“The sexuality was stuff I’d never done before in a film, but I had to make a choice,” admits Reese Witherspoon to Gold Derby editor Tom O’Neil during their recent video chat (watch below) about Oscar contender “Wild.” Also participating in the discussion are her on-screen mother Laura Dern and the real-life Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the book upon which the film is based.
“Cheryl was so honest with her memoir,” Witherspoon says. “I think it was important that I was just as brave and honest as an actress to do the parts that made me afraid.”
Witherspoon looks like a shoo-in to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, a trophy she already took home in 2005 for “Walk the Line.” Gold Derby’s Experts, Editors and Users give her 4/1 odds of winning her second Oscar, just behind Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“) with leading 9/5 odds. (See Gold Derby’s official Oscar rankings and racetrack odds.)
“It was definitely the most challenging part I have ever done,” she tells us. “Partly because of the physical aspects of it … being on the top of mountains and being hung off by ropes, or just crossing freezing rivers and falling into them, or just the emotional parts of it.”
Being mostly set outdoors, did anything go wrong during the filming of “Wild”? “Two days before we started shooting, the goverment shut down all national parks. So we basically were scrambling,” Witherspoon reveals. “We had all our money, we had all of our prep work, and every scene of the first five weeks was in a national park. So we scrambled and we moved locations and it all worked out. I don’t know how it worked out, but by the time they re-opened the national parks, we had moved into different things.”
Of Witherspoon’s performance, Strayed coos, “She takes my breath away. I expected so much of her before production began. And by the time production ended, she had so exceeded anything I imagined. I mean, there’s just something about Reese. She’s so natural. She seemed like me to me, which is really saying something. She inhabited the experience so fully, it seemed to be in every cell in her body.”
Do you think Witherspoon will earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress? Click here to enter your own predictions for this category and all of Oscar’s top races, or use our easy drag-and-drop menu at the bottom of this post to get started.
Your predictions determine our racetrack odds and you can keep editing them right up until the day Oscar nominations are announced. Top score wins $1,000. You score points based on how accurately you predict the nominees (you get more points if you correctly predict a long-shot candidate before anyone else does), and if you’re one of our most accurate predictors, you’ll be included next year among our elite Top 24 Users and have even greater influence over our odds.