2017 Oscars: Best Actress

So it’s that time again – when I blow up your social media feeds with a flurry of Oscar posts that talk about films that most of you haven’t heard of. I’ll do this right up until Oscar night, then take the entire month of March off because, let’s face it, after 350 blog posts over the years, it’s hard for even me to come up with a well-thought out opinion 52 times a year (however, half-baked ones are in long supply).

In my last post before we get to the biggie Best Picture, let’s talk about Best Actress.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE – NOMINEES
ISABELLE HUPPERT – Elle
RUTH NEGGA – Loving
NATALIE PORTMAN – Jackie
EMMA STONE – La La Land
MERYL STREEP – Florence Foster Jenkins

Who will win: Emma Stone
Who could win: Natalie Portman
Who should win: Natalie Portman
Who should be here: Amy Adams, Arrival
Who should also be here: Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals

Okay, finally – something to seriously bitch about. Can someone adequately explain to me now in the hell Amy Adams hasn’t won an Oscar yet after five nominations? Okay, how about when Amy Adams has not one but TWO fabulous performances in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals?

Yeah, unfortunately I think it’s due to Oscar protocol. The same actor or actress can not be nominated twice in the same category in the same year. So probably the vote split because you can’t vote for her for both roles, so her overall votes fell under everyone else’s.

Which is complete bullshit. Someone just hand this woman a gold statue already. (Can anyone tell I’m a huge fan? Okay, she’s like top three of my list of favorite actors. But still, don’t hold that against her. This is ridiculous).

But, despite the bitching of me and seemingly everyone else, Adams probably would have gone 0 for 6 with a nom this year, because Natalie Portman delivered the performance as a lifetime as Jackie Kennedy. Portman OWNED this role – facial expressions, accent, mannerisms, even Jackie’s breathless speech pattern – to the point where when they digital inserted her onto the screen next to the ACTUAL Jack Kennedy, it held up. It was one of the top performances of the century, without question.

Though it doesn’t seem that Portman is going to win either. Everything I’m reading says that Emma Stone will be the one holding the gold statue on Oscar night. Stone lit up the screen in her role as Mia in the multi-layered La La Land. On its surface, the film worked as a standard old-fashioned Hollywood musical, but dig deeper, and it becomes part satire, partly about finding your voice and partly about equality of men and women. While Stone’s performance might seem simple and eager, in my book her final nod towards Gosling was Oscar worthy in and of itself.

Here’s something interesting: Viola Davis has all but locked up Best Supporting Actress. Mahershala Ali has a very good chance of taking it home for Best Supporting Actor. Denzel Washington is neck and neck with Casey Affleck as Best Actor. So you have to wonder – in a year of Donald Trump, a year after #OscarSoWhite – is there a chance that somehow Ruth Negga, in an unheralded historical film – will carry the Best Actress role? Not only would she be only the second best actress in the history of the Academy, but if that played out as I just wrote it, it’d be a clean sweep for African American actors and actresses in the Oscars.

It’d be historic, but that’s obviously not the only reason to vote for her. Negga brought out this year’s breakout performance. The story was compelling though the film wasn’t terribly, but Negga and Joel Edgerton made it worthwhile with their quiet yet intense chemistry and screen presence.

In accordance with California state law (not my joke, unfortunately) Meryl Streep has one again been nominated for an Oscar – a record 20th time. This year’s turn was as the so-good-it’s-almost-unbelieveable performance as the real life world’s worst opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. Rounding out the category is Isabelle Huppert, who might also have an outside chance of taking home the top prize for the strange yet highly compelling Elle.