Oscar Race for Best Actress Already Overcrowded

Sandra Bullock
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

It’s only September and the best-actress race is already overloaded with contenders

Women often complain that there aren’t enough good movie roles for actresses, and they’re right.

This year, the meaty roles may not be plentiful, but they’re impressive: It’s only September and the best-actress race is already overloaded with contenders.

The Venice Film Festival, which kicked off Aug. 28, offered two strong possibilities: Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” and Judi Dench in “Philomena,” two very different but very impressive tour de force performances.

In May, Cannes offerings included “Blue is the Warmest Color,” in which Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos starred in the Palme d’Or-winning film, while the fest’s actress prize went to Berenice Bejo in “The Past.” Also winning big praise was “The Immigrant,” with Marion Cotillard. That’s six possibilities already.

Then you can add Cate Blanchett, in “Blue Jasmine,” a performance that’s getting a lot of heat, and several current indie films that feature terrific work by their lead actresses, including Brie Larson in “Short Term 12,” and Shailene Woodley in “The Spectacular Now.”

Venice also screened “Tracks,” in which Mia Wasikowska in onscreen the whole time in a role 180 degrees from recent work like “Stoker” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Among the titles to be screened at Toronto, which launches Sept. 5, are “August: Osage County,” with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts; “Devil’s Knot,” with Reese Witherspoon; and “Labor Day,” with Kate Winslet. Those are question-marks until they’re seen, but they sure sound like possibilities.

Toronto also offers other questions, such as “Railway Man,” with Nicole Kidman: Is that a lead or supporting role?

And speaking of Kidman, don’t forget films set for later this year including her “Grace of Monaco”; Naomi Watts as another princess, “Diana”; Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks”; and a bunch of other possibilities that are likely to pop up.

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  1. Cheryl milgram says:

    Emma Thompson was spectacular as Pj Travers
    She made grown men cry

  2. Mary queen says:


  3. dmichaelk says:

    Let’s forget Woodley in the Spectacular Now, and the two actresses for Blue is the Warmest Color. We all know those aren’t going to happen.

  4. Rbrianr says:

    Ageism is legally discriminatory, so I would be mindful of harsh comments about great actresses who happen to be over 50.

  5. Jonnybon says:

    Thompson won’t get nominated.

  6. Camille says:

    Blanchett, Dench and Thompson should be retired, they are too old and too overrated specially Blanchett who owns a very artificial old fashion acting style, Watts has to win

    • You said such a ridiculous thing! Blanchett, Dench and Thompson are great actresses and shouldn’t be retired in the best moment of their careers! Btw, you didn’t see Naomi Watts movie and said “she has to win”? Come on! Her movie doesn’t have a distributor yet, nobody like it and who saw it said that it looks like a very bad film made for TV, she doesn’t have any chance to win with it!

      • Peter says:

        That is buzz buddy…that happens all the time, people do not see movies but they start the rumor…you are miss informed Kate, Diana got a distributor (E one) and it got distribution quickly after the movie was presented in Cannes, Watts is the second favorite in Gold Derby, also The Queen was a very bad movie almost a TV movie and Mirren got an Oscar, My week with Marilyn was a TV movie fiasco and a flop and Williams got a nomination for a very weak work, quality is not necessary for an Oscar.

  7. Yoland says:

    Kidman’s part in Railway Man is a supporting one. It’s the typical long-suffering supporting wife. The film is premiering at Toronto and is in competition at San Sebastian.

  8. Leonidas says:

    What about Oprah in The Butler?

  9. Jake says:

    One of the best performances of the year is Melissa McCarthy in THE HEAT. I really wish comedy was not held to a different standard.

  10. Mirko says:

    I have three name sure: Blanchett, Dench and Thompson.

  11. Anastasia Machera says:

    Berenice Bejo took the first prize!!!

  12. Ian Robinson says:

    I’m only going off the trailer, but if Naomi Watts gets an awards nomination for “Diana” everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

    • Peter says:

      Well…after inexperienced actress J. Lawrence got the Oscar for a mediocre supporting work in a forgettable movie, Academy would have to be very proud of awarding one of the best actresses working today N. Watts

      • Peter says:

        if there were 2 actresses that should have not been nominated I can say that both Chastain and Lawrence (the frontrunners¡¡¡¡) were overrated works and did not deserve any award or nomination, they were not bad but far from excellence, Cotillard said that she got impressed with Watts work in The impossible, literally she said that she could not contain her tears seeing her, words of Cotillard

      • Naomi Watts is one of the most mediocre actresses working today! the Academy should be ashamed for have nominated her for her ridiculous (and dead) performance in The Impossible! Marion Cotillard should be nominated for Rust and Bone instead of her!

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