They doubted me, but then they saw, and then they believed. Yes, it was almost one year ago that I said Marion Cotillard's bold, freakishly technical thesping as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose was bound for Oscar glory. What I didn't anticipate was that Cotillard's performance would infect audiences like the Rage virus. Could it be that if the actress doesn't win the Oscar, her fans will crash the award ceremony (or press conference) like the vampire zombies from I Am Legend and rip the winner (or Billy Bush—maybe even Dave Karger) to shreds? And if they opt for a more restrained response, will they mount a petition, asking Oscar, as a gesture of comeuppance, to change its name to Edith and forever hand out statues that look like this? This is all to say, if Cotillard is not victorious, blame it on the fans, whose disturbing contempt for Julie Christie's performance in Away from Her can't be doing Cotillard any favors. Both of these fine performances are locks for nominations, meaning the remaining slots are pretty much up for grabs. Or not. If talking heads like Tom O'Neil and Karger stopped, well, talking, trying to affect Oscar voters like the news media unmistakably shapes political elections, then maybe the Pavlovian dogs that make up the Academy's body might have more naturally gravitated to the talents of, say, Ashley Judd and Anamaria Marinca. Instead, the Academy has been told by the award-show pundits that Ellen Paige and Angelina Jolie already have dibs on slots three and four, and that's exactly how they'll vote. As for the fifth spot, eeny-meeny-miny-moe your way between Jodie Foster, Amy Adams, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, and Cate Blanchett, because it's anyone's guess.
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.