Indiewire will provide updates of our predictions for the 86th Academy Award nominations through January 16th, 2014, when the nominations are announced.There are already four performances that seem like almost sure-things: Meryl Streep in "August: Osage County," Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine," Judi Dench in "Philomena" and Sandra Bullock in "Gravity." As far as I'm concerned, Blanchett and Bullock are sitting at the top of the heap, both the nailing extremely challenging (in extremely different ways) roles of a mentally unstable alcoholic lost without money and an emotionally damaged astronaut lost in space. Streep -- also playing an unstable addict -- is slightly more iffy given the lukewarm response to "August" and the fact that after winning Oscar #3 two years ago there's little pressure to honor her again. But it's hard to deny the magnitude of her performance, which is a show-stopper if there ever was one. And then there's Dench, who is both heartbreaking and heartwarming as a Irish woman fighting to find the son she was forced to abandon in "Philomena." If more than one as-yet-unseen contenders come on very strong, Dench is probably the first to go. But it will be tough to deny her accomplishment in "Philomena," and -- like Streep -- she has Harvey and Co. backing her (and now Harvey has two less actresses to back).
are a few interesting things about this potentially mighty quartet. For
one, all four of them have already won. Last year, the best supporting
actor race offered a first time situation
where every single nominee had already won, and it seems like we could
be heading there again. Even with Kidman and Cotillard (both former
winners themselves) out, most of the potential contenders outside those
four are also previous winners: Emma Thompson (for "Saving Mr. Banks") and Kate
Winslet (for "Labor Day").
Even more notable is that all four likely-to-be-nominated woman collectively represent great roles for woman over 40, with Dench (age 78), Streep (64), Bullock (49) and Blanchett (44) offering an average age of 58.75. Never has the best actress race featured all five nominees over 40 (it's even quite rare where all five were over 30), and even last year the average age was a lower 49, despite the nomination of 86 year-old Emmanuelle Riva.
chances of the race remaining a 40+ crowd are decent. Kate Winslet (a
child in this race at 37) is probably the least likely of the noted 3
possibilities, whereas more likely Emma Thompson would
continue the trend at 54, respectively. But then there's the one
contender I haven't mentioned, Ms. Amy Adams, who -- unlike everyone
else mentioned here -- has never won an Academy Award, despite four
nominations in under a decade. She also -- as of a month ago -- is 39
years old. Granted, no one has seen David O. Russell's "American Hustle"
(and probably won't until late November), but the buzz for Adams
performance is strong (which seems fair enough based on the trailer).
If there's anyone that can steal this race (and ruin the all-winner,
all-40-and-over dream), it's her. Given the competition, though, she'd
have to really hit it out of the park. But if she did, with it would
come another fun fact: It would be the first time the best actress
category saw two consecutive winners from different films by the same
Best actress predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the
All Worthy Work, But Can Any of Them Really Break Into That Five?
6. Amy Adams (American Hustle)
7. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
8. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color)
9. Kate Winslet (Labor Day)
10. Brie Larson (Short Term 12)
11. Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)
12. Berenice Bejo (The Past)
Check out all predictions in all the categories here.Sign up HERE for Indiewire's Awards Season newsletter and receive a twice-weekly email roundup of our awards stories, hand-picked by our editors from across the Indiewire Network, plus additional coverage in the final run up to the Oscars.