In one corner, we have the Piaf Patrol, snapping away at anyone who doesn’t proclaim the second coming over Marion Cotillard’s rolling eyes, puckering lips, and spasmodic tantrums. In the other corner is Roger Ebert, who was good enough to wait for surgery until after he could take the opportunity to tell a certain subset of Oscar voters (we’ll call them the Crash bloc) about his personal crusade for this year: Juno’s Ellen Page. Outside of the boxing ring altogether is the woman whose classy performance has risen above both the fray as well as her would-be competitors in every relevant precursor award up to this point. Julie Christie’s portrayal of a woman with Alzheimer’s has quietly walked away with the SAG, the Golden Globe, and the better portion of the critics’ citations (we’ll even throw in the otherwise irrelevant Broadcast Film Critics award she won, since they explicitly pride themselves for being an accurate Oscar forecaster), and still some would have you believe this is a tight three-way race ripe for an upset. Because we’ve seen Oscar suddenly believe what others say its feeling before, and because La Vie en Rose gives Cotillard the opportunity to forge an unholy fusion of two major Oscar-bait elements (musical biopic spiked by the spectacle of a gorgeous young woman getting fugly for her art), and because those four nominations for Juno give us that Little Miss Sunshine vibe all over again, we have to reluctantly admit that this is likely a much closer race than it ought to be, especially since it’s hard to imagine either Laura Linney’s or Cate Blanchett’s wrathful bitchery helping to tip the race one way or the other.
Will Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Should Win: Julie Christie, Away from Her