I previously mentioned that over the next few weeks I'd be taking a look at the nominees in eight major categories for the 2011 Academy Awards. I'll be writing about what I think will win, what I want to win, and my thoughts about each category overall.
And the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role are as follows:
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
I'm sure they're out there, but I have yet to find anyone who thinks this category is going to be, at best, anything other than a catfight between Annette Bening and Natalie Portman. Of course, more than likely Portman walks away with the award and nary a scratch on her, but Bening has been nominated for an Oscar three times previously (and twice before in this same category), while the younger actress has only received one nod in the supporting category for 2005's Closer. Bening has seniority on her side, and the fact that Mrs. Warren Beatty hasn't scored a win in twenty years may mean the Academy thinks she's due. Still, there's the little fact that Portman has been bestowed the Best Actress award from many critic circles, and managed to take home the Golden Globe AND SAG awards. She's clearly the frontrunner, but I wouldn't count Bening out of the race.
The three other nominees are almost non-entities in this category. Nicole Kidman's nominated performance comes from a film relatively few people care about. Michelle Williams spends a lot of time crying and being miserable at her husband in Blue Valentine, but it's certainly not a performance worthy of an Oscar win (let alone nomination - co-star Ryan Gosling, however, is a different story. Why he was snubbed in favor of Williams - who, in all honesty, gives a good, if overly weepy, performance - is beyond me). I have a feeling Jennifer Lawrence could sneak in with an upset, but I really have nothing to base that on except Winter's Bone seems like the "little movie that could" this year.