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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oscar 2015 Prediction: Best Actress

The Best Actress Oscar race, which was somewhat interesting in the fall, has now solidified, with Brie Larson taking all the precursors. If she were not to win it would be a pretty significant upset.

Her role as Joy (ironically, there are two characters in this category with that name) in Room is one of those roles that are tailor-made for an Oscar, and any actress with decent talent could get nominated for it. This is not to take away anything from Larson, who knocks it out of the park, but it's an example of a role nomination, rather than a name nomination. Think also of Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God.

In the name category, we have the habituals like Meryl Streep, who was not nominated this year (that's news) and Cate Blanchett, who was nominated for Carol. She actually has a smaller role than her co-star, Rooney Mara, who was nominated in the Supporting Actress category. This is what a big name and two Oscars get for you. Blanchett is excellent, but she won't be getting a third Oscar so quickly.

Another name is Jennifer Lawrence, who now has her fourth nomination by the age of 25, a record. Joy, her film, was widely held to be a disappointment, and she was the best thing in it, but was miscast and if I were the Oscar God I'd remove her and put in someone like Charlize Theron from Mad Max: Fury Road.

If Larson doesn't win, it will probably be another young woman, Saorsie Ronan for Brooklyn. This is her second nomination, and she becomes one of a select few to be nominated as a juvenile and as an adult. She carries what is essentially a slender film, and in other years might eke a victory, but Larson can't be stopped.

If I had a vote, I'd cast it for Charlotte Rampling as the disillusioned woman in 45 Years. Rampling might have been thought a sentimental favorite, as she's been acting for fifty years and has never been nominated before. I thought she gave a sizzling performance 35 years ago in Stardust Memories, and her work in 45 Years is brilliant, particularly for what she doesn't say. Her nomination got some extra stuff going on when she chimed in that that the hubbub about #OscarsSoWhite was actually racist against white people, which probably was not a good thing to say. Who knows, though--maybe the backlash against the knee-jerk response by the Academy (take away votes from older members) may earn her some votes.

Will win: Larson
Could win: Ronan
Should win: Rampling
Should have been nominated: Theron

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