If a movie’s box-office draw is any indication as to whether or not it will produce an Oscar for best actress or best supporting actress, then it looks as if Hilary Swank and Cate Blanchett could be well positioned to win this weekend at the 77th annual Academy Awards. Of course, some films opened in more theaters than others — this list merely provides a snapshot of the red-carpet contenders. Win or lose, rest assured that all actresses will make a fashion splash this Sunday.
- Hilary Swank
Film: “Million Dollar Baby” (Release Date: 12/15/2004)
Revenues: $55.3 million
Prior to this nomination, Swank picked up the Oscar for her captivating portrayal of Brandon Teena in “Boys Don’t Cry” in 2000. For “Baby,” Swank gained 19 pounds of muscle in preparation for the role, training six days a week for three months straight. Her bronze Calvin Klein sensation for the Golden Globes undoubtedly set the bar high for her red-carpet appearance this Sunday.
- Kate Winslet
Film: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Release Date: 3/19/2004)
Revenues: $34.4 million
Winslet’s funky character Clementine won her this fourth Oscar nomination. This is Winslet’s second nod for a leading role; her first was for “Titanic.” At 29 years of age and one of the most sought after red-carpet beauties, she attended the Golden Globes in a black Valentino gown. She will no doubt be gracing the Academy with her presence for years to come.
- Catalina Sandino Moreno
Film: “Maria Full of Grace” (Release Date: 7/16/2004)
Revenues: $6.5 million
This will be the Columbian beauty’s first trip to the Oscars thanks to her role as a plantation employee. The Screen Actors Guild red carpet welcomed her in a green Monique Lhuillier satin slipdress. Just 23 years old, Moreno beat out over 800 actresses to play the role of Maria. She may be a newcomer to the big screen, but she already has a slew of stage performances on her résumé.
- Annette Bening
Film: “Being Julia” (Release Date: 10/15/2004)
Revenues: $6 million
For her first Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination since the Oscars in 2000 for “American Beauty,” Bening once again finds herself in an Oscar standoff with 2000 winner Hilary Swank. In “Being Julia,” a movie adapted from a W. Somerset Maugham novel, Bening plays a charming but aging stage actress. She donned a black Dolce & Gabbana for last month’s Golden Globes.
- Imelda Staunton
Film: “Vera Drake” (Release Date: 10/10/2004)
Revenues: $3.2 million
She may be a longshot for the statue, but stranger things have happened. Due out this year for Staunton: a role in “Nanny McPhee,” also starring Emma Thompson. Previous work includes roles in films “Shakespeare in Love,” “Crush” and “Sense and Sensibility.” Staunton is planning to wear a gown from British costume designer John Bright on Sunday.
Best Supporting Actresses
- CATE BLANCHETT
Film: “The Aviator” (Release Date: 12/17/2004)
Revenues: $89 million
It can’t be easy portraying Kate Hepburn on the big screen, but Aussie Cate Blanchett was up for the challenge and she passed with flying colors: She picked up a Golden Globe earlier this year for her performance. This is the talented actress’ second Oscar nomination. The red carpet will anxiously await Blanchett’s arrival — she chose a lilac Jean-Paul Gaultier for the Golden Globes.
- VIRGINIA MADSEN
Film: “Sideways” (Release Date: 10/22/2004)
Revenues: $59.1 million
Virgina Madsen’s red-carpet appearance in Calvin Klein for the Golden Globes certified her for a welcome and reserved spot for Oscar night. Madsen’s big-screen performance has paid off in “Sideways” playing Maya, a lonely, but lovely single waitress who finds romance with Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles.
- NATALIE PORTMAN
Film: “Closer” (Release Date: 12/3/2004)
Revenues: $34 million
Named as one of imdb.com’s Top 25 Stars of 2004, Portman played both an enchanting compulsive liar with epilepsy in “Garden State” and a tough but vulnerable stripper in “Closer.” This red-carpet favorite, who donned a daring Chloé number for the Golden Globes, could score an upset in this category. Fans will again see her this summer, in the third and final “Star Wars” prequel.
- SOPHIE OKONEDO
Film: “Hotel Rwanda” (Release Date: 12/22/2004)
Revenues: $17.1 million
The couture gown and De Beers diamonds she wore to the BAFTAs in February has the red carpet waiting to see what this London-born beauty will wear on Sunday. Okonedo was virtually an unknown prior to her nomination for “Hotel Rwanda.” Her role as a prostitute in “Dirty Pretty Things” also received acclaim, but she is perhaps best known for her stage career in England.
- LAURA LINNEY
Film: “Kinsey” (Release Date: 11/12/2004)
Revenues: $9.5 million
Playing the wife of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, Linney has chosen her roles wisely: She also earned a nod for single mom Sammy in “You Can Count on Me” in 2001. Linney will no doubt shine on the red carpet — she donned a black Prada frock for the Golden Globes last month.
Source: Box Office Mojo. domestic gross revenues as of Feb. 21, 2005.