Not every race is what it seems, and so is the first category decision of the season. Variety has confirmed Michelle Williams‘ work as the piano-playing mother in Steven Spielberg’s’the fables” is being campaigned for the Oscars in best actress, rather than endorse as many experts had speculated.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, won the prestigious People’s Choice Award and became the undisputed frontrunner in the early days of the awards season. One of the highlights of the cast was Williams’ turn as Mitzi Fabelman, an art lover who serves as the inspiration for her film-making son Sammy (played by newcomer Gabrielle LaBelle).
The acclaim for the semi-autobiographical story of Spielberg’s childhood was felt in Toronto, and many saw Williams’ turn as a guaranteed ticket to her fifth Oscar nomination in her career, perhaps even a very likely supporting actress winner. The field for supporting actresses is now wide open for all of Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” cast, such as Jessie Buckley or Claire Foy.
Can Williams be the two supposed actress frontrunners, Michelle Yeoh, of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” or Cate Blanchett of “Tar?” surpass?
Williams is a beloved actress in Hollywood. She is an Emmy winner for FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” in 2019, one of only five artists to have won all five television awards (Golden Globes, SAG, TCA, SAG and Emmy). She has been nominated for four Academy Awards – “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) and Manchester by the Sea” (2016) in the supporting role and “Blue Valentine” (2010) and “My Week with Marilyn” (2011) in the lead role.
It is still unclear whether Paul Dano, as Sammy’s father, will campaign in the same way to attract attention. Co-star Judd Hirsch received the lion’s share of attention and, at age 87, could become the second-oldest artist ever to be nominated as a supporting actor.
“The Fabelmans” closes the AFI Film Festival and opens in theaters on November 11.
To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, go to Varieties Oscars Hub.