Helen Mirren wins Best Actress at Rome fest

Posted by · 12:47 am · October 24th, 2009

Helen Mirren at the fourth annual Rome International Film FestivalEver since “The Last Station” entered the Oscar race with a Sony Classics acquisition, I’ve been saying Helen Mirren is a sure-fire contender for a lead actress nomination as the fiery Countess wife to Christopher Plummer’s Leo Tolstoy.  It looks like she’s made her first big step in that direction.

Mirren took the Rome Film Festival’s award for Best Actress today, putting her right in the thick of a race that has seen Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan ahead of the pack.  Mirren adds another veteran play for Mulligan’s newbie appeal to contend with, while fellow fresh face Gabourey Sidibe is looking better by the day.  (“Precious” also took the Chicago Film Festival’s audience award today).

Looking to join the quartet will be Saoirse Ronan for Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” and Marion Cotillard in Rob Marshall’s “Nine,” but a number of indie performers could surprise, Abbie Cornish in “Bright Star” and Audrey Tautou in “Coco Before Chanel” looking like the strongest of those dark horses.  I wouldn’t say there is serious competition beyond that.

The other winners of the festival (which is only four years old) include the Danish “Brotherhood” for Best Film, about a gay love affair between two members of a neo-Nazi group and Italy’s Sergio Castellitto for Best Actor in “Alza la Testa.” Streep, by the way, was right there in the mix, receiving career achievement honors from the fest.

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37 responses so far

  • 1 10-24-2009 at 1:19 am

    jess said...

    December seems to be the month of the 60-something sexy actresses : Streep’s It’s Complicated looks like it could be a solid hit, Mirren is already winning accolades for Last Station, Sarandon looks damn good in Lovely Bones and, last but not least, Weaver will definitely be crowned Sci-Fi Queen with Avatar… wait, she already was years ago !

  • 2 10-24-2009 at 1:44 am

    Andrew said...

    Not much love for Bright Star on your site. Not in any of the major categories, unlike at Awards Daily. Is there any buzz around this film? the reviews look extraordinary

  • 3 10-24-2009 at 1:49 am

    AmericanRequiem said...

    well then, sibe and mulligan will split the newbie vote and so will miren and streep, and kid you know coco chanel is not even in the race so its definately cornish vs ronan, nd either of those would get the newbie vote, and meryl has more good will then miren, does this math equal streep, perhgoaps

  • 4 10-24-2009 at 1:57 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Coco is on the outskirts. People like it. Not that I’d put a lot of stock in Tautou’s chances but she’s on the periphery.

    Andrew: We’ll have to wait and see. Critics might love it but I’ve heard some distaste from voters. Not enough to make any real judgment call, but I’m still betting it will be a craft film with AMPAS.

  • 5 10-24-2009 at 2:29 am

    Kidmaniac said...

    I can’t believe you said Audrey Tautou is a strong dark horse. Did you see the film? She’s not even a contender.

  • 6 10-24-2009 at 2:31 am

    Kidmaniac said...

    Yes. Actress get nominated for a bad performance but not Tautou, definately. Gosh, it is so shocking and my hand is shaking! It’s like, saying Nicole Kidman will be nominated for The Invasion.

  • 7 10-24-2009 at 2:39 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Some people take this shit way too seriously…

  • 8 10-24-2009 at 2:40 am

    j said...

    Farmiga looking supporting again? Columbia/Sony alone has Mulligan, Mirren, Tautou, & Streep. That’d be a bit expensive.

    In reverse order who I’d like to see nominated of those 8: Mulligan, Cotillard, Mirren
    Sidibe, Tautou
    Ronan, Cornish, Streep FTW

  • 9 10-24-2009 at 2:40 am

    Kidmaniac said...

    It’s that chimerical.

  • 10 10-24-2009 at 3:09 am

    Jim T said...

    So Mirren takes the title “near lock”.

    What about Within the Whirlwind? I guess it’s not coming out this year.

  • 11 10-24-2009 at 3:20 am

    Glenn said...

    Some of the replies in this entry are just so bizarre.

  • 12 10-24-2009 at 4:14 am

    mark said...

    I feel cotillard is in i ]f she goe lead with streep mirren,sidibe and mulligan.

  • 13 10-24-2009 at 4:25 am

    cca said...

    I can’t see Cotillard going lead… all the female roles in Nine are supporting, that’s in the essence of the musical… and if Mirren gets nominated for best actress (which I’d love to happen), there’s no way the academy will get the Plummer for supporting thing. I saw “Coco Before Chanel” recently, and Tautou… No Way

    For me now it’s Cornish, Mirren, Mulligan, Sibide and Streep, specially after the “Amelia” critics slaughter. But of course this will change a thousand of times in the following 3 months.

  • 14 10-24-2009 at 4:26 am

    Loyal said...

    “Some people take this shit way too seriously…”

    You’re like a crack dealer telling your buyers they shouldn’t do drugs Kristopher.

    But if they didn’t get it from you, they’d get it somewhere else, right?

  • 15 10-24-2009 at 4:29 am

    Glenn said...

    But McAvoy will be going lead for “Last Station” too, so it’s not like “The Reader” where they – quite baffling, really – had no lead performance whatsoever. If Plummer is campaigned as supporting with Mirren and McAvoy as lead I don’t see why they’d ignore it.

    I’m still thinking Cornish will make it sort of like Keira Knightley did for “Pride & Prejudice”. She was always there, hanging around, but never actually thought she’d get in.

  • 16 10-24-2009 at 5:00 am

    Caleb Roth said...

    It’s a mistake to campaign Plummer as supporting and McAvoy as leading.

    a) Best Actor is kinder to older performers
    b) Weak year for best actor: they can’t resist a career nomination in such a weak scenario
    c) That kind of role McAvoy plays, “the observer”, is often ignored (remember him in The Last King Of Scotland) or only nominated in supporting (Ethan Hawke in Training Day, Jamie Foxx in Collateral).

  • 17 10-24-2009 at 5:14 am

    Caleb Roth said...

    Look, we have to go back to Massimo Troisi to find a Best Actor nomination for “watching” a big character or person, and then Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy and Tom Courtenay for The Dresser. Not very common in Best Actor.

  • 18 10-24-2009 at 5:29 am

    Gromlinson said...

    For some reason i have a feeling that the academy’s inner racism and superficiality will appear and Sidibe will somehow not make it…with Streep, Mulligan, Ronan, Mirren, and Cotillard getting in.

  • 19 10-24-2009 at 6:27 am

    James D. said...

    And here I was thinking you were crazy to put this film up for so much, Kris. Any chance The Last Station takes that elusive tenth Best Picture spot?

  • 20 10-24-2009 at 6:45 am

    Alex said...

    Is it me or is Rome practically irrelevant? I see this award as more of an attempt for the festival to distinguish itself.

    I really hope Cornish gets nominated.

  • 21 10-24-2009 at 7:09 am

    Albiony said...


    The Academy is racist ?

    They even give a black woman an Oscar for her first movie role, when actresses like Julianne Moore and Sigourney Weaver are empty-handed, and you dare calling them racist ?

  • 22 10-24-2009 at 7:46 am

    Bill M said...

    What is the release date on the Last Station? Very much looking forward to it.

  • 23 10-24-2009 at 10:22 am

    mark said...

    Cornish is universally praised and sometimes an early contender makes it.

  • 24 10-24-2009 at 10:29 am

    markus said...

    You forgot to mention that Streep was given Best Career Achievement Award in Rome and her film Julie & Julia was chosen to close the festival (out of competition). This seems to cement her nomination and frontrunner status…

  • 25 10-24-2009 at 10:30 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m still intrigued to see what Jackson and his team give Saoirse Ronan to do in “The Lovely Bones.” As written in the novel, the character is barely there.

  • 26 10-24-2009 at 10:33 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    cca: I’ve confirmed with the studio weeks ago that Cotillard will be campaigned as a lead.

    markus: Read the last line of the post, please.

  • 27 10-24-2009 at 10:34 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    By the way, people should be wary of attaching too much significance to the Rome Film Festival — while not as purely decorative event as, say, the Hollywood fest, it’s a fledgling event that has yet to acquire much industry standing.

  • 28 10-24-2009 at 10:34 am

    Georgie said...

    Calling Cornish universally praised is an overstatement.

    And Coco Avant Chanel was boring and Tautou was good, not great. Definitely too subtle for the Academy.

    And Cotillard going lead makes the most sense out of the women, she has the ‘biggest’ moments (at least in her songs) and she’s getting an extra song too. I don’t agree with any of the Nine women going lead, but she’s definitely the one that makes the most sense.

  • 29 10-24-2009 at 12:44 pm

    FrankieJ said...

    Thanks, Kris! After I saw LAST STATION I immediately knew Mirren was not only a definite nominee, but possibly the new front-runner!

  • 30 10-24-2009 at 1:24 pm

    Michael W. said...

    I haven’t seen The Last Station but if it can be justified, it makes a lot of sense to campaign Plummer in supporting. If nominated, I could easily see him win. The supporting actor Oscar often goes to an old timer who has never won before.

    A win for Plummer would fit fine with the wins for Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, James Coburn, Martin Landau and Jack Palance in the last two decades.

  • 31 10-24-2009 at 4:55 pm

    Glenn said...

    Caleb, supporting actor is where old-men-who-are-gonna-die-soon go to win Oscars. Isn’t that universally known?

  • 32 10-25-2009 at 4:36 am

    caleb roth said...

    Ok, you got a point, but, still Plummer has better chances of getting nominated for Best Actor than McAvoy. I don’t think Plummer would win no matter which category he goes to, but if he is campaigned as supporting, the movie may get three acting nominations (Mirren, Plummer, McAvoy) instead of two (Mirren, Plummer).

  • 33 10-25-2009 at 5:25 am

    nanoush said...

    The Nominees
    – Marion Cotillard, NINE
    – Helen Mirren, THE LAST STATION
    – Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION
    – Gabourey Sidibe, PRECIOUS
    – Meryl Streep, JULIE AND JULIA

  • 34 10-25-2009 at 10:55 am

    kid said...

    You should do a poll on best actress

  • 35 10-25-2009 at 1:38 pm

    Ed of WEHO said...

    Flashforward… Oscar Night, 2010:

    Kate Winslet: And the Oscar goes to……

    Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia.

    That’s all!

  • 36 10-25-2009 at 1:40 pm

    Ed of WEHO said...

    Name me a critic who did not like Meryl’s performance in J & J? I dare you! Everybody liked her in that movie, that was Meryl’s crowning glory!!!!

  • 37 10-25-2009 at 10:08 pm

    Toto said...

    What about Michelle Monaghan in Trucker? She got raves, including Ebert saying she should get an Oscar nod. Melissa Leo of 2009?