Who says the Oscars are too mainstream?
This year’s best actress category features performances in films that range from slightly off-center to totally off the map. This is one category, at least, where the weirdest film may win.
The actress: Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
The deal: Her A-list status hasn’t helped her movie earn even $2 million at the box-office. That’s probably because of the dark subject matter: It’s about a couple grieving for a dead child. The lack of buzz canceled out the good reviews, which makes Kidman a long shot.
The actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
The deal: The 20-year-old looked for all the world like the backwoods meth-cooker’s daughter she played in this indie movie. But she’s actually a potential It Girl, with upcoming roles in “X-Men: First Class” and the Mel Gibson comeback “The Beaver.” This may not be her year, but she’s got time.
The actress: Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”
The deal: In this ultra-intense indie drama, Williams and Ryan Gosling played a married couple slowly splitting apart. And while few have quibbled with her performance, the most notable thing about her nomination is that her co-star didn’t get one.
The actress: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
The deal: Critics raved about her portrayal of a fiercely protective lesbian mother. She’s been hard on the Oscar campaign trail in recent days, leading some to wonder whether she may yet come out on top.
The actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
The deal: The role of a mentally unstable woman who may or may not have an enormous swan living in her torso wouldn’t seem to be Oscar material. But with her star rising and a slew of movies coming out this year, Portman is the one to put your money on.