Last year the Best Supporting Actor Oscar category consisted entirely of previous winners, the first time that had happened. It looks like a strong possibility it may happen again this year, in the Best Actress category.
Unlike some years, there are a lot of potential nominees this year from Hollywood films, which means that women from foreign and indie films, who otherwise might break through, would be left out. There are so many big stars with juicy parts that it may be a given that the winner will be getting her second (or third, or fourth) Oscar.
Here’s my early picks for the nominees, in alphabetical order:
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. The great Cate won for Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator, and is probably the front runner for the award so far this year. Her turn as the socialite having a nervous breakdown in Woody Allen’s films is scintillating. Allen has directed several women to Oscars: Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest (twice), and Miro Sorvino. Cate may join the list.
Sandra Bullock, Gravity. Bullock won for The Blind Side, which as much a thank you by the industry for putting fannies in the seats for a series of comedies. This time she may actually deserve the nomination, as the buzz about her and the film is sky high.
Judi Dench, Philomena. A winner for Shakespeare in Love, Dench is a big favorite in the Academy, as she could probably fart “God Save the Queen” and get a nomination. This role is in a tear-jerker about an elderly woman who searches for her daughter, who had been given up for adoption.
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County. Speaking of Academy favorites, there’s none more than Streep, who could get her 18th nomination, the most by a long shot. The role in this film, of a drug-addicted woman with an acid tongue, would probably get a nomination for anyone who played. Julia Roberts, who is in also in the film in a major role, seems to be category-frauded into the supporting category.
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks. Thompson hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since 1995, but is the only person to have won for both acting and screenwriting. Her role as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers seems ripe for Oscar consideration.
Also possible: Among other previous winners, Kate Winslet in Labor Day. Of non-winners, there’s Amy Adams (who is threatening to become the new Deborah Kerr–much nominated, never winning) for American Hustle; Brie Larson in Short Term 12; Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha; Berenice Bejo, The Past; and Adele Exarchopoulos for Blue Is the Warmest Colour.