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The time is drawing ever closer to the big night in Hollywood, where American cinema’s finest come together to celebrate the past year’s cinematic achievements. Of the big categories, the run for the glory is in the Actress in a Leading Role. This year, it reflects an excellent variety of characters and experience. Here are the predictions.
Glenn Close for ‘Albert Nobbs’
For some, the nomination of veteran Glenn Close was a shocker; many saw Tilda Swinton as the rather sure nominee in the run-up to the nomination call. However, others had already acknowledged that the 64-year-old actress’ turn as a woman in disguise in 19th century Ireland could not be overlooked, and despite the movie’s low performance at the box office and general lack of reaction within the industry, she managed to secure a seat in the race; even if it’s a no-win seat.
Viola Davis for ‘The Help’
Through her performance as Aibileen Clark in the movie adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller The Help, Davis, age 46, has already garnered a great amount of acclaim, and despite another nominee’s impressive record of 17 Academy Award nominations, including two wins, Davis has the opportunity to be the second African American actress to take home the honor of Best Actress – a temptation the Academy will have a hard time overlooking.
This is not to say that the award would not have been earned; Davis has proved her worth outstandingly by taking home the SAG Award and the Critics’ Choice of 2011, and though honoring Davis for portraying a black maid “sends all kinds of regressive messages,” according to Slantmagazine.com, we also agree that it is the type of performance where no doubt can be sown – considering that she is only one of nine other African Americans to ever be nominated in the Academy’s 84th stretch. The time is just right for Davis.
Rooney Mara for ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’
Tilda Swinton fans were (also) thoroughly sore when 26-year-old newcomer Rooney Mara received the Academy’s blessing over the seasoned Swinton. Considered the outsider, Mara delivered an enigmatic performance as the title character in the American version of the first book in the Swedish Millennium series. The anti-social, troubled, but intuitive Lisbeth Salander was a tough job to follow after the book’s fan base connected with Swedish Noomi Rapace’s depiction. But to many’s delight, Mara rose to the occasion, receiving universal appraisal.
Whether she will win the trophy this coming Sunday or not — chances are slim. As much as the nomination is deserved, she is up against giants, and should instead kick back on the evening and enjoy her promising future.
Meryl Streep for ‘The Iron Lady’
The only true challenger to Viola Davis is the Oscar regular Meryl Streep. Regarded as one of the most talented and respected actresses of her time, Streep has been nominated five times in the last ten years, including this year’s mesmerizing turn as the former Prime Minister of the UK. But she has also walked away empty handed since 1983 – that’s 14 times the loser!
Even though 62-year-old Streep is an impressive woman, she is up against serious competition in Davis and the two of them are looking at a 50/50 shot. Whether she managed to push her stellar performance past the movie’s mixed reviews, we will only know on award night.
Michelle Williams for ‘My Week With Marylin’
Who could have predicted that one of the cast members of teen drama Dawson’s Creek would wind up one of contemporary cinema’s most revered talents? At age 31 and with three Oscar nominations under her belt so far, Williams is one of the darlings of this year’s nomination list; ahead of Close and Mara in the polls, but behind Davies and Streep.
In her portrayal of the screen siren, Williams managed to capture the sexy yet lonely air of Monroe, at a time in her life when she was newly wed and at the height of her career, yet desperate for intimacy and suffering a love/hate relationship with her iconic status. Still, Williams would be a shocking win, and for once, it looks like the young must step aside for the older generation.
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