Has there ever been less of a pulse in the Best Actress race? The passion out there is nonexistent. Nobody is saying anything about Julianne Moore except that she’s got it in the bag, and nobody has said a damn thing about that dutifully morose film she’s the star of, Still Alice. If another lead actress performance had any kind of serious competitive heat I would launch a “STOP JULIANNE MOORE” campaign just to take this race off life support…but nobody has the narrative to challenge Moore except, possibly, Cake‘s Jennifer Aniston, who delivered the goods and has campaigned her way into serious contention. Moore’s narrative is “Still Alice might be a Lifetime movie but she’s due” while the Aniston narrative is “Cake might not be a great drama but Jennifer’s fighting to get out of the light comedy/tabloid-queen straightjacket, and you have to hand it to her for giving it hell.” All I know is that every year you hear passionate feelings about this or that Best Actress contender…”Wow, that performance was her best, it got to me, it touched me deep down, I’m telling my friends” and so on. But there’s been absolutely no discussion out there about Moore’s Still Alice performance…no passion, no talk, no arguments, NOTHING.
Except, of course, for the very likely fact that Moore is going to win. Can anyone think of another year and another acting race in which this has happened? A Hollywood scholar equates the 2014 Best Actress race to 1984 “when it was really weak…Sally Field won her second for Places In The Heart over Sissy Spacek for The River, Jessica Lange for Country, Vanessa Redgrave for The Bostonians and Judy Davis for A Passage To India. There was also 1966 when Oscar would only find one Hollywood-type nominee (and winner) — Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf against four then little-known foreign entries: Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl, Vanessa Redgrave in Morgan, Anouk Aimee in A Man And A Woman and Ida Kaminska in The Shop On Main Street.”