Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far .
Today, Alex Withrow of And So It Begins is here to look at the Best Actress Category.
Breaking Down This Year’s Oscar Nominees for Best Actress
By Alex Withrow
The Best Actress Oscar has been a lot of fun to track this award’s season. Early on, the award seemed like a split vote between Lady Gaga (A Star is Born) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite), but the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards all but diminished that competition, making it clear that this is Glenn Close’s award to lose. Below is a deep dive into this year’s Best Actress race, including my thoughts on the nominated performances, and the Oscars awarding performers for their careers, as opposed to a single performance.
Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
Aparicio’s natural performance as Cleo is one of the main highlights of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. In a story that’s now somewhat famous, Aparicio had never acted in a film before, and decided to audition for Roma as a way of killing time before she started working as a teacher. Cuarón’s decision to cast her as the lead in his film proved to be a stroke of genius, because, throughout Roma, we never feel like we’re watching a performer, but rather, someone who is actually living as Cleo. Aparicio doesn’t really have a shot at winning the Oscar, but it’s nice to know that the Academy isn’t shy about nominating non-actors for major awards.
Glenn Close – The Wife
Prior to this year, Glenn Close had been nominated for six Oscars, and came close to winning twice (for Fatal Attraction in 1987, and Dangerous Liaisons in 1988). And although she’s come up short each time, it seems certain that her luck will change this year. Close’s Golden Globe win in January immediately changed the Best Actress conversation, and her SAG win a few weeks afterwards seems to have cemented the fact that Glenn Close will finally become an Oscar winner.
Now, a main question surrounding Close’s potential win is, does she deserve to win solely for her performance in The Wife, or are Oscar voters awarding Close for her entire body of work? I like Close’s work in The Wife, but this feels like a career win to me. And fans of Oscar history know this isn’t anything new. Denzel Washington (Training Day), Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), and Kate Winslet (The Reader), just to name a few, all should’ve won lead acting Oscars long before they did, but the consensus for their eventual wins was that they had earned it. It was their time. That’s exactly where Close is this year.
Olivia Colman – The Favourite
Like A Star is Born, the Oscar buzz for The Favourite seems to have died down considerably over the past few months. I loved Colman’s frenzied work as Queen Anne, and am bummed that she isn’t more in the running for a Best Actress win. But hopefully her Oscar nomination will help Colman receive more offers for great characters. At this point, I think Colman’s best shot at a major award (aside from her Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy) is the BAFTA for Best Actress. Here’s to hoping.
Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
If you asked me in November, I would’ve said that the Best Actress Oscar was Lady Gaga’s to lose. But the buzz for A Star is Born has cooled so drastically, for reasons I still don’t understand, that I think Gaga’s best shot at Oscar gold this year is for Best Song. Still, Lady Gaga’s acting work in A Star is Born surprised most everyone, and I’m so excited to see what she dives into next. All of that noted, if I were a member of the Academy, Lady Gaga would certainly have my vote.
Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
I’ve been a fan of Melissa McCarthy’s comedy roles for years, but have so enjoyed watching her take on more dramatic material these past few years. Can You Ever Forgive Me showcased a side of McCarthy I hadn’t seen before, and even though she won’t win the Oscar this year, I can’t wait to see what this dramatic Oscar clout does for her career.
Who Will Win?
As mentioned, I think Glenn Close has this award in the bag. Of course, there is always room for an upset, but this is as close to a lock in a major Oscar category as we’ll have this year. The Single Performance vs. Entire Career debate is an Oscar tradition, and this certainly won’t be the last time we talk about it. All told, The Wife isn’t the best performance of Glenn Close’s career, but I won’t be mad if she wins.