Remember to Thank Your Significant Other – Part 2

It's almost time, folks! The Academy Awards presentation will be this Sunday, February 27, on ABC. Hosted by Anne Hathaway, a past nominee, and James Franco, a current nominee, it should be a fun show. The competition is particularly strong this year and some categories are unpredictable.

In my last two blogs I covered the Best Picture, then Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. It's time to introduce the ladies.

 

Best Actress
 

  • Annette Bening  –  The Kids are All Right  --  In this movie, Bening plays a woman who is very strong – but also very afraid of losing her family, especially the woman she loves. Although Bening has won several awards for her acting -- including the Golden Globe for this film and the SAG and BAFTA for American Beauty -- the Oscar has always eluded her. This is her fourth nomination. Perhaps this will be her year.
  • Nicole Kidman  –  Rabbit Hole  –  For her portrayal of a woman grieving for her young child, Kidman has received her third nomination for Best Actress. She received the Academy Award for The Hours. If she wins this year, she will join an elite group of people with two acting Oscars on the mantelpiece.
  • Jennifer Lawrence  –  Winter’s Bone  –  I remember Lawrence from The Bill Engvall Show. Now she has moved on to the big screen in the sleeper film of the year. As Ree, a teenage girl desperate to protect her family and keep them together, Lawrence gives an exceptional performance. First time nominees have sometimes won.
  • Natalie Portman  –  Black Swan  –  Many of us probably remember the first time we saw Portman. At the age of 13, she displayed remarkable talent as Mathilda in The Professional. Since then she’s had a wide range of roles and received her first acting nomination at age 24 in Closer. As the troubled ballerina Nina in Black Swan, Portman is the odds on favorite this year, having already won the Golden Globe, the SAG, and the BAFTA.
  • Michelle Williams  –  Blue Valentine  –  In a film that examines the hopes of a young couple and the eventual disintegration of their marriage, Williams once again proved that she’s one of the major talents of her generation. I’m sure she’s still remembered for Dawson’s Creek. She has now established herself as an actress unafraid of taking chances. Williams was nominated for her supporting role in Brokeback Mountain. Odds are against her, but then long-shots do sometimes win.

Best Supporting Actress
 

  • Amy Adams  –  The Fighter –  As Charlene, the woman in love with and willing to fight for boxer Micky Ward, Adams has received her third Oscar nomination. Her past nominations were for Junebug and Doubt. I know Adams best for her comedic roles and believe that she would have been right at home in 1930s screwball comedies. But she’s also a solid dramatic actress and has garnered attention and respect for her more serious roles. The third time could be the charm for Adams.
  • Helena Bonham Carter  –  The King’s Speech  – For this film, Bonham Carter took on the role of one of the most loved women in Great Britain – the Queen Mother. The story of the real love match between Elizabeth and King George VI – or “Bertie,” as she called him – was sweetly portrayed in this movie, and Bonham Carter turned in one of her best performances. This is her second Oscar nomination, her first being for The Wings of the Dove. With the popularity of The King’s Speech, Bonham Carter could be the dark horse in this race. She has already received the BAFTA award.
  • Melissa Leo  –  The Fighter –  I saw Leo in an episode of The Equalizer back in the 80s and have followed her career. Since then she was a regular on Homicide: Life on the Street in the early years of the series, playing the lone female detective. You were sure that she was the toughest cop there. That strength has shown through in dozens of roles on TV and in movies. This year she played Alice Ward, the hard-as-nails mother of boxers “Irish” Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund. Leo received a nomination for Frozen River. This time she might win the Oscar.
  • Hailee Steinfeld  –  True Grit   –  For her first film, 14-year-old Steinfeld amazed critics and audiences as Mattie Ross, a young girl out to avenge her father’s murder. Jeff Bridges may have had top billing, but in my opinion, this was Steinfeld’s movie. A young woman with incredible talent, I doubt this first nomination will be her last. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she wins.
  • Jacki Weaver  –  Animal Kingdom  –  Weaver’s nomination came out of the blue for most movie fans. As Janine Cody, the matriarch of a crime family in Melbourne, Australia, Weaver wowed audiences at film festivals across the country and received fantastic reviews. While Weaver may have the greatest odds against her winning, I think we may be seeing this actress in American movies.

As for my favorites, I have to say Jennifer Lawrence and Melissa Leo.  Lawrence because she brought maturity and dignity to the role of Ree. Leo because I’ve been a fan of hers for so long. However, I expect Natalie Portman to take the leading actress award. But supporting actress? I really don’t know. What are your choices? Check back for the results and commentary.


 

Comments

A tricky pair of categories!

A tricky pair of categories! The Best Supporting Actress Award has in recent years proved the most unpredictable of the four acting categories, as women outed as shoo-ins were left empty-handed during that crucial moment of the broadcast. Some have theorized that the various voting blocs cancel each other out, producing some surprise winners. It's possible the contest is wide open this year, despite Melissa Leo's previous triumphs. Hailee Steinfeld WAS Mattie Ross and deserves her nomination (though probably as Best Actress, given the nature of her role). I've enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter and Amy Adams in any number of films, and Melissa Leo in a long-ago series called "The Young Riders." With Best Actress, I'd love to see a tie, with Natalie Portman and Annette Bening sharing the honor.

You made some great

You made some great observations. And it's so good to find someone else who remembers Melissa Leo from The Young Riders! I was so disappointed when she was written out -- but it did allow her to go on to Homicide: Life on the Street.

I, too, think Hailee gave an incredible performance as Mattie in True Grit. And I keep going back and forth over which one would make me happier to see win -- Hailee or Melissa. And I agree that Hailee should have been nominated in the lead category. (I wonder if this was an attempt to give her a better chance, since Natalie Portman seems to be unstoppable this year.)

As you pointed out, the possibility of votes being split between the frontrunners is very real. That's what makes me think that Helena might be the surprise winner on Sunday night.

Thanks so much for your comments and insight!