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15 Oscar Bait Flops starring the last 15 Oscar Best Actress Winners   Leave a comment

vlcsnap-2015-09-30-13h10m44s22Take a good look at that Best Actress Oscar, Cate!

An actor’s career won’t ever be complete if he/she hasn’t had that one film perceived as his/her Oscar vehicle only for the movie to not live up to its expectations and its Oscar chances ultimately ending up in a crash and burn in situation. Today, we’d be revisiting the last 15 Oscar Best Actress winners, and while all of them have ended up with Oscar statues in their mantles already (some even more than one, coughMerylcough), these are some films that were perceived to be the one.

2000: Julia Roberts

Then America’s Sweetheart Julia Roberts was unstoppable that year sweeping all televised precursors leading to the Academy Awards for her sassy superstar performances as the title role in Erin Brockovich, and while she obviously “loved it up there” in the podium, her post-Oscar career has mostly focused on doing favored works for her director friends (such as Steven Soderbergh and Ryan Murphy) or actor friends (such as Tom Hanks). However, in 2007, she starred alongside Hanks and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson‘s War as Texas socialite Joanne Herring donned with a big blonde wig and her signature wide grin. While she picked up a Golden Globe nomination for this, her real Oscar comeback came seven years after in August Osage County.

2001: Halle Berry

After her historic win in 2001, Berry remains to be the only African-American actress who have won the Oscar in a leading performance for Monster’s Ball. However, most of her post-Oscar career has been panned left and right specifically during her turn in Catwoman. While the actress have fared better in television (with her Emmy nominated performance “Their Eyes Were Watching God“), Berry still tried to prove her win was no fluke by starring in different Oscar vehicles such as “Things We Lost in Fire” in 2007. For this list though, nothing is as baity as her attempt for a comeback in 2010’s “Frankie & Alice” where she played a 70s stripper suffering from a dissociative identity disorder. Berry picked up a filler Globe nod for it, but the awards failure performance caused the film to be shelved only to be revived four years later for a theatrical release to the knowledge of… nobody.

2002: Nicole Kidman

Winning on her second consecutive nomination, Nicole Kidman was the biggest movie star on the planet during her win as author Virginia Woolf in Best Picture nominee The Hours. And while everyone thought this would be the start of the Academy’s love affair with the Australian actress, the opposite happened with her starring in low-key indie films (Dogville, Birth), flop mainstream attempts (The Stepford Wives, Bewitched), or Oscar baits that simply didn’t materialize (Nine, Australia). That said, her worst Oscar bait flop happened in 2013 when she played another Best Actress Oscar winner Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco.” Issues over cuts and versions between screenwriter Arash Amel, director Olivier Dahan, and distributor Harvey Weinstein all contributed to the tragic fate of this film (which as of this writing, has apparently three different versions). While Grace opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, it was panned by critics there losing any chance for a theatrical release. It ended up premiering on TV via Lifetime earlier this year, though that ended up as a blessing in disguise as that decision earned it an nomination for Best Television Movie at the Emmy Awards earlier this month.

2003: Charlize Theron

After her unanimously praised performance of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, Theron easily received another Oscar nod two years after for the movie North Country. That said, Theron stayed low key with her movie choices tackling supporting roles mostly or really, small films. While her comeback in 2011 for Young Adult didn’t fruit to Oscar nom #3, it can’t be considered an Oscar bait flop considering the nature of the film doesn’t seem like the type that will get its actress nominated. However, after the success of Gone Girl last year and its lead actress Rosamund Pike receiving a nomination for it, studio A24 tried to ride on its success by releasing another Gillian Flynn novel turned to movie “Dark Places” starring Theron as the only survivor of a town massacre. Suffice to say, this was released in limited theaters and VOD killing all its chances to get Theron nominated.

2004: Hilary Swank

Only five years after receiving her first Best Actress Oscar, Hilary Swank easily snatched her second after starring as the female boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in the Best Picture Oscar winner of that year “Million Dollar Baby.” That’s why her third bid for an Oscar nomination (exactly ten years after her first and five years after her second), was for playing the great, late Amelia Earhart in Mira Nair’s 2009 take on the life of the prominent figure. Unlike her first two vehicles though, Swank quite received the flak for portraying yet another character leaning on the masculine strengths for another shot at Oscar. So despite Fox Searchlight handling the campaign for this film, not even that is enough to save this critical and commercial flop. Surprisingly enough, her next Oscar bait came in 2014 for “The Homesman“, but again to no avail. Maybe Hilary decided to plot her Oscar vehicles every time a year ends on 9 or 4 no?

2005: Reese Witherspoon

Her Oscar-winning role was that of the late country superstar June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.” In this 2007 thriller however, Reese joined forces with Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Alan Arkin, as well as Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal. Back in 2007, films dealing with the CIA and terrorism have been as baity as one can expect, so Witherspoon’s role as a pregnant woman involved in some terrorism actions seem like a shoo-in Oscar contender. Add the fact that this was Witherspoon’s foray into straight drama territory and this seemed anything but an Oscar flop. Until it was. Luckily for Reese, she managed to come back in the Oscar race earlier this year for her turn as Cheryl Strayed in Wild.

2006: Helen Mirren

Usually when a woman in her sixties win an Oscar, it’s mostly an indirect lifetime achievement award of some sort. But not for Dame Helen Mirren. Since her win for The Queen in 2006, this has led her to receive more leading roles and she has been the go-to British actress even surpassing Dame Judi Dench and Dame Vanessa Redgrave to name a few. She easily picked up an Oscar nod in 2009 for The Last Station, and we’re certain that she came close in 2012 for Hitchcock after receiving Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nominations for it. Mirren is an easy name check for nominations too, as proven by her Golden Globe nomination (yet again) for The Hundred Foot Journey. However, Woman in Gold was a different story. It’s a great feat that the movie earned four times its budget, but with the topic of a Jewish refugee fighting for a painting of her aunt by the Nazis, this is the type of role that can easily skate its actress to awards talk… only that it won’t happen anymore.

2007: Marion Cotillard

Among all the Oscar flops in this list, The Immigrant is that one film that really doesn’t deserve its placement. It’s a great film and its number of accolades received could certainly prove it. However, after acquiring this film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein certainly did not know how to market or simply, what to do with this film and he ended up throwing it to E-One, the smaller right hand company of The Weinsteins which is an indication that they won’t be pushing this film for any awards consideration. But when Cotillard started to pick up steam for her performance in “Two Days, One Night“, Weinstein made a sudden last minute play of giving Cotillard and its cinematography some push hoping it can get her the nomination. Of course it didn’t, and Marion ended up getting that overdue second nomination for her better performance. Sadly, Marion has yet to be nominated for an English performance, and this could have been it had it been handled properly.

2008: Kate Winslet

For quite a period in the late 2000s, Jason Reitman has been the Academy’s catnip. His films have ended p receiving Oscar nominations for Ellen Page in Juno, and George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air with Golden Globe nods for Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for Smoking and Charlize Theron in Young Adult. However, all streaks will come to an end, as Reitman’s one began with the Kate WInslet-starrer Labor Day. Based on the novel by Joyce Maynard, Winslet plays another lonely suburban housewife (as if Little Children and Revolutionary Road weren’t enough) who had an encounter with convict Josh Brolin. The movie was met with horrible reviews, but hand it to the Golden Globes for still name checking Kate Winslet giving her a Best Drama Actress nomination for it.

2009: Sandra Bullock

2009 ended up as the start of a career renaissance for Sandra Bullock. Not only did she star in two movies of that year with grosses combined a 600+ million dollars, she ended up with the Best Actress Oscar for her turn as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side. What could have been the pinnacle of an actor’s career only was the beginning for Sandra who followed it up with box office hits like The Heat and Minions or critically backed films like that of Gravity. This year, however, she dons her blonde wig yet again (just like in her Oscar winning performance) to headline David Gordon Green’s “Our Brand is Crisis.” While her awards chances have yet to be determined, you can mostly count her out since the movie received mixed to negative reviews since it premiered at Toronto International Film Festival this year. At least her personal reviews weren’t tragic, but count no Best Actress nomination for her this year.

2010: Natalie Portman

Portman’s road to the Oscar was for her performance as the ballerina in Black Swan, but only a year before that, we saw her closest attempt to follow up her 2004 nomination for “Closer” in Jim Sheridan’s “Brothers“, based on the 2004 Danish film of the same name. As the woman who was left in between the characters of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, Portman was given the tough position of acting upon two other contemporaries. Sadly for the film, it has gained little to no traction at all that year, mostly for the U2 song “Winter” and a Golden Globe nod for Tobey Maguire.

2011: Meryl Streep

Yes, even Oscar’s favorite actress takes a break from being Oscar nominated. Grunt all you can as Meryl enjoys her 19 career Oscar nominations and three statues at home (her latest for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady), but every now and then she takes on flop Oscar vehicles such as this one directed by Robert Redford and had her starring with Tom Cruise. Streep plays liberal TV journalist Janine Roth who thinks the government is using her position to be an instrument of their plans. Here’s another film that tried to combined issues of journalism, terrorism, and war ending up with zero awards traction, rotten reviews, and a disappointing box office performance.

2012: Jennifer Lawrence

After starring in Best Picture nominees Silver Linings Playbook (for which she won her Oscar) and American Hustle, it seemed like the pairing of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is one that seems to have find its footing in the Academy. Their third pairing, however, is from Oscar winning director Susanne Bier from the 2008 novel of the same name. While this costume drama seemed like it would continue the trajectory of both actors getting nominated, too many issues surrounding the film’s release ended up losing all momentum for the movie. It finally was released in the US last March which is enough reason to say that the movie’s intention to get any awards consideration is already killed.

2013: Cate Blanchett

At this stage in her career, Cate Blanchett is already infallible with everything she touches is suddenly critic proof. She has reached that stage in her career already where she has the respect and admiration of her peers and critics alike, as proven by her great comeback in 2013 because of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine for which she won her second Oscar and her first one in Lead. But before any of those happened, she has been starring in one flop bait after the other in the early 2000s, particularly this Ron Howard film in 2003 entitled “The Missing.” It was Howard’s comeback after winning for “A Beautiful Mind” and starred Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones. Good for Blanchett though because the year after, she finally natched her first one for “The Aviator.” And the rest, as they say, is history.

2014: Julianne Moore

Lastly, we have current Best Actress Julianne Moore. Before winning the Oscar this year for Still Alice, Julianne’s last visit to the Oscars as a nominee was still way back in 2002 when she was double nominated for The Hours (losing to Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Far From Heaven (losing to The Hours co-star Nicole Kidman). While we all have probably thought that Julianne would end up being forgotten (as it’s harder to win an Oscar when you’re in your 50s), she proved it otherwise. The journey to 2014 was a long wait though appearing in Oscar contenders where her co-stars got nominated but not her (such as The Kids Are All Right and A Single Man) or low key Oscar flop baits (The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio and Savage Grace). What stood out was the one directed by Fernando Meirelles though. As the opener of the 2008 Cannes Film Fest, Blindness was destined to be a real Oscar contender with its great ensemble, and the reputation of the people involved. After all, it was one of the most prominent best selling novels that time, and this was a challenging role. Alas, the bad reviews killed any of its perceived Oscar chances.

There you have it. What are your favorite Oscar flops? Which Oscar bait ones did you secretly enjoy? Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

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66th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie   Leave a comment

Emmy TV Movie Miniseries Supp Actress

And to complete the four acting categories for the TV movie and miniseries categories, it’s time to discuss one of the most competitive races for this year’s Emmys. To say this is an embarrassment of riches is truly an understatement of its own. Supporting Actress is so stacked there’s no room left for the likes of Tony queen Audra McDonald as The Sound of Music Live‘s saving grace, owner of the Globe’s most memorable speech this year, Dancing on the Endge‘s Jacqueline Bisset, 2x Oscar nominee Janet McTeer from The White Queen and the Tony nominated role of Vanessa Williams in The Trip to Bountiful. As for the actual nominees though, we have…

Current winner Ellen Burstyn makes another bid for a back to back win. By now, her 2006 fluke nod for Mrs. Harris has long been forgotten (or not) and she’s finally been rewarded with a win here last year as the matriarch last year in Political Animals. That said, her nominated performance this year is a big departure from her winning one last year. In Flowers in the Attic, she plays a grim and strict mother whose strong beliefs control her daughter and her grandchildren. This is physical transformation mixed with a baity role, and if she can win one for Animals, she can totally win for this too.

We also have the trifecta of the American Horror Story: Coven actresses in this category. There’s Frances Conroy whose red tips demand your attention (and deservedly so). As Myrtle Snow, Conroy ends up being one of the most vital characters by the end of the season, though she’s at a disadvantage by having her character introduced in the middle of the season as compared to the other co-nominees here who were already featured in the pilot episode. Since I highly doubt that voters will watch the whole season of Coven before voting, I think it’s a con for her.

Angela Bassett receives her second career Emmy nomination by playing the fierce witch Marie Laveau who’s out to seek some revenge for her loved ones. Bassett was every inch a gay man’s dream character here. She’s sassy and she’s ready to fight right here right now. That said, I think hers is a character that is more appreciated by fans as opposed to one that garners awards and stuff.

The last Coven actress nominated is Emmy favorite Kathy Bates. Sure, Bates only has one Emmy under her belt, but she’s one of the four actresses who has the most number of nominations in this category’s history, and you know she’s bound to win one. There’s a chance that this might be the year though. As racist Delphine LaLaurie, Kathy’s character travels in time literally that is as she’s uncovered under the grounds. Bates is the first character you’d see from the previous season of AHS, which means she benefits the most if voters only check the first few episodes of the series.

Then there’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world Julia Roberts as she receive her second Emmy nod. In any other year, this would have been a surefire winner in this category and one that’s bound to sweep awards. After all, this is reminiscent of her Oscar winning performance as Erin Brockovich only that she’s in a wheelchair for the duration of the TV movie, so that makes her role a thousand times baitier. Unfortunately for Roberts, this is probably one of the most competitive years in the history of this category and while she’s much in the race, it’s not an easy win as one might think.

And in the midst of all these big stars, the last nominee is virtually an unknown. Allison Tolman gives one of the last season’s best breakthrough performances given the pressure of this Oscar winning role in Fargo. The reviews and personal citations that she has received all seasons is definitely a statement of how people are paying attention to her performance, and this nomination alongside these established actresses is just the cherry on top of it.

This category is really crazy. Aside from Angela Bassett and Frances Conroy, this could go to any of the four other nominees depending on which performance the voters will dig the most. The difference between the four actresses is so thin that in any other day, I might come up with a different ranking. That said, I’m going on a limb here and predict newbie Allison Tolman to take home the Emmy. Sure it’s a David vs. Goliath level of competition given the line up, but I think hers is the one that will elicit the most passionate response. That said, I won’t be surprised if they’d be carried away with Julia’s schtick, or Kathy’s in your face role, as well as Ellen’s costuming performance.

 Prediction: Allison Tolman, “Fargo
Alternate: Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven

Full Rankings:
01. Allison Tolman, “Fargo
02. Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven
03. Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic”
04. Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart
05. Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven
06. Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven

You can see my other 2014 Emmy prediction analysis here.

For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

66th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 2: TV Movie and Miniseries   2 comments

Hey again guys! If you may not know (as if that blog header isn’t obvious enough), we’re still on our Emmy week here at Tit for Tat as we gloss over the possible Emmy nominees before Carson Daly and Mindy Kaling announce them on Thursday morning. Yesterday, I started this four part series of predictions by going over the Reality and Variety categories. This time, we’ll be tackling the eight major categories of the Movie and Miniseries genre. Let’s get started!

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Writing

• Dancing on the Edge (Stephen Poliakoff)
• Fargo, “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Noah Hawley)
• Luther (Neill Cross)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Shawn Slovo)
• The Normal Heart (Larry Kramer)
• Sherlock: His Last Vow (Steven Moffat)

Alternate:  Treme, “To Miss New Orleans

Well aside from The Normal Heart and Fargo, it’s really difficult to pinpoint which direction the voters will go to. I’d have Luther in simply because the last time the show was eligible, it also received a nod in this category. Then Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight won the WGA for Adapted Screenplay albeit a field of two only. Then what I’ve noticed in this category is that they love ’em British pieces. They might not nominate them for the bigger series awards, but the writing branch always have a soft spot for them; thus, I’m going with Sherlock. And lastly, Dancing for the Edge seems like a filler nod for either Writing or Directing, and I’m palcing it here since it’s less competitive than Directing.

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Directing

• Fargo, “Buridan’s Ass” (Colin Bucksey
• Fargo, “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Adam Bernstein)
• The Hollow Crown, “Henry IV: Part II” (Richard Eyre)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Stephen Frears)
• The Normal Heart (Ryan Murphy)
• The Trip to Bountiful (Michael Wilson)

Alternate:  The White Queen, “The Final Battle

The two surest contenders here are definitely Ryan Murphy (at this point, The Normal Heart will just steamroll its way to a lot of nominations) and Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight because come on it’s Stephen Frears. And he’s a well known film director. Plus it’s from HBO. Fargo’s “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” seems like a good bet as well since it’s the pilot of the show, and I’m certain Fargo will get in here. That said, I’m predicting two episodes from the show to get nominated. Aside from the pilot, I also have Buridan’s Ass which has that major shooting episode (it’s Ep 6 for you casual viewers). It’s one of Fargo‘s most buzzed episodes of the series and I think it can penetrate the race. The Trip to Bountiful seems like a better directing contender than a writing one that’s why I’m putting it here instead of Writing. As for the last spot, I think it’s gonna be one of those epic fantasy episodes, so it’s between The White Queen’s Final Battle versus The Hollow Crown’s Henry IV: Part II. I’m going with the latter simply because of the name recognition.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Supp Actress

• Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge
• Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic
• Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart
• Allison Tolman, “Fargo
• Vanessa Williams, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Audra McDonald, “The Sound of Music Live!

What a crowded category. There’s like ten women in actual contention for this usually barren category. Let’s begin with the easy guesses. There’s Julia Roberts. In a friggin TV movie. In her wheelchair. Throwing papers. I can go on and on but you get the point now. She’s in. Then there’s Kathy Bates too. At this point, I think there’s a slow decline of Emmy love for American Horror Story in general that’s why I’m predicting her as the only supporting actress nominee from this show. If only this was a weak year or if AHS was in its first or second season (both are not), I’d be more lenient with her inclusion. Then there’s an unknown by the name of Allison Tolman? I know you’re probably thinking “Who?”, but this is TV’s biggest breakthrough performances of the season. This is a friggin’ Oscar winning role, and I see her even being the dark horse for the win. Speaking of win, Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset is also in my predictions list simply because her role is something that is a regular in this category.And her Globe win, as infamous as it was, put her to some sort of public consciousness.  Current champ Ellen Burstyn is also in contention, and I think a repeat nod is possible. Sure Flowers in the Attic is no Political Animals, but this is the category that nominated her for a 14 second performance in 2006. They love her here. The last spot is between two Tony nominees: Tony queen Audra McDonald is the only redemption of The Sound of Music Live! and her current Tony good will might translate to a nod, but my bet is on 3x nominee Vanessa Williams reprising her Broadway role here.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Supp Actor

• Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart
• Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow
• Colin Hanks, “Fargo
• Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart
• Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart
• Blair Underwood, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Frank Langella, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

This one is basically the extension of The Normal Heart cast with five of their men eligible in this category. That said, I’ll only be predicting three, as I don’t see anything beyond that possible. Of course there’s winner frontrunner Matt Bomer who is the surest guy from the show here. I’m also rpedicting Jim Parsons since it’s somewhat of a departure from him, and he’s current champ (in Comedy Lead Actor) that they won’t shy from giving him double nominations this year. Lastly, I have Joe Mantello since he’s “breakdown” moment is one of the most talked about. It’s a clip made for awards show purposes plus he’s a veteran that I won’t be surprised Emmys going for it. As for the other three guys, I’m going with Martin Freeman to repeat the same nod he got in 2012 for the previous season of Sherlock. I’ quite confident with Colin Hanks as well since he’s the only one that FX is campaigning here (which means no Oliver Platt), so that bodes well for his chances. I’m going with Blair Underwood for the last spot as Cicely Tyson’s son since this is a Tony nominated role, and I fail to see him missing here.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Actress

• Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton & Taylor
• Toni Collette, “Hostages
• Rebecca Ferguson, “The White Queen
• Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Whoopi Goldberg, “A Day Late and a Dollar Short

If the three other acting nominees are somewhat stacked, consider this the Debbie Downer of the group with the lack of possible nominations. I guess it’s safe to begin with Jessica Lange since she’ll easily be nominated for the show’s third season. She won Supporting the first year and was nominated here for the second season, and a third consecutive one is already expected. Cicely Tyson is a sure bet too. She literally translated her Tony winning performance and she’ll likely add “Emmy winning” too come awards ceremony on August. It doesn’t hurt as well that it’s also an Oscar winning role, so a trifecta of best Actress wins for this will be quite historic.  Then there’s Globe and SAG nominee Helena Bonham Carter. She was already recognized for this at the earlier awards show, and it’s not as if this category is full to even consider her missing. Rebecca Ferguson is the unknown here but playing the title role of a Miniseries contender doesn’t hurt her. I’d be more cautious if this was only a field of five, but it’s not. Emmy winner Toni Collette also has a bid via her failed CBS series Hostages. I expect this to be a repeat of Ashley Judd’s nom in 2011 when she got in for a more star studded line up. If Judd made it in a five nominee line up, what more for Emmy champ Collete? The last spot can either go to Whoopi Goldberg or Sarah Paulson. There’s a reason why Goldberg’s EGOT win has an asterisk beside the E, it’s because she hasn’t won a Primetime Emmy yet. Therefore, it’s quite clear Emmy isn’t totally fond of her, thus making me give the last spot to Sarah Paulson who is hitting some career best stride the past few years and was nommed in Supporting for the last two years.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Actor

• Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow
• Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge
• Idirs Elba, “Luther”
• Martin Freeman, “Fargo
• Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart
• Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo

Seventh nominee: Christopher Plummer, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

Okay so it didn’t sound as competitive in this category when True Detective announced it will compete in Drama instead, but it makes the prediction part easier. As for starters, the pair of British actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba are likely to repeat their nods they got for their roles as Sherlock and Luther respectively. Both of them competed in 2011 as well. Then Cumberbatch’s Sherlock co-star and buddy Martin Freeman is poised to get double acting nominations as he gets one for Fargo as well alongside Billy Bob Thornton. Then it boils down to three Oscar nominees (and one winner). Mark Ruffalo is as sure as one can get, and he’s also one of the frontrunners to win for his role as the gay protagonist in The Normal Heart. While I keep on switching back and forth with Christopher Plummer and Chiwetel Ejiofor, I’d be giving the last slot to the latter since his momentum is pretty much fresher with his Oscar nod earlier this year.

OUTSTANDING MINI SERIES:

Miniseries

• American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
• Dancing on the Edge (Starz)
• Fargo (FX)
• Luther (BBC America)
• The White Queen (BBC America)

Sixth nominee: The Hollow Crown (BBC America)

Of all years where they decided to separate the TV movies and miniseries again, they went with this year goddamit. Anyway, both the FX series are sure things here. American Horror Story got in the last two years and Fargo is the de facto frontrunner here. Luther is poised to make a comeback here as well especially in a weak field. Then in the battle of large ensemble dramas, I’d go with Dancing on the Edge as the first one since this flashy period piece works well in this category. I’m leaning with The White Queen in my last spot though simply because I felt it has an overall mainstream appeal than The Hollow Crown, but all I know is that it’s a slot reserved for BBC America.

OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

TV Movie

• Killing Kennedy (national Geographic)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (HBO)
• The Normal Heart (HBO)
• Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS)
• The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Sixth nominee: Burton & Taylor (BBC America)

As if they still need to have nominees here since The Normal Heart is gonna sweep this away (and deservedly so), but for the sake of competition, the four other nominees here would definitely be Sherlock: His Last Vow. Why the show decides to submit here instead of Miniseries when they can compete now is beyond me. Then you have Lifetime’s The Trip to Bountiful. It’s an acclaimed TV movie and at this point, a Lifetime show is bound to get in so it being their top contender also makes it a surer bet. National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy is a buzzed TV movie as well even reaping nods at the SAGs for its lead actor, so with a divided field for TV Movie and Miniseries, there’s a huge chance of it happening. The last spot, which I call the HBO slot, is reserved for that lesser buzzed HBO TV movie. After all for every Game Change, there’s a Hemignway & Gellhorn. For every Behind the Candelabra, there’s a Phil Spector and for every Temple Grandin, there’s a You Don’t Know Jack. So for this year’s The Normal Heart, I’d go with Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight since it’s the more buzzed one than that other HBO TV movie Clear History whom despite having a more known cast, has a nonexistent presence at the race at all.

There you have it. How many The Normal Heart guys are you predicting in Supporting Actor? Can Whoopi Goldberg change her Daytime Emmy to a Primetime one? And how do you feel if NBC’s Rosemary Baby Suddenly enters the race? Pipe them in the comments section below.

Tomorrow, ready your tummies for the hilarity that will ensue as we discuss the Comedy categories.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

The Race for the 86th Oscar Best Actress   1 comment

best actress

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