21
Feb
12

OW 2012: Actresses in Leading & Supporting Roles

It’s pencils down time for Academy members as ballots for this year’s awards are due today and over the next several days the votes will be tallied for the big ceremony on Sunday. In today’s Oscar Watch we’re going to look at both of the actress categories for this year.

Actress in a Leading Role

Who I Think SHOULD Win: Viola DavisThe Help
I thought Davis’s turn as Aibileen Clark was pretty wonderful. In a film that focused those that were supposed to fade into the background, Davis’s performance definitely stood out–not easy considering two of her costars are nominated as well (more on that later). However, the things Aibileen struggles with, the way she handles herself, and the look on her face as she goes through it all; Davis definitely brought out the emotion of the character and you could feel that sitting in your seat. To top it all off, the sequence at the end really tugs at the heartstrings and while it’s really emotional, it’s something even the audience knows has to be done.

On everyone else . . .

  • Rooney Mara: While I thought Mara turned in a solid performance in Dragon Tattoo, I just don’t think she had enough to do in that film. Did I believe that she was as smart, rageful, and introverted that the book makes her out to be? Yes, I did. However, I just don’t think there were enough personal moments from her in the film to build a big enough resume for an Oscar.
  • Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, & Michelle Williams: What else can I say except that there are some huge blind spots for me in the Actress categories this year as I didn’t get a chance to see Albert Nobbs, The Iron Lady, or My Week With Marilyn.

Who WILL Win: Viola Davis
Though I haven’t seen three of this year’s performances, all the Oscar buzz points to Viola Davis taking home gold. Though Meryl Streep is probably one of the best actresses in film today The Iron Lady suffers from the same thing that is hindering Michelle Williams great performance in My Week With Marilyn; they’re both not so great films. It’s true what they say, not even a good performance can save a film. The same could be said of winning an Oscar. With Davis taking home a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for her performance in The Help and just days after The Los Angeles Times piece about lack of diversity in The Academy, a Davis win is all but assured.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Who I Think SHOULD Win: Octavia SpencerThe Help
I always think the Supporting categories are easier to pick than the Leading categories. There always seems to be a clear front runner that stands head and shoulders above the rest. This year that performance comes from Spencer who gave a great performance as the very outspoken maid Minny Jackson. Minny always says what’s on her mind and I think that trait alone is something we can all identify with. I also always prefer comedy over drama and Spencer’s portrayal of Minny definitely provided a lot of laughs in The Help. However, she did have a few dramatic moments in the film that I think help give her a well rounded performance for her character.

On everyone else . . .

  • Jessica Chastain: If there ever were a person that I think should get an award this year, it’s Chastain. It’s not just that she was in a number of movies that were released last year (count em 6!), but it’s because she was great in most of them as well. Sometimes awarding an Oscar can be an achievement award for a body of work, in this case I don’t think that will happen. Her nomination is for her performance in The Help, and while it is really great performance, she does get out shown by her costar Octavia Spencer.
  • Bérénice Bejo: There’s a scene early on in The Artist that I think could have gotten Bejo this nomination, it involves Bejo’s character Peppy Miller faux performing with jacket hung on a coat rack. While it’s just Bejo in the scene it looks very much like there are two performers on screen. I give her a lot of credit for making that scene feel so real, as well as the many others where she conveys so much through her acting and facial expressions. However, the thing that makes The Artist so interesting–its silence; also makes it it’s biggest hinderance. As great as her performance is, to win an Oscar for acting, I need to hear you speak as well.
  • Melissa McCarthy & Janet McTeer: Did not view Bridesmaids or Albert Nobbs.

Who WILL Win: Octavia SpencerThe Help
This category is as much of a sure bet compared to any of the other categories. Spencer has already won a Golden Globe, SAG award, and a British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) award for her performance in The Help. With all these awards she’s pretty much a shoo-in.

I know, I know, why put who ‘should’ win and who ‘will’ win if they’re going to be the same? Well, for today’s post I really do think my picks line up with the Oscar talk that’ve I’ve read. That probably won’t be true tomorrow when I go over the Actors categories. Stay tuned for more Oscar Watch tomorrow!

———————————–

More Oscar reading from the Los Angeles Times coverage of Academy demographics:

Oscar voters: 99-year-old in academy ‘never wanted to be a star’ [link]

Oscars’ oldest voter, 101, offers link to Hollywood’s Golden Age [link]

Oscar voters: From Britain to Brazil, academy members span globe [link]

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