The 84th Academy Awards is almost here! Leading up to the event, we’re going to put all the hours we spent watching these films to good use by giving our thoughts on all the categories, big and small. We may not be experts on everything, but I daresay that’s never stopped anyone from blogging before. On the (very remote chance) you disagree with us or the (much more likely chance) you want to applaud our picks, please chime in below.

Actress in a Leading Role

The nominees are:

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn


This is a tough category this year. I think, by a hair, the best performance of the year came from Meryl Streep. Not only did she have to tackle playing a real person but at a variety of ages in different stages of mental decline. This film calls for her to dodder around in her senility and jabber with the ghost of her dead husband but she handles it well. I shudder to think how bad The Iron Lady would have been without such a good central performance.

But if I’m being honest I’m rooting for Viola Davis. She’s always awesome and maybe a win would land her some more sizable, and meatier, roles. Streep already has two Oscars and I don’t think she’d begrudge her pal Viola a win. If I have any complaint about Davis in The Help it’s that she painfully out-acts Emma Stone in too many of their shared scenes!

I didn’t like My Week With Marilyn and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing it, but hell if Michelle Williams isn’t very good in it. She does a good job channeling Marilyn Monroe, including her insecurities and playfulness. I suspect I enjoyed Glenn Close’s performance more than my colleagues. I’m not sure she would have made my list but she really sells the restraint and social ineptitude of her character. And while I’m fine with Rooney Mara, I wonder how much of it is that she gets to sport an accent and wear a bunch of leather. I can’t recall ever being particularly taken by her performance.

And if I had my druthers I’d stick Elizabeth Olsen in.


Oscar did well here.  It would have been hard for them to do poorly, but they’ve shown a certain capability for that.  I’ve now seen Rooney Mara in four movies (this one, Youth in RevoltThe Social Network, and The Winning Season) and I’m very much impressed with her mutability.  I’d love to see her in an action spy show like Alias, or, at least, what I’m assuming Alias was.  She’s good here, but given what the character did for Noomi Rapace, I wonder if the love here is actually for the role.

Albert Nobbs is a challenging portrayal to reward.  The character has devoted his or her life to staying in the background, inconspicuous.  So Close is all small, controlled mannerisms here.  I think it is a performance that needs to sit a little bit to really appreciate, to get how she played at being a man, not really sure of her place in society when not at work.

I may have Davis third, but she’s absolutely deserving of the statue.  I’m not really one for race debates, especially when it comes to Oscar, because then you end up with Crash.  All I want to say is that should Davis take home the trophy, regardless of what caused people to vote for or against her, she’s a fantastic actress who earned the award on merit.

Not like I have anything new to say about Meryl Streep.  Other than that I hope she’s in the sequel to RED.

It isn’t news that I’m in the tank for Michelle Williams.  I’m assuming something was planted in brain when I saw Dick in theaters, but my love more directly stems from The Station Agent and The Baxter.  Anyway, Michelle’s Marilyn is a heck of a performance.  To take such an iconic figure and breathe such life and nuance into it?  Man.  She did Marilyn when she was on, when she was drugged, when she was nervously trying to act.  She dominates the film and is such a joy to watch.


Rooney Mara


Rooney Mara