The Oscar Best Actress race appears to be between Emma Stone for the original musical “La La Land” and Natalie Portman for her portrayal of America’s most famous first lady in “Jackie.” Both will contend at the Golden Globes: Stone for Best Comedy/Musical Actress and Portman for Best Drama Actress. But there’s someone we’re underestimating: Amy Adams for her performance in “Arrival.” Should she win Best Drama Actress at the Globes then the Oscar race may change drastically.
In “Arrival” Adams plays Louise Banks, a linguist and professor. When aliens land on Earth in 12 different locations across the globe the US government tasks her with communicating with the creatures. Adams is front and center throughout, giving an emotional and intelligent performance.
Adams first burst onto the academy’s radar with “Junebug” (2005) winning the Critics’ Choice and Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Actress and then picking up her first ever nom at the Oscars. Later she scored her first Golden Globe nomination for the modern, live-action fairy tale “Enchanted” (2007), and while she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar she did take to the stage that year to perform one of the film’s nominated original songs, “Happy Working Song.”
For both “Doubt” (2008) and “The Fighter” (2010) Adams racked up Supporting Actress nominations at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTAs and Oscars. Next up was “The Master” (2011), which brought Adams Supporting Actress nominations again at the Globes, BAFTAs and Oscars.
She re-teamed with “Fighter” director David O. Russell for “American Hustle” (2012) winning Best Comedy/Musical Actress at the Golden Globes and Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Adams also earned her fourth BAFTA nom and fifth Oscar nomination — her first for a leading role. The next year she returned to awards scene with “Big Eyes” (2013) winning Best Comedy/Musical Actress at the Golden Globes again and receiving her fifth BAFTA nomination, but she was snubbed at the Oscars. If Adams should earn her sixth Oscar nomination for “Arrival” she is in danger of joining Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr and Glenn Close as the only actresses in history to be nominated six times without ever winning.
According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds Adams currently sits in third place at the Golden Globes with odds of 16/1. In first place is Portman with overwhelming odds of 2/9, and in the runner-up position is Isabelle Huppert for “Elle” with odds of 9/1. Both Portman and Adams scored a SAG Award nomination with Huppert missing out, which is reflected in our Oscar odds: Stone is currently predicted to win with odds of 11/5, followed by Portman (13/5) in second and Adams (9/1) in third.
Portman is the only nomination “Jackie” received at the Golden Globes. Adams’s film on the other hand received an additional nomination for Best Original Score (Johan Johannson). But neither film received a nomination for Best Film Drama, so it is unclear which film the Hollywood Foreign Press prefers. Like Adams, Portman is also a past two-time Golden Globe winner (“Closer” in 2004, “Black Swan” in 2010). However, only Adams was able to win without her film also being nominated (“Big Eyes,” 2013), which may indicate just how much the Hollywood Foreign Press admires her.
The Globes also love to shift the direction of how the awards race. Hilary Swank won Best Drama Actress for “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999 over presumed frontrunner Annette Bening for “American Beauty”; even though “Beauty” ended up winning Best Picture at the Oscars, Swank prevailed there too. Swank struck again for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004. Many doubted she was a real contender since she’d won just five years earlier, but she won Best Drama Actress at the Globes, followed by her second Oscar against the Globes’ winner for Best Comedy/Musical Actress — Bening again, this time for “Being Julia.”
Few could forget Kate Winslet’s double coronation in 2008 when she won both Best Drama Actress for “Revolutionary Road” and Best Supporting Actress for “The Reader.” The Globes announced it was her year, and though the Oscars rejected her category placements — nominating her in the lead race for “The Reader” and snubbing her for “Revolutionary Road” — she won Best Actress at the Oscars anyway.
This is Adams’s first nomination for Best Drama Actress. If she could pull off an upset over Portman it could cement her as a primary challenger to Oscar frontrunner Emma Stone (“La La Land”) instead of as a Best Actress also-ran.
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