Oscar Watch: Who Will Win Best Actress?

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It seems as if Cate Blanchett is unstoppable in her quest to win her first Oscar Best Actress trophy for her work in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. But, we would not count out any of the four other women nominated for the top Academy Award honor for a leading lady.

Blue Jasmine Cate Blanchett

After Oscar Watch took a look at the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories in our previous installments, today we focus on the five Best Actress nominees and by the end, we’ll predict who will win.

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Adams turned in the most un-Amy Adams performance of her career as the conniving con woman that romances Christian Bale in American Hustle. She was icy, while still exuding the power that drew Bale away from his wife (Jennifer Lawrence).

Sure, it is an astounding and electric turn for Adams, but this is not her year. The actress will win a Best Actress trophy at some point in her career, just not in 2014.

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Blanchett was mesmerizing as the troubled ex-wife of a Bernie Madoff type in Allen’s latest film. The writer-director has a knack for penning female roles that win Oscars (Dianne Wiest, Mira Sorvino). And we believe that this year will be no different.

The actress commanded in every scene in Blue Jasmine and carried a movie that could not have been an easy task. She channels all sorts of emotions throughout, but what is truly astounding, is the audience can never tell if the character is truly feeling those feelings, or if she is just putting on a face for those around her. It is in a word… stunning.

Judi Dench, Philomena
Dench gave a performance as the title character in Philomena that was both heartwarming and heartbreaking, all at the same time. A previous Oscar winner already, Dench could be a challenge to Blanchett because she is beloved by the Academy and it is such a powerful role for the UK actress.

She played the woman who decides to find the son she was forced to give up by Catholic nuns who had taken her in, 50 years after the fact. Dench’s character is joined on a journey that will take them across the world by a journalist and the two form the most unlikely of friendships that adds up to pure gold.

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
No one has more Oscar nominations than Streep. And she recently won for her work on The Iron Lady. It’s hard to believe that we would use this phrase to describe the all-time Oscar nomination leader, but this year in this category, she gets the “just happy to be nominated” award.

She and Julia Roberts sparred brilliantly in August: Orange County, but they were the only good things about the movie. That likely is not going to add up to Oscar gold for Streep -- or fellow nominee Roberts for that matter.

Sandra Bullock Stars As Dr. Stone in Gravity

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
If anyone can upset Blanchett, it’s Bullock in Gravity. She carried the entire film, with the minutest of help from George Clooney. Imagine Gravity without Bullock? You can’t!

Imagine Blue Jasmine without Blanchett? You kind of can’t. If that’s your method for determining who will win, give it to Bullock. But, Oscars are as much about momentum as they are about the quality of the work at this point. And right now… nothing can stop the train that is Blanchett’s march to Oscar glory.

Best Actress Winner: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Want to see how utterly fantastic Blanchett is in the role? Watch Blue Jasmine online and just as a fun exercise; compare her to last year’s Best Actress winner (Jennifer Lawrence) and watch Silver Linings Playbook online.

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