The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actress (1990-2011)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories.

2011

Actual Nominees:

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

My Vote: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I make three changes on my list, only one of which is a legitimate change.

My Nominees:

  • Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I think we all agree Tilda was a lot better than Glenn Close was, as much as I love Glenn. That’s really the only change that can be made.

Compromise List:

  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

My Vote: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

2010

Actual Nomines:

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

 

 

My Vote: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

I consider Hailee Steinfeld lead, so I’d like to vote her lead, but if they’re pushing her supporting, I’ll leave her Supporting. But I still would vote for her.

I’d also probably have voted for Noomi Rapace over Annette Bening in the moment, but after the fact, with Rooney Mara getting nominated for the same performance, I can’t change it. So I have to leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  • Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

My Vote: Natalie Portman, Black Swan

2009

Actual Nominees:

  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

 

 

My Vote: Carey Mulligan, An Education

I can’t take off Bullock, so I have to leave the category. I haven’t seen Antichrist, so I don’t know anything about that. And I loved Emily Blunt in the Young Victoria, but I take off Bullock first, so I pretty much have to leave the category as-is.

There’s one performance from this year (I won’t say what it is, except, it’s lighter not darker), but if anyone even thinks to put it on their list, I will immediately hit them in the face. This year sucked for female lead performances. All the great female performances were supporting. (Also, if you say Avatar here — no. And if you say (500) Days of Summer — fuck you.)

Compromise List:

  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
  • Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

My Vote: Carey Mulligan, An Education

2008

Actual Nominees:

  • Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie, Changeling
  • Melissa Leo, Frozen River
  • Meryl Streep, Doubt
  • Kate Winslet, The Reader

My Vote: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

I had a real tough time nominating number five. I had all four on this list (with Kate nominated for Revolutionary Road instead), and then I was torn between Melissa Leo, Keira for The Duchess and Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky. And since Melissa Leo is in a crazy independent movie that should be celebrated so more people see it (and I don’t like all these Mike Leigh performances that get nominated. I’m still bitter about Vera Drake), I’m leaving it. I can’t change Kate’s film, so what’s the point?

Compromise List:

  • Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie, Changeling
  • Melissa Leo, Frozen River
  • Meryl Streep, Doubt
  • Kate Winslet, The Reader

My Vote: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

2007

Actual Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
  • Julie Christie, Away from Her
  • Laura Linney, The Savages
  • Ellen Page, Juno

My Vote: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

 

 

I’d make some changes. Not many, but I would.

My Nominees:

  • Amy Adams, Enchanted
  • Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
  • Julie Christie, Away from Her
  • Keira Knightley, Atonement
  • Ellen Page, Juno

 

I’ve never seen A Mighty Heart, so I have no idea about that one.

Also, I’ll say — except maybe putting Keira on (and even then, I don’t think it’s a necessity), I’d just leave it. The only person that probably comes off is Blanchett, and — is it worth quibbling about? Keira does kind of disappear for a while in that movie anyway.

Compromise List:

  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
  • Julie Christie, Away from Her
  • Laura Linney, The Savages
  • Ellen Page, Juno

My Vote: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

2006

Actual Nominees;

  • Penelope Cruz, Volver
  • Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
  • Helen Mirren, The Queen
  • Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
  • Kate Winslet, Little Children

 

 

My Vote: Kate Winslet, Little Children

I hate 2006. It’s awful. I’m leaving this out of sheer lack of anything else to nominate.

Compromise List:

  • Penelope Cruz, Volver
  • Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
  • Helen Mirren, The Queen
  • Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
  • Kate Winslet, Little Children

My Vote: Kate Winslet, Little Children

2005

Actual Nominees:

  • Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
  • Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron, North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

FYI, I consider Maria Bello in History of Violence Supporting, and even then I’m not sure I nominate her. Also, never seen Memoirs of a Geisha, so I have no idea about Zhang Ziyi. Otherwise, I don’t have anything else to change, so I’m leaving it by default.

Compromise List:

  • Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
  • Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron, North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

My Vote: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica

2004

Actual Nominees:

  • Annette Bening, Being Julia
  • Catalina Santina Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
  • Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
  • Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
  • Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

 

My Vote: Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Obviously they had no interest in voting for Uma Thurman, so really there’s nothing to add. We leave it. I can’t change anything except Moreno, and I don’t see anything else that gets on. So we leave it.

Compromise List:

  • Annette Bening, Being Julia
  • Catalina Santina Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
  • Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
  • Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
  • Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

My Vote: Honestly, performance alone — I might still vote for Winslet because I love the film, but Hilary did deserve this one. I’m just bitter about the ’99 win.

2003

Actual Nominees:

  • Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
  • Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give
  • Samantha Morton, In America
  • Charlize Theron, Monster
  • Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

 

 

My Vote: Charlize Theron, Monster

Don’t like these nominees. Patricia Clarkson got nominated for a SAG Award, but I haven’t seen The Station Agent, so I can’t vote for that. I haven’t seen Thirteen in ten, so I can’t imagine why I’d want to vote for Evan Rachel Wood unless that movie magically blows me away the next time I see it. No to Uma Thurman. If it’s anything, it’s the second one. And I haven’t seen Girl with a Pearl Earring (and Lost in Translation is a hard no). So basically — I got nothing, and we’re leaving it.

And it kills me to do this, since Diane Keaton’s nomination is a joke, and in a stronger year Keisha doesn’t get on (though I’m glad she did, all things considered). But still — I wish I had something to switch for Keaton.

Compromise List:

  • Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
  • Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give
  • Samantha Morton, In America
  • Charlize Theron, Monster
  • Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

 

 

My Vote: Charlize Theron, Monster

2002

Actual Nominees:

  • Salma Hayek, Frida
  • Nicole Kidman, The Hours
  • Diane Lane, Unfaithful
  • Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven
  • Renée Zellweger, Chicago

 

My Vote: Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven

hate 2002. But there’s nothing to vote for! What, Jodie Foster in Panic Room? Really? Everything’s male-centered this year. They fucking gave Best Actress to a supporting performance! That’s how bad it was! (Though that vote was just a fucking travesty. Julianne Moore got so fucked.)

I can’t even take off Diane Lane here, which is a joke nomination to me. Jesus… what a bad year.

Compromise List:

  • Salma Hayek, Frida
  • Nicole Kidman, The Hours
  • Diane Lane, Unfaithful
  • Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven
  • Renée Zellweger, Chicago

My Vote: Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven

2001

Actual Nominees:

  • Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball
  • Judi Dench, Iris
  • Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!
  • Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom
  • Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones’s Diary

 

 

 

My Vote: Judi Dench, Iris

Speaking of joke nominations — Renée Zellweger? Really? I vote Audrey Tautou in Amélie, since at least if we’re gonna vote for something that’s not quite deserving, at least let’s have the film be good.

Also, WHY THE FUCK ISN’T JENNIFER CONNELLY LEAD? (Answer: Because she lost SAG Best Actress and they knew she wouldn’t win, so they got her an Oscar in a loaded category.)

Seriously, though, I want to change something here, but I can’t. The year is terrible for female lead performances. (As most years are, because Hollywood sucks and doesn’t like to write good female roles.)

Compromise List:

  • Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball
  • Judi Dench, Iris
  • Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!
  • Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom
  • Renée Zellweger, Bridget Jones’s Diary

My Vote: Honestly, if it keeps her from winning in 2002, I’ll take Nicole. I don’t really like any of the performances, so I don’t give a fuck. I just voted for Judi because I love Judi.

2000

Actual Nominees:

  • Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
  • Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
  • Joan Allen, The Contender
  • Juliette Binoche, Chocolat
  • Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Uhh…Burstyn? I don’t even like that performance all that much. Whatever.

Never seen Dancer in the Dark, so I can’t comment. Otherwise, I got nothing here, too. So we leave it by default. (What the fuck?)

Compromise List:

  • Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream
  • Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
  • Joan Allen, The Contender
  • Juliette Binoche, Chocolat
  • Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me

My Vote: Nobody

1999

Actual Nominees:

  • Annette Bening, American Beauty
  • Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds
  • Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair
  • Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart
  • Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

My Vote: Annette Bening, American Beauty

I forget how little there is outside of the nominees in these years. I got nothing for this one either. Of course, I haven’t delved too deeply into the random stuff for these years like I have in recent ones. But even so — these are pretty much the same performances that made it through the awards circuit, which must mean there’s not much else.

So we leave it until I find something else. (Because that Meryl nomination is a joke.)

Compromise List:

  • Annette Bening, American Beauty
  • Janet McTeer, Tumbleweeds
  • Julianne Moore, The End of the Affair
  • Meryl Streep, Music of the Heart
  • Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

My Vote: Annette Bening, American Beauty

 

 

 

 

1998

Actual Nominees:

  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
  • Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
  • Meryl Streep, One True Thing
  • Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

What a shitty year. Only two of these should even be nominated.

Only problem? Nothing to swap it with! (What the fuck?)

Compromise List:

  • Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
  • Fernanda Montenegro, Central Station
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love
  • Meryl Streep, One True Thing
  • Emily Watson, Hilary and Jackie

 

 

 

 

My Vote: Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

1997

Actual Nominees:

  • Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove
  • Julie Christie, Afterglow
  • Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown
  • Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets
  • Kate Winslet, Titanic

 

 

My Vote: Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets

Another shitty year. I haven’t seen Lolita, so I can’t comment. Also — other nominated performances on other awards shows were Robin Wright Penn in She’s So Lovely and Jessica Lange in A Thousand Acres. Haven’t seen either.

There’s only one change I’d make, and I’m just making it, because ain’t nobody seen Afterglow and ain’t nobody gonna miss it if it’s gone.

Compromise List:

  • Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove
  • Judi Dench, Mrs. Brown
  • Pam Grier, Jackie Brown
  • Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets
  • Kate Winslet, Titanic

My Vote: Helen Hunt, As Good as It Gets

1996

Actual Nominees:

 

  • Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies
  • Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room
  • Frances McDormand, Fargo
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient
  • Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves

My Vote: Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves

Three of the five are perfect and I wouldn’t even change them. Scott Thomas stays no matter what, so really the only person worth changing is Diane Keaton. I don’t really remember Courtney Love in People vs. Larry Flynt, so I can’t comment. I’ve also never seen Evita. or Unhook the Stars, which Gena Rowlands got nominated for. And I really don’t think they nominate Renée Zellweger for Jerry Maguire, since she’s not known enough and is clearly lead, so they can’t pull that putting her Supporting shit. So I’m just leaving it alone. The big three really make this work no matter what.

Compromise List:

  • Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies
  • Diane Keaton, Marvin’s Room
  • Frances McDormand, Fargo
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, The English Patient
  • Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves

My Vote: Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves

1995

Actual Nominees:

  • Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking
  • Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas
  • Sharon Stone, Casino
  • Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County
  • Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas

Joan Nixon is more Supporting in Nixon, and I’ve never seen To Die For, but I can’t imagine I’d put Kidman on over anyone on that list. So I’m leaving it.

Compromise List:

  • Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking
  • Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas
  • Sharon Stone, Casino
  • Meryl Streep, The Bridges of Madison County
  • Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility

My Vote: Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas

1994

Actual Nominees:

  • Jodie Foster, Nell
  • Jessica Lange, Blue Sky
  • Miranda Richardson, Tom & Viv
  • Winona Ryder, Little Women
  • Susan Sarandon, The Client

 

 

 

My Vote: Jodie Foster, Nell

I haven’t seen any of the other shit in the ballpark that could have been nominated (based on precursors, since I don’t see anything from what I’ve seen worth nominating). Haven’t seen Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, haven’t seen The River Wild, or The Last Seduction. So it has to stay for now.

Compromise List:

  • Jodie Foster, Nell
  • Jessica Lange, Blue Sky
  • Miranda Richardson, Tom & Viv
  • Winona Ryder, Little Women
  • Susan Sarandon, The Client

 

 

 

My Vote: Jodie Foster, Nell

1993

Actual Nominees:

  • Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It
  • Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation
  • Holly Hunter, The Piano
  • Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day
  • Debra Winger, Shadowlands

 

 

 

My Vote: Holly Hunter, The Piano

I’m making one change and not even putting my nominees up. Since no one cares about Six Degrees of Separation, and I’m gonna nominate someone a lot of people have said really should have been closer to an Oscar than she has been. Trust me. You’ll like my list better.

Compromise List:

  • Angela Bassett, What’s Love Got to Do with It
  • Holly Hunter, The Piano
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, The Age of Innocence
  • Emma Thompson, The Remains of the Day
  • Debra Winger, Shadowlands

 

 

 

My Vote: Holly Hunter, The Piano

1992

Actual Nominees:

  • Catherine Deneuve, Indochine
  • Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field
  • Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil
  • Emma Thompson, Howards End

My Vote: Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish

I have absolutely nobody to nominate here. Jesus… it’s bad.

Compromise List:

  • Catherine Deneuve, Indochine
  • Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field
  • Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil
  • Emma Thompson, Howards End

My Vote: Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish

 

1991

Actual Nominees:

  • Geena Davis, Thelma and Louise
  • Laura Dern, Rambling Rose
  • Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs
  • Bette Midler, For the Boys
  • Susan Sarandon, Thelma and Louise

My Vote: Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

 

 

Is Annette Bening in Bugsy lead or Supporting? I feel she’s Supporting. Which is why I don’t vote for her. Otherwise I nominate her over Midler. Past that — again, don’t really see anything worth nominating. So we have to leave it again. (Fortunately this is a good category, so it’s not so bad.)

Compromise List:

  • Geena Davis, Thelma and Louise
  • Laura Dern, Rambling Rose
  • Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs
  • Bette Midler, For the Boys
  • Susan Sarandon, Thelma and Louise

My Vote: Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

1990

Actual Nominees:

  • Kathy Bates, Misery
  • Anjelica Huston, The Grifters
  • Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman
  • Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge
  • Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

My Vote: Kathy Bates, Misery

 

I hate 1990 as a year. It’s really weak. So I’m leaving it, since the only two performances that got any kind of awards traction (Michelle Pfeiffer in The Russia House and Susan Sarandon in White Palace), I haven’t seen. So it stays.

Compromise List:

  • Kathy Bates, Misery
  • Anjelica Huston, The Grifters
  • Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman
  • Meryl Streep, Postcards from the Edge
  • Joanne Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

My Vote: Kathy Bates, Misery

 

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Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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