Scott Feinberg has written a really interesting piece about the narrative short hand that is used to try and sell performances to Oscar voters.
It’s well worth a read but if you want to skip to the good stuff, he looked at the 9 front runners for each acting category and came up with a narrative and precedent for each of them.
I still think Natalie is at best a dark horse for an Oscar nomination (a Golden Globe nomination seems more likely) but Scott has her down as one of the nine for supporting actress.
NATALIE PORTMAN (“Brothers”)
A single mother raises her child(ren) under trying circumstances.
* Juanita Moore (“Imitation of Life,” 1959)
* Lily Tomlin (“Nashville,” 1975)
* Melinda Dillon (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” 1977)
* Holly Hunter (“Thirteen,” 2003)