Oscar Watch: Victoria and Abdul

Victoria & Abdul has screened at the Venice Film Festival and the late 19th century period piece has been looked at as potentially scoring Judi Dench her eighth Oscar nomination. Why? Well, pretty simple: 1) it’s Judi Dench; 2) it casts her once again as Queen Victoria, whom she played in 1997’s Mrs. Brown where she landed her first nod; 3) it reunites her with her Philomena director Stephen Frears where she received her seventh nomination; and 4) it’s Judi Dench, people.

Predictably, the Dame has garnered solid notices for her return to the role two decades later. That said, competition is becoming fierce in the Actress race. Both the Venice and Telluride Festivals have showcased potential nominees such as Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes, Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, and Annette Bening in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. That’s in addition to some performances with promise like Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Jennifer Lawrence in Mother!, as well as pics to be screened later showcasing Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game) and Meryl Streep (The Post).

There’s only five nominations to go around and Dench could find herself on the outside looking in. It’s also highly unlikely costar Ali Fazal or the Picture or Director will find themselves in contention.

Bottom line: it’s Judi Dench (once again), so there’s a chance but competition could provide some difficulties for nod #8.

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