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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Award Speculation Begins: Rosamund Pike vs Julianne vs Shailene, Who Gets Nods from Oscar?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

It is a little early for Julianne Moore to run away with Best Actress heat for Still Alice, but Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars) already have made traction in the Oscar race so far. 

The festival noise from Still Alice is deafening, and will catch up with the buzz early next month, but even the anticipation at seeing an early November pre-screening is adrenaline rush enough.

Keep in mind, Julianne Moore has been nominated three times, but never won. So. she is overdue. A lot of factors to consider.

And Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), a George Clooney protege/discovery, is just so thoroughly brave in The Fault in Our Stars, that the “three-hankie” genre has unearthed a real budding supernova.

Yet Rosamund Pike, former Bond Girl, who was given only minor screen time in the Anthony Hopkins/Ryan Gosling thriller Fracture, has clearly come into her own with the lead bad girl role in Gone Girl.

And yes, she is pregnant right now. And yes, she did just appear at a major event in London with last year’s Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave). Wait, who was that in the background at the event? None other than Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. (As a journalist you watch for these things, a bellwether?)

Ignore the nonsense debates about the Gone Girl plot, as in “Is this movie an indictment of marriage?,” Rosamund Pike’s performance is all you need to focus on. From first gear in Fracture to redlining the RPM’s in David Fincher’s Ben Affleck starrer, Pike soars in her pure ability to steal something authentic and powerful from the thriller genre.

Credit David Fincher (Panic Room), who was also the first director to open the door for Kristen Stewart, who played Jodie Foster’s interesting daughter in Panic Room (2002).

On the Best Actress horizon, there is always room for Kristen Stewart, whose biggest mistake to date was not rebuffing the randy director from Snow White & The Huntsman. 

Stewart had Clouds of Sils Maria released in Spring, then Camp X Ray in mid-October with a final release Oct. 24. If you can believe preliminary Box Office numbers, Camp X Ray made next to nothing. And Clouds was a festival favorite, but not with the General Public. So her supporting run in Still Alice may mean more now, but memories are long in town, especially where under-performing BO totals are concerned.

The tricky thing about Still Alice is that the release date is officially Jan. 16, 2015, so Oscar contention is based on this quick 2014 run in festivals, and pre-screenings. Note that throwing Still Alice into the mix this late demonstrates that the Best Actress race is vulnerable, despite Rosamund Pike’s slasher turn and Shailene Woodley’s weeper epic.

The good news is that there are some very solid leading performances from some outstanding women this year. No, you can’t count out perennial favorite Jennifer Lawrence in Serena, again with Bradley Cooper, but this darker flare for drama lite might turn off some voters.

Watch as the race unfolds for Best Actress in the 2014 statuette run. 

Meanwhile, on the Best Actor (male) side, Shia LaBeouf is the big story, thanks to his “WarDaddy” Brad Pitt (Fury). 

And could there be dual noms for Mr. & Mrs. Smith (a/k/a Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie)? 

Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie looks notable from all accounts, and is banking heavy on a Christmas Day 2014 release to show voters they didn’t wait all year for nothing.

Awards Season is here… and you are too.

Stay tuned.


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About Quendrith Johnson

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