And what we’re most looking forward to is…the celebrity death match between Judi Dench and Lisa Kudrow. Dench missed her opportunity to take home a statue last year for playing Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown, but she’ll have another shot as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love; she’s already got a Golden Globe nomination and was named supporting actress runner-up by the New York Film Critics Circle. But New York’s top honor went to Kudrow, the Friends veteran who turned heads as a comically embittered schoolmarm in The Opposite of Sex, so let the games begin. Also in there fighting: Kathy Bates, who was, let’s face it, the best thing about Primary Colors and has the Globe nomination to prove it; Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters), who’s got a Globe nomination and is well liked in Hollywood, even though (or perhaps because) she’ll never give an acceptance speech as interesting as her sister’s; and Joan Allen (Pleasantville), because it wouldn’t be an Oscar race without her (will the third time be the charm?). Voters may also acknowledge Beloved with a nomination for either Thandie Newton or Kimberly Elise; a wave of enthusiasm for Life Is Beautiful might sweep Nicoletta Braschi along; and Brenda Blethyn’s Globe nomination for her Little Voice performance could get her into the Oscar race (though hers is really more of a leading role). Finally: Never ever underestimate Sharon Stone, whose understated turn in The Mighty charmed Globe voters. You know she’s already got the dress picked out.
For Your Consideration
Okay, voters: We know the phrase ”lesbian junkie indie melodrama” may not move High Art to the top of your cassette pile. But if you skip it, you’ll miss a performance that’s not only heartbreaking but laugh-out-loud funny. As a glamorous, grumpy German actress who’s so lost in a heroin haze she often falls asleep in the middle of her own sentences, Patricia Clarkson does the kind of deadpan, dead-accurate work that makes you want to watch every scene she’s in twice. Someone give this woman her own movie — fast.