Oscar 2011 Forecast: Best Actress

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Elizabeth Olsen

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.

Other contenders:

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.

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

3 responses »

  1. It’s impossible to see Binoche getting nominated for that film, but it would be wonderful if she did. Farmiga is very good, also. Those are the only two I’ve seen thus far.

    Other than that, three of the top 5 there are transparent Oscar bait. I don’t doubt that Williams will be terrific, because she always is, but still. Ugh.

    Also, Knightly looks awful in the A Dangerous Method trailer. She’s extremely limited in her abilities, so it’s hard to believe the good press she’s received for the film.

  2. Yeah, Binoche and Farmiga are stretching credulity, but I couldn’t come up with any other possibilities. I haven’t seen any trailers for A Dangerous Method, but apparently Knightley displays a lot of histrionics, and you know the Academy likes lots of acting, rather than necessarily good acting.

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