Let’s hear it for the ladies!

Posted by · 1:18 pm · September 2nd, 2008

Meryl Streep in DoubtWow, what a damn fine year for lead actress performances.  When was the last time you heard anyone say that?

I caught some flack recently when I took Meryl Streep off my predicted five nominees in the category.  “How can the Goddess miss?”  Well, she can, and she has, but regardless, the point is that there is some really stiff competition this year for the leading ladies, and man, that’s exciting (and unique)!

Sally Hawkins (“Happy-Go-Lucky”), Charlize Theron (“The Burning Plain”), Kristin Scott-Thomas (“I’ve Loved You So Long”), Angelina Jolie (“Changeling”), Penélope Cruz (“Elegy”), Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”) and Michelle Williams (“Wendy and Lucy”) represent the seen and raved performances.  Anne Hathaway’s work has also been viewed, but we’ll get to that at the end of the week.  Rest assured, she’ll have her fans as well.

On the horizon we’ll have Nicole Kidman (“Australia”) and the aforementioned Streep (“Doubt) in big Oscar hopefuls, not to mention Kate Winslet’s double dip in “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road” (which ought to make home life interesting for the five-time nominee around campaign time).

There are still fringe possibilities for Keira Knightley in “The Duchess” or Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria,” while Laura Linney could add an Oscar nod to her Emmy success if “The Other Man” finds a distributor in Toronto.

There’s always Julianne Moore lurking with her work in “Blindness” should the mixed reaction from Cannes prove to be a different story in Toronto, and Kate Beckinsale, by the way, is fantastic in Rod Lurie’s “Nothing But the Truth,” so who knows?

So let’s not get our panties in a twist over shifting and sliding in this category over the next few months.  I don’t need consistent emails asking “Why did you take so and so out of your Best Actress chart,” because the fact of the matter is, there are a lot of horses in this particular race.

Which is what we want, right?

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25 responses so far

  • 1 9-02-2008 at 1:55 pm

    Rose said...

    The Other Man seeking distributors>!>!>

    I thought it already had distributors, the release date is set for 25th December stateside but this info comes from imdb.com not the most reliable of all database.

    I hope The Other Man does well, I am crossing my fingers for Linney and Garai.

  • 2 9-02-2008 at 2:26 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    If it has a domestic distributor I have no idea what it is.

  • 3 9-02-2008 at 2:32 pm

    Zucker Baby said...

    Music of the Heart? Anyone?

    GG nods for The River Wild, Marvin’s Room, Death Becomes Her, The Hours (BAFTA nod), The Manchurian Candidate (BAFTA nod).

    Meryl Streep IS the front-runner for DOUBT.

  • 4 9-02-2008 at 2:34 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...


  • 5 9-02-2008 at 2:51 pm

    Tim said...

    She’s gonna have to be pretty spectacular to pull off a win for Doubt. The Academy loves her and a nod is almost always assured when she does quality work, but unless she pretty much cleans up the precursors there are other actresses I’m sure the Academy would rather reward (long overdue Kate Winslet for example…).

  • 6 9-02-2008 at 2:52 pm

    Ivan said...

    You missed Sophie Okonedo/Skin

  • 7 9-02-2008 at 3:05 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Good call Ivan. Another film hoping to secure distribution. She was on our contenders list for a while, and she’ll be back if the film gets a buyer.

  • 8 9-02-2008 at 3:18 pm

    Speaking English said...

    When was the last time someone said it was a great year for leading ladies? 2006.

    Funnily enough it this year proves even further that every other year for the Best Actress category is strong. 2002, strong. 2003, weak. 2004, strong. 2005, weak. 2006, strong. 2007, weak. 2008… must be strong

  • 9 9-02-2008 at 4:18 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Hasn’t been THIS strong in a while, though.

  • 10 9-02-2008 at 5:12 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    Beckinsale is also GREAT in “Snow Angels”.

  • 11 9-02-2008 at 5:19 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Still need to see that.

  • 12 9-02-2008 at 5:26 pm

    Andrew said...

    So what’s the deal with Blanchett? Lead or Supporting?

  • 13 9-02-2008 at 5:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Probably lead, but I don’t know, could go either way…

  • 14 9-02-2008 at 6:17 pm

    Rob Scheer said...

    I’m one of the few who didn’t fall for “Snow Angels,” but let me second the pro-Beckinsale sentiments. Her and Rockwell both give better than the movie deserves.

    As for Streep, she WILL be nominated. I try not to give my opinions as fact, but I’d place money on it. Not only based on her track record (as someone already said, “Music of the Heart”), but as someone who’s seen this play, knows how juicy a role it is, and how perfectly it suits Streep. The only way I see it missing out for a nomination is if Streep really miscalculates the performance, and I don’t see that happening.

    Kris, I don’t doubt your insight, so I’m just asking out of curiosity, not doubt: what made you put Weisz in your Supporting Actress predictions? I didn’t think early “Brothers Bloom” reviews seemed to single her out…

  • 15 9-02-2008 at 7:09 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I’m personally hoping that Kidman does get a nod if Australis is good enough. As we saw in “Molin Rouge,” Luhrman can bring out the best in her, but since then she hasn’t picked good movies at all, but she is sometimes the best things about them (like in “The Golden Compass” and “Margot at the Wedding”)

  • 16 9-02-2008 at 7:52 pm

    kate said...

    Kris, have you heard anything about The Young Victoria? I’ve been looking forward to seeing this, but it doesn’t seem to have a release date or a distributor.

  • 17 9-03-2008 at 12:46 am

    BJT said...

    Stephen Holt, over at Movie City News, is giving hearty support to Marcia Gay Harden in Home, following it’s debut at the Montreal Film Festival.

    I know it’s a long shot and has nothing close to a distribution deal yet, but do you think Marcia could squeeze in as a possibility?

  • 18 9-03-2008 at 2:09 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    With this standard of competition, I’m pretty sure you can take Keira Knightley out of the running — she does what’s required in “The Duchess,” but it’s by no means an awards-level performance.

    I agree with you 100% on the competition, though – at the moment, the Best Actress race looks more exciting than Best Actor, and that hasn’t been the case in ages.

  • 19 9-03-2008 at 2:14 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    By the way, Michelle Williams could really surprise – her campaign might be helped by the fact that she’s spectacularly good in the otherwise problematic “Incendiary,” though I don’t know when the US release date is (or was?)

  • 20 9-03-2008 at 2:46 am

    Glenn said...

    I’m sure many years have been this great looking in, but by the time the precursors roll around a good half of the names listed will be out (whether it be because of poor reviews, bad box office, smaller names overtaken by bigger ones, etc).

    Last year – for instance – had people like Joan Chen, Kate Dickie, Nicole Kidman, Christina Ricci, Tang Wei, Ashley Judd, Molly Shannon, Carice van Houten, Anamaria Marinca, Nikki Blonsky and Brenda Blethyn who all gave performances that ran from amazing to great yet were all roundly ignored for various reasons.

    However, to answer your question, I would say Best Actress hasn’t appeared this fruitful since 2004 – Kidman x2, Delpy, Staunton, Winslet, Barclay, Bening, Thurman, Swank, Moreno, Cornish plus whoever was looking like a winner until they were pushed out again for reasons that will probably befall the likes of Williams, Cruz (at least in lead), Knightley, Blunt and Beckinsale.

    etc yada etc.

  • 21 9-03-2008 at 5:28 am

    John Foote said...

    Having read the play, and knowing Streep’s track record, I cannot see her NOT getting nominated, but Kris has a good point, she has been deserving before and been snubbed. Hell, there are years she should have won, 1985, 1988, and 2002 and she did not! It is incredible to think she has not won an Oscar since 1982, “Sophie’s Choice” the single greatest female performance of all time. Equally astounding…Jodie Foster and Hilary Swank, both fine actresses, have two Oscars for best actres to Meryl’s one. She has done some incredible work these last few years and is due. I think, without having seen the film, and knowing the love out there for Kate Winslet, this could be Meryl’s year…

  • 22 9-04-2008 at 9:55 am

    Sean said...

    Kris must be hung over from the holiday weekend :)

    You know Streep is a lock for a nomination and has a great chance of winning against the leads in the must smaller films. I heard from a source who attended the NY screening a few months back that Streep creates another genius performance and the entire cast and film is awards worthy.

    Mamma Mia is a blockbuster hit will get her GG attention. Streep’s versatility factor is through the roof and the air feels right for her this year to be recognized, or better yet, acknowledged for her body of work. Plus, my dream BA line up wants to include the “Prada” trio of Blunt, Hathaway and Streep.

  • 23 9-04-2008 at 7:03 pm

    Xavi Rodriguez said...

    Speaking English I don’t agree with some years of classification:

    2002: Normal. With the exception of Isabelle Huppert and Maggie Gyllenhaal, it was crowned by five nominees. For me, other actress deserves the nomination instead Hayek.
    2003: The Most compelling year of all the decade… For first time in years, until this one, Best Actress was more interesting as a male category… Theron, Watts, KEaton, Connelly, Kidman, Blanchett, Morton, Clarkson, Wood, Curtis, Johansson, Mirren, Thurman, Collette and the unexpected Castle-Hughes. Why is a weak year?
    2004: No surprise, but the best line up of the Decade. All The five actresses deserves the Oscar Nomination.
    2005: The AWFUL year of the Decade… SIGH!!
    2006: BORING year. Not interesting contenders in the top ten
    2007: Revolutionary year. Excelent year for foreigner and comedic performers. A year against the sthereotype (Young American/British Actress / Big Production / Suffering Wife / Prostitute)