Fox Searchlight knows that the Oscar race for best actress is no laughing matter. While early "For Your Consideration" ads hailing Ellen Page's smartcracker performance in "Juno" were cheeky, the studio has decided to feature dramatic scenes of Page in recent ones. That's shrewd. While outright comedic roles sometimes win in the supporting race (bafflement over Marisa Tomei's surprise victory for "My Cousin Vinny" spawned rumors that the wrong winner's name was announced in 1992), voters want gravitas in the top race. The last purely comedic role to win best actress was Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall," 1977). Some Oscarologists define Gwyneth Paltrow's turn in "Shakespeare in Love" as comedic, but many of her most intense romantic scenes were quite dramatic and the whole film benefited from the literary heft of being about Britain's Bard.
Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.
January 15, 2008 | 7:47 am
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