2019 Oscars: Leading Actress

Previously, in Jack’s 2019 Oscar coverage…

January 28 – Best Picture
January 31 – Editing
February 4 – Supporting Actress
February 7 – Leading Actor
February 11 – Supporting Actor

Upcoming…

February 18 – Director
February 19 – Original Screenplay
February 20 – Adapted Screenplay
February 21 – Cinematography
February 24 – Final Predictions on Oscar Night

Today…Leading Actress

LEADING ACTRESS – NOMINEES
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma
Glenn Close, The Wife
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Who will win: Glenn Close, The Wife
Who could win: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Who should win: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (okay, Glenn Close, see below)
Who should be here: Elsie Fischer, Eighth Grade and Carey Mulligan, Wildlife

This is one of the more wide-open races on Oscar night.

On one hand, you have Glenn Close, a 7 time Oscar nominee, who by almost any measure gave the performance of the year. She had her full range of talents and emotions in display in The Wife, elevating the entire film well above the source material presented to her. However, therein lies the problem. While The Wife is enjoyable, there’s little about it that scream Oscar gold – low budget, little seen, no other nominations.

Then you have a pair of first-time nominees…nay, first time ACTRESSES.

Of these, Lady Gaga is clearly the biggest splash. She had a showy role which was tailor-made for her talents and created amazing on-screen chemistry with co-star and director Bradley Cooper. And, of course, it didn’t hurt at all that the music was phenomenal. Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Yalitza Aparicio, a discovery of Alfonso Cuaron’s who formed the emotional core of Best Picture favorite Roma. Aparicio is a rare talent; doing so much with such a spare script and just a few looks and reactions.

The dark horse in this race is Olivia Colman, who played the Queen in The Favourite. Colman absolutely nailed her role, coming across as delightfully crazy and mischievous at the same time. The Favourite tied Roma with the most nominations, and though it seems as if it’s going to have trouble winning any of them, it could be that a win for Colman here is seen as something of a consolation prize.

This was a year of great performances from women, and in any other year, McCarthy might have a shot. I would have like to have seen a pair of women pick up nods for lesser-seen, very low budget raw films: Elsie Fischer and Carey Mulligan. If you haven’t seen Eighth Grade and Wildlife, do yourself a favor…they don’t make them like these in Hollywood anymore.