Another Oscar Preview: Part 4

Our obsession about that silly little award show coming Sunday won’t stop. So in that vein, I am continuing my previews of 13 categories I care about in the next 6 days. Today, we move to the women that grace our screen, the leading ones and the supporting actresses.

Best Actress

Keep it Simple, Stupid: Julie Christie. I was glad to see the Academy like “Away From Her” enough to nominate screenwriter and director Sarah Polley for her script, and I found that to be a good sign for Christie. Whether they liked it or not, she had to be nominated, but because they liked it, she almost has to win. She has won in enough other places to be considered the favorite.

The Main Competitor: Marion Cotillard. We do know the Academy loves an ugly performance, and we know the Academy loves a vocal performance. So surely the beautiful Cotillard has to be considered a competitor by going ugly and singing in “La Vie en Rose”. But the movie wasn’t good, and Cotillard just isn’t familiar enough with Americans for this to make a ton of sense.

If They Split the Vote: Ellen Page. She also might be the main competitor, so who knows. For those that don’t believe a 16-year-old girl can quip like that, fuck your stereotype of teenagers. For those that didn’t believe Page emotionally connected to the role, you’re losing your mind. Diablo Cody nailed this script, particularly writing the ensemble, but it was Page that nailed Juno.

Bryan’s Preference: Ellen Page. Yes, you know by now, I love Ellen Page. I loved “Away From Her” so much, and I think Christie’s performance might even be technically better, but I think Page’s is more important. And I just want to see her talk more.

Bryan’s Pick: Julie Christie. Here’s to betting she shines as beautifully on Oscar night, and looks just as radiant, as Helen Mirren did a year ago.

Best Supporting Actress

Keep it Simple, Stupid: Cate Blanchett. Has won a ton of precursors, is loved by the Academy, and surely will not win her other nomination. She played a man extremely well, and not just a man, but an American icon in, an Oscar favorite, a biopic. It makes almost too much sense, doesn’t it?

The Main Competitor: Amy Ryan. Before Dee won at the SAG Awards, Ryan was the accepted competitor to Blanchett, winning many of the guild awards in November and December. I value those a bit more than the silly SAG Awards, and I can’t buy one scene being enough for Dee.

If They Split the Vote: Tilda Swinton or Ruby Dee. How could I decide here? Dee is sort of the emotional favorite, but Swinton probably has as much screen time as Ryan and Dee put together. Swinton was domineering in “Michael Clayton”, but it seems to me a far easier part than Blanchett’s or Ryan’s.

Bryan’s Preference: Amy Ryan. Someone I know said they would have been grated by Ryan with much more screen time, but that’s the beauty of this performance — it’s harsh and bothersome, but that’s what makes it pitch perfect.

Bryan’s Pick: Amy Ryan. In Nathaniel Rogers’ Oscar symposium, Sasha Stone brought up a wonderful point about the Marisa Tomei Rule: do we really believe that Blanchett or Swinton can win, giving Americans an 0-for-4 showing in the acting awards? No, and this seems the logical place for an “upset”, either by Ryan or Dee. I’m going with Ryan, who has to be considered the most affecting of the five.

[Coming tomorrow: The writers, both those that crafted a screenplay from nothing, and those that brought another’s work to the big screen.]

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