Film & Television

Oscar’s Women: This Year’s Best of the Best

Rooney Mara, who plays Blanchett’s lover in Carol, also turns in a fine performance. Mara, who at 30 is by no means old, has been nominated before, in 2012 for Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She has already won the Best Actress prize for Carol at Cannes (she tied with Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon roi), as well as nods from several domestic film festivals. She’s a legitimate contender, but Vikander will be hard to beat.

Another nomination went to Rachel McAdams for Spotlight, based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered countless cases of child molestation within the Catholic Church. McAdams is best-known for a number of romantic comedies (several favorites, but several fairly lightweight). She is a better actress than some may give her credit for (if you enjoy Shakespeare, try and catch her in the wonderful Canadian series Slings and Arrows). She doesn’t stand much of a chance this year, but perhaps it will help her land more serious roles going forward.

A final, somewhat surprising inclusion is Jennifer Jason Leigh (age 54), nominated for The Hateful Eight. Leigh was a marginal member of the 1980s Hollywood “brat pack;” her first big success was Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She’s worked throughout her life but never regained the stardom that probably felt inevitable after that smash hit. Now, leading the almost all-male cast of a film by Quentin Tarantino, Leigh must be marveling at the vagaries of Hollywood and how far she’s come. She spends much of her screen time in Hateful Eight, cold, wet, covered with blood and handcuffed to Kurt Russell. And yet, a fine performance shines through.

Join Women’s Voices for Change at our Live Blog of the 2016 Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28th. Help us cheer on all of these remarkable women. (Hopefully there will be many more in many more categories next year.)

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