Every year voters from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) manage to surprise moviegoers with at least one actor or actress the average film lover has never heard of before. This year there may be more than that as Hollywood’s class of top leading ladies have seemed more willing to take on supporting roles, which has opened the door to the next generation of actresses.
Currently one of the frontrunners is Marion Cotillard, who a few years ago won the category for her role in “La Vie En Rose” and since then has had key roles in both “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Still she’s not exactly somebody your parents would probably instantly recognize. Yet according to the experts over at awards site Gold Debry, Cotillard is leading the competition for her turn in “Rust & Bone.” The art-house film about a dolphin trainer who loses her legs isn’t exactly an uplifting experience and hasn’t made much in limited release.
However according to the same experts, right behind Cotillard is Jennifer Lawrence, who is significantly more well-known. At just 22 years old, Lawrence could score her second consecutive Best Actress nomination for “Silver Linings Playbook” after being tapped last year for her breakthrough film “Winter’s Bone.” Of course non-Oscar watchers know her better as Katniss in “The Hunger Games” and Mystique in the re-booted “X-Men” franchise. Yet across the industry she is known as legitimate threat to dominate the filed for years to come thanks to a mix of beauty, intelligence and strong on-scene presence.
Two more former nominees are also making a statement this award season courtesy of two very well received dramas. Jessica Chastain who was nominated in the supporting category last year for “The Help,” returns with a force for her already award winning role in “Zero Dark Thirty.” The drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden has cleaned up at all the major early precursors and Chastain should fine similar luck at the top award shows. Right there next to her though is Naomi Watts, who has continued to find her star on the rise. While this wouldn’t be her first nomination, her role as a mother desperately trying to reunite her family following a tsunami may be her most impactful.
The Academy may also elect to nominate Quvenzhane Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” At just 9 years old, Wallis has found herself in the same circles as Cotillard and Lawrence, which is high praise for someone making her film debut. However, due to certain Screen Actors Guild regulations, her film (and be extension her) was deemed ineligible for the SAG awards and after failing to collect a Golden Globe nomination as well, Wallis may not be as much of a lock as she once was considered.
Remember though we are talking about the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences here, which means while new talent may slip in, vying for the last few slots will at least one established actresses. This year that slot is expected to go to former winner Helen Mirren, who earned acclaim this year opposite Anthony Hopkins for “Hitchcock.” It is also very possible Oscar darling Meryl Streep could also slide in for modest hit “Hope Springs.” As made clear last year following her win for “The Iron Lady,” Streep is somebody who you can never count out of the race.
So what’s your take New York? Which actresses do you think could get nominated? Hit the comments and let us know. Remember, don’t forget to subscribe to this column for all of the latest news about the 2013 award season.