Emily Blunt is the clear frontrunner to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) for her turn in the Disney hit tuner “Into the Woods.” However, with the Globes not given out till Jan. 11 — i.e., three days after balloting for Oscar nominations close — she is less certain of reaping a Best Actress bid for this change-of-pace performance as the Baker’s Wife, a woman who must break a curse in order to have a much-wanted child. However, her secret weapon at the Oscars could be the film’s director, Rob Marshall.
After all, he helmed 2002 Best Picture champ “Chicago,” that netted Catherine Zeta-Jones the Supporting Actress Oscar. Among her rival nominees was co-star Queen Latifah. And that film’s leading lady Renee Zellwegger contended for Best Actress but lost to Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”).
Like Zellwegger, Blunt is celebrated for her comedic turns. Indeed, she reaped Golden Globe bids for her scene-stealing supporting role in “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) and opposite Ewan McGregor in the charming comedy “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (2012).
But Blunt is also deft at dramatic parts, winning the catch-all TV Supporting Actress Golden Globe in 2006 for the telefilm “Gideon’s Daughter” and contending on the film side in 2009 for the biopic “The Young Victoria.” That she also sings is a lovely surprise. She handles the tricky Stephen Sondheim tunes of “Into the Woods” with aplomb, imbuing his lyrics with heartfelt emotion.
Among our Experts, Blunt is in seventh place in the Best Actress race at the Oscars, just behind one of her Golden Globe rivals — Amy Adams (“Big Eyes“). That academy favorite played this part of the Baker’s Wife in a well-received stage production of “Into the Woods” in 2012. However, both Adams and Blunt are fairly far back of the pack, with odds of 50/1.
The five frontrunners for Oscar nominations are the same quintet up for Best Actress (Drama) at the Golden Globes, with Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) predicted to prevail in both races. Her Globes competition is: Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”), Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”).
Joanna Gleason originated the role of the Baker’s Wife on Broadway and won a Tony Award in 1988 over, among others, Patti Lupone for her show-stopping turn in a revival of “Anything Goes.” In that first rialto production of “Into the Woods,” Bernadette Peters played the witch who haunts the childless couple. However, this Broadway favorite was snubbed by the Tonys.
That is unlikely to happen to her film counterpart. This showy role, which sees the crone transformed into a beauty once the curse is lifted, is catnip for Meryl Streep. Not surprisingly, the 18-time Oscar nominee is widely expected to reap a Supporting Actress bid. She has contended in that category three times, winning for the second of these back in 1979 for her work in the Best Picture champ “Kramer vs. Kramer.” She also has prevailed in two of her 15 Best Actress races (“Sophie’s Choice,” 1982; “The Iron Lady,” 2011).
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