- Title: USA: Hollywood film critic talks Oscar Best Actress nominations
- Date: 20th February 2008
- Summary: BURBANK, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (RECENT) (REUTERS) ACCESS HOLLYWOOD FILM CRITIC SCOTT MANTZ WALKS BACKSTAGE. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FILM CRITIC SCOTT MANTZ SAYING "For Best Actress, it's really a toss-up between Marion Cotillard for "La Vie En Rose" or Julie Christie for 'Away From Her.' Now, Marion Cotillard should win, as anyone who's seen 'La Vie En Rose" her performance in that film as troubled singer Edith Piaf was so unbelievable, she goes through so many physical and emotional transformations, it's hard to believe that role is being played by the same person."
- Embargoed: 7th March 2008 04:31
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVACXFYR3JNCRRGZ3X2K4O8YIWRW
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The countdown to the 80th Annual Academy Awards is underway. The red carpet will be rolled out on schedule, and the show will take place this coming Sunday (February 24) as planned.
Film critics say the top contenders in the race for Best Leading Actress are French actress Marion Cotillard and Hollywood veteran Julie Christie.
Scott Mantz, a commentator for the entertainment news program Access Hollywood, recently shared with Reuters his thoughts about the actresses favored to win in this esteemed category.
"For Best Actress, it's really a toss-up between Marion Cotillard for 'La Vie En Rose' or Julie Christie for 'Away From Her.' Now, Marion Cotillard should win, as anyone who's seen 'La Vie En Rose" her performance in that film as troubled singer Edith Piaf was so unbelievable, she goes through so many physical and emotional transformations, it's hard to believe that role is being played by the same person."
Cotillard has a career stretching back 15 years, mostly in French theatrical and TV films. But her screen looks have changed so dramatically with each part, that "La Vie En Rose" fans may not even recognize her from the handful of her movies that got significant U.S. distribution.
So far this awards show season, the 32-year-old has won several awards for her portrayal of Piaf, including a BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actress and a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Cotillard was also named Actress of the Year at the 2007 Hollywood Film Festival for playing the part of the French singer.
Meanwhile, actress Julie Christie, who has managed to be both revered and reclusive in a career spanning four decades, has won universal acclaim for her portrayal of a woman with Alzheimer's disease in "Away From Her." And according to Mantz, 66-year-old Christie may beat out Cotillard and be crowned with an Oscar this year for the part.
"Now the flip side, 'Away From Her,' Julie Christie who's like a legend at this point, she plays a woman who's suffering from Alzheimer's, and you see her slip away emotionally and physically throughout the course of the film. But because you are bringing to the film, all of the great performances she's done over the years - 'Dr. Zhivago,' 'Shampoo,' 'Heaven Can Wait,' whatever, you're bringing that beauty and grace with you to see her performance. And seeing her slip away like that makes it all the more tragic and devastating. And also, she's an, she's an Oscar favorite. She's a Hollywood - she's Hollywood royalty, and I think that by giving her that Oscar for 'Away From Her' you're also crowning a spectacular career."
This year, Christie has won a Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and a few smaller trophies for her role in "Away From Her."
This is the fourth Oscar nomination for Christie. She won her first and only Academy Award 42 years ago for the "swingin' sixties"
London-based movie 'Darling.' Actor Al Pacino has called Christie the most poetic of all actresses.
Still, Oscar voters tend to favor young actresses. In the past 15 years, only two women over the age of 50 -- including last year's winner Helen Mirren -- have won in the acting category. If Cotillard triumphs, she will be only the second to win best actress for performing in a foreign language film. The first was Sophia Loren.
Experts have characterized Cotillard as being a relatively unknown actress playing somebody famous, and Christie as somebody famous playing someone unknown.
Newcomer Ellen Page, who plays a sarcastic pregnant teen in the comedy 'Juno,' could prove to be a wild card and take home the Oscar for Best Actress this year.
Laura Linney in 'The Savages' (which like 'Away From Her' also deals with Alzheimer's and dementia), and Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (story of the virgin Queen as a woman and a warrior, and chronicling the Golden years of her rule over England) round out the competition in the Best Leading Actress contest.
The 80th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 24, 2008.
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