What Olivia Colman does so wonderfully in The Favourite is create a lead performance that has all of the scene-stealing strengths of a supporting performance. Even though she is omnipresent in the film, and despite constantly sharing the screen with two other Oscar winners, every scene still somehow feels as though she’s run away with it. By pure logic, that ought to be impossible. But Colman does it with a delivery that is never less than perfection.
The “Look at me! How dare you! Close your eyes!” non-exchange is not just the perfect Oscar clip, it’s what other Oscar clips dream of being. But Colman provides countless such moments. Think of the way she says “Oh I did not know that” and “You’re jealous” and “I like it when she puts her tongue inside me”—you can hear them all in your head, exactly as she delivers them.
It’s like that for nearly every line she has in the film. They’re all filled to the brim with power, pathos, and insecurity, yet they never once come across as being overacted. Colman’s line readings are, both literally and colloquially, al dente.
A Colman win would showcase the Oscars at their very best—remarkable films and performances prevailing regardless of narrative or politics. By contrast, Glenn Close beating Colman would be the latest example in a long line of what many people hate about the Oscars: the dreaded makeup call.
To be clear, Glenn Close is one of the greatest actresses of her (or any) generation. It is very unfortunate that she does not yet have an Oscar. But it would be equally unfortunate if she were to win one this year, for what, I suspect, very few voters actually think is the best performance among the five nominees.
Oscar voters simply must stop succumbing to the pressure of using their votes to right past wrongs. Because all that does is create new wrongs that need righting, and perpetuate an endless cycle that erodes the respectability of the Oscars.
Rather than help create a situation where Olivia Colman will win an Oscar 20 years from now (at the expense of someone more deserving) because voters are trying to rectify the historical black mark of her loss for The Favourite, why not just actually vote for her now?