HOLLYWOOD—This is perhaps the one race in the Oscars that I am most uncertain about because there has been so much back and forth and chatter amongst the ladies nominated for Best Actress. There is one candidate in particular that people think deserves the award, while I think that candidate is just so far off, I cannot understand all the accolades, and I am just going to come out and say it. I hated the movie “Poor Things” and Emma Stone’s performance in the movie is overrated.

She portrayed a robotic doll that seemed obsessed with sex. Nothing in that movie held my attention, the performances did not wow me and if anything, it was perhaps one of the worst flicks I saw in 2024. On an artistic scale it is something to mesmerize about, but on the entertainment value it delivers absolutely nothing. Stone is nominated again for the prize and is considered the front-runner for Best Actress. What works against Stone is that she already has an Oscar, and guess what, she acted her tail off in “La La Land,” whereas it just felt like countless sex scenes in “Poor Things” and there was little gravitas to the performance for my liking.

Her strongest competitor is Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon” and that is a performance. I loved this movie and what Gladstone conveys with her face, her movement it is emotionally brutal to watch, but that is the power of solid acting. Gladstone has won the Golden Globe but lost the BAFTA to Emma Stone.

Gladstone has been quite gracious during awards season and a victory for her would be historic at the Oscars, which I would not be surprised to see, and it would be rightfully earned. She holds her talent alongside titans in Leonardo DiCaprio and the iconic Robert De Niro and that speaks wonders. Whoever wins that Screen Actors Guild Award will likely have the biggest edge as we go into the Oscars.

I thought Carey Mulligan was a standout in “Maestro” and it’s a simmering performance that should be receiving more praise, but she is being overlooked. For those not in the know, Mulligan has been nominated for Best Actress a total of three times now, twice before for “An Education” and “Promising Young Woman.” I thought she was robbed in 2020 for “Promising Young Woman” because she was incredible in that film and widely overlooked.

Mulligan knows how to deliver a slow-burn of a performance that the audience talks about for days, weeks, months or years after a movie has been seen. As much as I adore Mulligan, I just don’t see it unfolding for her this time around.

Then we have to talk about the actress who I feel was robbed and I mean robbed back in 2000 for the Best Actress trophy for her iconic work in “American Beauty.” I still get chills watching Annette Bening in that film to this day. She lost to Hillary Swank for “Boys Don’t Cry,” only to lose several years later again to the actress for “Million Dollar Baby.” Bening is nominated again this year for her performance as Diana Nyad in “Nyad.” She has been nominated for five Academy Awards, four times for Best Actress and once for Supporting Actress.

Her performance in the flick is proof that women of an older age can still eat up older roles and it is indeed a crowd-pleaser of a movie where you cheer for the protagonist, and I cannot say that about many of the performances this time around. I don’t see Bening taking the stage this year and that is because there is a darker horse in the race, one that is being widely underestimated in Sandra Huller for “Anatomy of a Fall.”

If you have ever wanted to see a movie that hooks you and doesn’t let go, look no further than this suspense tale helmed by Justine Triet. It is incredibly satisfying and Huller commands the screen with a performance that burns a hole into your soul where you question her innocence. Did she do it? Was she framed? If she did it, was she just in doing so? Hands down the best written movie of 2023 and one I have seen in decades. “Anatomy of a Fall” is satisfying as hell, and Huller’s performance makes it all that grander and she is unforgettable. Stone is looking like the front-runner, but I see Gladstone as the eventual winner, but Huller people better be careful because if she does win it is rightfully earned.