Winning the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, “Winter’s Bone” easily becomes a contender at the Oscars. With underrated star power and original concept, to see “Winter’s Bone” win on Oscar night would be justified. Sadly, I do not see this being the case, but not for a lack of punch.

Jennifer Lawrence carries the entire film. She is the sole main character and the film follows her journey as she searches for answers to her father’s whereabouts. Without his appearance at court, her family will lose their home. Her invalid mother is no help and the little brother and sister that rely on their older sister cannot fend on their own. Lawrence takes the role by the gullet. Actresses twice her age could not hold a torch to her performance and that is impressive.

Had this been a different year, Lawrence could possibly have a shot at winning the Oscar and I am not the only one who thinks so. However, she just happens to fall in on the year where the race is heated. Natalie Portman, a young actress as well, will more than deservedly take the award this year for her immersement in “Black Swan”. Frankly, Lawrence ranks in a close second position. Most believe that Annette Bening deserves the second spot for her portrayal in “The Kids Are All Right”, and even though she won the Golden Globe for her performance, I believe Jennifer Lawrence to carry the more impressive showing. The good news here, Jennifer Lawrence will have plenty more opportunities to win her Oscar with her obvious staying power.

My absolute favorite nomination of the entire Academy Awards is John Hawkes for Best Supporting Actor (had “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” been nominated, John Hawkes would have taken a close second). John Hawkes is not just a favorite of mine because he grew up and graduated 40 minutes away from my Minnesota hometown, but because he is a truly underrated actor with many stunning performances under his belt. His role as Teardrop is no different, and easily the most anticipated portions of the film, marking his best performance to date.

Again, had this been a different year, Hawkes would have the lock. But the award has all but been given to Christian Bale for his performance in “The Fighter” and I am afraid that leaves Hawkes out in the cold. Originally, it was almost dead set that Andrew Garfield would be nominated for his role in “The Social Network” (which I believe he deserved the nomination over Jesse Eisenberg in the Actor category), so I reckon we are lucky that Hawkes was nominated at all. I look forward to seeing him at the awards ceremony and will take what I can get.

“Winter’s Bone” will definitely fall into one of the best films of the year that does not bring home any awards on the big night. In the Best Adapted Screenplay category, most give the award to Aaron Sorkin and “The Social Network” instead of the based on a book story of “Winter’s Bone” and three losses wrecks its chance of taking home the Best Picture of 2010 award completely. This should not take away from the film’s deserved praise, however. It did win at Sundance and even seeing it represented (and so well) at the Oscars is honorable enough.


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