Monday, January 16, 2012

84th Oscar Lead Actress Updates (1/16/12)

The lead actress category is turning into one the most interesting races of the year, with Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams splitting the precursor awards between them.

Last night’s Golden Globe awards certainly kept things interesting. We all know that the Golden Globes tend to reward the bigger star, and that differences in category placement and voting bodies mean that these awards don’t always translate exactly into the Oscar race. For instance, Meryl Streep has now won eight Golden Globes, but only two Oscars. On the other hand, this is the first time that she has won in the drama category (as opposed to comedy, supporting or tv) since... wait for it... Sophie’s Choice, where she won her last Oscar!

Now before we get too carried away, we should also note that Meryl’s acceptance speech felt as if she was begging the Academy to reward Viola Davis instead, mentioning her twice. The Oscars also have a history of skipping great performances like in The Iron Lady, and then trying to make up for them in future years by rewarding lesser works. I’ll be watching the Screen Actors Guild closely to see what will happen, but for now I am ranking Davis first, Streep second and Williams third.

Here are today’s rankings for the 84th Oscar Lead Actress race, with previous ranking shown in parenthesis after each entry. In addition to the adjustments I have made for the three ladies at the top of my list, I would also note that Adepero Oduye and Mia Wasikowska were both honored with shout-outs from Meryl, and consequently I have moved them both up within my top fifteen.

1. Viola Davis in The Help (Predicted Winner) (previous rank 1)
2. Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (previous rank 4)
3. Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn (previous rank 2)
4. Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs (previous rank 3)
5. Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin (previous rank 5)

6. Charlize Theron in Young Adult (previous rank 6)
7. Rooney Mara in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (previous rank 8)
8. Adepero Oduye in Pariah (previous rank 11)
9. Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene (previous rank 7)
10. Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia (previous rank 10
11. Felicity Jones in Like Crazy (previous rank 9)
12. Michelle Yeoh in The Lady (previous rank 12)
13. Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre (previous rank 26)
14. Berenice Bejo in The Artist (previous rank 13)
15. Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method (previous rank 14)
16. Jodie Foster in Carnage (previous rank 15)
17. Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur (previous rank 16)
18. Brit Marling in Another Earth (previous rank 17)
19. Anna Paquin in Margaret (previous rank 18)
20. Naomi Harris in The First Grader (previous rank 19)
21. Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito) (prevous rank 20)
22. Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids (previous rank 21)
23. Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower (previous rank 22)
24. Saoirse Ronan in Hanna (previous rank 23)
25. Kate Winslet in Carnage (previous rank 24)

26. Vera Farmiga in Higher Ground (previous rank 25)
27. Kristin Scott Thomas in Sarah’s Key (previous rank 27)
28. Juliette Binoche in Certified Copy previous rank 28)
29. Emma Stone in The Help (previous rank 29)
30. Ellen Barkin in Another Happy Day (previous rank 30)
31. Anne Hathaway in One Day (previous rank 31)
32. Charlotte Gainsbourg in Melancholia (previous rank 32)
33. Zana Marjanovic in In The Land Of Blood And Honey (previous rank 33)
34. Maria Bello in Beautiful Boy (previous rank 34)
35. Carey Mulligan in Shame (previous rank 35)
36. Abbie Cornish in W.E. (previous rank 36)
37. Robin Wright in The Conspirator (previous rank 37)
38. Rachel McAdams in Midnight In Paris (previous rank 38)
39. Carey Mulligan in Drive (previous rank 39)
40. Michelle Williams in Meek’s Cutoff (previous rank 40)
41. Julianne Moore in Crazy Stupid Love (previous rank 41)
42. Catherine Deneuve in Potiche (previous rank 42)
43. Zoe Saldana in Colombiana (previous rank 43)
44. Kate Winslet in Contagion (previous rank 44)
45. Gianna Jun (Jun Ji-Hyun) in Snow Flower And The Secret Fan (previous rank 45)
46. Bing Bing Li in Snow Flower And The Secret Fan (previous rank 46)
47. Reese Witherspoon in Water For Elephants (previous rank 47)
48. Angela Bassett in Jumping The Broom (previous rank 48)
49. Jessica Chastain in The Debt (previous rank 49)
50. Amy Adams in The Muppets (previous rank 50)

As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!
See Lead Actress predictions for other years HERE.
Or check out the Lead Actor, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress predictions.
See predictions for other categories at the 84th Oscars HERE.
Switch to another year: 84th,  85th,  86th,  87th,  88th,  89th  


  1. I keep saying that Meryl Streep will win. I remember years ago when I predicted Marion Cotillard to win and I had this discussion with a friend that was predicting Julie Christie to win. Somehow I feel I'm right again. Maybe it's a feeling, but feelings do count. Academy has a history of mistakes. But they always recognize performances that are the best in any year, in any decade, just like Daniel Day-Lewis in THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Day-Lewis gave the best male perfomance since... Day-Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT. Somehow, I think Meryl's performance is one of those: a great performance in every year, in every decade. Can you imagine Viola Davis to win Kate Winsler in THE READER or Nicole Kidman in THE HOURS? But I can with Meryl. At the end of the day, they have to think: who gave the best performance? And the answer is Meryl

    1. You cold very well be right. I just saw it recently (review coming soon), and Meryl is fantastic.

      I also see that you've listed Bejo in lead, which is something that I've been wondering about for quite some time, and even more now that BAFTA did it. If you're right, the Swinton camp will go ballistic for sure!