The Original BJ wrote:I bet a friend of mine money that Hathaway would make some crack about how things sure are going a lot better than the last time she was on this stage.
Her reputation in Hollywood is hideous, by the way.
Since I know you're not an idle gossip, I take this seriously, and wonder if it's some of the subtext to the fairly widespread "Man, her speeches suck" feeling. And this underlines a sense I've had for some time, that Hathaway could be Lauren Bacall -- from all appearances unbeatable, but once she lost people were quick to say "No surprise; everyone hates her". (Of course, I had a similar feeling about Renee Zellweger's run in '03, and she carried the day)
I went back and checked the 1987 Tonys, and, son of a gun, the role of Fantine didn't even get a nomination, despite being played by the estimable Randy Graff (a Tony winner only a few years later). Eponine was your winner, Cosette a co-nominee, so it's not as if the show was ignored. What transformed the role into an Oscar slam-dunk -- the long close-up, or a year's worth of pre-campaign from fanboys?
The advantage Hathaway has, that makes her the sensible bet despite qualms, is a hobbled competition -- not hobbled in the sense of being untalented (I'd rate three of the nominees above her), but of being poorly positioned circumstantially.
I'm fine with Jacki Weaver being nominated (especially if she prevented the Marigold dreck from scoring a nod). She's a lively presence who, like most of the actors in Silver Linings, creates a vivid background. But she mostly remains background, without a big moment, and wouldn't be a deserving winner.
(To briefly note excluded possibilities: Nicole Kidman did indeed rise above the rest of The Paperboy -- she defied the bromide that one can't lie down with dogs and not come up with fleas -- but the movie was so hideous I can't imagine voters would ever have gone for it. And I felt somewhat the same about Dowd in Compliance: she carried herself with conviction, but the film before very long required its characters to behave like such uncurious morons that i lost all patience with it)
Two of our nominees are of course unlikely to win because they've already been, in the eyes of many, over-rewarded in the past. Helen Hunt is pretty wonderful in The Sessions, but her previous win has been the subject of so much derision over the years that for her, like Marisa Tomei in '01, simply being nominated again is as much a career victory as she could expect (esp. given the omission of Hawkes and the screenplay from competition, something I find hard to grasp).
If Sally Field had only won once prior, I'd think she'd be an upset possibility (well, theoretically she IS an upset possibility, but I mean a serious one). Her Mary Todd Lincoln is something of an uneven performance, but has its definite high points. I'd think there are people in the voting pool who'd enjoy the idea of saluting a comeback after such a long absence (not to turn this gooey, but the night Field won for Places in the Heart was the first Oscars I watched with my wife, so I know that's a LONG time ago). But the fact that Field is already 2-for-2, and would be going an unprecedented 3-for-3 by winning, has to work against her with people (including myself) who "like" her, but don't remotely put her in the class of those deserving three Oscars.
Amy Adams is clearly the one best positioned to challenge, based on her rapidly accumulated career points, and her solid role. No, she's not as much a standout as Phoenix or Hoffman, but that's simply due to the size/dominance of the part -- in the same way, Jason Robards wasn't as much a knockout as Jane Fonda in Julia, but within his own category he was plenty good enough. As I was watching The Master (finally, this past weekend) I was noting one potential Oscar clip after another for Adams; every time she swoops in, she takes command -- and once again she displays how much range she has beyond the Princess roles we initially thought her forte. Her problem, of course, is that The Master is the opposite of a beloved film, even among many PTA fans. I found the movie mesmerizing to watch -- as usual, you could get drunk on the images, and most individual scenes were exceedingly well written. But I have to side with Sabin/Sonic, that the whole didn't match the sum of parts...that, when I got to the end, I didn't feel like enough had registered for me to feel like I'd gone somewhere coherent (I had the sense Anderson had not really worked it out yet in his head). Given all the film's virtues, I'm happy to praise it regardless, but I can understand why a more average filmgoer -- which describes significant portions of the Academy -- would react against it. And Cate Blanchett's loss for I'm Not There, among others, tells us if voters don't respond to a film, they're not giving it a major Oscar. So, despite Adams' seeming ripeness for honoring, it's most likely the Academy will pass over her one more time.
Which brings us back to Anne Hathaway. You've got to pick her (and even if there's an upset, it won't hurt you in the Oscar pool, because everyone else'll be picking her, too). But maybe don't leave the room when the award's being presented, because there's just the slim chance personality factors will intrude and cause a wild surprise.