Oscar Watching: Waiting…
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett. It’s what most of us have been saying all season, and some called it before the season even began. I was skeptical at first – early front-runners often lose their steam – but her powerful performance in Blue Jasmine, as a mentally unstable, drug-addicted alcoholic thrust from the one percent and into poverty, remained on top throughout the season. Some accolades from the critics here, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild win there; she seemed unstoppable.
Enough “think pieces” about the controversy involving Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow, and Woody Allen have been written over the last few days. (Of all the articles I’ve read, I’d only recommend Nathaniel Rogers’ piece, honestly). A controversy of this magnitude shouldn’t be addressed as nothing more than possibly killing Blue Jasmine’s Oscar chances; at the same time, the awards season doesn’t take place inside a vacuum, and Blanchett has already been pulled into this when she had nothing to do with it. This might affect Blanchett’s chances, but I still see her claiming a second Oscar on Mar. 2.
But because this is an Oscar column, I have to look at the alternatives. Weinstein seems to have faith in Philomena and Judi Dench; Amy Adams has the most obvious advantages of anyone whose name isn’t Cate Blanchett: she’s on her fifth nomination with no previous wins, American Hustle scored 10 nominations, and this might be the one place voters honor the film with an Oscar.
Adams is working the circuit at the right time, too: Bravo will air her Inside the Actors Studio episode Feb. 19 – just a few days after final ballots go out to Oscar voters.
1. Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
2. Amy Adams for American Hustle
3. Judi Dench for Philomena
4. Sandra Bullock for Gravity
5. Meryl Streep for August: Osage County
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Voters might align with Matthew McConaughey and “the movie star proving he’s more than just (very) easy on the eyes.” Other awards groups already have, as his narrative has taken hold more than Chiwetel Ejiofor’s breakthrough and Bruce Dern’s veteran status (and previous nomination) have.
We’ve no idea how Leonardo DiCaprio’s overdue angle will play out since he broke into the race at the eleventh hour, but those “awesome” billboards might help somewhat. It hurts Ejiofor that he’ll miss out on Oscar’s nominees luncheon on Feb. 10, though he’ll actively campaign after final ballots go out.
BAFTA might shine a light on the potential upset on Feb. 16 (McConaughey failed to snag a bid there), but McConaughey keeps chugging along: Actors Studio lined him up for an episode on Feb. 20, a day after Adams’ appearance. Still, an upset from anyone except Christian Bale is very much possible.