After entering last month’s chart as a dark horse, Still Alice‘s Kristen Stewart is now officially in the Gold Rush Gang top 5. Her support has been growing and many of us believe with the strong word of mouth of her performance from those who have seen it and Sony Pictures Classic‘s success with getting Sally Hawkins into this category (on the tails of the undeniable Best Actress frontrunner) that Stewart is well on her way to her first Oscar nomination. Stewart, whose reputation as aloof and dismissive, is working the circuit with Julianne Moore and actively altering the media’s perception of her. With critically praised performances in Camp X-Ray and 2015’s Clouds of Sils Maria, Stewart’s campaign to be taken seriously looks to be working.
Elsewhere in the top 5 we see small increases from last month’s top 2 ladies. Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) remains at #1 by a good margin and Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) stays at #2. But what’s this? Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) tears into the chart with a giant 25-point increase as confirmation of her placement here gets nearer and nearer. The recent featurette of her singing ‘Stay With Me’ was the clincher though, it’s marvelous. And the film is just now kicking in its awards campaign.
Only Birdman‘s Emma Stone falters (as she did last month) but holds onto her place in the top 5. Poor Carmen Ejogo (Selma) though; a 24-point fall puts her in a very bad position and is going to need some active work from Paramount to get her back in the conversation. Currently only Kenneth and myself (a recurring pattern, no?) continue to have her in.
And what to make of Jessica Chastain? Back and forth talk of her category placement for A Most Violent Year, coupled with a potentially strong push for Interstellar, has seen her support for both films fall. With the release of two new trailers this week for A Most Violent Year that saw Chastain receive great notices for, will A24 keep her in Lead for a reportedly borderline performance or drop her to Supporting where she stands a good chance at winning? Either way, A24 has never been an Oscar player (but really, it’s never had the chance until now) so can it compete with the big boys? Will Paramount throw enough money at a Chastain campaign to squash her chances for AMVY? And what of the Screen Actors Guild category placement deadline of Oct. 28th? At that point, A24 was positioning Chastain in Lead where she might miss. Can they turn it around in time?