GLENN CLOSE (THE WIFE) – Is Close the best actress to have never won an Oscar? Well, Annette Bening, Laura Linney and Amy Adams might have a thing or two to say about that, but Close is definitely up there. This is her seventh nomination and, of those seven, it’s possibly the most she’s ever deserved the win. Stack that up against Dangerous Liaisons and The Big Chill and you’ll get a decent sense of how good Close is in The Wife. It’s a performance of astounding restraint and subtlety, the likes of which only comes around once in a blue moon. Whatever the merits of her competitors, this should be Close’s award all day long.
OLIVIA COLMAN (THE FAVOURITE) – Make no mistake, Colman is superb in The Favourite. The film isn’t the masterpiece the hype machine has made it out to be, but Colman treads the line between farce and tragedy with such delicate ease that the brilliance of her performance is almost easy to miss. Every moment of rage, pain, insanity and giddy glee feels utterly real in a turn that it is beyond the equal of anything else Colman – one of England’s finest actresses – has ever delivered. In any other company, she’d be a deserving winner.
LADY GAGA (A STAR IS BORN) – I don’t want to seem like I’m ragging on A Star Is Born too much, but I struggle to see anything in Gaga’s performance that is Oscar worthy. Her pipes are no surprise to anyone, although Bradley Cooper still seems shocked everytime she opens her mouth. That she’s on this list and Toni Colette isn’t (for her devastating turn in Hereditary) is another black mark on a remarkably long list of black marks for this year’s Oscars.
YALITZA APARICIO (ROMA) – The first indigenous actress to be nominated for this award isn’t considered by most to be in with any real shout of winning. But while we’ve already earmarked Glenn Close for the win, I wouldn’t be the least bit disappointed if Yalitza Aparicio’s name was the one inside the envelope. It’d be a shock, but a rare one which ended in the right result. Roma’s emotional impact hinges on her performance and it’s one of such powerful naturalism that I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Just don’t let John Travolta introduce her.
MELISSA MCCARTHY (CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?) – Didn’t we say this was a tough category? The Academy is notoriously shy of awarding comedians for dramatic work (Jim Carrey and Bill Murray will tell you plenty about that), but McCarthy is unbelievably good in Can You Ever Forgive Me, a film that has unjustly been overshadowed elsewhere by glitzier, sexier fare like Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born. Her performance as the prickly, defensive Lee Israel is incredibly complicated, nuanced and endlessly watchable. Judging this performance against Glenn Close’s silent scream, Olivia Colman’s freewheeling mania and Yalitza Aparicio’s understated resolve feels like trying to figure out if Nevermind is better than an Edward Hopper painting, but if held at gunpoint, I’d still opt for Close.
- SHOULD WIN: Glenn Close
WILL WIN: Glenn Close
MISSED OUT: Toni Collette