Some of us can tell right away when we’ve seen an Oscar-calbre performance. Others can spot this and which category the actor/actress can reasonably be expected to compete in…just like that. If you had to think last year about whether Another Year‘s Lesley Manville should have run as Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress, you were already behind the eight-ball. It was dead obvious she had to run in as supporting, even with literalists like Coming Soon‘s Ed Douglas more or less saying that Manville is a lead, the film is mainly about her, her character has the strongest and saddest arc, etc.
Earlier today Cinema Blend‘s Katey Rich tweeted that The Help‘s Viola Davis is a Best Actress contender, despite it being thuddingly obvious that the only category Davis can possibly hope to compete in is Best Supporting Actress. (And who decided by the way that Davis is the big Help contender and not Octavia Spencer?) It doesn’t matter if Davis’s character carries the weight and dignity of the film on her shoulders… which she does. She can’t hope to win against Streep/Close. On top of which Davis is “due” so the obvious move is to go for Best Supporting. Case closed, end of story.
Don’t Lesley Manville her! Don’t Ed Douglas her! Give Davis a fighting chance!