Over the last few years, the most exciting Oscar battles have been the ones waged for Best Actress. Not only did we get some amazing performances, but the depth of nominees and the number of great roles for women were bountiful. It was a cornucopia of estrogen!
Not so in 2012.
I am not saying the nominees are not deserving, I just think some of the people snubbed last year would have been considered frontrunners this year (Charlize Theron in Young Adult).
Yet, we do have some solid nominees for Best Actress, and one could be at the start of an amazing career. Yes, the woman to the left.
Who will win the Oscar for Best Actress?
The nominees are:
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
After the nominations were announced, this looked like a battle between Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, in what looked like the first of many times the two would be facing off for Oscars. It would be a rivalry with the historic significance of Yankees vs. Red Sox, Lakers vs. Celtics, Snooki vs. The Situation.
However, Zero Dark Thirty has faltered. Amid the controversy of its depiction of torture by American interrogators and the snub of Kathryn Bigelow in the Best Director category, the movie has been pushed into the background, while Amour has started to emerge.
Emmanuelle Riva has exploded onto the scene as a contender after co-winning Best Actress at the LA Film Critics (Lawrence was the other co-winner), earning a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards and winning the British Academy award. Her role in Amour, as an older woman starting to physically and mentally decline, is one that speaks to all of us, especially older voters who dominate The Academy. Some may be tempted to give the award to the oldest woman to ever be nominated for Best Actress.
Yet, I can't get past how bored I was with Amour. Did she do something amazing in the 2nd hour, because I gave up after the 1st hour.
My prediction is Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook.
Lawrence, who has a previous nomination for Winter's Bone and immense box office success for The Hunger Games, is one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood. She is at the the top of every producer's and director's wish list when it comes time to cast a new movie, and she has wowed audiences and voters with some unpretentious girl next door charm on talk shows and Oscar events in the past few weeks.
She won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actress, which I keep harping on, but this is a big deal. Many of these voters vote for the Oscars, and actors comprise 22% of Academy voters, so they have influence and know how to wield it.
Tomorrow: Best Actor
Previous Prediction: Best Supporting Actor
Previous Prediction: Best Supporting Actress