Nathaniel Rogers boards the Mulligan express

Posted by · 2:54 am · August 14th, 2009

Carey Mulligan“An Education” and its breakout star Carey Mulligan continue to slay bloggers wherever they go. Chief cheerleader Jeff Wells hasn’t stopped talking about the film since its Sundance bow in January, and you’ll remember that Kris joined the fan club (with added props for Alfred Molina) in June.

Sasha Stone was sufficiently dazzled by Mulligan’s work to place her at the top of a list of today’s finest young actresses. Now The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers, the guy for whom Best Actress is the most holy of all award categories, has seen the film, and is rendered virtually speechless by Mulligan’s performance:

just… WOW

We’re still five plus months away from nominations but, for the moment, it looks like a Carey vs. Meryl showdown on March 7th, 2010.

I’m interested to see if the more highbrow critics match this breathless enthusiasm when the film finally get released in October. Could Mulligan be this year’s critics’ award sweeper? You know it probably won’t be Streep. Not that that makes much of a difference to either woman’s Oscar chances.

It’s curious to me that, so early in the game, theirs are the only two names I’m hearing when people discuss possible winners.

Potential nominees abound, of course. Unlike many of our commenters, I like Hilary Swank, but can’t foresee her winning a third, however good she is (or isn’t) in “Amelia.” Saoirse Ronan? Too young, and that role is awfully passive. Abbie Cornish? I hear lots of respect, but not much passion. Gabourey Sidibe? There’s that age factor again, and besides, all the talk is about Mo’Nique. Having seen the film, I have a hard time imagining Penelope Cruz even getting a nomination, however much I like her work in “Broken Embraces.” Charlize Theron? I see no reason why she couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be a two-time winner, but her film will struggle for attention.

Can the race already be down to two women before the summer is out? Surely not. Several of the pronouncements in the previous paragraph could fall under the category of famous last words, but which ladies are waiting in the wings — or out in left field — to surprise us? Any ideas?

→ 25 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

25 responses so far

  • 1 8-14-2009 at 4:00 am

    maurier said...

    I hope that Natalie Portman’s performance in Brothers will be the surprise of the year.

  • 2 8-14-2009 at 4:22 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Just the kind of suggestion I was asking for, though I’m a little concerned about the film. It’s weird how I keep forgetting it.

  • 3 8-14-2009 at 4:44 am

    RichardA said...

    The success of “An Education” depends on the mood of the country when it gets released. Is Hollywood looking for a new star (Change/Hope) or so beaten down (or disillusioned by change) that it will stick with the tried and true over the years (simply, Meryl)?

  • 4 8-14-2009 at 6:11 am

    M said...

    Well seeing as thoughj Carey and Meryl’s films are out, people have seen the full movie so they can say they can possibly win.

    Gabourey Sidibe – I’ve heard is overshadowed by Monique.

    Saoirse’s film isn’t even out yet, so you can’t exaclty say she is a potential winner if you haven’t seen it.

    Until we actually see the others, I can’t say who will surprise us. There are some who I doubt have a chance.

  • 5 8-14-2009 at 7:04 am

    JAB said...

    I have to agree that Natalie Portman might have a great shot, I think “Brothers” is going to wind up being a big player in the acting categories, big enough that it might even get a Best Picture nomination.

  • 6 8-14-2009 at 7:29 am

    head_wizard said...

    I have to say the praise for Streep doesn’t appear to be the awe like that usualy is needed for best actress, I can see a nomination but nothing feels like they need to give her an award for it, while Mulligan has been continually praised since Sundance. And keeps picking up more accolades I think we need someone who we aren’t thinking of to disrupt her but event he small movies like Precious have been seen without her Mulligan being displaced.

  • 7 8-14-2009 at 7:37 am

    head_wizard said...

    Did anyone else see that Mulligan is in The Brothers as well? Wonder if that would help or hurt Portman’s chances?

  • 8 8-14-2009 at 7:37 am

    Bill said...

    Is is just me, or does the plot to Brothers sounds exactly like Michael Bay’s rubbish Pearl Harbor movie?

  • 9 8-14-2009 at 8:04 am

    Wade said...

    America gets attacked by the Japanese in Brothers? Is that why Tobey Maguire is so upset?

  • 10 8-14-2009 at 8:07 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Richard: Reading a bit too much into it, I think!

    Head_Wizard: I doubt it would make much of a difference to Portman’s chances. But if the film is a success, it would certainly help Mulligan.

    Bill: Only in the most superficial sense. Watch the 2004 original and see.

  • 11 8-14-2009 at 9:20 am

    Ava said...

    to head_wizard….

    Have you actually read Streep’s reviews for this? This is her best reviewed performance this decade. Better than most of the recent best actress winners actually. Still, I’ll reserve my predictions at at least for a couple more months.

  • 12 8-14-2009 at 9:53 am

    Ángel Ramos said...


  • 13 8-14-2009 at 9:58 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    You mean for “Within the Whirlwind?” It had better hurry up and find a distributor then.

  • 14 8-14-2009 at 10:18 am

    voland said...

    So, Charlotte Gainsbourg doesn’t stand a chance after all?

  • 15 8-14-2009 at 10:27 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Voland: Not a chance in hell. The film is simply too far outside the Academy’s comfort zone. Great performance, though.

  • 16 8-14-2009 at 10:27 am

    Sam Dodsworth said...

    Patricia Clarkson in “Cairo Time”

    No distributor yet but it is screening at TIFF where it might get one.

  • 17 8-14-2009 at 10:36 am

    katie said...

    I know, I was thinking the same thing: Charlotte Gainsbourg!

    I’m assuming that the film’s polarizing nature doesn’t help her chances.

  • 18 8-14-2009 at 11:54 am

    Eunice said...

    I’m liking this Best Actress race so far. I really want “It’s Complicated” to be out, so we’ll know how the film affects Streep’s chances, if it would.

    @Ava: Correct. It’s easily Streep’s best reviewed performance so far, after “The Devil Wears Prada”, maybe even after “Adaptation.”

  • 19 8-14-2009 at 1:20 pm

    M said...


    Brothers is a remake of a french film. I forgot the name of it.

  • 20 8-14-2009 at 1:31 pm

    andrew said...


    And it’s Danish.

  • 21 8-14-2009 at 2:23 pm

    Aaron said...

    Is Mother and Child premiering at Toronto? If it is, maybe Naomi Watts and Annette Bening might have a chance (if it gets picked up and released by the end of the year). Don’t really know the story and/or who is lead or supporting, but both are acclaimed, Oscar-less actresses.

  • 22 8-14-2009 at 4:43 pm

    Melissa said...

    The test screenings for Brothers have been kind of negative, the only person that got really good reviews was Tobey Maguire. Maybe they edited the movie since last winter.

  • 23 8-14-2009 at 5:10 pm

    Regina said...

    If Sally Hawkins was snubbed…

  • 24 8-14-2009 at 5:20 pm

    M said...

    Oh my bad Andrew, yeah it’s a remake of a Danish film.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • 25 8-17-2009 at 11:16 am

    Mike said...

    I think Mulligan stands a really good chance of winning. In the past, they have given the Oscar to unknowns who gave amazing performances (think Hilary Swank in 99, Charlize Theron in 03, and Marion Cotillard in 07). But is she THAT good? I’ll have to see it and decide for myself.