Oscar Real: Best Actress in a Leading Role breakdown

With only 4 days, 5 hours and 45 minutes left till Oscar night, there’s a lot of ground left to cover. Earlier I broke down the Supporting Actor category and now its time to switch back to the ladies — the leading ladies, that is.   In recent years, the Best Actress in a Leading Role have gone to Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side).

Who will the torch be passed to on Sunday night?

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

  • After four nominations and zero wins, Annette comes into Oscar night with the coveted “due” factor. Unfortunately for her, she’s coming in with a nomination for the wrong performance. Sure she gives a stellar performance in The Kids Are All Right but her work in Mother and Child, also released last year, is much more compelling.

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

  • An Oscar winner already for The Hours (2002), Nicole is just happy to be in the number again. After a slew of questionable post-Oscar films, she’s at the top of her game once again and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone

  • Seemingly plucked from obscurity, this 20-year old ingenue is now a bona fide star. After giving a phenomenal performance in Winter’s Bone, she now finds herself in contention amongst some of the greatest female talent of this generation.

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

  • Having grown up on-screen before our very eyes, Natalie is also “due” in some ways for Academy recognition. She’s a two-time nominee, most recently nominated  in the supporting realm for her role in Closer (2005), and the unequivocal favorite in the category.

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

  • A two-time nominee, Michelle has truly grown into one of the finest actresses of our time. With two solid performances under her belt in 2010 including Martin Scorese’s Shutter Island and her nominated portrayal in Blue Valentine, Williams is poised to claim a few golden trophies of her own, just not this time around.

The Real REAL: How could the Academy deny Natalie Portman? At this point, any one else winning the award- Annette Bening and her due status included– would severely warrant a side eye and a possible recount.  Even if Portman was denied the Best Actress in a Leading role Oscar, Bening still wouldn’t be a substantial enough replacement; while her performance certainly is worthy of a nomination, compared to her fellow nominees it’s the weakest of the bunch.

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