soon to be winning "best in show" attention for W.E. 
JESSICA CHASTAIN, 30, seemingly in every other movie released in 2011 and hardly recognizable from one to the next.  

Already Stars.
Oscar's sweet spot for Best Actress wins is late 20s to early 30s. 
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, 26, serving mental patient realness in A Dangerous Method.
KIRSTEN DUNST, 29, undoubtedly memorably victimized in Von Trier's Melancholia.
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, 30, doing biopic iconography for My Week With Marilyn and romance for Take This Waltz 
EMMA STONE, 22, who won't get nominated for The Help but the enthusiasm about her career this year is totally hogging some of the spotlight that the other hopefuls are going to need. 

Who do you think will be showered with love and media attention 'round the holidays this year? Who will come up wanting? Which of the newbies will ever have careers as big as the "already stars"? Share your projections / wild prophesies in the comments.

Best Actress chart | Best Supporting Actress chart

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Reader Comments (38)

I think that Jessica Chastain has the best shot due to her constantly being on our minds having started in like 20 movies this year ;) and because she gives a different performance in each. Her best bet will be The Help because its full of so many Oscar-y moments and she's very good.

For already stars, I have a feeling though everyone's predicting Kiera, they don't really believe in her, but I do. If that trailer is any indication she'll have many showy scenes and we know Oscar loves those

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerence

Nathaniel, have you seen this:

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

If one of the Midnight in Paris actresses is nominated I hope is Rachel McAdams and not Marion Cotillard. I don't think Mia Wasikowska has real chances in best actress for JE, and I bet Juliette Binoche for Certified copy will win some award here and there, maybe LAFCA or NYFC.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I haven't been impressed by anything I've seen Mia Wasikowska in...I just don't see what everyone else is gushing about, I guess. So, by bias, I'm not really rooting for her at all. Or Rooney Mara, who shined in her 2 Social Network scenes, by I don't really think she can carry a picture. Hopefully she'll prove me wrong, but again...not really rooting for her.

To be an asshole, though, I've only seen Elizabeth Olsen in the MMMM trailer but she's who I have my fingers crossed for. I'm eagerly awaiting MMMM's release because I have a feeling Olsen's performance will be one of my favorites.

I'm also rooting for Keira. She was totally Oscar-clipping it throughout Method's trailer. I get the same feeling with her like I do with Olsen.

I LOVED Michelle Williams in her two Oscar-nominated roles so I'm hoping for her again.

Emma Stone...I'd rather see nominated for a comedy, Ellen Page style.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJonathon

Olsen has Fox Searchlight but I have no doubt her film is DOA at the box office. Although the film is going to be a platform limited release -- I can't see the Academy going for it.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

I'm still not sold on Meryl making it in...she seems very camp in that trailer. But, whatever, I guess she will. But maybe the rest of the category will be filled with deserving newbies. A lot of great fresh faces breaking out this year.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Why is everyone saying knightley is supporting,the movie's getting a big role out and i just feel kk is gonna go lead,i think she in the one to beat.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrripley

Anyone but the DREADFUL K.Knightley! I can't stand her...

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstjean

I think Viola Davis is supporting in The Help. She doesn't have that much screentime. In supporting, a win is almost certain for her, I feel. She could win a la Melissa Leo this year (but she won't swear and she will deserve ehr award). If she campaigns leading then she will lose again. However, I don't see Octavia winning. I think if it's not Viola, it will be Vanessa. Or Octavia? She's terrific but is she a "big enough" name.

I don't see ANYONE being able to beat great Glenn or Meryl. If great Glenn is nominated, I don't think the Academy is stupid and incredibly cruel not to give it to her. But it happened to Annette, too. Even if Glenn's nominated, Meryl WILL be no matter what she does and then she will walk away with the Oscar, easily. I think after her last loss, everybody thought "it' time NOW, really-really".

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdinasztie

If we’re following Sundance path, like Mulligan/Sidibe and Lawrence then Felicity Jones will get in along with the film Like Crazy for Best Picture.

Two slots are reserved for duo Streep and Close

Two other slots to fight for are left for Keira Knightley, Michelle Williams who are in the best age to win Best Actress and Tilda Swinton to sneak up if Keira got bumped to Supporting.

Chastain and Riseborough are bumped for Supporting
Olsen and Kiki have to deal with just the critics awards
Mia and Rooney and Emma are just breakthrough this year.

That’s the scenario for me.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMikhael

If Meryl got nominated for Julie and Julia (in which she was also over the top) she will get in for The Iron Lady. Remember the first one was a comedy besides a biopic.

I think we can relate Martha Marcy May Marlene to Winter's Bone as to critical reception, festival success and box office development, but the difference is Lawrence had nearly no "up and coming" competition so she got the Fresh Face spot. Olsen has Felicity Jones (who already got an acting awards for Like Crazy) to be worried about.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

If Meryl got nominated for Julie and Julia (in which she was also over the top) she will get in for The Iron Lady.

I'm sorry, how does one play Julia Childs with behind the eye, quiet subtlety?

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

I'm always on the fence about Keira, even though I think she did her finest work in Never Let Me Go. Right now, I think Tilda, Rooney Mara, and Elizabeth Olsen have a better shot than her...

I really wanna love Keira...but she just doesn't hit that emotional sweet spot as other actresses do...I'll think she'll get there though.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSoSueMe

Lucky -- see that's what i'm saying. There are so many "breakthrough" people this year. I still doubt Felicity Jones tremendously but i haven't seen the film. It's just that i thought she was quite terrible in TEMPEST so i'm suspicious.

Terence -- i also get that feeling that people are predicting Keira without believing it will happen. i get that because I AM. haha. I keep looking at it being doubtful but can't find someone i have more faith in either. it's early still.

August 18, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I would include Sissy Spacek who is getting raves for The Help and is being singled out. It's a role on the small side, but she could be carried along as box office grows large.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGatsby

Im predicting Keira of course. Hoping that this nomination will lead to overdue status for Anna Karenina. Somehow Joe Wright directing her to a win just seems right.

But thats way too far away. Is it just me or does Viola Davis seem like she really wants an oscar? SHe looked kinda pissed when she didnt win for Doubt?

IN supporting it MUST go to Vanessa Redgrave. She is way overdue for a second win. Have you seen that trailer Nate? Are you going to do a Yes/No/Maybe?

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

"I'm still not sold on Meryl making it in...she seems very camp in that trailer."
Umm...Julie & Julia anyone..?

I could see them putting Keira supporting.
Idk where others have Viola, but I also think she could win in supporting, so she'll probably go there.

I'm praying for Kiki! Ugh, I want her to get nominated so bad.

So far, this is what I think will happen, without having seen the films:

Kiki Dunst (wishful thinking)
Elizabeth Olsen (wishful thinking)
Meryl Streep
Glenn Close
Michelle Williams

Alt. Keira Knightley

Supporting Actress
Viola Davis
Octavia Spencer
Sandra Bullock
Andrea Riseborough
Keira Knightley

Guess we'll see!

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Forgot to add...

While it would be awesome for Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy to get traction, there are too many good dramatic choices this year for Oscar to go for them. Kristen will have to settle for a Golden Globe nod!

On the subject of Golden Globe comedy or musical category...
Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids
Mila Kunis - Friends With Benefits?
Rachel McAdams - Midnight in Paris? (I'm pretty sure they'll categorize it as comedy/musical)
Other than that, I don't know...

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Emma Stone should not be in the "Already Stars" category. She relativity new in the business, about the same time as Mila W. Emma Stone is a star just based on last year "Easy A" and that golden globe nom. Then, I don't think so....She has a long way to go....

Finally, I would be thrilled if the other 3 already stars (Kiki, Kiera, Williams) that processed true talents and had already proof to us that they got all the acting chops all got nom in one year.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchan

I think Viola Davis will be campaigned as Lead. That strategy reinforces the POV that the movie is about the maids, not the white employers.
I am skeptical about the roles of Knightly and Streep. I think The Iron Lady will not be well reviewed in the UK, not matching the tone of post-riot London. Then too, there's the obvious insult that no English actress of that age was good enough to play the part, they had to import an American. (Mirren, Dench, Richardson, et al = rubbish?)
I think that Rachel Weisz, with her multiple movies, may be in nomination contention for one of them.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradri

It will be a cold day in hell if Emma Stone ever wins an Oscar.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDogg843

Olsen is quite good in Marthy Marcy May Marlene but it's a very unfriendly film.

I cannot picture the people who vote for Julie and Julia sitting through it, which is a given - but even by arthouse standards, this is no Maria Full of Grace. It's a very chilly, oblique, emotionally alienating film.

That and though I was quite smitten with Olsen, her performance did have its problems. She was oddly muted in a few key scenes, which kind of added to the ambiguity but detracted from the psychological coherence. The writing/direction was more the culprit than Olsen herself in those instances, but still - it's a slightly limited performance.

I could be wrong - her uncanny magnetism could sway Ampass voters - but I do seriously doubt it.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergoran

I've heard from accredited critics for TIFF who have seen Take This Waltz and said that it was horrible. They didn't even say a side note about Williams' performance. Same thing was said about A Dangerous Method. Still, my money is on Michelle for the 'stars' (Weinstein got her back) and Mia for the fresh faces. The other three spots can go to either Weisz, Kiki, Glenn and Meryl. Preferably not Meryl.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I love how many young breakthrough performances are getting buzz but we're still about a month away from the festivals clearing up the smoke. Pretty exciting too see all those (mostly) new faces in contention.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Meryl just needs to sign on to a film and she's got "Guaranteed Oscar nomination"

It will be an interesting Oscar category for sure.

Emma Stone?
Michelle Williams?

Let's see and let's not rule out Sandra.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbest actress

I dunno why, but I don't see Glenn or Meryl winning the Oscar! Michelle Williams FTW.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

If Close loses I'm not with Oscar -- it's one thing to fuck over Mrs. Warren Beatty for the masculine misfit horse teeth Swank -- but I refuse to continue on with them dogging out Close.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

Jodie Foster is the lead in Carnage and I think she must not be forgotten. Also Tilda Swinton is a respected actress but the Kevin movie may be too dark for the Academy

Olsen looks promising in the trailer. SO does Knightley

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I'm with my eyes on Rooney Mara's performance and in We Bought a Zoo's actresses (Scarlett, Elle and Stephanie), because I really think they can get some love from the media for a lot of different reasons:
1. If Mara builds a Lisbeth Salander who's different from Rapace's but as intense and magnetic, I can see her becoming the hit girl of the year alongside Elizabeth Olsen. She was great in her few minutes in The Social Network and she got the role of Lisbeth when a lot of A-list actresses wanted it too.
2. Zoo's girls may call media attentions and awards' if the movie will be sucessful. I mean, we have Scarlett (who was snubed a couple of times by the Academy - Lost In Translation and Match Point - but she has a great career and We Bought a Zoo may be her comeback to Oscar-worthy movies), Elle (one of the rising stars of the moment, with a wonderful career and a great acting talent at age of 13) and Stephanie (a less known face who may impress in the meaty role of a dying wife if her part isn't like Zooey Deschanel's in Almost Famous).

I can see Elizabeth Olsen and Felicity Jones following the Michelle Williams kind of career in independent cinema. Actually, I can see Olsen getting an Oscar nod this year and Jones a big couple of major awards nods, but they seem the kind of actress who are good in indies...
For Rooney Mara and Mia, I can see them following Knightley's career. Maybe Rooney will be more sucessful doing some action and thrillers and dramas where she plays a kind of characters that reminds us Jodie Foster, but Mia is the perfect actress for period pieces like the ones Knightley does.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Each time you talk up Mia Wasikowska I feel like I'm missing something that I desperately want to get, because other than occasional spurts of goodness in The Kids Are All Right I find her screen presence to be really bland. The thing is, I find her perfect in Jane Eyre in the sense that her occasional lethargy seems in tune with the same feeling I get from Bronte's actual novel but she just seems terribly overshadowed by Fassy there. Maybe working opposite Glenn will make me like her more, it worked for Rose Byrne.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Andrew K -- if you can't see i'm not sure i can explain it. But it's still new. Maybe she won't hold up. and i'll gladly admit that had i only seen ALICE IN WONDERLAND "bland" would be the only possible adjective with which to describe her.

Ed -- i wish we'd get more news on WE BOUGHT A ZOO. i'm so curious about it.

August 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I've seen Mia in almost everything and she's still bland.

The few people who have seen A Dangerous Method has said that Keira is definitely lead and she outshines her costars.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Just noticed too that you don't have Weisz in the top 15. Do you think AMPAS has finished with the specific type of genre, or do you think they've not warmed up to Weisz...enough. I'm seeing her tomorrow and really anxious to see her (especially since I thought she was phenomenal in AGORA last year.)

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

Do you really think Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard have a better chance of getting nominated for The Help then Allison Janney? I would say there all long shots, but Janney's performance for me was so much more captivating.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJonn

Andrew K -- Loved your comment about Rose Byrne working alongside Close. Byrne seems somewhat bland, but Close has enough emotion for the both of them to make her more watchable.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Looking forward to see andrea riseborough in w.e

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHendril

Meryl Streep i'm not sure about. The movie looks like a parody and a joke. And yes, she's effing Meryl Streep in a year with so many strong contendors, she may not enough number 1 votes.

Rooney Mara: am I the only one who thinks Sony may capaign her as supporting? Sony is also representing Knightley and Foster, both of whom are top-billed. Whats the likelihood that Sony would be campaigning them against each other?

I've never been Knightley's biggest fan but to be honest, she's progressed leaps and bound since her last nomination and if the buzz around her checks out, I cant see them ignoring her at all. Dont forget she was nominated in 2006 after being snubbed by both the BAFTA's and the SAG's. P&P was released early autumn and her buzz had faded somewhat for Ziyi Zhang at nomination time and yet they still nominated her. She's the most well-known celebrity out of all the contendors and she clearly has a group of admirers within the academy. They like to reward their starlets for pushing boundaries.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

I think thats EMMA STONE. Wish her best luck

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteraishwarya
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