Oscar Olympics 2014 (Women’s Gold Medal Final)
by Stella Braintree
Viewing any of the below “Best Actress in a Leading Role” performances may cause sweaty palms; rapid heart-rate; tissue-dabbing-related eyestrain; bloating due to excess popcorn consumption; laughter-induced bladder leakage; a chronic fear of space travel … and hyper-inspiration.
And the nominees are:
Amy Adams – American Hustle
This winsome redhead first drew raves for playing sweet-as-pie in Junebug. She flit off to be a fairy princess in Enchanted; a guileless nun in Doubt; and an aspiring chef in Julie & Julia (her second pairing with Meryl Streep).
Eschewing her nice-girl image, Amy was a knock-out in The Fighter; and her cunning wife in The Master (her second film with the late-wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman) proved she can be naughty, too. Adams had four previous noms, and her glamour-puss con-woman in American Hustle (second time working with Christian Bale) bumped it up to five; she’s also in Best Picture contender, Her.
Could she dance away with a statuette? You’ll have to watch and find out.
Oh, be on the look-out for her role as painter Margaret Keane in Big Eyes; later, as Lois Lane.
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Her “Galadriel” graced The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series; and made two Brad Pitt films (Oh, the agony!): Babel and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Cate flew off with Best Supporting Actress for imitating Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator; and her troubled teacher in Notes on a Scandal (co-starring Judi Dench) earned a 5th Oscar nom.
This year she’s up for her socialite on the skids in Blue Jasmine (co-starring nom Sally Hawkins) — If that’s not enough to cause serious actor envy, Ms. B’s got a slew of upcoming projects, including The Hobbit: There and Back Again… Cinderella… and Todd Haynes’ film, Carol…
Will this Sheila take a bow at the Academy Awards? Tune in to see!
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
The popularity of The Net, Miss Congeniality, Two Weeks Notice, and The Proposal could’ve slowed her down, but not before scoring Best Actress for her tough-love mom in The Blind Side. She followed that with a hit comedy, The Heat. Sandra tried to catch a well-deserved break, but couldn’t resist the force of Gravity – or maybe it was co-star, George “Freak of Hotness” Clooney – and now she’s got another nod! Day-ammmn, Ms. Bullock – You’re right on track!
Will Sandy ever park the bus?! Take a nap?! Win another Oscar?!
Make sure to see her in The Heat 2 (co-starring Melissa McCarthy) … and hear her in The Minions.
Judi Dench – Philomena
Her stage career spans five decades – starting at the Old Vic Theatre; she performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company; originated the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret; and won prestigious Lawrence Olivier awards.
No stranger to film work, Judi won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love; played “M” in James Bond movies; even voiced a cow in the animated Home on the Range. As the titular Philomena, Dench plays an Irish-Catholic woman bent on finding the son she’d been coerced (by the church) to give up up fifty years prior. True to form, Judi delivers an award-worthy performance. Co-star Steve Coogan’s screenplay (co-written with Jeff Pope) is also up for Best Adaptation. (If you’re interested in similar stories about that era check out 2002’s The Magdalene Sisters.)
By the way, you may address her as “Ten-Time-BAFTA-Winner: Judi Dench” and being she was honored by the British Empire, the title “Dame” will do. Just don’t call her a “National Treasure”… She’s way too bad-ass for such prissy labels.
Watch for Judi this fall in the BBC movie, Esio Trot (co-starring Dustin Hoffman)… and perhaps on stage Oscar night?
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
She’s lauded as an acting chameleon for her mélange of unique characters, technical prowess, and legendary knack for accents. Since her first Oscar nom (Best Supporting Actress, The Deer Hunter), she’s given us love-tortured-drama (The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Out of Africa; Heartburn); surreal-screwball-comedy (Adaptation); radioactive-whistle-blowing (Silkwood); Depression-era-booze-swilling (Ironweed); oddly-browed and dingo-blaming (A Cry in the Dark); sociopathic-fashion-obsessing (The Devil Wears Prada); ABBA-clad-spandex-singing (Mama Mia!); accident-prone-culinary-guru-ing (Julie & Julia)… Okay, you get the idea.
Streep’s garnered numerous nods and wins for both stage and screen: Tony Awards… Emmys… Golden Globes… She took home a Best Supporting Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer; Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice; and again for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Now, her foul-mouthed, pill-popping matriarch in August: Osage County (co-starring Best Supporting nominee, Julia Roberts) earned an 18th shot at the prize – More than any other actor!
Meryl. Meryl, on the wall – Might you win it, after all?
Check her out in The Homesman (directed by and co-starring Tommy Lee Jones).
August: Osage County
Well, there you have it: 5 amazing performances. But only one can win the gold medal – I mean, gold guy (unless there’s a weird tie, and I’m not betting on it). So, let’s cheer ‘em on and hope it motivates next year’s champs!
Best of luck to all the Oscar nominees!
Photo credits: Judi Dench Featureflash / Shutterstock.com; Cate Blanchett Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com Amy Adams DFree / Shutterstock.com; Meryl Streep Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com; Sandra Bullock Debby Wong / Shutterstock.comTags: Academy Awards, American Hustle, Amy Adams, August: Osage County, Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett, Gravity, Hollywood, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Oscars, Philomena, Sandra Bullock, Stella Braintree