It’s not so dire, Mr. Friedman

Posted by · 4:06 pm · August 22nd, 2009

Shohreh Aghdashloo in The Stoning of Soraya MObviously Hollywood Reporter gossip hound Roger Friedman hasn’t been reading our Contenders section, or else he’d know there are plenty of lead actress hopefuls out there, not the dearth he apparently perceives.

Friedman rattles off 12 contenders in a recent piece titled Shortage of “Best Actresses in the Coming Oscar Season,” but he misses some key possibilities.  Abbie Cornish in “Bright Star,” for one, who didn’t necessarily impress me much, but could certainly be in the hunt.  “Precious,” meanwhile, is considered a ripe opportunity for supporting contender Mo’Nique, but lead Gabourey Sidibe could certainly find her share of notices.

Gwyneth Paltrow in “Two Lovers” and Zooey Deschanel in “(500) Days of Summer” are two extreme longshot contenders whose films have already been released, but Penelope Cruz deserves to be in the discussion for “Broken Embraces,” surely, as does Tilda Swinton in “Julia.”

And what about festival breakthrough “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” which features a staggering portrayal by former nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo?  Audrey Tautou in “Coco Before Chanel?”  Helen Mirren, who’s still to be seen in a potentially dynamic opportunity in Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest?”

That’s nine more without breaking a sweat.  But if you want to talk about how it all seems terribly moot, given that the race is sure to be down to Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, then I’m with you.  But the race for a nod has certainly been quieter (cough2005cough).

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40 responses so far

  • 1 8-22-2009 at 4:27 pm

    Benito Delicias said...

    agree about 2005…that was the worst year ever…

  • 2 8-22-2009 at 4:36 pm

    andrew said...

    I’m still pretty annoyed that in such a weak year that was 2005, Joan Allen still didn’t get in. Or Naomi Watts.

  • 3 8-22-2009 at 4:49 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I doubt Tilda Swinton will make it for Julia. Remember how she was ignored for outstanding performances in Orlando, Female Perversions, and The Deep End? Granted, she has an Oscar, which seems to better the chances of previous snubees (like the nods Philip Seymour Hoffman started recieving after being ignored time and time again after winning for Capote), but Julia is a small movie that released limited in May.

  • 4 8-22-2009 at 5:01 pm

    JAB said...

    …has he seen the trailer for My One and Only? yikes.

  • 5 8-22-2009 at 5:21 pm

    James D. said...

    Wasn’t Two Lovers a 2008 film?

  • 6 8-22-2009 at 5:25 pm

    Andrew L. said...

    The last line is a little funny; it seems like Mulligan was buzzing nonstop since Sundance back in January. This article was written yesterday.

  • 7 8-22-2009 at 5:28 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Zooey Deschanel is terrible in 500 Days of Summer. Paltrow was quite good though and I wouldn’t mind seeing her in the mix.

  • 8 8-22-2009 at 5:35 pm

    Encore Entertainment said...

    I really am not buying this Meryl Strep thing. I know momentum is important ect, but do you really think that her Julia Child is a very good performance?

  • 9 8-22-2009 at 5:59 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I wouldn’t say Zooey Deschanel was “terrible” in 500 Days of Summer (good to see another who rejects the parenthesis), she just had the unfortunate luck of playing a stock character and being overshadowed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

    Terrible is a word I would use to describe, say, Vanessa Haywood in District 9, but not Deschanel at all.

  • 10 8-22-2009 at 6:05 pm

    Jilpen said...

    I believe Two Lovers received a VOD release on the same day as the theatrical release and is therefore ineligible.

  • 11 8-22-2009 at 6:20 pm

    Luke Gorham said...

    VOD releases don’t disqualify films from Oscar consideration, only regular TV premieres do, i.e. HBO, et al.

  • 12 8-22-2009 at 6:54 pm

    Rachel Weisz said...

    “I really am not buying this Meryl Strep thing. I know momentum is important ect, but do you really think that her Julia Child is a very good performance?”

    Yes. It will be Meryl Streep’s 16th nomination, and she has been nominated every decade since the 70’s but she hasn’t won since 1983. As Julia Child, she is playing a beloved heroine, and has received some of the best reviews of her career. Even The New Yorker called the movie one of the more charming films of the decade. Voila, she wins oven any newcomer or veteran.

  • 13 8-22-2009 at 7:00 pm

    j said...

    So Passing Strange will be eligible. Though how much it counts as a documentary is debatable.

    My favorite two races are always Actress & Original Screenplay, and often they’re called sparse. Though seeing what critical reception is like for Best Actress winners’ films vs., say, films from the other 3 acting categories somewhat justifies that.

  • 14 8-22-2009 at 7:13 pm

    James D. said...

    Will you be nominated, Rachel?

  • 15 8-22-2009 at 7:21 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Encore: A thousand times, yes.

  • 16 8-22-2009 at 7:32 pm

    colby said...

    color me alone on this one, but my vote for a nomination goes to Maya Rudolph in Away We Go.

    but I’ll always favor comedians doing more serious work.

  • 17 8-22-2009 at 7:43 pm

    Silencio said...

    I thought Zooey Deschanel was fine; I was mainly annoyed with her character. But she brought some good, clear moments when they were called for.

  • 18 8-22-2009 at 7:55 pm

    Georgie said...

    I thought Zooey did fine, but she was definitely overshadowed by JGL. Does the moive have screenplay chances?

    Also, Melanie Laurent in IB… she was definitely better than Audrey Tautou in Coco Avant Chanel, but neither did anything worthy of an award, I don’t think.

  • 19 8-22-2009 at 7:55 pm

    Georgie said...

    And colby, I definitely agree. Her work was the best female performance I’ve seen so far this year. Still haven’t made it into a theater to see Julie & Julia though.

  • 20 8-22-2009 at 8:33 pm

    Ryan said...

    I’ve only seen two performances so far that should be nominated for Oscars… and both of them played characters named Julia.

    Yup. Tilda Swinton and Meryl Streep.

  • 21 8-22-2009 at 9:49 pm

    red_wine said...

    Could it actually be possible that Two Lovers is eligible? We have been going back & forth over its eligibility. If it is eligible, James Gray should be in contention for Director & Phoenix for actor. Paltrow was supporting.

  • 22 8-22-2009 at 9:55 pm

    red_wine said...

    Tina Fey or Sasha Baron Cohen though they may have to reign him in a little.

  • 23 8-22-2009 at 9:56 pm

    david said...

    I felt Two Lovers was a tremendous film, and Phoenix, in particular, was outstanding.

  • 24 8-22-2009 at 9:59 pm

    red_wine said...

    This last thing is for the host article.

  • 25 8-22-2009 at 10:08 pm

    Dustin said...

    Kris THANK YOU! Does this guy even have his own oscar watching website? Emily Blunt is amazing and in my opinion should have been at very least nominated for “Prada”… but my anticipation to see her as the young victoria… has come and gone. Gwyneth Paltrow? blah. Meryl Streep is astonishing and a joy to watch… its easy to say she will win it. MoNique could enjoy a Jennifer Hudson-esque season arc… but her former reality star status is definitely going to hurt her. Flavor of Love Charm School is DEFINITELY NO American Idol… and Effie White was nowehere near as scarry. Also look out for Sigourney Weaver for Avatar… didnt see her much in the trailer… but talk about overdue? or call it a hunch! Also I cant wait to see Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”… have loved her since Camp and believe she is the best thing to come out of the Twilight shit storm! And as for Nine… dont rule out Marrion or Nicole Kidman… but I think this movie is just waaaaay to “oscar movie”. One more point for Friedman… this hasnt been a bad year for movies or performers. Im willing to bet unless Avatar hits it out of the field…. Star Trek WILL get nominated! Most fun I have had at the movies in a LONG time…. that should count for something… that and Up are probably going to benefit from last years Wall-E/Dark Knight snubs… especially with ten noms this year!

  • 26 8-22-2009 at 11:15 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Considering how he’s alienated just about everyone in Hollywood, I wouldn’t count on Joaquin Phoenix getting a nomination, david, no matter how good he was in Two Lovers.

  • 27 8-22-2009 at 11:25 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Giving Meryl Streep a 3rd Oscar has nothing to do with whether she’s the best of the nominated actresses – Katharine Hepburn wasn’t better than Diane Keaton when she won her fourth!

  • 28 8-23-2009 at 7:50 am

    John said...

    Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Carrie Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, Hilary Swank, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Michelle Pfeifer, Marion Cotillard, Emily Blunt, Gabourey Sidibe, Tilda Swinton, Emily Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Audrey Tatou, Penelope Cruz, the list goes on & on. BIG names, too.

    And yes, 2005 was awful.

  • 29 8-23-2009 at 9:17 am

    Dustin said...

    /3rtfu11…. FYI…. Katharine Hepburn TIED her fourth Oscar!

  • 30 8-23-2009 at 9:17 am

    jess said...

    I heard Helen Mirren could go lead for THE LAST STATION, which is supposed to premiere at Rome in october, but something tells me it will be released next year, as it will mark the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy’s death and is sure to attract more attention because of that.

    Also, can someone confirm Cotillard is going lead for Nine ? If she is, then it should be easy for both Cruz and Dench to get in.

  • 31 8-23-2009 at 9:54 am

    Mike said...

    @ Dustin
    Katharine Hepburn did not TIE herfourth Oscar, she alone won it in 1981 for “O+n Golden Pond.” She tied her THIRD in 1968 with Barbra Streisand.

  • 32 8-23-2009 at 9:54 am

    Mike said...

    @ Dustin
    Katharine Hepburn did not TIE herfourth Oscar, she alone won it in 1981 for “On Golden Pond.” She tied her THIRD in 1968 with Barbra Streisand.

  • 33 8-23-2009 at 10:12 am

    Xavi Rodriguez said...

    john, sorry but Theron and Jarvis are out because their films will have a premiere on VOD (In TV).

    Around the nominees, we have seen (Including festivals):

    -Meryl Streep: Her third Oscar is claiming right now and her buzz is stronger than expected
    -Carey Mulligan: Streep’s biggest contender. Hepburnish role (A la “roman Holiday”)
    -Abbie Cornish: Oscarable role and a British film.
    -Shohreh Aghdashloo: Lukewarm film but excellent performance.
    -Michelle Pfeiffer: The reviews aren’t exactly as expected, but she could get in. Again she has a long way to fight.
    -Emily Blunt: Not her best performance but still good response to her role
    -Gabourey Sidibe: Mo’Nique has the buzz and the mass media, but she’s the heart of the film.
    -TIlda Swinton: Like Robert Hammer said…
    -Penelope Cruz: Maybe not another “Volver” but still…
    -Nina Hoss “A Woman in Berlin”: If she (by surprise) make it, she would be the first actress nominated for a German language performance

    Next confirmed contenders:

    -Hilary Swank: Personally I don’t think she would make it (even nomination). Another “Australia”?
    -Natalie Portman: Connie Nielsen was outstading.
    -Helen Mirren: Which film will released this year?…
    -Marion Cotillard: The big question. She received raves alongside Cruz in “nine” even instead Kidman and Dench. Lead or supporting?

    Not distributor (At least in USA) / release date:

    -Emily Watson
    -Brenda Blethyn
    -Halle Berry
    -Helen Mirren

  • 34 8-23-2009 at 10:32 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Xavi: A VOD release doesn’t render a film ineligible. Yet.

  • 35 8-23-2009 at 10:44 am

    rosengje said...

    Rachel Weisz is fantastic in Agora, as is Giovanna Mezzogiorno in Vincere. Both films will be playing at Toronto, so hopefully the performances can garner some more buzz.

  • 36 8-23-2009 at 10:53 am

    Chris said...

    I’m surprised at some of the hate towards Zooey Deschanel. I thought she played the 20-something stuck in adolescence very well. She did a fine job going from disinterested to cold to manipulative, while still fooling us that she was cute and sweet. Not Oscar worthy (nor is it her best work) but I was pleased.

  • 37 8-23-2009 at 1:15 pm

    Melissa said...

    If Mother & Child or Chloe is released this year ( they will be playing at Toronto)

    Then you have Julianne Moore for Chloe & Bening or Watts for Mother & Child (I think Watts is lead)

  • 38 8-23-2009 at 1:22 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    rosengje: And domestic buyers.

  • 39 8-23-2009 at 2:54 pm

    Mike said...

    I’m not buying the Meryl Strep thing either.

  • 40 8-24-2009 at 1:21 am

    Scott said...

    “I’m not buying the Meryl Strep thing either.”

    There is nothing to buy. The nomination is a done deal and at this point, it is her Oscar to lose. The Academy screening last week was all a buzz about how astonishing she was in J&J.

    All these young newbies…Mulligan, Cornish, Sidibie….Streep will win.