Oscar experts split: Lead or supporting race for Alicia Vikander (‘The Danish Girl’)?

Now that Gold Derby’s Oscar experts have seen “The Danish Girl” at the Toronto or Venice Film Festivals, they don’t agree on whether this year’s breakout star Alicia Vikander should be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories.

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Clearly, she has the lead female role, portraying the loving wife of a man, played by Eddie Redmayne, who becomes one of the first people to undergo surgery to become a woman. However, it may be smarter for Focus Features to campaign her in supporting. That’s been a successful strategy for other actresses who portrayed dutiful supporting wives – like Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”) and Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollock”).

“Like Felicity Jones, who starred opposite Redmayne last year in ‘The Theory of Everything’ and was nominated for lead actress, this role of Gerde carries the same kind of weight,” Pete Hammond wrote at Deadline. “It’s a lead, no question. But if campaigned for supporting, Vikander would probably win outright. The risk is confusing the actors’ branch, which makes these decisions on their own. There is no suggestion of categories on the ballot.”

We asked Gold Derby pundits two questions:
1.) Is Alicia Vikander really the lead or supporting actress of “The Danish Girl”; and

2.) Is it smartest to campaign her in lead or supporting?

Oscar Experts predict top nine categories 

Tim Gray (Variety): “I would put Alicia V. in the supporting category. Strategically, that would be smart for Focus, since it’s less competitive. But her character very much reacts to his character. He drives the action. She has a lot of screen time, but Eddie Redmayne is clearly the star, and I would consider her supporting. (In contrast, Rooney Mara’s character DOES drive a lot of the action, so I would consider her a lead, as Cannes did. But apparently they’re pushing her as supporting.)”

Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood): “That is a lead performance all the way. She has almost as much screen time as Eddie, and her turn us just as significant.  This is not just some ‘suffering wife’ role. She’s a strong character, and there’s a significant arc to her growth throughout the film. Put her in supporting for ‘Ex Machina’ lead for ‘Danish Girl’!”

Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com): “At first I thought that she and Eddie were on pretty equal terms in the film — his embrace of his female identity sets off an equal awakening in her. Her character is even referred to as ‘The Danish Girl’ in the film. But once they learn of the procedure, she falls into the usual ‘stand by your man’  — or, in this case, trans woman — routine that most female characters in biopics fall into. Therefore, I think supporting.”

Gold Derby contributor Thelma Adams: “Alicia Vikander is a lead. She is as much the ‘Danish Girl’ as he is. A brilliant subtle actress who underplays all spectrum of emotion. Looks as good naked as in period clothes. The film looks as gorgeous as Vikander and Redmayne. Her character is well developed and has an important arc. Great story riding the transgender wave.”

Keith Simanton (IMDB): “I think lead on both.”

Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere): You know who is happening? Vikander as Best Supporting Actress.

Jenelle Riley (Variety): “It’s 100% a lead role and she should go lead. I think her odds are better there.”

Kevin Polowy (Yahoo): “Most Accurate: Lead. Smartest: Supporting (which she could win). In love with her.”

What do you think? Make your predictions as to who will be the five Supporting Actress  nominees to the right or at the bottom of this post. Do you think Vikander will reap a bid in that category? If not, CLICK HERE to make your predictions for Best Actress. 

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PHOTO: Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl” (Focus Features)

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