The LAMB Devours the Oscars – Best Actress

by Dylan · February 7, 2008 · LAMB Devours the Oscars · 17 Comments

Editor’s note: Welcome to the ninth of a multi-part series dissecting the 2008 Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every weekday leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category (or more) of the Oscars (there are 24 in all). To read any other posts regarding this event, please just click on the tag following the post. Thank you, and enjoy!

By Matt of The Spoon.

Predicting the Best Actress Winner

Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Marion Cotillard, Laura Linney, and Ellen Page all turned in strong performances in 2006-7. At least, that’s what I’ve heard since I managed to miss every single one of their Academy Award-nominated roles — which is something you probably don’t want to hear from the guy offering his analysis on the Best Actress category. Fortunately for us all, a small thing like complete and utter ignorance is nothing new to me and won’t get in the way of my 100% guaranteed prediction for this year’s Best Actress Oscar winner.

Before we get busy, refresh yourselves with single-sentence recaps of each stars’ nominated performance which I liberated from various media outlets. Click on the link for the accompanying film review.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age: Cate Blanchett as “Queen Elizabeth … faces pressure [from] Spain’s rebellious King Philip II, … [a] jealous Mary Queen of Scots, [and] plans [of a] hostile takeover.”

Away From Her: Julie Christie stars as Fiona, an “Ontario woman succumbing to Alzheimer’s… [who takes] an interest in another [nursing home] patient” who is not her husband of forty-four years.

La Vie en Rose: Marion Cotillard is “troubled singer [Edith Piaf], whom she portrays from her late teens to her death at a ravaged 47.”,0,3511610.story

The Savages: Laura Linney plays “a struggling playwright doing odd jobs in Manhattan and diddling a married man… [who, with her brother, must care for] the father who neglected them as kids and now needs all their attention, what with dementia knocking.”

Juno: Ellen Page stars as Juno who is “hip-smart, witty and mature beyond her age… [and] finds herself pregnant after a sexual encounter with her best friend.”

Now brace yourselves for my uninformed yet inexplicably statistics-heavy analysis of this year’s Best Actress nominees.

Eighty actresses have won an Oscar for Best Actress during the award’s seventy-nine year history (Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Streisand tied in 1967). Examining the conditions of previous winners from the first, 1928’s Janet Gaynor, to the most recent, 2006’s Helen Mirren, unmasks several trends that make predicting 2008’s Best Actress winner easier than peeing in the dark.

Based on my exhaustive Wikipedia research, 68% of all Best Actress winners have been American. The last five years reflect a break in this trend but even with recent winners from Britain (Helen Mirren), South Africa (Charlize Theron), and Australia (Nicole Kidman), Americans still account for 40% of the winners in the past five years and 70% in the last ten.

Based on this information, Marion Cotillard (French), Ellen Page (Canadian), Julie Christie (British) and Cate Blanchett (Australian) can be voted off the figurative Oscar Island.

That leaves Laura Linney as the lone American nominee and most likely Best Actress winner.

But let’s say the Nationality method is too reliant on bigoted worldviews for your taste. Fair enough. Here’s a breakdown of the nominees from an age-ism perspective.

The youngest winner for Best Actress was Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God) who was twenty-one years old when she received her award in 1987. The oldest winner was Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy) who was a tidy eighty years old at her 1990 win.

Ellen Page will be twenty-one during this year’s Academy Awards on February 24th. However, only 5% of all Best Actress winners have been younger than twenty-five which makes Ellen Page an unlikely candidate to win this year’s Oscar.

A closer inspection of past winners also reveals that 90% of all Best Actresses were less than sixty years of age at the time of their victorious award ceremony, which would make Julie Christy (66) another statistically unlikely winner.

This leaves Cate Blanchett (38), Marion Cotillard (32), and Laura Linney (44) as the remaining actresses who fall within the more common age range of previous Best Actress winners. At first glance, all three actresses have very similar chances to win based on their relative youth. However, a second examination once again offers a differing perspective.

Age-ism’s wrinkled claw tends to brush off actresses in their 40s as only 15% of past winners can be found in this range while a pinkly robust 39% of previous winners were in their 30s.

Recent history reflects this successful trend for younger actresses. With the exception of Helen Mirren, all previous Best Actress winners were under forty years of age going back to 1995 when Susan Sarandon (50 at the time) won for Dead Man Walking.

In fact, the list of recent winners clearly shows a shift for especially young actresses. Once again with the exception of Helen Mirren, all Best Actress winners since 1996 have been thirty-five years of age or younger, though all winners were older than twenty-five.

Of the 2008 nominees only Marion Cotillard fits this criterion (excluding Ellen Page for her extreme youth).

So there you have it. This year’s winner for Best Actress will be Marion Cotillard… and Laura Linney? Perhaps my statistical analysis was not as definitive as I had expected. Hopefully my breakdown still managed to teach you a few new tidbits about the Best Actress category and proved once again that no matter what perspective you use, I’m always an idiot.

Tags: ,

17 Responses to The LAMB Devours the Oscars – Best Actress

  1. Jess says:

    Excellent statistical analysis of the nominees. I think you missed one critical factor that should be statistically added to your analysis – previous awards won. Given that Christie and Cotillard won the Golden Globes, and Christie won the SAG award. And of the 13 critic’s awards Page won 2, Cotillard 2, and Christie won 9!! My vote goes for Christie to win – though no one would be happier than I if Ellen Page won a deserved award. I think her acceptance speech would be the best.

  2. Marilyn says:

    Nicole Kidman was born in Hawaii, so what is her real nationality???

    Interesting analysis, but not really grounded in reality here. I think the Academy pretends to like Juno more than it does, so Ellen is out. Foreign-language nominees usually have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. The fact that Gwyneth Paltrow’s powder-puff performance in Shakespeare in Love won over the searing performance of Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station (something the Brazilian didn’t take lying down!) proves my point. At least I think it does.

    The Academy just doesn’t seem to like Laura Linney; I think she’s made too many indie films. So, she’s out.

    That leaves us with Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett. I thought Christie was brilliant and deserves the Oscar. But I think Cate will get it because it’s about damn time, and Julie’s already got a couple Golden Boys. Cate’s movie was lame, but it cost tons and needs to recoup some of that money. Away from Her is a little film about a depressing subject, so forget it. Sarah Polley, as a first-time director, simply can’t be recognized for capturing a great performance from Christie.

    So there you have it. Back to you, Bud, I mean Matt!

  3. Fletch says:

    Matt – awesome job. Who says a little thing like watching movies is necessary to write a cogent and funny post?

    Matt’s from Hawaii, too, Marilyn, though I don’t know if he was born there…

    Christie’s a lock. What does this mean: “Sarah Polley, as a first-time director, simply can’t be recognized for capturing a great performance from Christie.”

    Is that a knock on Polley or the Academy?

  4. Marilyn says:

    The Academy. How can they recognize a 20-something actress from Canada by awarding her star? It would be embarrassing as hell for them.

  5. Fletch says:

    I’m not following – how is that embarrassing? Is it any worse than Gibson or Eastwood or Redford winning Best Director? I can see some of the established directors throwing a hissy fit, but does anyone else care?

    Anna Paquin was an 11 year-old Canadian when she won Best Supporting Actress. 🙂

  6. Marilyn says:

    Paquin didn’t deserve it either.

    Frankly, I didn’t think Polley’s direction was phenomenal, but the Academy would be acknowledging Polley as a real director by awarding Christie. We know that women directors don’t get no respect in Hollywood.

  7. Nick says:

    My vote still goes for Ellen Page, though I know she probably won’t get it.

    Nice stats data!

  8. Matt says:

    jess – Thanks! I thought about calculating the winning percentages of nominees who had already won other awards (or just been nominated before) but that was going to a whole ‘nother level that I’m not entirely equipped to handle. Too many numbers hurt my head.

    marilyn – Yeah, I did know that about Nicole Kidman, but apparently she only lived in the U.S. for a few years before moving to Australia. Also, did you know that Julie Christie was born in India? I decided against calling her Indian though.

    I also agree with you on Juno. I think she’s the fun choice to win, but I also think she’s likely too young to be seriously considered a winner by the academy.

    fletch – Thanks! I tried writing this article several different ways and none of them worked so I went back to the ole reliable method of ripping off Wikipedia.

    Nick – You’re welcome! (Can I say you’re welcome?) Either way, you’re still very welcome.

  9. mikemachacon says:

    totally amusing and analytical, matt. i loved this entry and i enjoyed the tidbits. i only wish could give a well-supported bet on who will win. maybe it’ll be cate blanchett. =o)

  10. Pat says:

    Matt – good job! I agree – always fall back on Wikipedia.

    I think Christie is supposed to be the favorite, but I’m personally torn between Cotillard and Page, both wonderful performances.

    I wish Angelina Jolie had made the list of nominess for “A Mighty Heart.” Cate Blanchett is great, but her performance in “Elizabeth the Golden Age” really isn’t all that.

  11. Jed says:

    Great article!

    I was thinking since I got the chance to watched them all, I find your analysis more than interesting, in fact, it required me to re-think of how I saw their performances.

    I love to see Linney won, but I find Ellen Page so awesome I can’t help but root for her.


  12. Sadie says:

    Excellent as always, Matt.

    Juno is just about the only movie I’ve seen in the theater all year, and it was so good. You should see it, you’ll like it.

  13. WaywardJam says:

    Great job Matt! (I don’t just say that because I used a similarly statistical approach to my supporting actor column.)

    My vote is for Laura Linney because she is the long overdue nominee. I can see it going to Blanchett more as a make-up for Elizabeth though I’d rather see her win for I’m Not There.

    Sorry Ellen, maybe next year.

  14. Daniel G. says:

    Nice work on the stats – those are often overlooked, yet you can never count on them. Weird. I have a feeling Julie Christie will win, with Cotillard as the upset. But what do I know.

  15. I love stats! Wish I’d used that more in my articles now :). Excellent article Matt!

    As for who wins? Who knows? I’m terrible at predicting. I’ve only seen Juno and Elizabeth. Juno was the better movie, but I have a weak spot for Cate Blanchett, which I thought was excellent. None of them will win of of course 😉

  16. It’s shallow, it’s funny, it may well be an accurate prediction.

    You guys are setting the bar too high! These write-ups are too dang good for me to live up to when Best Animated Short time rolls around.

  17. princess says:



    Download mp3 songs, Video songs, Wallpapers or Full Movie

    (Bollywood, Hollywood, Telugu and Tamil Movies)
    Download mp3 songs

    Download or Watch Online Video Songs

    Download Full Movie

    Download Wallpapers of Actress

    Download Movie Wallpapers

    Download mp3 songs, Video songs, Wallpapers or Full Movie

    Latest Topics of this site :

    Download Bhoothnath Video Songs

    Download Meet Bill Hollywood Movie(2008)

    Download Baby Mama movie(2008)

    Download Love Songs Bollywood movie (2008)

    Download Pandi Songs (2008)

    Watch or Download Akku movie (2008)

    Download What Happens In Vegas movie(2008)

    Download War, Inc. movie(2008)

    Download my mom’s new boyfriend movie (2008)

    Download chennai superkings songs

    Download Aayutham Seivom songs (2008)

    Download Speed Racer Movie (2008)

    Download Khushboo songs (2008)

    Download Bhootnath movie (2008)

    Download sonal chauhan Actress Wallpapers

    Download Katherine Heigl Wallpapers

    Download ileana Wallpapers

    Download Anamika Video songs (2008)

    Download Anamika movie(2008)

    Watch Sirf Video songs (2008)

    Watch Jalsa Video Songs (2008)

    Download Jalsa wallpapers (2008)

    Watch Kantri Video Songs (2008)

    Download Rang Rasiya Wallpapers (2008)

    Download Ankit, Pallavi & Friends Songs

    Download Anamika Songs (2008)

    Download Ghatothkach songs (2008)

    Download Jalsa (2008) telugu movie

    Download Kantri Wallpapers (2008)

    Download Raat Gayi Baat Gayi wallpapers (2008)

    Download Don Muthuswami video songs (2008)

    Download Don Muthuswami Songs (2008)

    Download Dhoom Dadakka Video Songs (2008)

    Download Hastey Hastey (2008) Wallpapers

    Download Dhoom Dadakka (2008) songs

    Download The Awakening (2008) Songs

    Download Hastey Hastey Video Songs

    Download Anushka Shetty Wallpapers

    Download Kalidasu Telugu Movie (2008)

    Download Too Hot Too Cool (2008) Songs, IPL POP

    Download Mr White Mr Black movie (2008)

    Download Hastey Hastey Songs (2008)

    Download Shamur Shardana Songs – Pop Album

    Download Sirf (2008) Movie

    Kuruvi Video Songs Download

    Download Tashan movie (2008)

    Download Katrina kaif Wallpapers

    Download Aashayein Wallpapers

    Download The Number 23 (2007) movie

    Download Vaana Telugu songs

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.