2014 has been one of the best years for Laura Dern in some time. The veteran actress is well respected in the business, very talented, and a pleasure to interact with. Last year, she was part of the campaign to get her father Bruce Dern cited for Nebraska. This year however, she’s front and center in a way, giving two of the most effective supporting performances of 2014. If one or both of Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley become Best Actress nominees, it’ll certainly be in part because of their scenes in Wild and The Fault in Our Stars with their on screen mother Dern. She’s fueling their fire, but can she also score a Best Supporting Actress nomination for herself.
I think Dern is one of the more interesting contenders this year. She’s a previous Academy Award nominee (she was nominated in Best Actress for Rambling Rose), five time Golden Globe nominee (and two time winner on the television side), and one of the few hopefuls in 2014 who can boast multiple films to contend with. She’s far more likely for Wild than The Fault in Our Stars, yes, but one could wind up helping with the other, at at the very least helping to push her co-stars to the Best Actress nomination finish line. No one else this year can say that, so Dern finds herself in a spot all her own this year.
In the case of The Fault in Our Stars, she has a film that’s reached blockbuster status and brought her a very solid amount of acclaim. True, Shailene Woodley took most of the praise, but Dern was hardly forgotten about either. Her turn as Woodley’s mother was easily one of the best supporting performances of the first half of the year, so that’s a plus. The odds say that voters will only consider her for Wild due to the release date and such, but if they pop in this one in order to consider Woodley in Best Actress, they could certainly notice Dern and mark her down in the back of their minds. Dern is going to be one of the reasons why Woodley gets nominated, if that does come to pass.
When it comes to Wild though, she’s firmly in the thick of things. Her co-star Reese Witherspoon is almost assuredly scoring a Best Actress nomination, so it might be that Witherspoon helps bring Dern along for the ride, even though Dern is helping to assist Witherspoon as well. She’s one of the ladies fighting it out for a Best Supporting Actress slot, that’s for sure. Depending on who you ask, she’s either right there in the number five spot or not far off, but everyone agrees that she is heavily in play.
So, does Dern get in? Right now, my gut says that she could be one of the snubs come the morning of the nominations, but there’s no way to firmly know for sure at the moment. Especially if Wild gets more than just an Actress citation for Witherspoon, Dern could get in. She’ll likely have to rely on Wild for the nod as opposed to The Fault in Our Stars, but that takes nothing away from her work in either. Honestly, if I had a vote, I’d give the nom to Dern for the latter as opposed to the former, but that’s just me.
Regardless of what ultimately happens, I think it’s been a great 2014 for Dern and this won’t be her last brush with the Academy. This is an exciting part of her career, no doubt. I’ll be fascinated to see how this turns out for her, but also to see how the next few years go as well. Dern isn’t going anywhere and members of the Academy know that. Now, we just have to sit back, wait, and see what they wind up doing with her this year.
Stay tuned to see who gets nominated…