Why Julianne Moore should contend in supporting for ‘Map to the Stars’

After Julianne Moore won Best Actress for David Cronenberg‘s “Maps to the Stars” at the Cannes Film Festival in May, she seemed a lock for a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars, but that buzz has since subsided, as the film’s distributor is not funding an Oscar campaign and momentum for Moore has shifted to her other eligible performance in “Still Alice.” Indeed, she is the clear frontrunner to win Best Actress for that film, in which she plays a college professor diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s. 

With “Maps to the Stars” not due for release till nex year, few have seen Moore’s performance. However, thanks to the Vancouver International Film Festival, I have and can tell you that her role is actually supporting. Given her top billing and that Best Actress win at Cannes, the assumption that she was a lead is understandable.

With regards to her credit, it is not surprising she is listed first given that she is a four-time Oscar nominee and Emmy champ.

And, unlike the Oscars, Cannes does not give out prizes in separate leading and supporting categories, Indeed, their awards have often gone to actors that contend in supporting at the Oscars, like Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”).

If there is a lead in “Maps to the Stars,” Mia Wasikowska has the best claim. She is both first and last to appear on screen; however, even she can make a solid case for supporting placement, given that she is on screen for 42 of the film’s 104 minutes. Moore has 40 minutes of screen time, so even calling her leading over Evan Bird, who introduced the VIFF screening, is dubious with his 38 minutes. The film’s narrative constantly shifts between these three characters.

Oscars predictions update: Experts jump to Julianne Moore (‘Still Alice’) for Best Actress

The average screen time for the Best Actress nominees last year was 57 minutes, ranging from 75 for Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”) down to 46 for Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), who was criticized for not submitting in supporting. Her co-star Bradley Cooper was nominated in supporting with 41 minutes.

Pushing Moore’s work in “Maps to the Stars” as supporting is smart strategically as the academy does not allow performers to contend twice in the same category. By dropping down to supporting for this film, she could well reap nominations in both categories. She became the ninth performer to pull off this double act back in 2002 with “Far from Heaven” and The Hours” respectively (she lost both those races) and would be the first to do this twice over. 

What are your wildest, left-field Oscar hunches this year?

Do you think she will reap a Supporting Actress nomination at the Oscars for “Map to the Stars.” Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

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