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The Academy Awards – “The Oscars” – are coming up on February 26.  Now that the nominations are out, the speculation is reaching fever pitch. Personally, there are always actors that I might like to win – for instance Geoffrey Rush not winning for his role in “The King’s Speech,” was a crime against film-humanity!  But that aside, I am not especially invested in who wins or loses.  If I’ve seen one or two of the nominated films, I have done well.  I generally wait until later to see the more touted films, or wait until I can get it on Prime or Netflix.  It’s easier and cheaper that way.

However, I am often curious about the actors and actresses who are nominated for the  best leads and best supporting awards.  So today’s FFF will be a bit of trivia – hopefully interesting to you – about the five women nominated as best actress in a lead role.  No surprise, I will begin with Meryl Streep – the perennial nominee (and deservedly so!):

Meryl Streep was born Mary Louise Streep and will be 63 on June 22 this year.  She is nominated this year for her role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”  Reports are that she is superb in a film that is otherwise average.  She began on stage, but her first film role of any sort was as a voice of Stage 6 in an animated film called “Everyone Rides the Carousel,” in 1975, a film that depicts the circle and cycle of life.  She has the most nominations for an Academy Award – by a man or a woman – with 17 nominations – 4 for supporting actress, and 13 now for best actress.  She has won 2 – Best actress in “Sophie’s Choice,” and Best Supporting Actress in “Kramer vs. Kramer.”  She is occasionally mistaken for her friend, actress Glenn Close (also nominated this year).  Streep was pregnant, and while shopping in a Los Angeles baby store was lavished by the staff with huge amounts of baby paraphernalia.  Just as she was about to leave, they whispered, “We just loved you in Fatal Attraction.”

Viola Davis is 46 years old.  She has been nominated this year for her role as Aibileen in “The Help.”  This being the one film of the nominees that I have seen, I can attest that she is marvelous in the role.  Her first role in a film was as a nurse in “The Substance of Fire,” in 1996.  This is her second nomination, the first being a nomination for best supporting actress in “Doubt,” in which she plays the role of the mother of a student at an intercity Catholic school.  She was superb in this role as well.  After Ms. Davis read the book, “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett, she immediately set about to acquire the film rights for the book.  She lost out to the woman who directed the film, Tate Taylor, but Ms. Taylor came to Ms. Davis for help and advice.

Michelle Williams is 31 years old.  She has been nominated for her role as Marilyn Monroe in the film, “My Week With Marilyn.”  This is her third nomination.  The first for best supporting actress in “Brokeback Mountain,” and the second as best actress in “Blue Valentine.”  She said, “As a teenager I didn’t relate to Marilyn as an actress.  I just related to her as a photograph.”  Wonder is the same will be said of her by another actress 50 years from now. . .

Glenn Close is 64 years old.  She has been nominated for her role as “Albert Nobbs” in the film of the same name.  In the movie she plays a woman of 19th century Ireland who passes as a man to work as a hotel waiter.  This is her sixth nomination.  The other five were for best actress in “The World According to Garp,” “The Big Chill,” “The Natural,” “Fatal Attraction,” and “Dangerous Liaisons.”  Many feel she is way past due to receive the award. In speaking about the Oscars, Ms. Close said, “I do feel it’s very tricky to choose who’s best each year.  Everyone is so different.” My feelings exactly, Ms. Close!

Rooney Mara, born Patricia Rooney Mara, is 26 years old..  This is her first nomination and it is for her role as Lisbeth Salander in the English language version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”  The film is the first of three to be made from Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.  I highly recommend the books, by the way, as well as the Swedish films, all three of which are available on Netflix and Prime in subtitled and dubbed editions. Ms. Mara first appeared on video and on TV in smaller roles and acted under the names Patricia Mara and Tricia Mara.  She made her breakout performance in the recent film, “The Social Network,” and has been a hot property since that time.  The role of Lisbeth Salander is one of a brilliant young woman with a secret past, who has been abused, and is therefore a loner.  The character has a number of piercings and tattoos.  It has been reported that the piercings (including multiple ear, eyebrow, and nipple piercings) that Ms. Mara sports in the role are real, and not cosmetic simulations.  She reportedly got the piercings in a series of sessions in Brooklyn and Sweden.  All I can say is, “OUCH!”

So there you have a bit about the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role for this year’s Academy Awards.  Maybe you read something you didn’t know before.  I enjoyed digging up a bit of trivia about these five talented and accomplished women.  Next week, perhaps I’ll do a bit of research on the Best Actor nominees.  For today, this is enough. . .

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