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Road to the Oscars: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

16 February 2014 By Nick Salacki, Columnist No Comments

We have now covered all Oscar nominees with supporting roles. Now it is time to cover the categories of nominees with leading roles, starting with Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

This category is my favorite this year. Every nominee proved themselves with superb performances, all of which I greatly enjoyed.

The official nominees are Amy Adams for “American Hustle,” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,” Sandra Bullock for “Gravity,” Judi Dench for “Philomena” and Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”

Adams receives her fifth Oscar nomination by starring in David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” as Sydney Prosser, the smart and beautiful woman who, with her lover, partners up with an FBI agent in a finance scheme against a New Jersey mayor.

Adams is a very unique actress. After about a minute of her performance in this film, I confirmed my love for her.

She is creative with her roles, which ultimately grabs the eyes of her audience.

I absolutely love Adams in this film. Her nomination is obvious and well earned.

Oscar-winner Blanchett receives her sixth nomination by starring in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” as the title character, a superficial, materialistic and penniless widow who becomes depressed and close to mentally insane, later being cared for by her sister in San Francisco.

Blanchett is not only the title character; she also makes the film itself because of her in-depth character and Blanchett’s performance, which brings it to life, is what is best about the film.

Her performance is immaculate. Blanchett’s nomination is a given and well-deserved.

Oscar-winner Bullock receives her second Oscar nomination by starring in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” as Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first space mission during which, space debris hits her shuttle site, sending her adrift into open space.

This film, set entirely in outer space, is like no other, much likeBullock’s performance, which was made real with the use of CGI technology.

But regardless of all the difficulties that came with it behind the scenes, Bullock went above and beyond her emotional tour de force performance. Her nomination is deserved.

Oscar-winner Dench receives her seventh Oscar nomination for starring in Stephen Frears’ “Philomena” as the title character, an aged English woman on an emotional journey with a journalist to find Philomena’s long lost son who was forcibly adopted from her after his birth in the 1950s.

Dench is one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. But compared to her previous works in film, the role of Philomena seemed as if it was a resting point for the Dame.

She gave a great performance, even making me tear up, but I feel it is not fully Oscar-worthy.

Three-time Oscar winner Streep receives her 18th Oscar nomination by starring in John Wells’ “August: Osage County” as Violet Weston, the widowed matriarch of a large, troubled family as they come together for a funeral.

Violet Weston is a troubled drug addict, mother, manipulator and honest yet hurtful person.

The character development is incredible and Streep performed the role perfectly. All her nominations are results of how she has perfected the art of acting; she is one of a kind.

Her performance is incredibly beautiful. Her nomination is well earned.

As much as Adams, Dench and Streep all deserve high praise and recognition for their amazing performances, I believe the Oscar comes to a close head-to-head race between Blanchett and Bullock.

It’s not a matter of comparing the two actresses’ performances,;it all comes down to how the two contrast, formulating what the Academy would qualify as an Oscar worthy performance. Blanchett portrays a depressed yet superficial widow in a dramedy while Bullock portrays a space engineer struggling to return to Earth in a sci-fi thriller.

After giving it much thought, I personally believe that Blanchett deserves the award just a little bit more than Bullock.

My vote goes to Blanchett. I believe the Academy’s will as well.

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