|Brie Larson in “Room”|
Unlike many years, this year’s Best Actress race actually has a bevy of women vying for top honors. No longer must we look to foreign films or indies that no one has seen. This year figures to be an all-Hollywood slate.
Who gets in may depend on how big the films hit. Charlize Theron, who ordinarily would never have a chance with an action picture like Mad Max: Fury Road, may be a contender because of box office, while Lily Tomlin, who seems like a very sentimental choice, could be hurt by Grandma‘s paltry 6.4 million dollar box office.
Here is my best guess for the five women who will get nominations come January:
Cate Blanchett, Carol: This is a film about a lesbian relationship, directed by Todd Haynes, who has already directed Blanchett to one nomination (I’m Not There, as Bob Dylan). Co-star Rooney Mara won at Cannes, but those who’ve seen it say that Blanchett is the lead, and Mara is supporting. Blanchett is kind of like Meryl Streep-lite now; she’s nominated for practically everything she does.
Sandra Bullock, Our Brand Is Crisis: I admit going out on a limb for this one, but I saw the trailer and its full of scenery-chewing moments. Bullock is enjoying a productive stretch of quality films after years of fluff, and if the film is any good, I think she has a shot. It’s also a role that was written for a man.
Brie Larson, Room: The winner at Toronto, Room has suddenly vaulted into a lot of Oscar talk, especially Larson, as a young woman, like Jacy Dugard, who was kept captive for several years and gave birth to a child fathered by her abductor. Larson got a lot of buzz for Short-Term 12, and if there’s a lock for a nomination right now, it would appear to be her.
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy: This would be the third nomination for Lawrence directed by David O. Russell. I did a little sleuthing on the Internet and I can’t tell if that would be a record, but it would certainly be significant, since Lawrence is only 25. Joy is a film about a woman who invented the Miracle Mop, so who knows what it will be like, but Lawrence can’t be counted out for anything.
Saorse Ronan, Brooklyn: Ronan, who received a nomination as a child for Atonement, would be only the second woman (after Jodie Foster) nominated as both a child and an adult, and she seems a safe bet, as the star of an old-fashioned film about an Irish immigrant and the loves she has on both sides of the pond.
Other possibilities: Marion Cotillard, Macbeth; Carey Mulligan, Suffragette; Charlotte Rampling, 45 Hours, Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Lily Tomlin, Grandma.