Arquette is a respected indie veteran (Tony Scott’s “True Romance,” David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” Martin Scorsese’s “Bringing Out the Dead”) who has never been nominated for an Oscar (she won an Emmy for “Medium” in 2005) and is overdue. She has more screen time than anyone besides title star Ellar Coltrane, aging over 12 years and enduring a series of often abusive husbands. At a climactic moment as she faces the empty nest, she sighs, “I thought there would be more.”
In the Gold Derby’s poll of Oscar experts (I’m one), Arquette ranked eighth in the lead actress race, while in supporting, she was the frontrunner. The critics and Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild could go another way, as Oscar voters did with Kate Winslet and “The Reader,” promoting her to Best Actress after several wins in the supporting category, but it’s unlikely. They usually take their cue from the distributor.