Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) is still going strong here with a solid first place showing. She receives eight 1st place votes with just Jason holding back full blown support. Her vote total doesn’t change from last month, but is that a good thing? Her lead is commanding but will see start to suffer from too early frontrunner status?
Especially when The Imitation Game‘s Keira Knightley makes a big move from 5th to 2nd after good notices from Toronto. With Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything going lead, this opened the door for Knightley in a major way. She has two 1st place mentions here and enough support to push her past two longtime holds in the #2 and #3 spots.
Selma‘s Carmen Ejogo suffers a bit as a result, as does Birdman‘s Emma Stone. They fall eight and four points, respectively, but still have a commanding lead in the vote totals over potential upsets. For now.
With the news this week that Meryl Streep would be pushed in supporting for Into the Woods, she shows up again, this time in the #5 spot. Most feel that she’s secure for a nom as soon as we have official word on her category placement, but currently she’s clearly splitting her own votes among the Gold Rush Gang.
Jessica Chastain’s wobbly Best Actress possibilities could be paving a way for a possible déjà vu in which her roles in less seen films merely boost her chances for a nomination for a big blockbuster like she did for The Help, this time for Interstellar. She receives three votes this month, putting just a single point under Streep for 6th place. Once we know the breadth of Chastain’s role in Interstellar (some say it’s too small) we’ll have a better idea of her chances.
Katherine Waterston shows promise for an ingenue nomination for Inherent Vice but she’ll struggle significantly if that film doesn’t pay off with strong notices and a couple of Breakthrough Performance wins for her from critics.
Wild‘s Laura Dern, once a #5 placeholder, falls off the chart. Can she return?
But, the real dark horse here is Kristen Stewart. Can the strength of Julianne Moore and Still Alice give breath to a possible nomination for the Twilight star? With the upcoming Camp X-Ray and raves for The Clouds of Sils Maria (opening in 2015), she’s making a real play for respect and serious consideration from her peers and to break free from the YA background that gave her her fame but also for critics and the academy to take her seriously. With Sony Pictures Classics being able to campaign solely for her and Moore in the actress categories and having secured a win and a nomination for Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, respectively this year, we think her chances are very good.