This is where the biggest disaster of Oscar night could occur. This is the one category that has me really, really nervous about what would happen (I mean, as nervous as one can be about stuff like silly award shows). The problem here is that Lupita Nyong’o, who has burst into the Hollywood scene with an impeccably wrenching performance in 12 Years a Slave, who was at one point the obvious expected winner in this category (as she should be), has suddenly become this close of losing to, of all people, Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle.
Now, I am not as in love with Lawrence as the rest of the world seems to be. I still think she is a really good actress, I think the Hunger Games movies wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as they are if it weren’t for her, but I am definitely not a fan of her performance in American Hustle. Not that she is terrible or anything, I mean, she is funny and does as best as she can with the material she is given. At the same time, though, there has been no bigger casting error last year than putting her in the role of a bored housewife. I think she has to stop playing characters that are much older than her, in American Hustle, she just looks like a high school or college actor playing dress-up. And before you say that’s the point of the movie, I think that’s taking it too far with the “people pretend they are people they are not” theme, and also, her character is precisely the one person in the movie that is all no-bullshit and genuine. In any case, I’m going off on a tangent here. What I wanted to say is that even if I am not a big fan of the performance, there are other reasons I don’t want her to win.
For starters, she just won last year. Two Oscars in a row for such a young performer with such a young career seems insanely excessive to me. It would also probably give way to a huge backlash against her, because you know how people only like celebrities until they are way too ubiquitous and overpraised. On the other hand, this is the chance to not only give an award to an outstanding performance, but to welcome a talented new actress to better roles (and hopefully make Hollywood write better roles for colored women? Is that hoping too much?). I hope Lupita wins, and I think she probably will, but I am nervous.
Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
My Pick: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)