Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
I’m probably the only one in the world that thought JLaw did a good, but not great job in American Hustle. Why am I saying this? Because compared to the others I don’t feel as if she had to stretch her acting ability for this role. I just picture David O. Russell pulling JLaw aside and asking if she’s able to play a pill popper. Of course, she nods and tells him that she’s been working on this dance routine that involves cleaning gloves and that he has to use it in this film. All of this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy watching her while she was onscreen, however, I just don’t see her winning this category. The other supporting women just brought more to their respective roles than JLaw had to. It might not be completely her fault. She might just be doing what the material asks of her, but I just don’t see her getting rewarded over the other candidates for playing a crazy woman. Crazier things have happened – one thing is for sure, I will never hear “Live and Let Die” the same way again.
Verdict: 5th place
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years A Slave
In a movie that is already stacked with talent, it takes someone truly special to stand out onscreen without detracting from the movie or the other’s roles. Nyong’o does such a thing. Every time she was in front of the camera you couldn’t help but gravitate towards her. She demanded your attention without sometimes even saying a word. Her character was a simple one, but one that was integral rounding out 12 Years A Slave. I’ve made mention to the importance of the subtleties of an actor and the impact it can have on a movie and Lupita masters this art for this film. The subtle acting nuances in her smile, tears, facial expressions, etc. are fantastic and had me in awe of what a great casting choice she was. Also, her ability to help shoulder the load of probably the most intense scene in 12 Years only adds to her chances of winning come Oscar night. With this in mind, she is my pick to win Best Supporting Actress for this year’s Oscars.
Verdict: 1st place
Julia Roberts – August Osage County
There’s not many positive things I can say about August Osage County. I didn’t think much of Meryl Streep’s performance, the story was depressing and there was little resolution. Two of the redeeming factors from this movie were: 1) Chris Cooper and 2) Julia Roberts. This is not to say that her character is likable my any stretch of the imagination. In fact, she is like a younger version of her mother in this movie who you will especially not like. However, Roberts does a great job being the focal point of August Osage County. Of course, she is in the supporting role up against Streep, however, she gets most of the acting opportunities that should keep her in close consideration for actually winning this category. It will still be tough for her because if the Academy is judging the winner based on who best represents the category, I still believe Nyong’o is the frontrunner, but Roberts is a very close second. I would not be surprised if she caused the upset.
Verdict: 2nd place
June Squib – Nebraska
Upon viewing Nebraska, I was actually annoyed for most of the movie by Squib. She plays the nagging wife to Bruce Dern’s bumbling and beaten down-trodden father and for most of the movie she has this whiny tone that sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me. She does have one or two great moments in the movie, one of them coming in defense of her husband to his distant family wanting money and another when she visits the hometown graveyard and starts dishing dirt on all of her high school friends. She is another example of someone who isn’t stretched very much in her role, however, opposite of how JLaw comes across in American Hustle, Squib’s character is meant to be plain and nagging. This simply adds another layer to the portrayal of the Midwest that Alexander Payne is trying to capture and she is successful in it. Her acting is a prime example of how playing it plain and simple can positively effect a movie and I see why she is nominated. She will not win, of course, but at her age, I’m sure she is extremely happy to be nominated. Enjoy awards night Ms. Squib.
Verdict: 4th place