10. Amy Adams - American Hustle
Okay, let's get this one out of the way. As I mentioned in the opening, my inclusion of Jennifer Lawrence in the ten likeliest actresses to be nominated for Best Actress in 2014 was somewhat contentious. Lawrence plays the unwitting wife to Christian Bale's professional con artist, while Amy Adams plays Bale's mistress and partner in crime, in David O. Russell's cinematic retelling of the Abscam scandal, American Hustle. It appears then (although I haven't read the script), that it is Adams, not Lawrence, who will have the larger role to play in the film. If this is the case, then surely Adams will be in the running for Best Actress while Lawrence will be in contention for Best Supporting Actress, correct? If logic and reason ruled the day, yes, but with the Academy, it's hard to say. Unless Lawrence's role is clearly on equal footing with Adams' in terms of screen time, it will probably be a stretch to campaign Lawrence as a lead even if she is the reigning champion in the category (although I wouldn't put it past a shrewd campaign publicist to do so if they thought it was advantageous for her chances/career). In the case of Ms. Adams though, even if it is as apparent as the sky is blue, I still believe it is extremely probable Adams will be campaigned as a supporting actress. While it tends to be more difficult to convince Academy members that a supporting player is really a lead character (although it has happened before), it is surprisingly simple to persuade them that a character who may easily be considered to be at least a co-lead, is really a "supporting" player. Even in cases where the character is unquestionably the protagonist of the film, the Academy seems to justify to itself nominating an actor or actress in the secondary categories, as was the case with Hailee Steinfeld's nomination for the Coen Brother's remake of True Grit. This is why I think, despite what good sense might have you believe, Amy Adams will be campaigned as a Best Supporting Actress candidate for American Hustle. One important reason to consider this possibility is Ms. Adams' own personal history with the Academy Awards. Up to this point in her career, Amy Adams has been nominated for four Oscars, all in the Best Supporting Actress category (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, and The Master). At this rate, she is well on her way to taking the Miss Best Supporting Actress title from Thelma Ritter, who holds the record for the most nominations in the category (6, although she never won). I also believe that this strategy will likely make the most strategic sense for Ms. Adams' campaign. The Best Actress field looks to be relatively crowded this year, so campaigning Amy Adams as a supporting actress will likely reap her, as well as the film itself, the most benefits, which will make the decision a no-brainer if this turns out to be the case. Regardless of categorization, I do expect Adams to receive a nomination for her performance in the film, but the bigger question may be, can this be the role that finally catapults her into the realm of "Oscar-winning" actresses? Here's to hoping so.