Okay, we looked at Best Picture last week, this week we can look at Best Actress and Best Actor nominees.
And the nominees for Best Actress are:
Cate Blanchett – Carol as Carol Aird
Brie Larson – Room as Joy “Ma” Newsome
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy as Joy Mangano
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years as Kate Mercer (Huh… Amazon just says “not available”… like not even for pre-order.)
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn as Eilis Lacey
And the nominees for Best Actor are:
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo as Dalton Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian as Mark Watney
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant as Hugh Glass
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs as Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener
Looking at these lists, the first thing I notice is that there isn’t any overlap. Now it’s not totally common for a Best Actor nominee and a Best Actress nominee to share the same movie, but there are a number of movies that got nominated for The Big Five in recent years including American Beauty, Million Dollar Baby, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle so it’s not something that never ever happens (and, golly, both Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle got nominations for all four acting categories…) All that to say: it doesn’t look like any movies are Grand Slam kinda movies this time around. (Maybe next year.)
So instead of saying “well, looks like we’ve got another grand slam on our hands”, we have to actually game this out. Jennifer Lawrence has already won a couple. We can move her to the side, I’m pretty sure. She’s reaching “reliably outstanding” territory here. Cate Blanchett might be in this same category, but she only has one Best Actress (and one Supporting Actress) under her belt. I’ll put her in the “dark horse” category. Charlotte Rampling’s movie is not available from Amazon, even as a pre-order. That’s a bad sign. That leaves us to guess between Saoirse Ronan and Brie Larson… and now I just look at the descriptions of the movies. Brooklyn is a Historical Period Drama (1950s) and Room is doesn’t have any adjectives before Drama. Hrm. Still neck and neck. Let’s look at the critical response… oh, here we go. Brooklyn’s mentions how it “tugs at the heartstrings” and Room’s uses the word “Harrowing”.
So it’s Room. (Though Cate Blanchett is the dark horse here.)
Now we can look at the actors:
Get rid of The Martian immediately. It’s a genre film. (Poor Matt Damon. His only Oscar is for the screenplay for Good Will Hunting and I’m pretty sure that Kevin Smith gave it an edit and, if that’s the case, I’m pretty sure that the statue doesn’t feel as good as it would otherwise.) We can probably get rid of Fassbender too. I’m sure he’s great and all, but we’ve had approximately fifty kabillion biopics on or about Steve Jobs starting with Pirates of Silicon Valley back in 1999 and, you know what? It’s just not going to happen. Trumbo… well, this meets one of the big ones. It’s about Hollywood screenwriting and the communist witch hunts of the 1950’s… but I can’t help but think that this movie is about 30 years late to win an Oscar (wait, let me check… who won in 1986? Oh, William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman… yeah, I could see this beating that). As such, I don’t see this edging out either of the next two actors: Leo DiCaprio and Eddie Redmayne. While it’s true that Eddie Redmayne did win last year, he hasn’t hit “reliably outstanding” quite yet. A win here would cement him into that category (which would allow everyone to ignore him for another 12 years or so). Leo, by contrast, made this movie in order to win the Oscar. Do you know what he went through? A lot. That said, it kind of looks needy, doesn’t it? That might even work against him… let’s put him in the dark horse category. Which means that Eddie Redmayne wins two in a row.
And, after writing all that, I checked the Vegas Odds:
Brie Larson (“Room”), 1 to 3
Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), 7 to 2
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”), 6 to 1
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”), 8 to 1
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”), 25 to 1
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”), 1 to 5
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), 5 to 1
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”), 10 to 1
Matt Damon (“The Martian”), 20 to 1
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), 25 to 1
Okay, so I’m confident on my Best Actress nomination and Vegas disagrees with me about everything. I’d put Martian last, Jobs above that, and Trumbo above that. I think that 10 to 1 is worth making a bet, though. I wouldn’t drop more than $20 on it, but if I had a bookie nearby…
So… what are you reading and/or watching?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)