Oscars flashback: Amy Adams led Best Actress race, Julianne Moore not even in contention

When we launched our Oscars prediction center in late August, our current Best Actress frontrunner Julianne Moore did not even figure in our calculations. Sure, there was some talk of her contending for her Cannes-winning work in “Maps to the Stars,” but that oddball David Cronenberg film had not locked in a deal stateside. And her other possible vehicle, the low budget “Still Alice,” was without distribution.

That all changed after this heartbreaking story of an academic dealing with a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s screened at the Toronto filmfest in early September. Sony Pictures Classics scooped it up and suddenly this four-time Oscar also-ran was being tipped to finally win.  

To compare the state of the race at various points in time, go to this page, scroll down and click any two dates (after Aug. 22) on the calendars. You will see who our Experts were predicting to prevail on each date. And be sure to click on the different categories on the left-hand side of the page to see the changes in those races as well. 

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 22 categories

Moore’s rise to the top came at the expense of another Oscars bridesmaid. Five-time contender Amy Adams sat atop our first chart with five of the first nine Oscarologists to weigh in predicting her to finally prevail for her performance as painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton‘s biopic “Big Eyes.” Since then, she has fallen to sixth place after this serio-comic film was shunned by most critics and earned only minimal recognition at the precursor prizes (Adams contends for Best Comedy/Musical Actress at the Golden Globes.)

Also gone from our top five is Jessica Chastain for “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” a three-hour long film that explores a marriage from the perspective of both spouses with James McAvoy as the husband. While a noble effort, the film falters and even splitting the story into two parts did not make it more appealing to critics or audiences.

Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’ Cry,” 1999; “Million Dollar Baby,” 2004) seemed to be a sure thing to finally reap her third bid with “The Homesman.” This Western with a message had played well in Cannes but failed to find traction on this side of the pond and she has slid to seventh. 

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Throughout the awards season, 2005 Best Actress champ Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) has remained in second place for her change-of-pace work in “Wild.” She produced and stars in this powerful picture as Cheryl Strayed, a woman lost after the death of her mother who hoped to find her way back by hiking the 1000-mile Pacific Crest Trail. 

Also still in contention is Rosamund Pike for her chilling performance in the thriller “Gone Girl.” Back in the summer, she had enough support among our Experts to be ranked fourth. With the overwhelming commercial and critical success of the film, she has risen to third. 

The other two slots are filled by women who saw their films do well in Toronto too.

Felicity Jones plays Jane, the stalwart wife of scientist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) who helps him cope with ALS. The film is as much her story as his and Jones delivers a multi-faceted performance and is currently in fourth. 

The biggest surprise has been Jennifer Aniston who single-handledly drove “Cake into the conversation. As a woman who suffers from chronic pain, she turns to a support group for comfort and finds herself drawn into a mystery about the death of another member.

Will 18 performers with Critics’ Choice, Globes and SAG nominations contend at Oscars too?

All five of our frontrunners reaped bids at the Golden Globes, SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards. Do you think they will all contend at the Oscars too? Make your predictions below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

7 thoughts on “Oscars flashback: Amy Adams led Best Actress race, Julianne Moore not even in contention

  1. I have this feeling that Felicity Jones may turn to be the Emma Thompson of the year. The whole Marion Cotillard vs. Jennifer Aniston thing could end up in the favor of both as it happened last year when everyone was thinking about who was about to be left out of Oscar nominations in the Best Actress category, Meryl Streep (August Osage County) or Amy Adams (American Hustle) and out of nowhere Emma Thompson, who was nominated for pretty much everything didn’t earn a nomination. We’ve seen that the thing is you have to get enough number 1 and 2 votes and in Jones’ case, there are many people who highly doubt she’s going to earn them and justly. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s wonderful in the film, but frankly she’s not Oscar-worthy. Aniston is even less, but let’s face it Oscars have become a popularity contest so Aniston may sneak in despite being just solid in Cake.

  2. Adams has the Janis Joplin biopic with Jean-Marc Vallee coming up ‘Get It While You Can’. My guess is she’ll probably win for that. Sad we won’t get to see it until around 2016 but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and considering Vallee’s track record I’m very optimistic.

  3. 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.

  4. I actually think that BOTH Adams and Aniston might get in and bump Jones. I’m surprised about how many Oscar pundits esp. Sasha Stone chose to totally ignore Adams. I think Adams has Weinstein who just issued an article on how he’s betting on Adams and thus denying rumors that Weinstein has stopped their campaign for her.
    I think Adams gets in especially her movie is at 73% on RT which is by the way higher than INTW and Unbroken so it’s not true her movie is trashed.
    And I think the final spot goes to Aniston instead of Jones who will be the Tom Hanks of the year – beloved film missing out on a lead nod yet getting so much support elsewhere.

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