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First Round Oscar Predix: Best Actress

The initial Oscar charts from this already rolling film year are nearing completion. Now it's time for our favorite category... BEST ACTRESS

from top left: jessisa chastain, juli, nicole, AMY ADAMS, Dame Mirren, The Swank, Anna Kendrick, Dame Maggie, Meryl, Jess again, Charlize, CATE, MICHELLE, REESE, ROSAMUND, Shailene, Marion, Mia, Melissa

If this doesn't get you talking, nothing will...

Coming out of Cannes, things don't look great for Marion Cotillard (who can't seem to win Cannes best actress or a second Oscar nomination despite numerous buzzy attempts at both) or Hilary Swank (The Homesman) but it's worth remembering that Oscar voters are a very different sort and voting in a very different climate than Cannes critics and jury members. Cannes is never the be all and end all for movies with big stars... or movies that fall closer to mainstream prestige than auteur prestige, if you know what I mean.

That said, the only thing Grace of Monaco might do for Nicole Kidman's Oscar chances is help her knock people's socks off unexpectedly if she's great in Queen of the Desert. Not that we know what kind of release that Werner Herzog biopic might get. And not that we should necessarily hope that Oscar keys in to Herzog since they've had trouble there before. 

As for our darling Julianne Moore, a Cannes win is a big deal for any actress but it is unfortunately free of Oscar boosts beyond bragging rights.

Julianne with her prize

What it does do -- which is not unimportant -- is open people's ideas to the fact that she's impressive in it and makes them more likely to engage and consider whatever it is she's doing in it. That can't hurt given that it's an outre role and the performance is considered excessively mannered by some. Even though the film and the role aren't exactly Oscar bait, anything is possible and after a 12 year absence from Oscar shortlists, it'd be wonderful to have her back and might require a shock to the system like this to accomplish.

Stay tuned.

my first wave predictions... 


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Reader Comments (68)

Any Adams looks to be joining the Glenn Close _6 time loser club IMO..

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

About Pike. Unless they've done some major adapting, it may be hard to create a coherent character out of her, even if beautifully played (which I'm sure she will be). Plus the film is undoubtedly ABOUT the male lead, his emotions and his sequence of events. So, even if her reviews are good, I don't expect any awards.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

It's the first time I actually see a picture of a best acting awards from Cannes. Is it really that samall?
Strange... thougfh also cute.

I say it's Amy's year, hopefully and nothing would make me more happy if she wins for a film by Tim Burton that get finally critical acclaim again.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

This race after Cannes seems to have lost alot of contenders and early screenings of films also have been narrowing down the contenders. At this point I only feel confident in Adams and Witherspoon, with one being a consitant nominee who in the race looks likely to win with the competition presenting itself and then there is Witherspoon who will be making her oscar return also producing Gone Girl possibly to a second nomination. Then I would say Pike could be the first time nominee of the year as she has a role that will be talked about in a film that should create some buzz to get her in. Chastain seems likely for me especially since Weinstein seems to want Eleanor Rigby to be big and she seems prime to get that double nomination soon as there seems to be so much goodwill for her. For the final spot I do not know who to put in which is why I put Cotillard for Macbeth potentially if the film is released this year. Obviously she does not have much luck with a second nomination but this is her with Weinstein and if the cannes buzz is to be believed the film could be a success. If Carol is released in 2014 which I do not believe it will be Blanchett shoots up the list. Williams I think falls because of the film which does not seem like Harvey will pay much attention to the film.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

I'm already bummed about Jessica Chastain's snub for 'Eleanor Rigby.' She's beyond brilliant in the films, but I'm sure the release strategy is going to cause a ton of confusion.

I hope that Amy Adams is deserving of the laurels that will inevitably come her way. I find that she lacks screen presence and almost always end up wishing that a different actress had been cast in her roles.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Isn't Pike supporting? I really don't know. I'm asking.

If Into the Woods is anything like Mamma Mia, Meryl is more likely to get a Razzie nomination.

Would love to see Julianne and Nicole nominated together again.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

It is depressing that most of the actresses are white and blonde. No diversity this year.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

It's the blonde leading the blonde, as Pedro notes. But Adams is working that wig.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I've seen Suite Francaise and you are right that Wiliams is good for a nomination. Mostly because the movie is in love with her performance, shooting her lovingly and providing lots of emotional scenes and beautiful close ups of her emoting. I think it won't be a hit with critics though.

There's always a new star that the media falls in love with every Oscar season and I hope it's Pike's turn this year. Loved her in An Education and can't wait to see what she'd do with a lead part.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

I'd be really surprised if Carol came out this year since filming just wrapped up last month. It's possible, but unless the film is finished before one of the major festivals later this year I think they'll hold off and give it a festival screening next year.

I've heard that Rosamund Pike's character is a lead in the novel, but I have a feeling they'll push her for Supporting. It'll probably be easier for her to get nominated there, especially if her role is large, since she's somewhat unknown and Lead seems like it'll be filled this year.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdoughyjunn

You're underestimation of Chastain has filled me with blindly rage. Explain yourself sir.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Your underestimation of Chastain has filled me with blindly rage. Explain yourself sir.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Wonderful write up at usual.
So many great performances to look forward to.
On the other page under Julianne you wrote that Isabelle was in The Pianist. I think you meant The Piano Teacher.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

Even with some major revamping of the Amy Dunne character, Rosamund Pike should have no difficulty getting in, either here or in Supporting. The first half of the novel is his and the second is hers, but 50% or more of his part are flashbacks SO Pike is in the movie A LOT. And if done right, it's the TWIST in the middle that'll seal the deal. The role has much potential -first half Julianne Moore in Far From Heaven, second half Charlize Theron in Young Adult.

I hope she stays lead, as to give a fighting chance to Carrie Coon which has a true supporting role in the book as Nick's sister.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

@Jay: I love Pike and she is insanely watchable but I'm not so sure. It's that duality in performance that will make her character muddy and potentially one-note without a clear throughline from one to the other (which the book lacks IMO).

@doughyjunn: The main character is definitely Affleck - it's focused on his responses, emotions & actions BUT she is the catalyst for all of that. My guess is that she'll have tons of screentime, and being the main female, a supporting argument will be very difficult to make.

I'm surprised that Marion is so low your chart. I think her chances improve every time she gives another one of these excellent performances. She is a star after all and will definitely get at least some notices at year-end.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterblahblahblah

If Marion Cotillard doesn't get her second Oscar nomination this year for either "Two days, one night" or "The Immigrant", there's no justice at all in this world we live in. It's almost inconceivable that she hasn't won her second Oscar yet. I mean, this woman is just incomparable. I seriously think that she is the greatest actress of all time. She tops Katharine Hepburn, she tops Meryl Streep, she tops any woman who ever attempted to become an actress. She is blessed to have a talent that seems almost non-human. Cotillard doesn't act, she's possessed everytime she gets to play a character. No matter the role, she just kills it everytime. And I mean every single time. She's like a force of nature, she tops everything and everyone around her when she vanishes into her each role. Her range is truly unbelievable and she should have had at least 15 oscar wins by now. Actually, she should have an Oscar just for being born, because her talent is literally incoceivable. She's maybe an android or something, because it's maybe not natural by human standards to watch an actress be that talented! Of course, I'm just kidding, but I've seen her whole filmography, so I know what I'm talking about. She's just otherworldly as an actress and it's shame she has never been nominated again for an Oscar after grabbing her first one back in 2008 for giving the best female performance ever put on screen in "La vie en rose". I mean, what on Earth? She wasn't even nominated for "Rust and bone"! I mean, seriously? Her performance there is gigantic, to say the least. The Academy should have built a statue with her name on it just for giving that performance. It doesn't even feel like a performance... That's just acting of the highest order. She's just an example of uncompromising brilliance in acting. This year, with two highly praised and definitely towering performances in both "The immigrant" and "Two days, one night", I don't even want to imagine the possibility of her being snubbed again.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStergios

Knowing Oscar they're surely going to demote Pike to supporting.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I agree with 3rtful, Chastain is underrated here. Kidman's film doesn't even have US distribution yet (it's awfully late in the season), and the studios financing her film are all tiny. Likewise, The Homesman was picked up by a brand-new distributor; are they even capable of mounting an Oscar campaign? Meanwhile, Chastain is in a Weinstein movie that Harvey has said he's going to take to the mat with a big campaign.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Strong emotions for Cotillard. I think everyone looks potentially great this year. Like every year. No real new names. I m hoping for a some fresh faces given the fact that 2013 was all about the "veterans". At this point I don't care about Blanchett getting another oscar. I m sure she doesn't either. I want the film to be released in festivals where it probably belongs and become the cult queer classic that it needs fo be. Blanchett and Haynes have a responsibility towards a legion of devoted intelligent fans. Kidman needs the oscar love. She needs it for a career revival at this point. We are not ready for her career to be over. Moore as well and it seems like she delivered plenty. Adams needs that oscar so that we can all stop talking about it. The only names i m not excited about are Reese and Swank. They have stolen oscars and it s hard to get excited about their work.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

I don't want to jinx it but I'm getting confident that Chastain is going to pull 2 nominations come January, AMVY for Supporting and Rigby for Lead. I so want Julianne Moore to happen so I hope you analysis of her proves correct. Now, Moore looks like she's 28 in that picture holding her Cannes prize! Crazy, also, is that a soap? If it is, I hope Juli uses it from now till January to wash away all the salt that has prevented her from getting another Oscar nod.

And i agree, as much as I like blondes, I would like to see more variety as the year progresses.
I hope Meryl doesn't campaign this coming year, she needs to chill. I love her to pieces but girl needs to be generous. Same with Amy. I don't think the Burton film will help her secure a win, so why waste a nomination?

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

ps. AMPAS needs to wake up to Cotillard. She's definitely not a one hit wonder.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

There's so much to look forward to! I haven't read the book, but I'm pulling for Pike to finally have a breakthrough. She was Oscar-worthy in An Education and lovely in Pride & Prejudice. Of course, I'd love to see Nicole end the season on a high note as well.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I am afraid of predicting Moore since she gets predicted mainly because she is so owed and 2 inferior blondes took away her 2 chances at a win,here's hoping Swank rallies round and i feel you are undersetimating Chastain reviews are glowing,agree about Reese too,Adma i'm not so sure about,Meryl is not getting in anywhere this year,like the shout out for Charlize cosof the YA snub.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

I have no doubts Adams and her brilliant self will be great in Big Eyes. She is way above her peers IMO.

Out of the rest, I hope Chastain and Moore make it, although Julianne would probably have more chances in supporting. Would be nice to have Blanchett as well but she is likely to go 2015 right?

Also curious about Woodley and Pike.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPumuki

im curious why everyone is upset about Chastain being so low when i predicted her for a nomination -- but just over in supporting. It's not like i'm predicting people won't like her this year ;)

p.s. having seen Eleanor Rigby, she is very good in it but at no point did it scream "Oscar Nom!" to me and i fear that the multiple versions won't be something people glom on to. It's quite modern to not have a definitive version but then what are you really voting on for the time capsule aspect of proclaiming something the 'best' of its year?

May 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ahem, Moore's 12 year absence from Oscar shortlists (I'm assuming you don't just mean nominations)? Wasn't everyone predicting her Supporting nod in 2009 for A Single Man, which Gyllenhaal snapped up? I also have to imagine in 2010 she was in the top six or seven for Best Actress, but I digress...

You're right about Cannes love not adding up to a nomination - we'll have to see if the film is Academy palatable. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Chastain pulled a double nod though - she burst on the scene with such a splash that I don't think voters would think twice about it, even if it's a lot of love in a short period of time. Reese seems primed for that "we told you so" Oscar follow up nod. So my guesses at the moment:

Amy Adams, Big Eyes (though I'm not 100% sold)
Cate Blanchett, Carol (wouldn't be surprised if they wait a year)
Jessica Chastain, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Reese Witherspoon, Wild (if I put money on one, this would be it)

I'd love to predict Julianne Moore but the darkly comedic bent of the film makes me think AMPAS won't get it/like it. I'm hoping they push Meryl supporting if that's where she belongs.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Nat, surprised you're doubting Meryl here (although the sixth spot isn't far off, admittedly). If last year was any indication, we're still living in an era where she'll always get nominated if she's in a prestige film. Even with so many doubting her last season, she still pulled through.

Also, I don't see how Pike is anything but lead in Gone Girl. I think Fincher was just downplaying her role in the trailer to avoid spoilers.

And on Carol, Haynes likes to take his time with his films. Harvey already has a full slate this year, so I'd be surprised if he would be pressuring Haynes to finish it in time for Venice.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

"Them" will be the only version of the movie in circulation during award season. And it's under two hours -- give Chastain her due.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

/3rtful - unless there's been an announcement that i missed that is untrue as they plan to release all three versions in theaters

May 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

well... i guess i'll have to stay in my lonely corner that doubts a Chastain nod for Rigby. Again, I've seen it. She's very good (when isn't she?) but something about it didn't feel at all Oscary to me. and there is always a chance she's lead in A Most Violent Year, too. People are just predicting supporting because the husband is the main character. That doesn't mean she couldn't also be a lead.

May 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This year Rosamund Pike-Gone Girl is 2011 Rooney Mara-TGWTDT. The same doubts; Will she go in supporting? Can AMPAS nominate THAT role? Is the film too thriller/pulpy by AMPAS? Is Pike too unknown? Will the novel be adapted right? Learning for that, never understimate a hyped female role from a contemporany novel making with their right hands. Pike is the closest thing of a lock imo and yes, Pike is lead. Forget supporting talk. If Mara was lead, Pike will be lead.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Harvey Weinstein is lying to the director and those who care about the original version of the movie. Them is meant to make a profit and leverage an awards campaign behind. I believe "Him" and "Her" will see the light of day after the nominations in NY and LA as promised.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl is seeming very Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener to me, both in the roll and who they are as actresses.

As for Into the Woods, I think we're more likely to see Emily Blunt campaigned in lead and Meryl in supporting.

It would be nice to see Anna Kendrick get some traction for The Last Five Years, though I anticipate it'll be the only play that film has in any category.

I think Jessica Chastain gets in for Eleanor Rigby considering her career momentum and "snub" status.

Question: Nina Arianda's IMDB has her listed in Eleanor Rigby Him and Her, but not Them?

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I bet A Most Violent Year is the better movie and performance. But unless the Academy pulls a Winslet -- she's a double nominee this year with Year being Supporting and Rigby being Lead.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

@Alex Meryl never goes supporting. Never. And those who've seen the film say the role's been rewritten (including an added song) so that the film revolves around the Witch.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Rosamund Pike isn't going supporting. I read the script and she's present throughout the whole movie.

If Fincher delivers, she's a serious threat for the win and hopefully cockblocks Amy Adams and all the Oscar nominations she rode other people's talents to get.

And there are a lot of blonce women this year.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Jordan: that is technically a lie. Meryl has gone supporting numerous times. One could say that all of her following movies except for Ricki are supporting characters.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJones

If Serena actually surfaces, I'm not counting out Lawrence, but it's probably a stinker. How odd to shelve a film with two major stars though!

I think Rosamund's part in gone Girl is more supporting if the adaptation is correct. On screen, it will probably be like vignettes to uncover who she is.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

How come no Kate Winslet for A Little Chaos? Is it because she has more oscar friendly roles next year, because Labor Day was so bad, or because Alan Rickman is not a trusted director?

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Several Streep-less and Adams-less years would be a true gift to anyone who cares about these lazily-chosen default nominees. After all, it's the Oscars, not the Emmys, and no one's that great all of the time. Who knows how much better each category will be when their names are no longer permanently attached to them.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Wow everyone seems a bit obsessed and touch over Jessica Chastain in Eleanor Rigby. I think she's possible, but from what I've read about her and the film it may be a bit too avante-garde for the Academy. A Most Violent Year definitely sounds more Academy friendly and has a director with a lot of industry buzz right now.

An actress who really would send the internet's heads spinning if double-nominated would be Reese Witherspoon (Lead for Wild and Supporting for Inherent Vice). That'd be one hell of a comeback for her!

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

To be honest, I don't think "Carol" is a project that needs a festival push:

The storytelling will be much kinder to the wasted Oscar voting brains, nothing like Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine or I'm Not There.

It's a Far From Heaven territory with:

- Cate Blanchett = an ACTRESS and a STAR and two-time Oscar Winner
- Rooney Mara = an actress and a star and Oscar Nominee
- Harvey = distribution

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

"I think Jessica Chastain gets in for Eleanor Rigby considering her career momentum and "snub" status."

@Alex: How the hell does she have a snubbed status? She was like just nominated for Zero Dark Thirty and The Help! Trust me, there are plenty of more people with a greater 'snub status' than Chastain.

If anything the academy likely believes that she's been awarded quite well since she broke out onto the scene and there will be plenty of time in the future to recognize her. If they nominate her it'll because they love her or the performance and not because they think they[ve snubbed her in the past. .

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranon

My prediction:
1. Adams
2. Moore
3. Williams
4. Chastain
5. Swank
Wildcard: Pike and Witherspoon

I'm not sure if Queen of The Desert and Carol is gonna be released thia year
And I really hope they will finally release Serena, whenever that is

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

there will be plenty of time in the future to recognize her

Sigourney Weaver, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening -- they're Oscar-less because of shit-logic that says we'll get them in the future. Not on my watch not with Chastain.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I actually agree with Nathaniel. I've seen Eleanor Rigby and while she is fine, I don't see Oscar for it.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNikki


Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Cate Blanchett, Carol- Barring it does make it. Rooney's so getting the category fraud in any case.
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl- I am all for Pikemania to happen but remain skeptical another bait-y Fincher anti-heroine role can do it again.
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods- She is never not getting nominated, guys. Only thing will be if there is some crazy category placement for that film. Likely but also likely to not have negative impact on Streep.
Reese Witherspoon, Wild- I guess.

Outside shot: Carrey Mulligan, Suffragette

The Michelle Williams one sounds completely dire and I can easily see if this category gets competitive, Harvey cares more about Blanchett and Adams.


Eleanor Rigby is too small and is too crowded for Harvey's slate. Chastain instead gets her A Most Violent Year part that pushes her into major contender status in supporting. Miss Julie could be a double-nominee shot in a weak field, although Eleanor Rigby has a bigger awards season hook- made with friends years in development- even if working with Liv Ullman should be everyone's dream.

Cotillard will probably get a good run at Critics Awards but I sense zip movement on her in The Immigrant or Two Weeks, One Night. Having seen the former, I dare I see a better actress performance. NYFCC, please help the cause.

Moore also will probably have a good critics run. I can totally see her winning at LAFCA. They love out there picks in the category. But I also think there is no way that performance gets in and from what I have read it is a bit questionable that she is the lead of the film.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I think Julianne will probably get campaigned as a supporting actress unless the Best Actress field ends up being fairly uncrowded this year (which is always a possibility, as you know). It seems like she's borderline lead/supporting anyway, or at the very least, a co-lead, and the movie is probably not going to get much buzz elsewhere due to being divisive, so supporting will probably be her best bet at getting a nomination.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

'Sigourney Weaver, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening -- they're Oscar-less because of shit-logic that says we'll get them in the future. Not on my watch not with Chastain.'

haha, well it's not your watch is it. Like I said above, if they nominate Chastain, it'll be because they love the performance or they love her and NOT because she's been snubbed in the past (she hasn't).

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranon

I bet Moore gets pushed for supporting, but still doesn't get in. And I also think Harvey pushes Macbeth (I mean, he already has posters out) and gets it released this year, hopefully (FINALLY) getting Marion her due.

GREAT predictions though.

May 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

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