When analyzing this year’s Best Actress Oscar race, there is one big question–what category will Viola Davis end up in? The actress, who was so good in The Help, will get a nomination, that’s a certainty, but it all depends on where. The history of Oscar playing games with categories is rife with injustices, and it’s not clear that it won’t happen this year. Davis is the lead actress, in terms of screen time and story, but I have the nagging suspicion she may end up in supporting. This is interesting, because if she ends up in supporting she is sure to win; that’s not so certain in the lead category.
With these predictions, I’m going to assume, perhaps incorrectly, that Davis will be shuttled to the Supporting Actress category, and when this happens there will be all sorts of accusations of racism.
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) Close was nominated five times in seven years in the ’80s, but came up empty. She hasn’t been nominated since, and has become more accomplished as a television actress. But she has a great shot at returning to Oscar silliness with her role as a cross-dressing person in a period film, which sounds like a natural for the Academy.
Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) This a role-based nomination possibility; almost anyone who snagged the role would have been in Oscar talk. It all depends on how the film is received–it is comes across more as potboiler than “art,” than it likely won’t happen.
Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) In the spirit of last year’s nomination of Jennifer Lawrence, I like the idea of Mark-Kate and Ashley’s younger sister getting a nod for a small, gritty film about a cult. I think the Academy voters will find it irresistible, too. And John Hawkes is in this movie, too!
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) It’s fairly certain that La Streep will get her 17th nomination. All the ingredients are here: she plays a real person (Margaret Thatcher), adopts an accent, wears a big wig. The burning question, as it has been for several years now, is whether this will finally be her year to win her third Oscar.
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) There have been many actresses who have played Marilyn Monroe over the years, but none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. I like Williams’ chances, as she comes off a nomination last year, and it seems the tone of this is more respectful than sleazy.
Charlize Theron (Young Adult)
Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)
Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy)
Vera Farmiga (Higher Ground)
And, of course, Viola Davis.