Given Best Actress is shaping up to be the toughest category this year besides Best Supporting Actor, and given it's my favorite category, I've decided to post an analysis of sorts on all the nominees, inspired by Entertainment Weekly:
Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty:
Why She Will Win: She's an extremely talented actress, just hitting her peak and is a major presence in Zero Dark Thirty. She's won the G.G and the lions share of critics prizes. She also is so charming and interesting in her interviews which always helps.
Why She Won't Win: It's a very subtle performance, and as Viola Davis and Julie Christie can tell you, those don't win that often, particularly now a days. Also, Zero Dark Thirty's lack of a director nomination (GRRRRRR) and continuing controversy puts a stick in her momentum. There's also that horror movie Mama coming out, which could hurt her chances if gets terrible reviews.
Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook:
Why She Will Win: Silver Lining's Playbook has gotten nominations in ALL the most important categories and like Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence has been doing extremely well in the precursors. She has left over goodwill from Winter's Bone as well the box office clout from The Hunger Games. And last but not least, it's just a great performance.
Why She Won't: She's still very young and the Academy could reward her later. And it's not really the type of character or performance they go for.
Emanuelle Riva in Amour: Amour's surprise Oscar nominations give her a big boost and she gets raves across the board from all those who have seen it. Also, the role is very juicy and challenging, something that always helps. Although she isn't a super well known actress, she could still collect the sentimental vote given her age and how long she's worked for. Marion's win proved that foreign language performances can pull it off....
Why She Won't Win: But foreign performances still hardly ever win, and all the buzz around Chastain and Lawrence makes a vote splitting situation hard, though not impossible. She need the BAFTA badly if she wants to win.
Quezyane Wallis in Beasts Of The Southern Wild:
Why She Will Win: The performance seems to be loved by a great many people, and like Riva, the surprise support for her film could help her a lot. If the Academy can get really crazy and give it to her...
Why She Won't Win: Many would be outraged if she did pull off a shocking upset. Yes, the Academy can give Best Supporting Actress to Anna Paquin, Patty Duke, and Tatum O'Neal, but I doubt they'll give Best Actress to somebody so young.
Naomi Watts in The Impossible:
Why She Will Win: She's been in quite a few films and is arguably the veteran in this race. Her role in The Impossible is the most baity and also the most physically laborious as well.
Why She Won't Win: The fact that it's the film's only nomination and she's in a category filled with nominees from Best Picture contenders make her last place I'm afraid.
Right now, I have a hunch Emanuelle Riva will pull off an upset. Why? I'm not sensing any overwhelming support for Lawrence or especially Chastain at the moment, and it seems like voters really love Amour. I could still see Lawrence winning, and that would make me very happy, although I haven't seen Watts or Riva yet. What do you think?