Several of the blog topics that have occurred to me lately have a lesbian angle, don't ask me why. I must have lesbian on the brain. I'm posting these gay gal items at noon for the next few days, so presto! Lesbian Lunch.
Yes, I know Annette Bening is straight, but she played a character in The Kids Are All Right who was passionate, obsessive, wronged, achingly human, and lesbian. And you heard it here: Natalie Portman will not steal the Oscar from her.
As the biggest Oscar Queen east of the Mississippi, allow me to explain why Annette will win. I'll start by saying that this is not about "who should win." An attitude like that will never win you the Oscar pool. It's about who will win.
First, Annette is married to Warren Beatty. She's royalty. And she knows how to play the Oscar campaign game - not too many appearances or ads - and she reportedly possesses a gracious, "we're all great artists" decorum at the insider events.
Annette "has it coming." She has been nominated for Best Actress twice (and beaten twice, both times by Hilary Swank) and is widely admired. The academy would love Annette to have an Oscar to snuggle up with Warren's (for directing Reds). And Annette gave a lovely speech when she won the Golden Globe, and that means brownie points with the Academy.
Guess who else gave a good speech at the Golden Globes? Natalie Portman. But although her polarizing freak-out of a performance is getting a lot of attention, Natalie has some serious deficits. I will put aside my gripe that while Annette offers an amazing, naturalistic performance as one-half of a female couple, Natalie wasn't actually lesbian in Black Swan, since her brief lesbian encounter was a hallucination on her part (oh, was that a spoiler? Oh well. Don't worry, the movie is incomprehensible anyway).
The race between Natalie and Annette reminds me very much of the 2008 race between another edgy, break-out performance - Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married - and another multiple nominee who had never won Best Actress and had it coming - Kate Winslet for The Reader. Kate won.
Finally, Natalie is suffering the unfortunate timing of being up for an Oscar just as she is appearing in theaters in a lame romantic comedy, No Strings Attached. It may shake Oscar voters' confidence in her long-time standing as a serious actress.
Consider Eddie Murphy. In 2006, his performance in Dreamgirls was so hot he won the Golden Globe for it and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Academy voters seemed poised to give him some respect as a serious actor. But just as ballots were mailed, Eddie Murphy hit movie theaters again... in the low-brow comedy Norbit. Alan Arkin won the Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine.
Please stay tuned, especially if you participate in an Oscar pool or have an Oscar party, because I'll post my predictions for all of the awards prior to the big night!