Kristen Stewart’s acting has never won many plaudits from critics and in several of her movies she was outright panned, but a Hollywood mogul thinks she deserves and Oscar for her latest performance in upcoming movie “Still Alice.”
Michael Barker, co-chief executive of Sony Pictures Classic, says Stewart’s work in the new picture is her best.
In a rare, and maybe unprecedented move, he openly declared that he plans to campaign for her to win the “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar.
“She’s really terrific in the film,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Oscars are awarded by the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members, mostly actors and studio executives, must be invited to join.
Of the estimated 5,700 voting members, 94 percent are white, 77 percent are male, and only 14 percent are under the age of 50. The median age is 62, according to a 2012 study by The Los Angeles Times.
As a result, the Academy, traditionally, has been conservative. Overt campaigning for awards is supposedly discouraged, although behind-the-scenes lobbying is said to be intense.
Best supporting actress winners over the past three years include Octavia Spencer for “The Help,” Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables” and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave.”
Oscar winning actresses tend to be older, but Jennifer Lawrence is an exception to the rule. She was 22 when she won best actress for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
That puts Lawrence in the same class as Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon and Hillary Swank in the modern film era. They all won the award in their 20s.
Stewart is 24 and has been closely watched since her breakout role in 2002’s “The Panic Room.” The “Twilight” series starting in 2008 made her an international star.
She’s also appeared in such films as “Adventureland”(2009), “The Runaways” (2010), “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012), “On the Road” (2012) and “Camp X-Ray” (2014).
Her upcoming films include “Clouds of Sils Maria,” “Still Alice” and “Equals.”
She won praise for her roles in 2007’s “Into the Wild” and other indie films, but in “Snow White,’ her first post-“Twilight” big-budget feature, she was widely panned for a stiff acting performance.
Still, Barker is a believer.
“Kristen Stewart has never been better than she is in this film,” he says of “Still Alice.”
“Kristen Stewart is someone we have seen in many movies over the last several years — four in 2014, with three coming up in 2015 so far — and she has shown great range in such a wide variety of genres,” he says.
“But there is something about this performance that has new depths that she hasn’t shown before,” he adds.
“Still Alice,” stars Julianne Moore as an aging woman who is battling early-onset Alzheimer’s. Stewart plays her daughter and must content with her mother’s disease.
Ironically, Moore also stars in ex-Stewart boyfriend Robert Pattinson’s new movie “Maps to the Stars.”
“Still Alice” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival . Five of the six critics who reviewed it gave it high marks. But individual plaudits went to Moore.
The 53-year-old actress is one of the most underrated in Hollywood. Although she’s been nominated four times for an Oscar, she’s never won. If anything, this is her film.
While it’s not unprecedented for actresses to win best actress and best supporting actress in the same film, it is rare.
The last time it happened was 1998. Gwyneth Paltrow won best actress and Judi Dench won supporting actress for “Shakespeare in Love.”
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