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Best Actress or Most Popular Performance – Is There a Difference?

March 5th, 2010

When the curtain rises at the Kodak Theater on Sunday, March 7, at least two actresses will be sweating it big-time (to employ an idiom). Both Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock are nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, and both have a lot to gain from winning: Streep, while the most Academy-award nominated actress ever, hasn’t won in 16 years, since “Sophie’s Choice” in 1983 (if you made a bar bet that she won in 1986 for “Out of Africa,” you’d lose – 1986’s Best Actress was Geraldine Page, who won for “The Trip to Bountiful.”) Bullock has had a tougher time: despite lesser nominations for pictures like “Crash,” “Speed,” “Miss Congeliality” and “The Proposal,” Sandra Bullock has NEVER been nominated for an Academy Award, so her Best Actress nod for “The Blind Side” is a true achievement, and testimony to the commercial and popular success of “The Blind Side.” If Oscar ‘buzz’ is any indication, THIS could be Bullock’s year.

But don’t count Streep out: her performance as Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” is proof that she can still deliver the goods. And Motion Picture Academy voters can be fickle: Marlon Brando was nominated eight times over 28 years and won two statuettes (“One the Waterfront” and “The Godfather”) 17 years apart. So there’s hope for Meryl yet. No matter how it plays out, this year’s Academy Awards are going to be fun.

Just DON’T bet against Christophe Waltz and Mo’Nique as Best Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role (for “Inglourious Basterds” and “Precious, Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire,” respectively). To quote “The Simpsons,” these two are a ‘mortal lock.’ 


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