This year’s Best Actress Oscar nominees took us from 1970’s Mexico, to 18th century England, and even to the grounds of Coachella. The nominees include a veteran actress riding high on her seventh nomination, a global pop star phenomenon, a former bridesmaid, a queen in her own right, and even a brand new actress making her on-screen debut. These were five fantastic performances this year, but only one can claim the Oscar victory.
Here’s a brief rundown of each nominee followed by our prediction of who’s going to get the gold.
Glenn Close – The Wife
In The Wife, Close plays Joan Castleman, the supportive spouse of a novelist (played by Jonathan Pryce) who is about to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, Close’s performance has already won her the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics Choice Award. The film relies on Close’s power to really drive home the story and the veteran actress proves she’s more than up to the task at hand.
Close has been nominated for six previous Academy Awards for her work in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and Albert Nobbs. Will The Wife finally get her the win?
Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born
While some may feel that a pop star playing a pop star isn’t something to alert the presses over, they probably haven’t seen Lady Gaga’s gut-wrenchingly real performance as Ally in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. After all, making an audience forget you’re a global icon is hard work on its own, but Gaga makes us believe in Ally’s lack of confidence with subtlety, heart, and heaps of emotion. When Ally watches Cooper’s Jackson Maine tear through “Shallow” as he begs her to come out on stage for a duet, we believe the fear in her face. As the two grow closer and closer, we completely forget about Joanne, the outlandish outfits, and the character Gaga introduced herself to the world as. She just shines. Now that’s the “Edge of Glory.”
Melissa McCarthy- Can You Ever Forgive Me?
It’s not often that comedians snag the ever-elusive Oscar nomination, but this isn’t McCarthy’s first rodeo—she snagged a nomination for her raunchy turn in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids in 2011. She’s back on the nomination ballot this year for her role as Lee Israel, the clever curmudgeon and biographer-turned-forger who made a living selling documents she wrote in the voice of famous authors like Dorothy Parker and Noël Coward. While McCarthy’s competition certainly makes her one of this year’s underdogs, stranger things have happened at the Oscars.
Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
Twenty-five-year-old Yalitza Aparicio certainly made a splash this year. After all, how many actresses land their first role in an Academy Award-nominated feature film? Aparicio plays Cleo, a working-class housekeeper who goes through the motions (and emotions) in a year of her life in 1970’s Mexico City. The film tackles serious issues that affected working-class Mexicans at the time, from unexpected pregnancy to the political and socio-political movements, rioting included, that befell upon the country. The spectrum of highs and lows Cleo endures is…well, award-worthy.
Olivia Colman – The Favourite
In the 18th century, Queen Anne was quite the character and Colman handles her bipolar mood swings effortlessly, providing both comedy and drama for Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. Anne is manic, emotional, childish, and giddy. She races lobsters. She suffers from gout. She cries on a dime like a baby only to demand respect and authority seconds later. Colman is mesmerizing, adding color and character to an already bright and vivacious queen. While this is Colman’s first Oscar nomination, the actress did win the BAFTA this year for Leading Actress. Can she repeat that success tonight?
So who will win? Our money’s on Glenn Close. At 71-years-old and with six losses already behind her, it makes sense that the Academy will award her the win based on her repertoire of work. She an industry veteran who’s already taken home three major awards this season (though technically, she did tie with Lady Gaga for the Critics Choice Award), but simply put, she’s overdue. Sometimes the cosmos align and based on her lengthy career and the power of her performance, Close probably has this one in the bag. (Having said that, I might be secretly rooting for Colman—just don’t tell Close that.)