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Oscar Sees Double

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 13, 2009 at 9:31AM

There are two Oscar universes: fantasy and reality.
Thompson on Hollywood

There are two Oscar universes: fantasy and reality.

And every year, some lucky folks find themselves with an embarrassment of riches: two potential Oscar roles instead of one. When this happens, each actor has to pick and choose their spots without costing themselves a possible nomination. Usually, one role winds up feeding the other. Thus last year Kate Winslet got extra points for Revolutionary Road, which fed her performance in The Reader, for which she won the best actress Oscar.

Thompson on Hollywood

This year, it's likely that Oscar perennial Penelope Cruz's leading role in Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces will give her a boost in the supporting actress category for Rob Marshall's musical Nine.

Another Oscar-winner, Marion Cotillard, is getting a push for her lead role in Nine, but could also come out ahead in supporting for her gangster's moll in Public Enemies.

Thompson on Hollywood

Meanwhile James McAvoy is getting a campaign for best actor in The Last Station, even though Christopher Plummer plays a volcanic Leo Tolstoy opposite likely best actress nominee Helen Mirren. That's because Plummer's going to push for supporting for The Last Station, saving best actor for Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. (That movie will likely do better on the awards front with its visual elements, from cinematography and production design to costumes and visual effects.)

Matt Damon is heading for best actor status in The Informant! and supporting for Clint Eastwood's Invictus.

While George Clooney has two movies opening this fall, the stoner comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, only the latter is a real Oscar contender.

And Meryl Streep is far more likely to land a best actress nom for Julie & Julia than the Nancy Meyers relationship ensemble It's Complicated. But it won't hurt Streep if she emerges with a hot DVD release as well as a new hit comedy at year's end.

This article is related to: Awards, Oscars

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.