Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County”) currently ranks third in our Experts’ Globes predictions. Hollywood’s darling of the moment Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle“) is in the lead with 8/11 odds, followed by Oscar-frontrunner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave“).
But our Experts may be underestimating Roberts considering how much the Globes like big stars, and Roberts in particular. She’s a three-time winner out of seven previous nominations; in fact, each of her Globe wins was followed by an Oscar nomination: “Steel Magnolias” (1989), “Pretty Woman” (1990), and “Erin Brockovich” (2000), so if she really is Oscar-bound for “August” that could mean a stroll across the Globes stage first.
If Roberts had only been nominated at the Globes, I wouldn’t think much of her Oscar chances. We already know the Hollywood Foreign Press loves celebrities like her, but Roberts has also impressed her industry peers at the SAG Awards and critics at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Only three other women have been recognized at all three of those events this year: Lawrence, Nyong’o, and June Squibb (“Nebraska“).
We expected Streep to be a major contender at the Oscars, because we expect Streep to be a major contender for everything. If academy members called her on the phone they’d nominate her outgoing voice mail message. So we knew she’d still be a factor even after the film received mixed reviews on the festival circuit earlier in the fall.
Roberts, on the other hand, wasn’t so certain. Back in November, our experts were giving her 20/1 odds at the Oscars. She has since improved to 14/1.
Part of her awards advantage is competing in the supporting race with a lead performance. While the true supporting actors of the film wait their turn for one or two showcase scenes, Roberts has as many as Streep, and when “August” ran on Broadway, Robert’s role earned a Tony nomination for Amy Morton in the lead category.
Dropping down to the supporting category for an essentially lead performance has helped other women in recent years, including Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”), Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”), and Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”).
“August” is also one of Roberts’s darker, more dramatic roles. The academy likes that side of her; after dominating the 1990s in romantic comedies she won Best Actress as a tough-talking legal crusader in “Erin Brockovich.” She gets extra points for holding her own against Streep, whom we’re more used to seeing in this kind of emotionally grueling performance; say what you will about the film, but this is one of Roberts’s strongest performances.
Can Roberts really win? Discuss her performance and her chances in the comments below, and predict the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress: