Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”
Prediction: Kate Winslet
Chance of winning: 80%
I said throughout the fall that Kate Winslet would win the best actress Oscar this year – for Revolutionary Road. So I’ll only be half-right.
Winslet has several things going for her here. She won both the Globe and the SAG Award for The Reader, albeit in the supporting category. She is the sole lead actress contender in a best picture nominee, and this is the only real chance for the film to win. She uses an accent, ages, deglamourizes and suffers on screen – all traditional Oscar trappings.
This is Winslet’s sixth nomination without a win, and many Academy voters feel that she’s finally due for the award. Throw in the bonus points she’ll get for her equally bravura performance in Revolutionary Road and she appears to be unstoppable.
However, two-time winner Meryl Streep is as good as she’s ever been in Doubt, and she did edge out Winslet in the lead race at the SAG Awards. With 26 years having gone by since her last win, some feel that she’s finally due a third Oscar. (Streep is considered the world’s greatest living actress by many.)
Her role in Doubt is much more dramatic than Winslet’s nuanced turn in The Reader, and I generally argue that the showier performance always wins. Still, the overall momentum clearly appears to be with Winslet, and expect to see her name finally read when the envelope is opened.