“Boogie Nights.” “The End of the Affair.” “The Hours.” “Far from Heaven.” And those were just the four times Julianne Moore found herself in the race. “Safe.” “The Big Lebowski.” “Magnolia.” “The Shipping News.” “Children of Men.” “A Single Man.” “Maps to the Stars.” She's been turning out great work for years and now, finally, it looks like she's going to be an Oscar winner.
You can debate whether her work outshines the film “Still Alice,” and whether the category needed to be as generally weak as it is this year for her to finally get there. But why pick it to pieces? Every year is different, every set of circumstances is unique, and the stars are finally aligning for her. Embrace it. And by the way, she's pretty outstanding in the film, breaking your heart as a woman succumbing to early on-set Alzheimer's disease. Whoever picked this film up out of Toronto (it ended up being Sony Pictures Classics) was going to coast to a win, and so here we are with the single lockiest lock of Oscar night.
I'm sure Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon will be happy to stay seated and watch a legend take the stage, but their work made for a collectively robust category, despite the perennial griping that it was a thin field. Cotillard was the surprise inclusion for “Two Days, One Night,” a critical darling who was able to sling-shot past heavy campaigning from Jennifer Aniston to find a spot. Witherspoon might have been the frontrunner for “Wild” had Moore not entered the race, and she's quite affecting as a woman hitting the trail to find herself again. Pike ended up being the lone representative for “Gone Girl,” her unhinged portrayal a sure-thing from the get-go. And Jones was smartly campaigned as a lead (well, she is one) opposite Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything,” an emotional anchor for a film that doesn't eschews some of the usual biopic flourishes to focus on a troubled romance.
But in the end, it's Moore's time. And surely no one wants to take it from her. It will be a lovely highlight, finally.
Biggest campaign moment: The aforementioned acquisition of “Still Alice” out of the Toronto Film Festival. The category was yearning for a substantial frontrunner, not unlike when Jeff Bridges crashed the Best Actor party in 2009.
Should have been here: For starters, it would have been nice to see the single greatest lead actress performance of the year land a nomination – Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Beyond the Lights.” And while “Mommy's” qualifying run for nominations outside of foreign film was more or less invisible, it happened, so Anne Dorval would have been nice, too.
Will win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Should win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”