Back in March I had posted news of Meryl topping the polls in early Gold Derby predictions. Nearly three months later, Meryl is still on top of that poll. We know a bit more about the race now, however. So, five months prior to Meryl's next film premiere and nearly nine months prior to the Academy Awards ceremony, let's take a look at where things stand in the Best Actress race for Oscar gold.
I'll just get right down to it. From the culmination of all resources I've checked, a reasonable expectation for top ten as of today, in no particular order (with the exception of our girl), may look something like this:
1. Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
2. Judi Dench (Philomena)
3. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
4. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
5. Kate Winslet (Labor Day)
6. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
7. Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco)
8. Naomi Watts (Diana)
9. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
10. Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant)
With the exception of Delpy (zero nominations) and Watts (two nominations), all are previous winners. That's kind of a heavy year of baity projects. Now, considering it's still seven months before the nominations are revealed, there is likely to be someone not even currently on the radar who will jump into the conversation after one of the fall film festivals. I would've added Hilary Swank to the above list, but I don't know for sure if The Homesman
will be released in 2013. IMDb suggests it will be, and the filming
has evidently wrapped, so it's definitely possible. I certainly wouldn't
mind having two Meryl performances to look forward to come fall.
Amy Adams (American Hustle) and Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) I expect to go supporting, but depending how the their respective films and performances are received, may be campaigned in lead. For Julia, I just don't see Harvey Weinstein thinking it possible to get two in lead, as Meryl is likely his best bet. Category fraud no doubt, but it's historically rampant so I'm not getting into it in this post.
Harvey also has Dench, Kidman and Cotillard to campaign. He just bought the rights to Philomena at Cannes so this either means he thinks Dench is amazing or that Kidman may have trouble. It's likely a combination of both. With the teaser trailer of Diana being released today, I have a feeling a lot of prognosticators may be changing their tune about Watts's chances as well. That shit looked sub-Lifetime network. If it does turn about to be awful, I really hope the Academy passes.
The trailer for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine was released a few days ago and it looks Oscar-ish for Blanchett. Despite a trailer for Gravity, we didn't really get a sense for Bullock's acting, but it's basically a one woman show in space. I'm dubious about her performance being steallar, however. Early screenings of Saving Mr. Banks have apparently been very favorable to Emma Thompson, in a role for which Meryl was originally rumored to be in talks. I'm actually looking forward to seeing Kate Winlset in Labor Day, but I'd be surprised if she received a second lead win so soon after The Reader. Julie Delpy seems like the last hope at this point for an Oscar newcomer to sneak in.
Which leaves Meryl. We know early screenings of her performance have been lauded, and the role itself is very showy which should be right in the Academy's wheelhouse. The pessimist in me fears Streep fatigue, but the realist in me thinks this is a slam dunk for her 18th nod and, if critics overwhelming applaud both the film and Streep, she may be in the hunt for her fourth win. This is the only realistic way I can conceive of Meryl winning again so soon after her third. Like Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, her performance must be so good that she essentially becomes undeniable for the top prize. It'll be a tall task in a year of so many highly-anticipated performances from some major acting heavyweights. Had she not won for 2011's for The Iron Lady, this year would already be "game over." Alas, I'm already bracing myself for one intense, nail-biter of a season.