“I would argue that the most egregious Oscar snub was when Judy Garland lost Best Actress for her ‘Star is Born’ to Grace Kelly,” says Gold Derby editor Paul Sheehan. Can Lady Gaga “right that wrong” by winning for her version of “A Star is Born“? That’s what Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil thinks, although he’s “tempted every three seconds” to switch to Olivia Colman (“The Favourite“). Watch Sheehan, O’Neil and Daniel Montgomery debate the Best Actress race in the slugfest video above or listen to the audio podcast version below.
“Lady Gaga is at a point in her pop culture trajectory like Jennifer Lawrence was when she won for ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’” O’Neil argues. “When Jennifer Lawrence won it was a crown. She was the queen of Hollywood, and the academy placed that tiara on her head.” At the time, Lawrence was emerging as one of the biggest new stars in the world with an Oscar nomination already under her belt for “Winter’s Bone” (2010) and a headlining role in one of the decade’s biggest franchises, “The Hunger Games.”
Similarly, Lady Gaga’s star continues to rise. After years as a successful recording artist she transitioned into acting with “American Horror Story: Hotel” on TV, and she earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing the song “Til it Happens to You” from the documentary “The Hunting Ground” (2015) about sexual assault survivors. She lost that award in an upset to Sam Smith for his “Spectre” theme “Writing’s on the Wall,” so the academy owes her one.
But Montgomery wonders if voters will make it up to her in the Best Actress race at the expense of Colman or Glenn Close (“The Wife“) when they could give Gaga her due in the Best Original Song race for “Shallow” instead. “If they feel like they have an out there, they can crown Lady Gaga for Best Song and give Glenn Close or Olivia Colman Best Actress,” he says. And if anyone is due for an Oscar coronation it’s Close, who has been nominated six times without a win.
“The Wife” doesn’t have high Oscar hopes beyond Close’s candidacy for Best Actress, but neither did “Still Alice” (2014) when Julianne Moore finally won her Best Actress prize. There comes a point when an actor is so egregiously overdue that voters crown them the next time they get the chance. See also: Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman” (1992), Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (2008), Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” (2009).
So it looks like the fight for the Best Actress throne is far from decided. Who do you think will win?
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.