Academy Award Predictions, Part II

What was once considered a tight two-way race between Away From Her’s Julie Christie and La Vie En Rose’s Marion Cotillard has turned into the year’s most exciting three-way battle, thanks to the wonderful performance from Juno’s Ellen Page. 

Beloved film critic Roger Ebert became the latest member – and the most important – to jump aboard the Ellen Page band wagon when he chose Juno as the best film of the year.  Ebert has certainly played a strong roll in the past in the Best Actress category: both Halle Berry and Charlize Theron won trophies for performances in films that Ebert chose as the best of the year.  If Page can beat Cotillard at the Globes, she needs to be considered the frontrunner in this category.

Angelina Jolie should also hear her name called on nomination day.  The actress received a recent nomination from the Screen Actors Guild and received a Golden Globe nomination earlier this month for her performance in Michael Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart. 

Elizabeth’s Cate Blanchett received similar nominations, but her film was a disappointment at the box office and it received subpar reviews.  Plus, Blanchett was honored with a nomination for playing the same heroine in a much better film in 1998.  As if that weren’t enough, Academy members will likely consider a Best Supporting Actress nominating for her portrayal of Bob Dylan in Todd Field’s I’m Not There to be sufficient.

That leaves just one open spot between three previous Oscar nominees.  Amy Adams sneaked into the picture after receiving comparisons to Julia Roberts in Walt Disney’s Enchanted.  Adams received a nomination two years ago for a much smaller film, Junebug, which shows that Oscar voters like her.  Then again, who doesn’t like The Savages’ Laura Linney, who has been one of the finest actresses of the new century.  Linney received a Golden Globe nomination, but was passed up by the Screen Actors Guild.  She could sneak in if The Savages has a strong opening, but she certainly has her work cut out for her.  That’s because the very popular Keira Knightley is also in the running for a much more popular film, Atonement.  If Atonement receives the support it is expected to get, Knightley will receive her second Oscar nomination – not bad for a 21-year-old.

Best Supporting Actress:

Up until a few weeks ago, Cate Blanchett was considered a sure-win in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There.  Recently, however, Gone Baby Gone’s Amy Ryan has emerged as a frontrunner after a slew of critics’ prizes came her way.  Ryan’s film, Gone Baby Gone, seems more like the type of film that the Academy likes to honor than Todd Haynes’s imaginative I’m Not There.

Tilda Swinton’s recent SAG nomination wiped away any doubts that the Michael Clayton actress would be left out of the picture.  The final two spots, however, are difficult to predict due to a split in the SAG awards and the Golden Globes.

The Globes chose Charlie Wilson’s War’s Julia Roberts and Atonement’s Saoirse Ronan while the Screen Actors Guild chose Into the Wild’s Catherine Keener and American Gangster’s Ruby Dee.  Since two of these films are losing momentum (Charlie Wilson’s War and American Gangster) and two are holding strong (Into the Wild and Atonement), I’m betting Ronan and Keener will take the final two spots – although I’d really like to see Marisa Tomei win a spot for her daring performance in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.   

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