Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Meryl Streep in Doubt
Kate Winslet in The Reader
Wow, we're almost done with the Oscar Series. It's the final four. Now, we take a look at the leading ladies. This race seems obvious with a clear frontrunner. Let's take a look.
Anne Hathaway has really grown up. I remember her in the original Princess Diaries (yes, I'll admit I've seen it). This is her first nomination. Her coming out party may have been Devil Wears Prada, but this film established her as a real actress. She's young and talented. Her role as a recovering drug addict was intense at times. That scene when she drove her car into the tree. Damn. A lot of emotions are in this role. I simply worry that her time isn't now. She'll probably be back. It took many nominations for Kate to become a real threat. I feel like Hathaway will have to take the same route. She's a dark horse.
Angelina Jolie should probably be happy she was simply nominated. This is her second nomination (won Best Supporting Actress in '99 for Girl, Interrupted). I did enjoy Changeling. Some of those scenes in the mental hospital make you cringe. She's trapped emotionally and physically. She just wants her son back and you feel her pain. I just don't see her winning her. This film has little support from the Academy. Plus, she already has an Oscar and there are two arguably more deserving nominees.
Melissa Leo nabs her first Oscar nomination on a solid indie film. Personally, I would have preferred Sally Hawkins be here instead, but Leo is no joke. This film and her role in particular have a lot of heart. She's a struggling mother of two kids and barely surviving. So, she begins to drive illegals over the border. This film has its moments especially at the end, but Leo can't contend with her fellow nominees. Hopefully, people will take notice of this role and give her more acting opportunities as she deserves it.
Meryl Streep is a real wild card in this race. I don't think she'll pull it off, but she does have some factors working for her. This may be her 15th nomination, but she hasn't won an Oscar since '82 Best Actress for Sophie's Choice. People always say she's won before, but it's been 25 years. She's pulling a 2-12 record. Considering she's one of the greatest actresses ever, the Academy may choose to give her another one. Hell, she deserves it. Honestly, if Winslet wasn't in this race or if Kate was a double nominee, I would say Streep would have been the frontrunner here. She's clearly the standout in a strong Doubt cast. I love those scenes with Hoffman and Davis respectively. She's money. Plain and simple. She can definitely win here, but there is definitely some "doubt" (haha) she can do it. Why? Keep reading.
This really feels like the year of Kate Winslet. This is her sixth nomination. She's one of the best actresses today. She's due to win an Oscar. Everyone knows it. Some people hate The Reader, but some people like it. Obviously the Academy did since it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director as well. That's a bold statement. I don't have a huge problem with this film, though I did prefer Revolutionary Road. She may not have been nominated for that film, but voters may look at her on the ballot and award her both performances. The funny part of this whole nomination is that she has racked up precursors for this role, but in the supporting category. Will that matter? Don't think so.
Can Winslet lose? Of course. It's just going to take a lot of support for Streep to take her down and I haven't heard of enough support for Hathaway to take her out. I would say both scenarios are unlikely. Like Heath Ledger, it also seems like everyone in town wants her to win. They want to give her that moment. Really, she deserves it.