In today’s post, we take a look at one of the most exciting categories in this year’s Academy Awards, as we shine a light on the actresses nominated for Best Actress.
Will win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Should win: Glenn Close (The Wife)
Also nominated: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
At the apex of this category is a proper clash of the titans, as two masterful performances from Olivia Colman and Glenn Close vie for the prestigious Oscar statuette. Honestly, there’s not much separating the two. Colman stars in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite and is superb as Queen Anne. Blinkered by trauma, her character teeters on the edge of insanity, vulnerable and explosive in equal measure.
In a more restrained but equally brilliant turn, Glenn Close stars in The Wife and explores what a life lived in someone else’s shadow looks like. It’s a fabulously layered and, at times, even inscrutable performance. Piece by piece, with every passing injustice, the facade begins to crumble and the woman underneath emerges.
In truth, the only thing that separates these performances is Hollywood’s politics. As wonderful and experienced an actress as Colman may be, she’s fresh-faced in the world of Hollywood award shows. Glenn Close, on the other hand, has been nominated for an Oscar six times without winning. Quite simply, it’s her turn to win, and it’s hard to argue that she doesn’t deserve it.
The strength of Close and Colman’s performances in no way diminishes the magnificence of the other nominees in this category. It almost beggars belief that Roma marks Yalitza Aparicio’s first foray into the world of acting, so good is she at it. But its that exact lack of experience which lends a refreshing naturalism to her performance, and she absolutely deserves her moment in the limelight.
In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Melissa McCarthy has stepped way out of her comfort zone and taken on a role which differs radically from anything she’s done before – but it’s a decision which has paid off. Though the film is essentially the story of a criminal, there’s a fragility about her performance which means you can’t help but like her.
And, of course, Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star is Born has been nothing short of revelatory. Her turn as Ally is brilliant on every level. Given Gaga’s superstardom, it’s only natural that she’s believable as the star she eventually becomes in the film, but more impressive is how wonderful she is in the quieter, more intimate moments of the film. It’s a performance underpinned by remarkable acting dexterity, and she, too, deserves high praise.
Sunday evening will undoubtedly be Glenn Close’s night, as she finally picks up her well-deserved, long-overdue Oscar. However, given the brilliant female talent on display in this category, it will also be a win for women in film.