The Oscar race for Best Actress is shaping up as a battle between two-time champ Cate Blanchett ("Carol") and newcomer Brie Larson ("Room") according to the predictions of our experts from Yahoo, Variety, Rollling Stone, IMDB and other top media. See the individual predictions of all 18 Oscar Experts here.
Currently, 8 out of 18 Oscarologists making predictions at Gold Derby are backing Blanchett for her performance as a closeted lesbian in Todd Haynes' period drama. That support translates into odds of 3/1 for this Aussie import to win her third Oscar in 11 years. "Blanchett is the new Meryl Streep (who was the new Katharine Hepburn)," says veteran Hollywood journalist Jack Mathews. "She seems to be getting her pick of the best roles and she always finds ways into her characters to make them originals."
Six experts are betting on Larson for her breakout role as a kidnap victim in Lenny Abrahamson's thriller. That equals odds of 10/3 for a win on her first nomination. As Brian Truitt (USA Today) observes, "every award season has that one Cinderella — whether it's Julianne Moore, Anne Hathaway or Matthew McConaughey — who just seems destined to roll through with a shopping cart collecting trophies. And Larson is an early favorite picking up steam daily."
Below: Rankings for the top Best Actress contenders with odds to win and commentary from our experts.
#1. Cate Blanchett, "Carol" (8 Experts; Odds to win: 3/1)
Director Haynes also adapted Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel “The Price of Salt” about a married woman (Blanchett) who falls in love with a shop clerk (Rooney Mara). Mara won Best Actress at Cannes, which does not distinguish between lead and featured performance, but will be campaigned in supporting for the Oscars.
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post): "My real hope is that Blanchett lands nods for both 'Carol' and 'Truth.' Either way, it's hers to lose."
Other Experts: Edward Douglas (ComingSoon), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
#2. Brie Larson, "Room" (6 Experts; Odds to win: 10/3)
The film, adapted by Emma Donoghue from her acclaimed 2010 novel of the same name, won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto film festival. Two years ago Larson earned BFCA and Indie Spirit bids for her performance in "Short Term 12"; she lost both those races to eventual Oscar champ Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine").
Tim Gray (Variety): "Larson: The kid is flashy, but the movie really rests on her shoulders. Though she's young, industry people have admired her work for a long time, and everything clicks in this movie."
#3. Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" (2 Experts; Odds to win: 11/2)
Lawrence has reunited with writer/director, David O. Russell for a third time with this biopic of Joy Mangano, the Long Island single mother of three who invented the Miracle Mop. She won this race for their first collaboration, "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), and reaped a supporting nomination for their second film together "American Hustle" (2013).
#4. Saoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" (Odds to win: 10/1)
A 2007 Supporting Actress nominee for ("Atonement"), she shines as an Irish emigre in this charming period piece, directed by John Crowley ("Once") with Nick Hornby adapting Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel of the same name.
#5. Carey Mulligan, "Suffragette" (Odds to win:16/1)
This 2009 Best Actress nominee ("An Education") portrays a women's rights activist in Sarah Gavron's historical drama based on an original script by Emmy champ Abi Morgan ("The Hour").
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