Home Movies Annette Bening, Geoffrey Rush Could Score Oscar Upsets

Oscar ballots went out this week to Academy members. “The King’s Speech” seems like a lock for Best Picture. There are also some definites: Colin Firth for Best Actor, Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress. But what’s still fluid and in flux? Judging  by past voting trends, there are two possible upsets: Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress.

In the former, Christian Bale was superlative as Dicky in “The Fighter.” But dial back to 1997 and “The English Patient.” Betting money had Lauren Bacall winning Best Supporting Actress for “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” The Hollywood legend had never won an Oscar, and there was a lot of support and sentiment for her. But “The English Patient,” like “The King’s Speech,” was a tsunami. It pulled Juliet Binoche in, surprising Bacall and her fans.

This could happen again. With Firth, the movie, and the original screenplay very solid, “The King’s Speech” may pull along Geoffrey Rush. Before Bale was on the scene, everyone thought Rush was a lock for Best Supporting Actor. It’s a long shot, but who knows? There are those who think Rush was equal to Firth in “The King’s Speech.” They may check off his name at the last minute. I wouldn’t blame them.

In Best Actress, Natalie Portman has lots of awards for “Black Swan.” She’s young, cute, and pregnant. She’ll have a long career. But there are plenty in the Academy who remember Annette Bening’s performances in “American Beauty” and “Being Julia,” her two best prior Oscar shots before “The Kids Are All Right”, as well as “The Grifters.” This should have been her year. How many times do we expect this woman to go through Oscar campaigns and come out a loser? Not only that: imagine the irony of Firth and Bening, who once co-starred in the dreadful “Valmont,” emerging together as winners years later. It’s delicious.

What else? Yes, we know Aaron Sorkin has Best Adapted Screenplay in hand for “The Social Network.” But who gets Best Director? Is it David Fincher, to split the vote, or Tom Hooper, following “The King’s Speech.” I’ve said this before: Fincher has the lower profile. A lot of people think Sorkin directed “The Social Network”; he’s the face of the film in the Oscar campaign. Hooper also has the DGA, which is hard to shake; rarely does the DGA winner lose the Oscar. Oh, those last two awards are nail biters. There won’t be an empty seat in the Kodak Theater when those announcements come.

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6 replies to this post
  1. ‘showy performances’ are not given by amateur actresses! AND are you trying to tell me that ‘American Beauty’ was Not a showy performance? What a putdown(Afrika) for a fine young actress like Natalie Portman-and Austin- I don’t care for Annette Bening as an actress in this particular film, she was great in ‘Henry’ but you know what-just to give someone an Oscar because they have been around forever is not the way it works-or it shouldn’t!

  2. If The English Patient was such a tsunami that it shows how Bale could loose to Rush, it would have taken more than one acting Oscar. It lost in both best actor and best actress. Not only that, but Bacall had no precursor wins and was in a film with only 1 other Oscar nomination. Bale has swept the precursor awards AND he is in a film that is a top 5 Best Picture frontrunner. And Rush already has an acting Oscar. Binoche did not.

  3. I do agree with you! I have respect for Natalie Portman, but Annette should be rewarded for her performances. Hopefully the Academy will play it safe and choose her! Her performances are phenomenal.

  4. Oscar voters make their decisions based on the nominated role, as well as an actor’s previous work. Also, prior Oscar nominations are taken into account as well. Annette Bening deserves her current nomination and has a good shot at a win. Luckily for her, she doesn’t have to deal with Hilary Swank. While “some” of you don’t care for Annette Bening as an actress, there are “many” of us who think she’s fantastic. As much as Natalie Portman was wonderful in “Black Swan”, there’s a good chance that Oscar voters will honor Annette Bening for Best Actress.

  5. Mary Maude
    You hit the nail on the head. Portman won’t get a chance to perform a role like Black Swan again because she is a one hit wonder. I am so over these mediocre actresses like Portman who get Oscars for physical transformation roles. Oh look at me, I lost weight, I learned ballet for one year, I made out with a girl, I masturbated onscreen, I deserve an Oscar. Pathetic! what have gwyneth paltrow, charlize theron, reese witherspoon, halle berry etc done since their oscar wins? what have they done?

    Actresses like Annette Bening and Julianne Moore consistently deliver solid work, year after year but they get snubbed for these showy performances by amateur actresses. Annette Bening didn’t lose weight or uglify herself in The Kids are all right but her performance was stellar. Quiet yet explosive, the work of a true thespian. I wonder how many of these young actresses can play an ordinary woman on screen and make a splash. They always need some sort of transformation to get recognised.

    I say Annette for the Oscar. If she doesn’t win, she’ll still go on to do good work. Portman, on the other hand,…

  6. On the other hand, how many times will Natalie Portman get a chance to perform a role like in ‘Black Swan’? I don’t understand your fixation with Annette Bening-lots of actors don’t get Oscars! You sound like a little boy in a classroom screaming” that’s not fair!” What about Richard Burton? What about Peter O’Toole? Some of us are not sold on the Annette Bening school of hysterical acting-her best movie was ‘Henry’ with Harrison Ford.MMH

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