Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Meryl's Oscar chances for "Florence Foster Jenkins"

We're pretty much in the thick of things for Oscar prognostication.  Fall festivals are in swing and the Best Actress race has now shown us its horses.  With all likely contenders known, I'd like to break it down a bit to sort of take the pulse of Meryl's chances.

Firstly, if we simply look at Streep's performance and the quality of the film as reviewed by most critics, she's in terrific shape.  Great to rave reviews for her performance and an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes place her in definite contention.  Florence Foster Jenkins has by no means been a box office juggernaut, but it's sitting at a respectable $26.6m and will likely settle at a little over $27m.  As a summer release, it'll be a tad more challenging to keep Meryl fresh in voters' minds, but she's done quite a bit of press for the film, something she typically only does when the picture can potentially make an awards push.  With most of the above factors in her favor, she's still in my opinion going to be on the bubble.

Natalie Portman shot to the top of many people's list over the last week or two after Jackie debuted at Venice and Toronto.  Viola Davis has been a strong contender from the moment it was announced earlier this year that Fences would get a theatrical release.  Before I go any further, however, I'd like to provide the latest rankings from my go-to Oscar contention source, Awards Watch.  The current monthly poll (190 voters) has the following top ten:

1. Emma Stone (La La Land) 94.74%
2. Natalie Portman (Jackie) 93.16%
3. Viola Davis (Fences) 88.95%
4. Amy Adams (Arrival) 68.95%
5. Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) 35.26%
6. Ruth Negga (Loving) 31.58%
7. Isabelle Huppert (Elle) 28.42%
8. Annette Bening (20th Century Women) 18.42%
9. Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals) 7.37%
10. Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane) 6.32%

Ruth Negga for months hovered between 1st and 3rd, but with a few more films actually being seen, the sense I'm getting is that her role isn't flashy enough.  That said, after two years of #OscarSoWhite, I wouldn't be at all surprised if both she and Davis made it in, which would be great.  Emma Stone and Natalie Portman seem like the closest thing to locks at this point.  Considering we haven't even seen a trailer yet for Fences, unless it appears to be a total pile of shit, Davis will be a lock as well.

I'm skeptical about Amy Adams.  Despite fantastic reviews, the sci-fi subject matter of Arrival may be less Academy-friendly than many of the others on the above list.  I'd be thrilled for Bening if she made the top five, but that's seeming less and less likely as the race begins to tighten.  Keep your eye out for Jessica Chastain, however.  Miss Sloane's gun control theme captures the zeitgeist.  This film as well, howeverhas yet to be seen.

Ultimately, I'm glad there's a strong list of contenders, which means there's at least a viable, if not thriving crop of scripts for leading ladies on film.  As more and more actresses move to TV for challenging parts, let's hope the trend continues regardless of whether the screen is big or small.  If I had to guess now, I'd predict Meryl will squeak into the top five.  A Golden Globe nod should be a cinch, and if we see Streep garner of SAG nod as well in December, she'll be in the best position possible for her 20th nomination.  


  1. I feel like she will make get the nomination as well. It seems that the movie is still being remembered by voters and I think nominations in costume design and Hugh Grant ( in supporting - no clear front runner yet) will pull her in as well: Hollywood Reporter also has her in top 5 as well currently-Jamie

    1. Gold Derby "experts" averages actually have the same top six as AWards Watch in terms of the odds for getting nominated, both with Emma Stone at the top. I'd be pretty surprised if Hugh Grant made it, but that would be awesome.

  2. I'm afraid to say that Golden Globe win I thought was going to be a walk in the park will likely now go to Emma Stone for La La Land (I'm guessing) given its rave reviews and her Volpi Cup win.
    She's getting raves along with the film and if that continues I can't see her losing the category.

    I completely agree with you about Viola and Fences. Unless it's a BAD film she will likely garner nominations. It's a shame though that if she were to win it would be slightly sullied by some saying she only got it as the Academy wanted to prove they aren't racist.

    Another I'd be happy to see nominated and win is Annette Bening. I think, in hindsight, she deserved it for The Kids Are All Right. Portman pulled a lot of votes when people believed she did much of the dancing herself. I would not want her to win again even if she is excellent in Jackie, she hasn't done anything to speak of since 2010.

    I'm not entirely sure Meryl will land in the top 5 although her performance was superb. The reasons you state are pretty much what I'm thinking but we'll have to see once the others get released how much general acclaim they can keep! And I'd be happy to see Hugh Grant get in, I think it would mean a lot to him and he did such a worthy job!

  3. I am not saying Streep will win globe or Oscar... I just have a feeling she will be nominated for both. I think in the end it will be Davis, Stone, Portman ( with those 3 duking it out) and the last 2 slots I can see as Streep, with (Maybe Bening Or Adams or Negga)- Jamie