Talk about disappointing categories. If you want a clear case study of how the Academy doesn’t look beyond the most buzzed-about, awards baity movies, here you have it. 2013 was an outstanding year for lead female performances. I would say there were at least three that I would consider if I were making a list of my favorite female performances of all-time. But Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight) and future sitcom star Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) were all in small independent productions with not that much cash to pour into Oscar campaigns. The actual set of nominees ended up being a much boring bunch that not only didn’t include them, but also ignored outstanding performances such as Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Enough Said), Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now), Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color) and Ziyi Zhang (The Grandmaster).
The boring list is particularly frustrating since by the time nominations came out, we already knew who was going to win this award come Oscar night. Cate Blanchett’s titanic work in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine had won her a gazillion critics prizes, not to mention arguably the best reviews of her career. She was getting praise left and right, and frankly, she deserved it. To me, there is no question that this golden statue should go to Blanchett. And I don’t think there is any likelihood that it won’t be so. If there is anyone who is going to rain on Cate’s parade -which could happen if this ugly debate over the child-abuse allegations against Woody Allen that have resurfaced on the eve of his Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award- it would be Amy Adams, who has a few things going for her. First, she is the only nominee who has actually never won an Oscar before (the others are Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep). Second, this is her fifth nomination, meaning the Academy really likes her. Third, it is suddenly looking as if there aren’t many places to reward American Hustle, so fans of the movie might want to rally behind her for a surprise win. In any case, such a result is highly unlikely. Expect Cate to win and hopefully give an awesome speech.
Will Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
My Vote: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)