Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" What Was I Watching Before? Bryan Singer Says 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is "The True Birth Of The X-Men" Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Review & Recap: 'True Detective' Season 2, Episode 3 'Maybe Tomorrow' Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle Zack Snyder Defends 'Man Of Steel' Finale, Ben Affleck Reveals Bruce Wayne Knew People Who Died In That Battle New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ New Book Contends Eric Stoltz Was “Difficult” & The Cast Wasn’t Shocked He Was Replaced On ‘Back To The Future’ Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Scott Lang Wants To Call The Avengers In New International 'Ant-Man' Trailer Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More Watch: Epic New Trailer For Werner Herzog's 'Queen Of The Desert' With Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, & More The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' Zack Snyder Reveals The Easter Egg Idea He Pitched Christopher Nolan And David Goyer For 'Man Of Steel' New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Mads Mikkelsen And Hugh Dancy Released From Their 'Hannibal' Contracts Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Watch: Michael Fassbender Plays ‘Steve Jobs’ In New Trailer For Oscar-Contender Co-Starring Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Tom Cruise Still Gearing Up For 'Top Gun 2,' Story Will Involve Drone Warfare Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Premature Oscar Predictions: The 2014 Best Actress Nominees

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 28, 2013 at 12:00PM

The recent Oscars, it should be said, were not a headline year for the Best Actress race. Of course Emmanuelle Riva, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence et al were thoroughly deserving of their nominations, but the category was generally deemed to be a bit thin by Oscar watchers, with something of a dearth of good female roles, bar the five that were nominated (plus a handful of others overlooked by the Academy, like Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone" and Emayatzy Corinealdi in "Middle of Nowhere").
30

Possibilities

Serena Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence - "Serena"
The "Silver Linings Playbook" star might still be blowing the engraving dust off her Oscar, but she's hardly letting up; 2013 sees another "Hunger Games" coming, a reunion with David O. Russell (in a smaller role, this time), and most importantly for our purposes, "Serena." Reteaming her with Bradley Cooper, this time for director Susanne Bier, it's a definite change of pace; a period drama about a couple trying to make their lumber fortune in Appalachia in the 1920s. And Lawrence has a killer role, landing somewhere between Lady Macbeth and Daniel Plainview. Had Lawrence not won this weekend, we feel like she'd be a virtual lock -- as it is, voters may feel that a third nomination in four years could be too much, especially if the film doesn't work. But if Bier can pull it off, Lawrence could well be at the Dolby Theater again, and may even trip her way up to the podium for the second year in a row.

Jeremy Renner Marion Cotillard Low Life
Marion Cotillard - "Lowlife"
Many believed that Marion Cotillard should have picked up another nomination this year for "Rust & Bone" -- the actress was certainly in the running, and probably only just missed out on the final five. But she'll get another shot, teaming up with James Gray for "Lowlife," in which she plays an immigrant forced into prostitution before falling in love with a magician (Jeremy Renner). As we said yesterday, Gray's never been an Oscar favorite, but with a period piece and three awards favorites in the cast (Joaquin Phoenix also features), that could change this year, not least with Cotillard who has the lead role and whose character seems to undergo the kind of suffering that Academy voters eat up. We still wonder if "Lowlife" is likely to be this year's equivalent to "The Master" (a critical favorite, but less so with the Academy), but given that "The Master" still picked up three Oscar nods for its actors, Cotillard's very much in the running.

Felicity Jones The Invisible Woman
Felicity Jones - "The Invisible Woman"
The subject of light Oscar speculation for "Like Crazy" two years back, which never came to pass, Felicity Jones hasn't rushed into big roles, with most of her subsequent films ("Hysteria," "Cheerful Weather For The Wedding") flying somewhat under the radar (though she has just nabbed a part in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"). But that could change with "The Invisible Woman," the second directorial feature from Ralph Fiennes, which sees the actor/filmmaker also play Charles Dickens. But as the title might suggest, it's Jones who'll be front and center, playing Nelly Ternan, a young actress who became Dickens' mistress. Jones is undeniably talented, and with a script from "The Iron Lady" writer Abi Morgan, this should be taken very seriously, even if period pieces of late haven't been the home runs in this category that they once were.

Philomena Lee Judi Dench Steve Coogan Stephen Frears
Judi Dench - "Philomena"
Yes, we know you haven't heard of this film, which marks one of the few times that Judi Dench could ever be described as an Oscar wild card. But when you look at it on paper, it's certainly a film worth considering here. The Oscar winner (who had buzz last year for "Skyfall" and "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," but hasn't had a nomination since "Notes On A Scandal" in 2007) plays the titular Philomena Lee who, as a pregnant teenager in Ireland, was forced by nuns to sell her illegitimate baby to a couple in Missouri. Years later, aided by journalist, civil servant and "The Thick Of It" adviser Martin Sixsmith (who wrote the source material, "The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee"), she set out in search of her child. While it's directed by Stephen Frears, who's been off his game of late, one shouldn't forget that the filmmaker was also behind Helen Mirren's victory for "The Queen." And a script co-written by Steve Coogan (who also plays Sixsmith in the film) could mean that this picture is sharper than its premise suggests. "Philomena" is likely to mostly be under the radar for a while, but it's a definite dark horse. If a big distributor picks it up, this film could gallop ahead.

Untitled Woody Allen
Cate Blanchett - "Blue Jasmine"
We're not all that convinced that Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" will be a big Oscar player -- despite the success of "Midnight In Paris" at the 2012 ceremony, we tend to take a wait-and-see approach on the prolifically inconsistent filmmaker's new output. But we're definitely keeping an eye on the film, if only because it features Cate Blanchett in the lead role. The Australian actress is a five-time nominee but hasn't had a nomination since 2008, so is certainly overdue for a return, and if anyone can bring something fresh to an Allen protagonist (in this case, a wealthy Bay Area woman who faces financial difficulties), it's her. We're also intrigued about the film for another reason, in that Blanchett's casting feels to us like it could signify a return to the director's more Bergman-influenced work. But then, Louis CK and Andrew Dice Clay are among the supporting cast, so we're probably wrong on that front.

This article is related to: Features, Awards, Academy Awards, Oscars, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson, Meryl Streep, Premature Oscar Predictions


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates