Countdown to the Oscars: Best Actress

The Best Actress race reminds me a lot of 1991:

Jennifer Lawrence carried Joy like Laura Dern in the equally-forgettable Rambling Rose; Charlotte Rampling received her long overdue recognition like Bette Midler (one of only two in her illustrious career) in For the Boys; and Cate Blanchett received the nomination that deserved to be shared with Rooney Mara for this generation’s version of Thelma & Louise.

Moreover, what makes this year’s field of actresses so comparable to the class of 1991, is the relegation of Mara’s stunning performance in Carol & Therese to the supporting category in order to recognize Saorise Ronan’s riveting breakout role in Brooklyn—a performance that in many other years would’ve walked away with the Oscar if it weren’t for Brie Larson channeling a maternal version of Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs.

Had Nie Yinniang’s stoic turn as The Assassin or Nina Hoss’s continued assent in Phoenix been recognized, the caliber of this year’s nominees for Best Actress would still rank among the most exceptional in decades, but “There’s so much of place in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter” (Room).

Who will win: Brie Larson, Room

Who should win: Brie Larson, Room

Who should’ve been nominated: Nie Yinniang, The Assassin & Nina Hoss, Phoenix

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