Taking Charge: Best Lead Performances

84th Annual Academy Awards Preview Part III

Clooney says RELAX

As the Oscars draw closer, I continue my preview guide for the upcoming ceremony. I’ve already covered the screenplay categories and taken a look at the supporting performances. Here’s the third installment of my 84th Academy Awards Preview.

Next we move on to the lead acting categories. I don’t know what’s up with The Academy, but they don’t seem to have the same view on these two categories that I do. 2007 was the easiest year to pick for these categories, and this year again my picks don’t match up with who I think will really win—but I think I have a handle on it.

Best Leading Actress.
The Nomniees:

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

With the exception of 2007, I don’t seem to be able to pick Best Actress. The Academy always goes one way, me—another. But I don’t mind. This year it’s going to be the same thing. Unlike the next category, though, I’m very impressed with all of these women; they’ve all turned in stellar, award deserving performances. Mara was my initial pick as her performance was quiet yet powerful. But, after watching Albert Nobbs, a movie that surprised me with how good it was and how into I got, I found Glenn Close’s performance just amazing. But, the big story here is Viola Davis. She is one of the two actresses here really poised to take the statuette home. Davis has proven herself over the past few years just what a great actress she is, and this could finally be her year to win. But of course standing in her path is the ever present Meryl Streep. Streep and Davis are probably neck and neck in the race for Best Actress, but I think Davis is going to come out on top.

Favorite: Viola Davis, The Help
My Pick: Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
No Way: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

 

Best Leading Actor.
The Nomniees:

Demián Bechir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Again, with the exception of 2007, I’m not too skilled at picking Best Actor. The Academy and I seem to have differing tastes, but that’s okay. And again this year, I’m pretty sure we’re not going to see eye-to-eye either. I really think there are only 3 choices here: Clooney, Dujardin, and Pitt. I’m not knocking Bechir’s or Oldman’s performances, because they were very good (Oldman is just baller in general), but the other 3 were pretty outstanding in their turns. I really think the Academy could go with either of these three, but Pitt is probably the long shot of the trio. For my money, I think Dujardin had the standout performance of the year. His depiction of a fading silent film star in The Artist was magnificent and nuanced in a way that Clooney just wasn’t able to surpass for me. The biggest disappointment in this category though is the lack of Ryan Gosling. Gosling’s superb, quiet yet commanding performance in Drive deserved a nomination here.

Favorite: George Clooney, The Descedants
My Pick: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
No Way: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Deserved Nomination: Ryan Gosling, Drive

So that’s it for best lead performances. Actress is a tight race between Viola Davis and Mrs. Oscar, Meryl Streep, but I thought both paled in comparison to Glenn Close’s portrayal of Albert Nobbs. As for actors, Clooney is pretty on track to take home the Oscar, but Durjadin is hot on his heels and could hand George an upset. In the next installment, we’ll take a look at our nominated directors and the biggest category of them all: Best Picture.