Wow, I haven’t done one of these in a while. :) But the nominees have been announced already, and it’s a pretty special year. The line-up is quite good, but I’ll get to each individual performance in the weeks to come. There’s almost always at least a newcomer to the Best Actress line-up, and this year we got TWO – the youngest & the oldest Best Actress nominees ever. This is quite crazy; both in the same year. The other three nominees are some young good looking Caucasian actresses. Oh yeah: and quite talented. I’ve seen all 5 nominees. Interesting fact: none of these actresses is a previous winner. Let’s meet them (again).
The 5 ladies that Oscar had chosen for 2012, in alphabetical order:
Jessica Chastain as Maya, in Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany, in Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva as Anne, in Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy, in Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts as Maria, in The Impossible
Now let’s see how these ladies got nominated. Jennifer Lawrence was one of the two locks for this category. She got nominated because she’s young & pretty (you know I’m right!), also talented, great at campaigning, and yeah, she’s in a really successful romantic dramedy, also nominated for Best Picture. Plus, she had Harvey Weinstein backing her up, a box-office hit in 2012 called The Hunger Games and the ability to conquer both younger audiences and not-that-young (it seems like Jane Fonda is a big fan of this performance). This is Jennifer’s 2nd nomination (the previous one was for 2010’s Winter’s Bone).
Jessica Chastain knocked it out of the park last year with at least 3 very memorable performances. Back then she was nominated for Supporting Actress for The Help (and should’ve won, in my humble opinion), but she also gave one of the year’s best performances in The Tree of Life; she was also really good in Take Shelter. So this year she is nominated for Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial Zero Dark Thirty, a film I loved. She got nominated because she rules the Drama side, had nominations from all major groups, plays a strong female character and is the driving force of her film. No surprises here.
Any of the following ladies could’ve missed on getting nominated, as it was an open race. I would say 3rd in line was Naomi Watts. The only major awards’ group she missed was BAFTA, but she competed in all the others. Her performance is so natural & heartbreaking, as she’s really the heart of her film. It’s a showy performance, but in the best possible way. I’m sure she impressed plenty of voters, just like she impressed me. Reese Witherspoon wrote a public letter saying how much she loved this performance, and that always helps I guess. It’s Naomi’s 2nd nomination, after 2003’s 21 Grams.
The next nomination is the one that brought me most joy. I had faith it will happen and it did: Emmanuelle Riva could not have been ignored, as she’s so so good in Amour. Older voters responded to the performance AND to the film in general. All it needed was to be seen. SAG didn’t nominate her, neither did the Golden Globes, but the BAFTA nomination was a good indicator, just like I had predicted. I bet most of her votes came from the non-American actors. At 85 years old, this is her first nomination.
Last but not least is Miss Quvenzhané Wallis. Of course, I have complained a lot about this performance, and I’ll do that again when reviewing her performance more in detail. But it really is an impressive achievement: she’s a 9 year old girl, but she was only about 7, I think, when the film was shot. She was not eligible for SAG, neither the Golden Globes nor BAFTA nominated her, so the Oscar nomination was indeed a bit of a surprise for the most of us. She benefited a lot from Beasts doing so well overall, above expectations.
Let’s throw in some names of other actresses that competed for a nomination. From runner-up to reeeeeally long shots:
2 clear front-runners:
Helen Mirren - Hitchcock (she was the next in line, right?! I didn’t like the performance, but it managed to get SAG, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations)
Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone (I really hoped this nomination would happen, instead of Wallis; to me she was SO good. Just like Mirren,
also had SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA nominations)
Rachel Weisz - The
Deep Blue Sea
Judi Dench - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina
Maggie Smith - Quartet
Meryl Streep - Hope Springs
Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed
Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere
No real chance, but let’s mention them:
Elle Fanning - Ginger & Rosa
Melanie Lynskey - Hello I Must Be Going
Emily Blunt - Salmon Fishing in the
Barbra Streisand - The Guilt Trip
Linda Cardellini - Return
Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games
Rashida Jones - Celeste & Jesse Forever
Not sure who I’ll start with. We’ll see :)