By John H. Foote
Twelve performances, perhaps thirteen, are being discussed for Best Actress. Only five names will be read, only five performances nominated, with just a single winner, barring a tie as we had in 1968.
It is genuinely thrilling to see so many great performances from women, but more to see so many great roles being written for women. There have been years when the Academy has truly struggled to find five nominees…no more.
The time of women is upon us.
Two performances are locks, Lady Gaga, for her luminous work in A Star is Born, and Glenn Close, seven times nominated, never a winner for The Wife, arguably the best work of her career. Gaga is truly magnificent as Allie, the young star being born, while Close quietly seethes with inner rage, building through the film to an explosion. Both ladies are the hands-down frontrunner to win the Oscar.
For her splendid performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, comedy star turned dramatic actress Melissa McCarthy, likely belongs in the lock category, but I am going on gut feeling here. Viola Davis should be nominated as the frightened (though fearsome) leader of a gang of widows in the crime heist thriller Widows. Beloved within the Academy, I cannot see her NOT being nominated. I believe Nicole Kidman should be here for her lacerating work as a cop seeking revenge in Destroyer, the lady is a revelation.
If the Academy decides Olivia Colman is Supporting Actress material, that is where she will be, but right now the studio campaign has her as a lead for her wacky Queen Anne in The Favourite. Colman as lead might bump Emma Stone, the true lead, and spectacular, to supporting, but so long as they are nominated, right?
Rosamund Pike, could, and should crash the nominated five for her superb performance in A Private War in which her stunning performance elevates the film to another level.
And finally, Emily Blunt has been burning up screenings in Mary Poppins Returns, and should absolutely NOT be counted out. Word is, she soars.
THE SPOILERS…THE DARK HORSES
The maybe group.
But these maybes could indeed be nominated and shake up the race. Big time.
Julia Roberts might slip in for Ben is Back, and is well-liked enough to do so. I personally cannot see it, but she is Julia Roberts. Yulitza Apricio might get in for Roma, but I think the Netflix stigma will hurt her.
Though released way back in May, Charlize Theron is so good in Tully, I can see her getting nominated for her brave, gutsy performance.
The lovely Amanda Stenberg, who has years ahead of her could be up for her (wise beyond her years) performance in The Hate U Give.
It is going to be nothing less than a wild ride!
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.