Jennifer Aniston ambushes Oscar’s Best Actress race

What looked like a loooooong shot just five days ago is now official: Jennifer Aniston (“Cake“) will be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars, according to the latest expert predictions at Gold Derby.

On Monday, Aniston was in distant ninth place in our charts behind Amy Adams (“Big Eyes“), Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars”) and Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods”). Our experts believed Hilary Swank (“The Homesman”) would take that fifth slot in the category where four other contenders seem like a lock: Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“), Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Felicity Jones (“Theory of Everything”).

But Swank failed to show up in the nominations issued by the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Tuesday and the Golden Globes on Wednesday. Instead, Aniston made both cuts and now she’s got major momentum. Can she overtake frontrunner Moore?

Aniston has an awards-bait role as a pill-addicted woman scarred, literally, by the ravages of a car accident that killed her young son, but experts were skeptical of her kudos chances because “Cake” doesn’t have a major distributor. However, a veteran awards strategist was hired to spearhead Aniston’s campaign and that obviously made a key difference. In the past, Lisa Taback ballyhooed for Harvey Weinstein when “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” won Best Picture and she’s worked for Paramount, Sony and other top studios, too.

See the rankings of Oscar contenders that combined the predictions of our experts

Aniston is now in fifth place in our charts with 16/1 odds. Do you agree that she’ll be nominated? Click here to make your predictions or use our menu below. Your choices impact Gold Derby’s official racetrack odds that our users wager against when making picks. Our user with the best Oscar nominations predictions will win $1,000.

23 thoughts on “Jennifer Aniston ambushes Oscar’s Best Actress race

  1. She’s not going to make it to the Oscars.The academy will do the same as they did with Jacki Weaver,Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams and go with someone nobody saw coming maybe Marion Cotillard,Scarlett Johannson or even Hilary Swank but no way will Jennifer aniston get in !

  2. She doesn’t deserve to make it to the Oscars. And I’m not saying she won’t because I really doubt that, since The Oscars are a popularity contest and not an awards group recognizing the best performances of the year. Because if it was the latter, Marion Cotillard and Hilary Swank would be locks. I can think at least of five performances this year clearly more deserving than Aniston’s (you name it, Scarlett Johansson for Under The Skin, Shailene Woodley for The Fault In Our Star, Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Belle, I can go on and on and on). Between being solid in a film like Aniston in Cake obviously is and being great / Oscar-worthy there’s a difference that’s literally huge.

  3. I love all the outrage below about how Aniston has a strategist working on her campaign…you know, like Every. Single. Oscar. Contender has someone hired to get them a nomination. The only difference is that others have studios running their campaigns. But an actress whose film isn’t being handled by a major player wanting to get as much of a shot in this crooked process as anyone else? SCANDALOUS! PATHETIC!

    Please. Just because someone’s campaign isn’t being handled by Harvey Weinstein doesn’t mean their work doesn’t deserve to be considered.

  4. Jennifer Aniston will not only get nominated but will win the academy award for best actress. Her turn in Cake is magnificent and multifaceted unlike what Juliane More typically serves (woman on the verge of tears while laughing). Besides if she didn’t get it for A Single Man and Hours why think she will get it for the disease of the month movie with an elitist set up (both Columbia U professors). Witherspoon movie is a remake of 127 hours with James Franco. English actresses will be happy to be nominated.

  5. “Jennifer Aniston will not only get nominated but will win the academy award for best actress. Her turn in Cake is magnificent and multifaceted unlike what Juliane More typically serves (woman on the verge of tears while laughing). Besides if she didn’t get it for A Single Man and Hours why think she will get it for the disease of the month movie with an elitist set up (both Columbia U professors). Witherspoon movie is a remake of 127 hours with James Franco. English actresses will be happy to be nominated.”

    -Thank god someone agrees with me. I was actually on board with Julianne until I actually saw the movie. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t, sorry. She’s not that good! And actually I didn’t even like her THAT much in The Hours, at least not in Far from Heaven or even Boogie Nights, I find her incredibly overrated. She has no skillset in creating a character. I feel like she portrays the same, might I add, boring, woman each time she embarks upon a role. I couldn’t tell the difference between Alice in Still Alice and Cathy from Far from Heaven. That just comes to tell you how mediocre of an actress she is. Granted, she doesn’t overact, which is an accomplisment in it’s own, but it does not yet make you Academy Award-winning quality. Now with Jennifer on the other hand, I haven’t yet seen “Cake”, but I have a feeling she’s going to be amazing. Just because I’ve seen the variety she has been able to bring even to her work in less-than-average rom-coms, which she makes so compelling and charismatic and lovable, you know. The same with Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence and they both won their Oscars, where is Jennifer’s?

  6. Angelina Jolie hired Tony Angellotti to steer her oscar campaign. Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula steered “12 Years a Slave” to nine Oscar noms and three wins, including the all-important best picture. Sue Kroll, helped nab seven trophies for “Gravity,” plus an original screenplay win for Spike Jonze and “Her.” Peter Schlessel, worked hard with its inhouse team, scoring three Oscar wins (out of six noms) for “Dallas Buyers Club.” I GUESS THE STUDIOS HAVE TO DO FOR JENNIFER WHAT THEY DO FOR EVERYONE ELSE!!!!

  7. PR firms. Many of the biz’s best-known companies have big staffs who work for a wide range of clients. But each one also has a core team of publicists who specialize in helping individuals or films during awards season. If you’ve heard of the company, they have an awards wing.

  8. This year’s Best Actress competitors is one of the weakest in recent memory in my opinion. So I do not see why people think it is so far fetched for Jennifer Aniston to get a nomination. I think her performance looks fantastic in the trailer. Most of you are too young to have experienced the transition of Sally Field from TV sitcom star to serious actress, but she went through the same growing pains back in the late 70’s. I think Aniston is a more than competent actress, with quite possibly her best roles ahead of her. I hope she gets nominated this year, she just might. However, people are delusional if you actually think she is going to win (this year).

  9. Dear God Somebody please tell Meryl Streep to GO AWAY! Every wednesday she has another movie. Talk about being over-exposed. What will she plat next – george Bush! The directors hiring her fir every available female roll over the age of 40 have a lot to learn about diversity and the public’s taste.

  10. I believe that Julianne Moore should feel threatened by Jennifer Aniston. The race isn’t over just yet. Still Alice isn’t THAT good of a movie. Aniston will probably win the Globes as the Globes alwas love the stars (for example last year Jennifer Lawrence won over Lupita, just by the name). If Aniston picks up the Globe, she can also manage to build up a momentum at SAG. Then the Oscar is her’s. Mark my words.

  11. Even as weak as this category is, I highly doubt she’ll be nominated for an Oscar. I feel the movie is not strong enough for the Academy and Aniston as an actress is rather weak. I can see Amy Adams taking the fifth spot.

  12. Guest who wrote the studios do the same with aniston to campaing for an oscar. Thats nt true. She has no studio. This is all paid by jennifer, this whole award buyed nomination story is from her money. Cake didbt had a distributor for 50 days after shwing at tiff so aniston and her producers created their own distributor company only for cake cause nobody was interested in this movie or anistons talent! And everybody will remember this as aniston own buyed nominations like she always does it!

  13. People are like “Oh please don’t let her get nominated!”. Well, why not? You shouldn’t be judging her on the roles she normally plays. She is reasonably talented she just never has the chance to show it. If she hit the role right (and by the look of the trailer she did) she deserves the nomination. The win I don’t know about I still think it’s Julianne Moore’s time.

  14. HOW is Jennifer Aniston getting nominated over Marion Cotillard? Aniston’s movie is getting mixed reviews, at best, and I’ve read the critics, some are not liking her performance all that much, whereas Cotillard is being universally praised for Two Days One Night and The Immigrant and both of those movies have high critical rankings. I think this is absurd!

  15. Jennifer Aniston has a longtime cult following of Friends fanatics who will, if she is nominated, boost the Oscar show’s profile and ratings. Lisa Taback is likely mentioning what Jen can bring to the show’s ratings table, along with gushing about her fabulous make-up-free performance in a predictably mediocre film.

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