Being a month late to my usual "April Fool's" predictions has caused me a lot of behind-the-scenes strife. Trying to stare into the open future through a crystal ball when things are actually happening in the present overseas (i.e. Cannes) is incredibly ineffective. Next year I must be more prompt and buy a plane ticket. I have made a few adjustments on the charts mostly in regards to more research on American Hustle and Saving Mr Banks but also in regards to Cannes hits like All is Lost and Philomena (I know, I know -- it didn't show but it still had a great week!).
A note of caution to everyone taking each word out of Cannes like its holy scrit. Cannes can be like a magician's misdirect in regards to the Oscar race because for every Jean Dujardin and The Artist there are ten films and performances that get people hot and bothered there under those very special circumstances that don't go anywhere in the real world or, for our purposes, don't excite the mainstream sensibility of Oscar. And quite a few films each decade see their critical fates changed once they leave the festival circuit with its foolishly instant pronouncements of grandeurs and foibles. Take it all with a grain of salt or at least a whiff of the ocean-scented air. Especially if a new Coen Bros' film takes the Palme D'Or. Cannes always loves them so it's like Michael Haneke or the Dardenne Brothers taking a prize. What else did you expect?
Best Supporting Actress Chart. Enjoy!
This category, if I know you as well as I think I do, is your first or second favorite of all of them. So I'm eager to gather all your opinions; if I had two comments for every complaint about the wait for the charts there'd be so many to read I'd never get through them all!
I've become so obsessed with this still from Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine -- everything from the set decoration, to the color, to the imbalance of the composition, to the weirdly expectant but sorrowful expression on La Blanchett's face excites me. So the only person I knew I'd be predicting a year in advance was Sally Hawkins lurking in the background. Consider it "Poppy's revenge!" It might be wishful thinking on my part but Hawkins is such a fine actress. Consider, for a moment, those remarkably multi-faceted expressive lead performances in Happy-Go-Lucky (a film as good as she was in it) and Made in Dagenham (which couldn't keep up with her) that I'd love to see her steal this film and have a leading lady career. I fear that if she doesn't have a hit of some sort soon (critical, Oscar or box office...any would do) we won't see except in tiny parts. But of course counting on Woody Allen is impossible these days. For every Midnight in Paris there are two To Rome With Loves but Michael told me to be optimistic, so I shall be!
Best "Supporting" Actress in a Leading Role
We can't know until we see the films who will be attempting category fraud this year but the most likely culprits are Julia Roberts in August: Osage County (is she too big of a star to sell the supporting lie? and why even try to sell it when if the film is great a two-lead nomination IS possible. See Amadeus, Thelma & Louise, etcetera) and maybe Amy Adams in American Hustle or Her... depending on the size of her role in either or both. I'm also personally curious to see what the overall response will be to The Spectacular Now. I didn't quite get the Shailene Woodley fanaticism for The Descendants and I think she's better in this film but as leading roles go there's not a ton of screentime. Supporting might be wiser given her age but the film is probably too youth-centric to make Oscar waves regardless.
Supporting Long-Suffering Wife/Girlfriend
It's Oscar's favorite role in this category, possibly because it's such a common role that it's rare to see a year go by without several candidates to choose from this year Nicole Kidman, Naomie Harris, Oprah Winfrey, and more are trying this man-adjacent thing on for Oscar size.
Martyr Mom / Monster Mom
It's the Oscar equivalent of the Virgin/Whore complex for ladies of a certain age. They like their screen mamas either saintly or evil. There's less to choose from this year in regards to this favored template but what of Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale or Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives?
Just For Fun... A Few of Nathaniel's Favorite Goddesses
Here are a few performances I'm curious about that I don't have any Oscar dreams for.
- What will Michelle Pfeiffer do with her return to mob comedy in Malavita. It's possible I care too much because I ♥ Married to the Mob so much.
- How is Julianne Moore's magic-fearing blood-shaming mom in Carrie or her blood magic sorceress in Seventh Son (and, regarding the latter, can she top La Pfeiffer's blood magic sorceress from Stardust?)
- Is anything going to happen with Viola Davis anytime soon with all these random supporting roles (Ender's Game, Prisoners, Eleanor Rigby). GIVE HER LEADS, HOLLYWOOD. YOU'RE WASTING HER TIME AND OURS! DIDN'T YOU WATCH THE HELP?
- Juliette Lewis in August: Osage County. She's been a favorite since Cape Fear and I'm thrilled she's working in a reputable movie again. Let's hope she's great even if she's unlikely to get past the Streep/Roberts/Martindale blockade in terms of respect and awards traction.