After four losses, Annette Bening could finally take home an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner: she portrays 1952 Supporting Actress champ Gloria Grahame (“The Bad and the Beautiful”) in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.” Paul McGuigan‘s biopic premiered at Telluride on Sept. 1 and the warm reception for this Sony Pictures Classics release, due out Dec. 8, establishes Bening as a strong Best Actress contender.
And watch out for Jamie Bell who plays Peter Turner, the young man who romanced Grahame at the end of her life and wrote the memoir on which this film is based. Bell, who came to fame back in 2000 as the title role in “Billy Elliott,” has never contended at the Oscars. Julie Walters, who reaped her second Oscar nomination for playing Billy’s ballet teacher in that film, could find that third is the charm. She steals scenes as Turner’s tart-tongued mother and may scoop up the Supporting Actress Oscar.
That category is where Cate Blanchett won in 2004 for her portrayal of Academy Awards darling Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese‘s “The Aviator.” She played Kate during the heydays of her 1930s romance with Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). While Hepburn won a record four Oscars, Bening has gone down to defeat in each of her four Oscar races: three times up in lead (“American Beauty” in 1999, “Being Julia” in 2004, and “The Kids Are All Right” in 2010), and once down in supporting (“The Grifters” in 1990).
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.