Helena Bonham Carter: 2011 Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winner?
Yes. I Think So!
There are many reasons why Helena Bonham Carter, nominated for the 2011 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in "The King's Speech," just may win the award. If she wins, I will tell you the real reason why she accomplished the feat. For now, I'll explain why I think she will - based on statistics that simply can't be ignored.
First, Helena Bonham-Carter (presently the girlfriend and mother to two children to uber director Tim Burton) is a great actress. From her first starring role, opposite an unrecognizable Daniel Day Lewis, in the 1985 Merchant/Ivory film "A Room With A View," Bonham-Carter has captivated movie critics and audiences around the world with her versatile acting. Funny thing, neither Helena Bonham-Carter, nor Daniel Day Lewis were nominated for any of the 8 Oscars that "A Room With A View" was up for. The only acting Oscar nominees for that movie belonged to Maggie Smith and Denholm Elliott.
Second, on Sunday, February 13, 2011, Helena Bonham-Carter, in London, won the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA (the BAFTAs are the British Oscars), and celebrated until the wee hours of Monday morning.
The Goth girl in real life who can wear wigs better than any living actress - "A Room With A View," "Harry Potter" film franchise, "2010 Alice In Wonderland" and "The King's Speech" is a chameleon on screen.
Her role in "The King's Speech" required mostly work on weekend's and off-time from the set of the final two "Harry Potter" films, in which she plays the evil witch Bellatrix. Thank the stars that "The King's Speech" director, Tom Hooper, fit Helena into the movie's filming schedule; working around it to include her.
The most intriguing thing about Bonham-Carter's "The King's Speech" BAFTA victory Sunday night is that only once in the past 10 years has the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award gone to someone other than who ended up winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the United States.
Yes, the BAFTAs chose, as did the Oscars, the same Best Supporting Actress winners virtually every time during this millennium, Mo'Nique in 2010 for "Precious;" Penelope Cruz for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2009; Tilda Swinton for "Michael Clayton" in 2008; Jennifer Hudson for "Dreamgirls" in 2007; Cate Blanchett for "The Aviator" in 2005; Renee Zelweger for "Cold Mountain" in 2004; Catherine Zeta-Jones for "Chicago" in 2003 and Jennifer Connelly for "A Beautiful Mind" in 2002.
The only time the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA and Best Supporting Actress Oscars didn't coincide was in 2006 when Thandie Newton won the BAFTA for "Crash" and Rachel Weisz won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "The Constant Gardner." That year, 2006, neither Thandie Newton was nominated for an Oscar, (she should have been, and won, as the Brits got it so right that year), nor was Rachel Weisz nominated for a BAFTA, (great call, Britties).
Third, and more important to most in the United States, maybe (?), only twice in the past twenty years has an actress won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar when there have been two or more Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations from the same film. Catherine Zeta Jones for "Chicago" - beating Queen Latifah. And Dianne Weist in "Bullets Over Broadway," beating out costar Jennifer Tilly. This year both Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for their roles in "The Fighter."
Fourth: Best Supporting Actress Oscar upsets. The Best Supporting Actress Oscar race is the one most open for an Oscar upset. The past two decades have seen quite a few. While you're planning on checking off Melissa Leo on your 2011 Oscar Ballot, think twice before you actually do. Marissa Tomei for "My Cousin Vinny" anyone? Or Kim Basinger's role in "L.A. Confidential" beating out Gloria Stewart for her role in "Titanic." Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar for "Ghost" beating out frontrunner Annette Bening who starred in "The Grifters" in 1991. And Mercedes Ruehl the year after won for "The Fisher King," beating out frontrunner Jessica Tandy, whom everyone thought had a lock for "Fried Green Tomatoes." How bout Anna Paquin, a native of Canada, for "The Piano?" Did anyone see that one coming? And while we love Marcia Gay Harden, no one saw "Pollock," for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in the late 90s. The horrible movie "The Constant Gardener" won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Brit Rachel Weisz, beating out a handful of superior performances that year, including Michelle Williams in "Brokeback Mountain" and Amy Adams in "Junebug." And most recently, ugh, Tilda Swinton, yet another Brit, winning for "Michael Clayton," beating out eighty plus year old Ruby Dee from "American Gangster."
Fifth: While Melissa Leo is great in "The Fighter," no question, she's lost a little or a lot of credibility, depending on whom you talk to, and a lot more than Helena Bonham-Carter, who has always been a Goth girl and never shied away from extreme costumes and hair, wearing one green and one red shoe to the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. Yes, Melissa Leo, a tad over fifty, began campaining right after her Oscar nomination for "The Fighter," wearing age-inappropriate clothing (as my father commented while watching her pick up her 2011 SAG award). Read more about Melissa Leo's ridiculous choices in wardrobe for 2011 Awards appearances, here.
Sixth, The Brit factor: Oscar loves British women. Since 1990 - nine Best Supporting Actress winners were born somewhere other than the United States, eight times, in Britain. Will Helena Bonham-Carter make it a perfect ten?
And the Lucky #7 reason: "The King's Speech" is a The Weinstein Co. release and has the most Oscar nominations this year; twelve. And Harvey Weinstein, co-owner of The Weinstein Co. and former owner of Miramax films, is a master at getting what he wants; even Oscars for his stars and movies.
Tune in to the 2011 Oscars Sunday, February 27, 2011, right here, if you can't get to a TV, or on ABC in the United States, beginning at 8:00PM EST.