Academy Award for Best Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
This is the easiest category to predict, possibly even more definite than Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor. Brie Larson will win Best Actress, and it would take a total upset for anyone else to steal the statue. Brie Larson’s role as a mother introducing her son to the world after the two were trapped in a ‘room’ since his birth, has won the actress nearly every award available including the Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG. Such a long list is impressive and she is one of the rare few actresses to be able to boast such an achievement. Even more shocking is the idea that Larson, who is able to deliver a strong yet emotional performance, has never been nominated for an Oscar before, even after working for years and starring in critically acclaimed films such as Short Term 12, in which many critics believed she deserved the top prize. Up against Academy heavy weights like Cate Blanchett, who has won 2 Oscars, and Jennifer Lawrence, the youngest person to have score four nominations, Larson normally would have little chance, and the likelihood of her winning this year, emphasises the brilliance of her performance. It also does not hurt that her film ‘Room’ is nominated for Best Picture.
So what chance do these other actresses have? As I mentioned, both Blanchett and Lawrence are adored by the voters, but both are on the verge of becoming ‘boring choices’, the sort of actresses that get nominated simply due to who they are. Meryl Streep has a similar sort of problem, but her efforts to continually redefine herself have definitely helped. Blanchett has made attempts at different types of roles, and while they are also positively received, unlike Streep, Blanchett has yet to receive any nominations outside of her more conventional roles. Lawrence on the other hand, is apart of two of the biggest film franchises (The Hunger Games and X-Men), however three of her four nominations (including this one) all come from her work with David O. Russell, something that audiences are coming to get bored with. Both actresses have also recently won an Oscar with Blanchett winning in 2014, and Lawrence winning in 2013, meaning it is unlikely the Academy will grant them another. Lawrence did win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, (Larson won for Actress in a Drama), however that will not do much to boast her chances, as she has not been nominated at most ceremonies.
That leaves Charlotte Rampling and Saoirse Ronan, actresses who have seen great acclaim, yet little love from the Academy. Ronan did receive a nomination in 2008 for Best Supporting Actress, but has been off the map since. Rampling, however, at 70 years old, has never been nominated before this year, even though she is considered one of the greatest European actresses, and is a staple of British film. Both actresses have little chance at a win, simply due to the fact that they too have been largely absent from award ceremonies. Ronan, however, is the only actress other than Larson to have their film nominated for Best Picture, and while Larson shares most of the time with actor Jacob Tremblay, Ronan definitely drives Brooklyn. In contrast, not many people saw 45 Years, meaning Rampling is not exactly the centre of discussion. Her controversial statements regarding the Oscar boycott as being “racist to white people” also grew criticism and giving her the award could seriously damage some peoples of the perception of the Academy. Though, we must note that due to the makeup of the Academy, and many voters public views of the boycott, Rampling’s opinions may have been agreed upon and ultimately gained her some respect by older voters. This could definitely help her, atleast in terms of getting into the conversation. It is difficult to choose a potential spoiler as while Larson is a clear front runner, all other nominees have pros and cons and none really stand out. Admittedly though Lawrence is the only actress other than Larson to gain any awards, and her reputation at the Academy could help.
Potential Spoiler: Jennifer Lawrence