This year, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick will be competing for the Golden Globe for Best Supporting actress for their performances in 'Up in the Air.' Whoever wins on Jan. 17 will likely be headed for Oscar invitations, too.
Vera Farmiga makes you believe. If there's a major role with no back story (and little front story) Vera gets the call. What is a beautiful woman doing among the crooks and the cops and the cops who are crooks in 'The Departed'? Don't ask. It's Vera. You're hooked. The same goes for 'Up in the Air's' Alex, the frequent flyer nomad in pumps. Where is she going? Why does she love her job? What is her job? With the freshness of the role and Farmiga's reputation as an actor's actor, she might just take the big prize.
The Academy Awards are always more fun with a whippersnapper nominee. From Haley Joel Osment to Abigail Breslin, Tatum O'Neal to Anna Paquin. Add Anna Kendrick to the list. Though born in 1985, she still looks like a kid. And she always plays prodigies. It figures; by the time she was in middle school, Kendrick was the toast of Broadway. Her performance as Dinah Lord in the musical revival of 'High Society' earned her a Tony nomination and Theatre World Award in 1998. Kendrick's film debut was in 2003's under-appreciated 'Meatballs'-meets-'Fame' indie "Camp." She played a meek teen finding her voice at a performing arts summer camp, memorably belting out Stephen Sondheim's angry housewife anthem 'The Ladies Who Lunch.' In 'Up in the Air', we first see Kendrick as a Tracey Flick with a college degree, all jutting jaw and confidence -- a baby shark in the corporate world. By the middle of the movie, Kendrick's delivery changes, even her face seems to change, as she realizes she won't peak at 23. It's a star-making turn.
Oscar likes to spread the wealth. And if George Clooney is losing ground to Jeff Bridges, and Jason Reitman is falling behind Kathryn Bigelow and 'The Hurt Locker,' then look for VerAnna to sneak in for a statuette. That would mean an end to Mo'Nique's winning streak for 'Precious', but it has happened before -- in 2008, Amy Ryan swept nearly all the critics awards for 'Gone, Baby, Gone' but the Oscar went to Tilda Swinton for 'Michael Clayton' (coincidence alert: didn't 'Clayton' star what's-his-name?)