Academy Award Preview: The Ladies

First in a series of articles on the Oscar races

By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 7, 2013

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This is an exciting year for predicting the Oscars because except for a couple of mortal locks, it is a wide-open battle in the major races, so let the speculation begin.

I’ve decided to weigh in with a weekly series of articles on the Academy Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday, Feb. 24. This week I’ll look at the ladies in best supporting and best actress; Feb. 14, I’ll look at the gents in best supporting actor and best actor, and on Feb. 21 I’ll round out my predictions with my screenplay, director and best picture choices.

Nominees for Best Supporting Actress

• Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

• Helen Hunt, The Sessions
• Sally Field, Lincoln
• Amy Adams, The Master

• Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Nominees for Best Actress
• Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark 
• Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

• Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

• Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Naomi Watts, The Impossible

One of my favorite online obsessions is the Hollywood Stock Exchange, a Hollywood version of a fantasy sports league. You get to buy shares of performers, movies, movie funds and in the category Hollywood Derivatives, such bets as the opening weekend of a movie, the success or failure of new TV shows and this time of year, Oscar races. Going by the “money” being wagered in the supporting actress and best actress race the prohibitive favorites in those respective categories are Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence.

My personal favorite from the supporting group is Helen Hunt, who was spectacular as a compassionate sex therapist helping a man in an iron lung lose his virginity in The Sessions, but Anne Hathaway looks like a lock to be smiling Oscar night. She was very good in a movie I didn’t like, Les Miserables.

Two-time best actress winner Sally Field is enjoying her return to the Oscar spotlight as Mary Todd Lincoln but she has no chance of winning. Jacki Weaver, who earned an unexpected supporting Oscar bid two years ago for the obscure Australian film Animal Kingdom, was swept into the race thanks to the feel good nature of Silver Linings Playbook, which was the first film to earn nominations in all four acting categories since Reds in 1981. Amy Adams is a talented actress who has been in the Oscar spotlight the last few years with supporting nominations for Junebug (2005), Doubt (2008) and The Fighter (2010), but like those previous years the golden boy will elude her grasp yet again.
Prediction: Anne Hathaway
Preference: Helen Hunt

The best actress nominees provide the most history making possibilities. Emmanuelle Riva, 85, is the oldest nominee in the history of the category and it is her first time in the Oscar race. The most unexpected nomination went to nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who was only five when she auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy and about six when she did her Oscar-worthy emoting in the fantasy/fable Beasts of the Southern Wild. She is the youngest nominee in the history of the category.

Naomi Watts picked up her second best actress nomination — the first was for 2003’s 21 Grams — for her terrific performance as an Indian Ocean tsunami survivor searching for the rest of her family in The Impossible, based on a true story. These three have to settle for the nomination because the race comes down to two of the biggest rising stars in the business, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain.

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