What if the Academy decided to put Viola Davis “Fences” in Best Actress when the Oscar nominations come out Tuesday morning? That would really dyn-o-mite the race as well as the Best Actress category. I think she’d blow all the other contenders to smithereens. And I think she’d win, too. No matter what category they put her in.
You see, the Academy voters can ignore the suggestions of, in this case Paramount, and put any actors in whatever category they want. The Golden Globes and others are guided by the campaigns the studios are putting out. But not AMPAS. The campaigns are just SUGGESTIONS of placement, after all.
This happened several years ago when Kate Winslet was suddenly moved from Supporting for “The Reader” to Best Actress. And she won! She was up also that year for “Revolutionary Road” and won two Golden Globes for both performances. Lead for “RR” and Supp. for “TR”, which most considered the better performance.
Viola won a Best Actress Tony Award for “Fences” when the show was a sold out hit on Broadway, so there’s precedent for her winning in the Leading category for this great role of Rose Maxon. She’s been comfortably winning all the Best Supporting Actress races by being put in Supporting thus far this year. Her choice, evidently.
The Best Actress race is currently very split according to most. Emma Stone is JUST playing a young, aspiring actress in “La La Land,”a version of herself. Natalie Portman has won an Oscar already a few years ago for “Black Swan.” And “Jackie” is not the hit that “La La”is , though Natalie is stunning as Jacqueline Kennedy.
Then there’s Meryl Streep, who is probably going to get her 20th Nomination for “Florence Foster Jenkins” Then we have Isabelle Huppert acting in French and winning all the crtics precursor awards for “Elle”. Who would Viola knock out? Amy Adams. Or maybe Isabelle. Emma And Natalie are locked. Even Sasha Stone said so. She’s currently predicting Stone, Portman, Huppert, Adams and Streep, as is a great new Oscar site I’ve just discovered http://www.Awardswatch.com. They have the same five women as Sasha at http://www.awardsdaily.com does.
And the Academy likes to shake things up and go their own way. See Mark Rylance’s upset win over Favorite (supposedly) Sylvester Stallone just last year.And the Academy hates to be seen as just a rubber stamp of the Globes, who because they air first, are seen as stealing all the Academy’s thunder.
Viola is so fierce and so talented and so overdue. Hey, it could happen. And that would leave the Best Supporting Actress honor to go to Michelle Williams, totally worthy for “Manchester by the Sea.”