The race for this year’s Oscar Best Actress has just turned into an interesting state. Still frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence’s Saturday Night Live monologue gave her negative press when she jokingly slammed her Oscar co-nominees to address the “I beat Meryl!” quip she had during last week’s Golden Globes. Some of the lines she said during the controversial monologue were “Jessica Chastain? More of Jessica Chas-ain’t winning an Oscar on my watch!” and “Naomi Watts in The Impossible. You know what’s impossible? You beating me at the Oscars!” Granted, she wasn’t the one who wrote the lines (it was the terrible writing from the SNL staff that hurt her), but this Oscar season has been the dirtiest in a long time. If voters respond negatively, they might throw their vote to Jessica Chastain who’s more regarded as an actor’s actor and the only person who pulled off the feat of having the top two movies in US box office TWICE.
Speaking of dirty, for a moment, let’s move fast forward and shift to next year’s Best Actress race. And as early as now, boy I’m telling you it’s gonna be a bloodbath. Internet forums will feast on this one, as it has almost every single actress (with cult followings ) with an Oscar bait movie next year. And if it does not excite you yet, almost all recent past Best Actress winners since 2000 is in contention spare for Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Natalie Portman, and Helen Mirren. Here’s a rundown of who can you expect to get nominated next awards season:
Best Actress 2000 Julia Roberts and Best Actress 1982 and 2011 Meryl Streep are co-starring in the movie adaptation of August: Osage County. This has literally Oscar bait all over it, especially since prior to Streep winning last year, this was perceived as the Oscar vehicle that will give her her third Oscar. Now Team Meryl is pushing her for a fourth win for an all time tie with Katharine Hepburn (who’s vocal of her dislike towards Meryl). Julia, on the other hand, hasn’t been invited back as a nominee since her Erin Brockovich win 12 years ago, and it might be her next comeback. You have to remember though that the last time that two actresses were nominated for Best Actress in the same film was way back in 1991 when both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis got nommed for Thelma and Louise. And if there’s a pair of actresses who can pull that feat off, it’ll definitely be Roberts and Streep.
Speaking of Roberts, her rival, box office sweetheart Sandra Bullock aka Best Actress 2009 is also in the hunt next year via Alfonoso Cuaron’s Gravity. This one stars her opposite George Clooney, and while sci-fi doesn’t work well with the Academy unless you’re Sigourney Weaver, she also has a comedy coming out in March with Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy. So, a comedy in March then a drama in October? Doesn’t it sound familiar? It’s circa 2009 all over again when Sandy pulled that one-two punch of The Proposal and The Blind Side.
Let’s move on to a pair of celebrity bestfriends. Best Actress 2002 Nicole Kidman is doing a biopic this time, and by playing a real person, it reminds us when she won for playing author Virginia Woolf in The Hours. This time though, it’s Oscar winner slash Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. This biopic is helmed by Olivier Dahan which was responsible for Marion Cotillard’s Oscar winning vehicle La Vie En Rose. Kidman is on a streak the past few years gaining momentum post-Rabbit Hole and she came close this year with The Paperboy, so she can finally snatch a fourth nomination. Her bestfriend, Best Actress nominee 2003 and 2012 Naomi Watts is playing Princess Diana in the biopic which was
surprisingly entitled Diana. If good will is prevalent next year, then she can shoo-in an instant nomination just like how Michelle Williams did when she gained one for My Week with Marilyn the year after her Oscar comeback via Blue Valentine.
Next, we have the K/C-ates. Oscar Best Actress 2008 Kate Winslet is doing an Oscar comeback after her victory five years ago for The Reader. In Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, Winslet plays the role of a depressed single mother who offered a man a ride only to identify the identity of the man she helped. Baity, indeed. Then we’d have Best Supporting Actress 2004 Cate Blanchett who’s probably having a major comeback this 2013 with a plethora of films under her belt. Her best shot for a gold though is via Woody Allen’s drama(!) Blue Jasmine where she stars opposite Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin.
Then we also have past winners from the last decade gunning for their first nomination since their win. Best Actress 2007 Marion Cotillard came close this year via Rust and Bone, but if foreign language nature of the film hurt her chances, then her role in James Gray’s Lowlife as a burlesque woman can finally snatch her a comeback nomination. The same can be said for Best Actress 2005 Reese Witherspoon who stars in Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot playing the role of a mother whose child went missing.
And then we also have winners from the 90s coming back. First is Best Actress 1992 Emma Thompson playing opposite Tom Hanks in Saving Mr. Banks. This film is directed by Jonny Lee Hancock who was responsible for Sandra Bullock’s Oscar. The second is current nominee and Best Actress 1997 Helen Hunt in Decoding Annie Parker. In the said movie, Hunt plays the role of the doctor who’s responsible for the almost discovery for cancer. What an Oscar bait that is!
As for the youngesters, we have two actresses playing the title roles in their film. In case she won’t win the Oscar this year, two time nominee Jennifer Lawrence is again with Bradley Cooper next year via Susanne Bier’s Serena as the wife of a timber empire owner who cannot give her husband a child. On the other side, we have Elizabeth Olsen giving another shot at the Oscar territory via Therese which is also Jessica Lange’s comeback movie.
Then Brit love can push two of their contenders next year: Best Supporting Actress 1998 Judi Dench can find herself with a seventh career nomination for her performance in Philomena as a woman trying to find her missing son who was forcefully taken from her when she lived in a convent. Then taking a break from all these period dramas is Keira Knightley who’s trying something new this time as a young singer-songwriter who befriends a music executive in Can a Song Save Your Life?
A comeback nomination can also be possible for last year’s nominee Rooney Mara who stars in Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects. The last time someone got a nomination for a Soderbergh work was Julia Roberts in 2000, and we all know how that turned out. There’s also the possibility of Mia Wasikowska finally breaking through as the disturbed daughter of Nicole Kidman in Park Chan Wook’s English debut Stoker.
Lastly, there’s Sundance hit Julie Delpy who can add another Oscar nomination to her name, this time for acting in the third part of her Richard Linklater series Before Midnight. Midnight has been getting unanimously positive praise at Sundance, and if buzz translates, then she can even be a two time nominee next year.
Of course, those are all just possibilities. If this year’s nominations taught us something, there’s always the possibility of a Quvenzhane Wallis or an Emmanuelle Riva who can suddenly sneak in. But for the moment, this is gonna be a really long catfight. Which race are you looking forward to? The possibilities are endless with the line up. There’s a match up of J.Law vs. Meryl, or America’s Sweetheart Julia vs. America’s Sweetheart Reese vs. America’s Sweetheart Sandy. Then there’s Nicole vs. Naomi, Cate vs. Kate, Dame Judi vs. Cate, Mia vs. Elizabeth, and the only one whose gonna be having a field day with this one are the internet forums mainstays.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl