Amy Adams deserves to win an Oscar this year. It's yet to be proven if this will actually happen, but, if we're just talking about who deserves one, then yes, Amy Adams definitely does. But Oscars don't just get handed to every person that deserves one. The nominees this year are particularly strong and the Best Actress category is a great example of that — Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams. All of these actresses, with the exception of Adams, have won Oscars before. During some years, people win who aren't thought to deserve it, and, during some years, people lose who do. No matter who picks up the trophy, this year is going to fit the second option.
My personal guess is that Cate Blanchett will be taking home the Best Actress Oscar for her lead role in Blue Jasmine. (Blanchett's performance is so strong, even sitting in the theater, I thought, "Yep, there goes the Oscar." And that was in July.) But when I saw American Hustle a couple months ago, I was floored by the amazing work from the entire ensemble. I also left thinking, "Damn, Amy Adams killed it! Too bad Blue Jasmine came out this year."
Now, if Adams does end up winning, I wouldn't be upset, and I wouldn't think Blanchett was robbed. Adams threw herself into playing Sydney Prosser and it showed. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Adams spoke about the scene in which she tells Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) that she has her own plan for getting close to Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper).
We ended up working on that scene for 16 hours from beginning to end. I was very stripped down, which, for this movie, I have to be careful how I say that. Bare. Sydney had been putting on so many personas up to that point. Even the person Irving met was a bit of a persona. So it's a moment where she's very raw, very vulnerable... She doesn't know who's telling the truth, and that experience of not understanding what reality is in a moment is terrifying. Let's just say I needed a cocktail when we finished that day.
Now, this only made me recall Blanchett in Blue Jasmine once again. Why? Because Adams' and Blanchett's roles required they play characters with multiple personalities — they both essentially portrayed more than one character on screen simultaneously. Pulling this off is an impressive feat for any actor, and they both fully met the challenge.
Adams has been nominated for five Oscars all together. In past years, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, and The Master. These movies, combined with American Hustle, show off Adam's capability to shine when up against renowned actors like Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams has a long resume and even in her small roles — or roles in small movies — she really makes her mark. She was memorable opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as a adult braces-wearing nurse in Catch Me If You Can and brought emotional depth to Sunshine Cleaning even though it wasn’t a strong film overall.
The reason Adams hasn’t won in the past isn’t because her performances were unworthy, but rather because of the competition she was stacked against. It's hard to beat the likes of Streep when you're Adams, an actress with a style that's far more subdued than many of her contemporaries. The women who ended up winning for Supporting Actress in the years Adams was nominated tended to give broader performances, which are the type that are more likely win Oscars. For example, Melissa Leo’s loud, dish-throwing, mother in The Fighter or Anne Hathaway’s musical turn in Les Misérables.
But many the characters Adams has played have been great because of the actress' subtle style, which allows her to flawlessly mold into any role she plays. Just look at her stint on The Office. She played perfectly against Michael Scott’s over-the-top flirtations. Her reactions were realistic. The role was a small one, but it supports the idea you don’t need loud to be fantastic on the screens both big and small.
But we saw a different side of Adams in American Hustle. With the demand of playing a character balancing multiple personalities. She was able to show off that range that she wasn’t lacking before, but that just hadn’t been called for in her other parts. Perhaps that will get Oscar voters’ attention. But, then again, there's Cate Blanchett, continuing to pick up award after award.
Based on how Adams’ career has gone so far, it's unlikely this year’s nomination will be her last. Adams might not take home the trophy this time and that's fine because she will have been beaten out by someone who was at least equally qualified. But it seems clear from American Hustle and her past roles, that, if not this year, Amy Adams will end up an Oscar winner at some point. Let's just hope it's sooner than later.
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