Oscar quiz: How many statuettes has Julianne Moore won? You’d be justified in thinking she has at least one, but in fact, she’s been nominated four times (for Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, The Hours, and Far from Heaven) without a win. In the past decade, she hasn’t even earned a nomination, despite Oscar-worthy performances in A Single Man and The Kids Are All Right. It’s about time that the Academy paid its dues to one of Hollywood’s finest actresses — and judging from the Toronto Film Festival buzz, that time may be coming soon.
Moore, 53, is winning rave reviews for roles in two very different films that screened at Toronto. The first, Still Alice, is a drama based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel about a college professor with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Moore plays the titular Dr. Alice Howland, who takes the audience on an emotionally wrenching journey as her mind begins to fail her. The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg calls Moore’s performance “nuanced and heartbreaking,” with “several showstopping scenes.” He went on to write that with the right distributor, Moore “would immediately become the potential favorite to win the best actress Oscar.”
Moore in the drama ‘Still Alice’
Moore’s other noteworthy TIFF film is Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg’s pitch-black satire of Los Angeles celebrity culture. The actress plays an aging Hollywood diva, described in a recent New York Times profile as “a sort of latter-day Norma Desmond, a fading B-List Hollywood actress who is both needy and tyrannical, childlike and monstrous.” The film itself is divisive among critics, but the actress is winning near universal acclaim for what Variety calls “a fearless performance far more gonzo than the out-of-touch satire that contains it.”
Based on the descriptions alone, both of these roles seem poised to grab the Academy’s attention. In recent years, actresses Emmanuelle Riva and Julie Christie earned nominations for playing Alzheimer’s patients in Amour and Away from Her, respectively. Unhinged divas also fare well at nomination time, from Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard to Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine.
Moore as the aging star in ‘Maps to the Stars’
Given that Moore is long overdue — much like Kate Winslet, prior to winning her 2009 Oscar for The Reader — there’s an outside chance that she could be recognized for both films in 2015. Two nominations in a single year is a rare honor, one that only eleven actors in history have achieved…including Julianne Moore, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Hours and Best Actress for Far from Heaven in 2002. Then again, there was a report that Maps of the Stars won’t be pursuing an Oscar campaign, in which case Moore could focus all her attention on campaigning for Still Alice. (She’ll also get some serious visibility this fall with her featured supporting role as President Coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.)
Moore admitted that she’d love to win an Oscar, though she says it isn’t the first thing on her priority list. “Oh, of course I care… it always feels more fun to win,” she told The Guardian last year. “But at the end of the day, yes, I love to win, but I like having a job more.”
Watch Moore in a clip from Maps to the Stars:
Photo credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant, © Courtesy of Toronto Film Festival, Focus World