Amy Adams is having a bit of moment, what with her openly raw and emotionally damaged journalist who is badgered by demons both present and past in HBO’s just-wrapped miniseries “Sharp Objects”? An Emmy may be lying in wait for her next year.
But right now, according to nine Gold Derby Experts, she could be gold-bound for another reason. Adams is the early frontrunner to claim an supporting Oscar for her characterization of Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick (Christian Bale), in Adam McKay’s “Backseat.” Presumably, this portrait of George W. Bush’s powerful second-in-command might mingle the humorous with the serious, much as McKay did with his snappy take on the financial crisis, 2015’s “The Big Short.”
“Backseat” will most likely be kept under wraps until it opens in December. That four Experts have picked Adams to triumph might have something to do with early photos of the actress dressed in dowdy drag, complete with suburban bob and Republican cloth coat. But even more pressing is the fact that one of the most popular and acclaimed actresses of the past decade has four supporting nominations for “Junebug,” “Doubt,” ”The Fighter” and “The Master’’ and one lead nod for “American Hustle” – and nothing to show for it. That “Backseat” is Bale and Adams’ third film together (after “The Fighter” and “American Hustle”) just makes it extra special if she is crowned for this.
Then there is Regina King at No. 2. The two-time Emmy winner is perhaps best known for her superb contributions to such prime-time TV series as “Southland,” “ American Crime,” “The Leftovers” and “Seven Seconds.” She has been in such Oscar-anointed movies such as “Boyz N the Hood,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Ray” but has never been much involved in any major movie awards. According to the nine Experts currently sharing their choices and the three who peg her as winning, King could finally be invited to Hollywood’s prom night, thanks to “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which will premiere in Toronto. She plays a pregnant Harlem woman whose fiancé is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. You can almost feel those emotions swell.
“I, Tonya” herself — Margot Robbie – has traded her skates for a scepter as Queen Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scotts,” with Saoirse Ronan as the title character. The cousins engage in a heated battle royale over who controls the seat of power. The minx from “The Wolf of Wall Street” scores three shout-outs from the Experts and racks up a win prediction, too.
It feels as if Nicole Kidman should have a closet full of Oscars by now. But she has but one statuette – for her depressively expressive lead as Virginia Woolf in 2002’s “The Hours.” She has three other nominations — two leads for 2001’s “Moulin Rouge!” and 2010’s “Rabbit Hole” and supporting for 2016’s “Lion.” She is at the point in her career where mother roles tend to beckon – although the abused mother that won her an Emmy for HBO’s “Big Little Lies” was richly complex. In “Boy Erased,” which will premiere at Telluride, her Baptist bleached-blonde mother is divided about whether loving her gay son (Lucas Hedges) as he is or sending him off to conversion therapy. The trailer does not make it clear where exactly she stands, but enough is apparently there to cause three Experts to think she will be nominated and one believing she could win.
That leaves Claire Foy in fifth place as astronaut Neil Armstrong’s wife in “First Man.” The well-liked star of “The Crown” earns four mentions but no wins. But the film and her performance in the space-race saga just received much critical moon glow at the Venice film festival.