Actress is a tough nut to crack this year. All five of the nominated performances have gotten major awards consideration, but only one can come out on top. So, let’s take a look at the nominees.
Our first nominee is Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. Back in 2010, nobody had even heard of Chastain, but she made a splash in 2011, co starring in such films as Contaigon, The Tree Of Life, and The Help. The latter of which earned her an Oscar nomination. Many critics consider Chastain the frontrunner for her phenomenal performance as Maya, portraying the polar opposite of The Help‘s Celia Foote. And she’s even getting some mainstream credit for starring in horror film Mama. (I’m not going to see that film, seeing as how I typically try to avoid the horror genre.) But with all her buzz, is the academy really going to hand over everything to such a new actress? Especially for a film that’s gaining so much controversy?
The next nominee is Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook. Like Chastain, Lawrence scores her second nomination here, her first one being for Winter’s Bone. Lawrence may be the first actress in history to perfectly balance being a major movie star (X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games) with being an Oscar darling. (Winter’s Bone, Silver Linings Playbook) While the academy tends to hate acton stars, they certainly love this one. But there’s something they love even more: her movie. With eight nominations, this doesn’t look like the type of movie that goes home empty-handed. And Lawrence is the best bet that the movie has. But don’t call her a lock. It’s going to be tough to beat Chastain, as Lawrence is an even newer actress, setting the record for the youngest two-time nominee in Oscar history.
Speaking of records, Emmanuelle Riva from Amour is the oldest Best Actress nominee in history. Now as much as I bashed the film, I don’t think I was the intended audience. The academy praised the movie for it’s.. Okay, RottenTomatoes says that the movies is an honest, heart-wrenching depiction of deep love and responsibility, so I’ll take their word for it. I did find myself enjoying Riva’s performance, and I would call her a bigger contender if not for the fact that this is her first nomination. Despite a long career of acting, this is the first time the academy has noticed her, so I think that Riva will just have to say that it’s nice to be nominated.
Unfortunately, so will Quvénzhane Wallis for Beasts Of The Southern Wild. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerhouse of acting located in such a small package. She truly is a ‘miniature force of nature’, and it is easily the best single performance of the year. But it doesn’t matter. Wallis is so young, that the Academy will most likely decide that she’ll get her chance to win an Oscar sometime in the future. I can understand that, but still, if Wallis wins the Oscar, it will make my night.
Oh, yeah! Naomi Watts is also nominated for The Impossible. I really enjoyed the movie, and I’m glad it was nominated, but I know for a fact that Watts will not take home the prize. For one, The Impossible is the only nominee that isn’t also up for Best Picture. For another, the movie was not as widely recieved as some of its fellow nominees, so it should just be happy for the nomination. Watts in question isn’t losing out on much. Her nomination got some buzz for the film, and her upcoming role as Princess Diana could easily manage her another nomination. Plus, the category is just too packed as it is.
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Runner’s Up: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Should Win: Quvénzhane Wallis, Beasts Of The Southern Wild