"Are you actress psychic?" It's a question I've often asked in conjunction with prediction contests. I'm still working out details as to what we'll do for an Oscar contest this year but in the meantime I knew I had to wrap up my April Foolish predictions in April which ends... right about now.
To answer my own question I am somewhat Actress Psychic -- as long time readers know -- since my prediction ratio is pretty good early on before we've seen any films. This year I think I dropped the ball, the crystal one that is, not the "ohmygodthis postissoooolate" ball though that one as well. So many potentially interesting leading actress roles and so little in the way of sure things.
You see wayyyy back in 1981 she already starred in a movie named Quartet (not related to the new one) which was the first follow up to her Oscar winning role in California Suite. I hope she makes two more Quartet movies before she dies so that the history books can teach baby cinephiles of the 2040s and beyond that Dame Maggie literally starred in a quartet of Quartets. This is also a fancy way of saying Dame Maggie must never leave us. Let's give her impossible bucket list goals so that she'll always be delighting us on screens big and small (Downton Abbey for one final season. Woot & Sniffle).
sure things that aren't sure things
Without any "duh, she'll get it" biopics arriving virtually anything is possible this year. That's just how we like it. So this list begins and ends (mostly) with Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina. While it's true that writer/director Joe Wright & Keira Knightley make a fine & Oscar friendly auteur/muse pair (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) they've both proven to be more divisive talents than most people expected them to be now that we're deeper into their filmographies. And it's worth noting that Keira is hardly a sure thing in period costume dramas; note the conspicuous lack of traction for her work in The Duchess or A Dangerous Method.
Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) has two terrific sounding roles this year in Jacques Audiard's Rust & Bone where she plays a whale trainer who takes up with a boxer and James Gray's Lowlife where she plays a vulnerable immigrant woman caught between two charismatic men, a magician and a club owner. it seems like it might be the right year for her to win Oscar's attention again but for the fact that Audiard and Gray aren't really auteurs on AMPAS's radar. Audiard's movies invariably have a terrifically meaty leading role but they're usually grim and they're always in French and James Gray movies, even Two Lovers, never catch on despite pockets of ardent critical support.
Kristen Wiig in Imogene, Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip and Meryl Streep in Great Hope Springs are all headlining comedies but Oscar only likes to laugh when he likes to laugh. He's extremely mysterious when it comes to the giggling. You just never know when he'll be in the mood. I feel confident that he'll take a break from Streep but will seriously consider the other two if the films are well-liked: Wiig for being a important contemporary showbiz figure; Streisand for being an important showbiz legend.
still waiting for the gold man
Could this finally be the year for Laura Linney (Hyde Park on the Hudson) or Amy Adams (The Trouble With the Curve) or Viola Davis or Maggie Gyllenhaal (Won't Back Down. Uh oh. Co-lead films wreak so much havoc on Oscar charts)
reheat those frozen winners
Helen Hunt's post-Oscar film career was dud filled and spotty but given the positive response to her work in The Surrogate she might be present again. Sexing up a paraplegic won Jane Fonda a second Oscar so why not Hele but Helen Hunt is no Jane Fonda.
And if you ask me -- you're reading so you did! -- the year's most interesting contender to argue about in terms of nominatability is Sandra Bullock in Gravity. When she won the Oscar for The Blind Side she and the audience knew it was a one time deal. Or was it? She then went on to sign on for an ambitious sci-fi film by a great director that's unlike anything she's ever done and may well live or die by the happy marriage of the film's ambitions and her own charisma as a screen star since it's practically a solo gig (give or take a little George Clooney)
Even if she's excellent an Oscar nomination might be hard to pull off. The genre doesn't usually yield acting kudos and never does outside of big hits. Existential space epics are rarely big hits either though this one needs to be for budget's sake. And even when an Oscar winner gets all suited up for an outer space drama, AMPAS can turn a blind eye (Jodie Foster in Contact, anyone? anyone? is anyone out there?)
so many more questions...
- which women that seem like Supporting Actresses will get promoted to lead? Kidman? Hathaway?
- which women leading their films will be demoted to supporting... besides the under-aged girls that is?
- who am I forgetting?
- virtually everyone who appears to be in the mix has already been nominated but it's rare to have a year without a newbie. Could Dakota Fanning (Effie), Mia Wasikowska (Stoker), Amanda Seyfried (Lovelace) or Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin) rise? Their films don't seem like easy-gets in terms of Oscar attention for various reasons.
- Has the ship already sailed on Naomi Watt as an Oscar viable performer or will Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby) pull it back to port with the pregnancy drama Sunlight Jr.?
- what would it take Kristen Wiig to get a nomination for Imogene?
- how much will people try to talk themselves into Jennifer Lawrence for The Hunger Games happening?
- which ladies are the Golden Globe voters already preemptively drooling over?
- these are my five predictions but what are yours?