The Best Actress category at the 95th Academy Awards is packed with big awards season drama, from Andrea Riseborough’s surprise nomination to the potential story to be made if Michelle Yeoh wins, which AP writers predict.
All will be celebrated at Sunday’s Oscars, which airs live on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. ET. There’s still time to catch up on their pre-show performances.
Here’s a bit more about the contenders.
ANA DE ARMAS
“Blonde” may have been reviled by many critics, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t admire Ana de Armas’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. De Armas prepared for a year and was thrown into the fire on her first day of filming: in the flat where Norma Jeane lived with her mother – a nightmarish sequence in which she saves a baby from the dresser drawer in which she was kept. an infant, because the place is burning around her. Her second day was her visit to her mother in the psychiatric hospital, where she was able to speak as Marilyn for the first time on camera.
“I wasn’t in character the whole time. But… I felt this heaviness and this weight in my shoulders. And I felt that sadness,” de Armas said. “She was everything I thought about. She was everything I dreamed of. She was everything I talked about.
Fun Fact: De Armas is the first Cuban woman to be nominated for Best Actress.
“Tár” wouldn’t exist without Cate Blanchett because Todd Field, the writer and director, wouldn’t have done it with anyone else. It might be most Hollywood bluster, but with Field, you believe it. Preparing to play Lydia Tár, the fictional conductor of a German orchestra, she would learn to play the piano, speak German, and conduct an orchestra, which is what she actually does in the film.
“I’m still processing the experience, not only because it spoke to a lot of things that I had been thinking about, but I feel so expanded to have been in Todd’s orbit,” Blanchett said. . “It was a very, very fluid, dangerous, living process to make the movie.”
Lifetime Oscar Nominations: 8
Wins: 2. Best Supporting Actress for “The Aviator” in 2005 and Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” in 2014
Notable wins: Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup, BAFTA, Golden Globes (drama).
Riseborough was unexpectedly nominated for her performance as an alcoholic single mother from Texas in the little-seen indie drama “To Leslie,” a choice that shocked Oscar pundits and resulted in campaign techniques being investigated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Riseborough rose through the Oscar ranks thanks in large part to the local efforts of “To Leslie” director Michael Morris and his wife, actress Mary McCormack. They urged stars to see the film and either arrange a screening or praise Riseborough’s performance on social media. And plenty of them did: Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams and Courteney Cox all hosted screenings for the film.
After a review of the campaign, the Academy said Andrea Riseborough would not be stripped of her nomination.
The pivotal event of “The Fabelmans” comes when Mitzi Fabelman, a fictionalized version of Steven Spielberg’s own mother played by Michelle Williams, reluctantly leaves her husband for his best friend.
“I thought she’d had a near-death experience before. When she gave up on her dream of being a concert pianist, she went through what it’s like for a part of you to die,” Williams says. “So when she’s faced with another near-death experience – do I stay in this marriage or do I allow myself to go where my heart takes me? – she knows she can’t. no more dying. Nothing will remain of her.
“What is this thing in her that allows her to make this decision? Is it his artistic talent? Is it bravery? Is that how big his emotions are? What allowed this woman to claim her life like that? said Williams. “I don’t know, but I think that’s what allowed his children to do the same thing, to claim their own lives. It is, I think, one of the greatest gifts you give your children, showing them how they can be whole people.
Lifetime Oscar Nominations: 5
Age: 42 years old
After decades as a Hong Kong movie star and then more mainstream hits like ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, Malaysian-born Yeoh has become a movie queen. She had pivotal roles in what were the first major American studio films in years with Asian-led actors – Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” and “Crazy Rich Asians.” . As much as those movies mean to her, she was a polished supporting actor in them — and then came “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
The Daniels originally named multiverse jump matriarch Michelle, as a “love letter” to Yeoh. But then she asked to change that and Evelyn was born.
“I’m like ‘No, no, no’ because I believe this person, this character that you’ve written so richly, deserves their own voice. She is the voice of those mothers, aunts, grandmothers that you meet in Chinatown or at the supermarket and at whom you don’t even glance. Then you take it for granted,” Yeoh said. “She never had a voice.”
Anecdote: If Yeoh won, she would become the first Asian woman awarded in this category.
Age: 60 years old
Notable wins: Golden Globes (Musical/Comedy), Screen Actors Guild, Film Independent Spirit Award.
For more on this year’s Oscars, visit: http://www.apnews.com/academy-awards.