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Friday
Jan292016

Best Acting, Female Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

We've reached the end of the Oscar Correlative portion of The Film Bitch Awards... and we're only running like 2 weeks late! Now you can compare nomination stats if you'd so desire. A short take: Mad Max Fury Road is loved in roughly the same dose but The Revenant has only 1 nomination to Carol's 10. You're welcome. That said I do not choose my nominees "in response" to Oscars. The choices are grouped into semi-finalists before the Oscar nominations come out and even when I'm behind schedule I'm still usually only a fifth-slot decision away from my final 5 in each category by that time. 

On to what you've been waiting for... ACTRESSING! 

the best BEST ACTRESS duo since Thelma & Louise? Oh what could have been Academy. What could have been.

BEST ACTRESS
Though we continue to despise The Academy's willingness to embrace Category Fraud and thus deny us the pleasure and spiritual rightness of seeing Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett side-by-side for Carol, the Academy's leading lineup is pretty damn great this year. Though Jennifer Lawrence's nomination was probably pre-ordained and thus lazy voting, she's actually quite good in Joy. Not as good as about ten other leading ladies this year mind you, let's not be crazy -- there were so many that I couldn't squeeze into my personal ballot that I wanted to. We should thank the cinematic gods for years in which we have to make such tough choices about who is "Best".

And yes I feel total guilt about abandoning Lily Tomlin in Grandma at the very end of the film year after championing her for so long but that was what 2015 was like with an abundance of valid and great choices. Some unfortunate soul falls into sixth place each year - damn you, list math. In truth my Best Actress ballot needed nine slots in the worst way this year. 

Cynthia Nixon earning her EGOT... only the people who provide the "O" in that equation weren't paying attentionBEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here Oscar and I are forced to part ways decisively. Not just from their 'f*** character actresses!' habits with creative category placements but because we rarely see eye to eye when it comes to what StinkyLulu calls "actressing at the edges".

The Academy chose Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet, Alicia Vikander, and Rooney Mara and though all of those performances are noteworthy in one way or another my personal ballot only includes one of them: Kate Winslet, who returned to electric form in Steve Jobs (welcome back, baby). Vikander and Mara absolutely have no business here since they're the co-leads of their romantic dramas and as attentive as McAdams was to her sources in Spotlight and as forceful as Jennifer Jason Leigh is when diving straight into cackling evil in The Hateful Eight, they didn't even come close to making my top dozen women who amazed from just off to the side of the lead or further out in the periphery.

Despite our dissimilar tastes, Oscar's acting branch definitely would have loved Cynthia Nixon in James White, had they seen her. It's a traditionally juicy part (a dying, angry yet loving mother) but who among the Academy watches indies that make only $101,000 in theatrical release? Not too damn many of them, that's who. Check out my list and the Oscar chart (now with statistics and trivia!) and choose your own beloveds in the comments. And, as a reminder, ICYMI, Alicia Vikander was granted a special gold medal for "Body of Work" here a couple of weeks back. 

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Reader Comments (40)

I haven't seen Spotlight. But are you a bundle of mixed emotions behind McAdams' character's last name being Pfeiffer? Hopefully her fourth nomination materializes next year.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Your lineup is DIVINE! Sad Vikander's Ava missed the top 5, though.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMojo

Beautiful choices! We're 4/5 on both; I swap Ronan for Tomlin and Byrne for Cotillard. (Though I really question if Cotillard really is supporting...)

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

'12% The way Emory Cohen looks at her' so funny cause it's true :-)

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRami

I love your choices, I always admire your very rational arguments for each.
Best Actress: what a range, I agree with 4/5, I liked Lily Tomlin more than Rooney Mara.
(Don't Hate me - I re-watched Grandma today and she is impeccable.)

In Best Supporting - Bless you for giving Rose Byrne her proper place as a nominee. She is wickedly funny, and comedy is a gift badly undervalued at the Academy.
Again I would make 1 change, I would substitute Elizabeth Banks for Sarah Paulson. Love and Mercy is a film that would not have worked without Banks.

Plea: Since Jason Statham didn't make your regular list for best supporting actor could you at least give him his due in the memorable lines, best scenes, extra categories?
Thanks for all your hard work on these, they really are more fun than those stuffy Oscars.
In a perfect world we could put Statham, Julie Walters, and Rose Byrne together in a room and have them take turns reading anything.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Wouldn't it be something if Larson and Ronan split the votes and Cate wins again? I don't think people will be voting for Rampling after her comments and i don't know if enough people have seen her film. And Lawrence is just happy to be there. She will have a ball on the red carpet and probably present something but she isn't winning. Cate could happen.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Wow! You almost matched Oscar in Best Actress. That hasn't happened since 2010, right? I agree that this year was swimming in worthy female turns.

My ballot
- Cate Blanchett, "Carol"
- Emily Blunt, "Sicario" WINNER
- Laia Costa, "Victoria"
- Rooney Mara, "Carol"
- Charlotte Rampling, "45 Years"

Also loved Ronan, Powley, Danner, Streep, Moore (Maps to the Stars), Cotillard, and Bullock.

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

@Tom Rampling gets my vote for performance of the year, but I somehow find myself rooting for Cate.

If only to fulfill one of my favourite tweets of all time, courtesy of the handsomely clever Louis Virtel:
"Katharine. Jasmine. I want you to be cordial when Carol arrives." - Cate Blanchett to her Oscars
( http://twitter.com/louisvirtel/status/648751882626723840 )

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Great lists both. I must say I'm very surprised you included Kate Winslet over Elizabeth Banks. I didn't know you loved that performance so much! (also, you talked so much about Banks this year, and I don't remember hearing you say much about Winslet)

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCoco

Ugh, don't remind me about Joy. That was a bad TV movie from 1978. Isn't X basically a soap opera actress?

January 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

The Dressmaker was a hot mess, and I don't think it got any traction on the USA, but IMO Judy Davis was great in it. I'd drop McAdams for Davis.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

Christ, how in the world do you perfectly describe the merits of these performances in just two to three short sentences? I would give anything to be able to write as well as you...

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Hamer

Great list Nat!

My dream nom list & win (*) + runner-up (r/u)

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett (Carol) r/u
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Nina Hoss (Phoenix) *
Rooney Mara (Carol) r/u
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Supp Actress:
Cynthia Nixon (James White)
Sarah Paulson (Carol)
Kristen Steward (Clouds of Sils Maria) r/u
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) *
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

^ What Robert Hamer said. Well done!

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

A great line-up, although I would have tried to squeeze in Lily Tomlin. She was so good, and Grandma is actually one of the better movies this year.
I loved the two performances of Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, Catherine Deneuve in La Tete Haute, Jane Fonda in Youth and probably several more but overall I enjoyed the performances of the golden actresses way more than some of the nominated ones.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel B.

@Nathaniel: Maybe you havent updated your tallies, but you actually gave Carol 12 nominations, not 10. So really Carol lead the Film Bitch Awards, not Mad Max.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Diane Ladd went off on category fraud tonight on Tavis Smiley. He asked about Oscars so white and she discussed the lack of domestic production and how the studios are selling the actors short by rigging the awards system for actual character performers to compete.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Cate just won the AACTA International Award for Best Actress for Carol. Yay! I know it won't have any bearing on the overall Best Actress race, but yay anyway.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

Gorgeous lists in both categories, but I feel it isn't complete without some also-ran love for the Tangerine ladies. Love the descriptions though.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Jennifer Lawrence totally deserved the nomination. She was amazing in Joy!

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjack

I am really looking forward to see James White! There is something about that movie that makes me curious

Carol has not even premiere in Norway yet!!! F...cuk

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Such a great year for actresses.

Emily Blunt deserves some recognition for her incredible performance in Sicario that eventually transcends the weak characterization.
And Kristen Stewart is just sublime in Clouds of Sils Maria.

Rachel McAdams basically did nothing on Spotlight. Hell, Jessica Chastain in The Martian did way more and she gained no traction at all. Although it is nice to call McAdams an Oscar nominee.

If anything, Charlotte Rampling's comment has only helped her in the race. Some people may agree with it and eventually vote for her, and people who disagree with it finally have the chance to know who the hell Rampling is.

Still waiting for Ewa Cybulska to beat the shit off Eilis Lacey though because the sadly-underrated 'The Immigrant' is the one that has real emotional value and magnificent acting.

Just watched CAROL and boy, now that is a MOVIE! Now I wish that Blanchett and Mara wins everything in the horizon.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Ez -- THE DRESSMAKER never opened in the US -- not even in the qualifying way -- so it wasn't eligible. I haven't seen it yet.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Craver -- i hear that from people. but i was never very moved by The Immigrant though it's certainly sad. But Brooklyn was so touching.

Eurocheese -- Leading Actress was just way too stacked this year!

/3rtful - that's good to hear.

Robert -- thanks. it's difficult but i'm glad it comes across well. so many drafts. lol.

Roger -- one of my favorite Virtel moments, too.

January 30, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

My nominees not seen Room,Suffragette or Grandma so this could changeNat I was surprsied no Fonda or Caine in your line ups..

Actress

Blanchett - Wins
Blunt
Lawrence
Rampling
Ronan

S/Actress

Banks
Fonda
Mara - I cheated
Walters
Winslet - Wins

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Great list of contenders and great write-ups!

My ballot for the Team Film Experience awards were:

1. Rooney Mara, Carol
2 Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth
3 Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
4 Sarah Snook, Predestination
5 Carey Mulligan, Far from the Madding Crowd

Although, in my personal ballot that I keep a running tab of throughout the year, Predestination was a 2014 release so I'd put Ronan for BROOKLYN in.

For supporting actress I had:

1 Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
2 Mya Taylor, Tangerine
3 Kiersey Clemons, Dope
4 Assa Sylla, Girlhood
5 Kristen Wiig, Nasty Baby

I believe Taylor *is* supporting so, like, whatever. :)

If I was going by Australian release dates I guess I'd probably bump Judy Davis for THE DRESSMAKER in there in Wiig's spot. And, yeah, I thought Wiig in BABY > Wiig in DIARY.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

MARK -- i've never been big on Caine. He's one of the most acclaimed actors alive that does little for me.

January 30, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

While I'm not the biggest fan of VOD, I really wish The Film Arcade had eventually made JAMES WHITE available on some platform since they weren't able to expand much. It's the very top of my missed list. :(

Winslet's the only one on my ballot nominated for Oscar too. It's bonkers to me that Sarah Paulson never got arrested on the season whatsoever - even Indie Spirits.

January 30, 2016 | Registered CommenterChris Feil

But you LOVE Fonda.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

mark -- but i have a category for cameo roles!

January 30, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You rock, girl!

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

So she shows up there,i really like Youth and Trumbo and the danish girl,everyone else seems to hate them.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

Not a Michael Caine fan? I'll bet his Oscar wins drove you crazy. I can just see you shouting at your TV: "Best supporting actor of the whole year? He wasn't even best supporting actor of his movie! That was Max von Sydow/Delroy Lindo."

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercash

1) Did you manage to see Queen of Earth these last weeks?

2) My gold medal goes to Blanchett, again.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Two weekends ago, I saw Room and I was completely floored and destroyed to tears. Brie Larson was my winner. A week later I saw Carol, and boy did my heart smashed. What a film. It's been a week and I'm still thinking of it, revisiting lines, images. It lingers in memory like a soft dream. It may not happen but would love it if Blanchett wins a 3rd Oscar for it.

Terrific year for actresses. Ronan, Rampling, Nixon, Winslet, Paulson, Tomlin, Mulligan; my god, an embarrassment of riches!

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJones

A terrible, terrible shame that Cynthia Nixon wasn't able to breakout -- totally agree about the VOD comment above. But joyful that this performance exists. I hope people see the film over time.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

cash -- basically yeah.

January 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Great list. Oscar really did do a pretty good job with their Best Actress lineup even if if it was also pretty safe and accommodated category fraud. I still have to see Steve Jobs, Tangerine, James White and a few others.

January 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I think i get more excited for The Film Bitch Awards than the actual awards.

January 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNicola

Did you see any foreign language films at all? It says so much when someone only nominates English language performances vs. well, the entire rest of the world.

February 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMeh

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