When Should Glenn Close Have Won Her Oscar? An Investigation

This is the one. “The Wife” was Glenn Close’s best shot at an Academy Award, without question. It isn’t her best work by any measure, but the stars had finally aligned for her to take home that award. That year, she walked away with the Golden Globe, SAG Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Independent Spirit Award, and even an Icon Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. She was the frontrunner, had the long overdue narrative, and yet … when the envelope was opened, her name was nowhere to be found on it. Instead, we got one of the biggest (and most wonderful) Oscars surprises in recent memory when Olivia Colman took home the award for her brilliant work in “The Favourite.”

Being the frontrunner can be a blessing or a curse. “The Wife” was released in theaters in August 2018, before the fall film festivals and awards seasons kicked into high gear. Being in poll position six months before the ceremony means people can tire out from your constant presence and start looking elsewhere for their own favorites, as they assume everyone else will be voting for you. In the case of “The Wife,” that film actually premiered all the way back in September 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival, so some folks really were able to put her at the back of their minds. The thought was that Lady Gaga would be her main competition for “A Star Is Born,” but like Cher before her, it will take some time for the Academy to fully embrace the pop star. Meanwhile, Olivia Colman not only gave a phenomenal performance but can also light up a room. Glenn Close went from frontrunner to old news, and her best shot at an Oscar went up in flames.

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