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The Women of the Oscars

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Glitz, glam and the red carpet, the Academy Awards is the most coveted event in Hollywood; an event that every A-list celebrity is sure to attend looking their absolute best. While the show does not start till 7:30pm ET/ 4:30pm PST, pre-show broadcasts start as early as 10:30 am on the west coast. You would think that with all this coverage, by the time the show begins, viewers would know just about everything there is to know about the films, and the individuals who play in them, however this is far from the case. The pre-show broadcasts are focused almost entirely on "who are you wearing," while the post-Oscar shows are focused almost entirely on "why was she wearing that" along with some exceedingly derogatory comments about the women who aren't wearing dresses to the liking of certain "experts in fashion."

While the men simply put on a well fitted designer black suit or tux, women must go through hours of hair and makeup and are practically required to wear uncomfortably high heels to look "presentable." Emma Thompson defied this notion and took a "daring" step forward when she wore flats on the red carpet during the 2014 Sag Awards, and this was of course news worthy. To further add to the pressure, while the women are standing for a brief interview, the "glam-cam" goes up and down so as to show the "details" of the dress the actresses are wearing. Cate Blanchett called out the ridiculousness that is the glam-cam at the SAG Awards and asked, "Do you do that to the guys?" The answer is obviously a "no."

While designer gown are pieces of exquisite art, and even more so on the beautiful actresses that are wearing them, the dress itself does not make the woman. The nominated actresses did not receive Oscar nods or the movie role for which they are nominated by wearing designer dresses. They received their accolades because of their talent, their hard work and their tenacity to keep fighting for their space.

Wouldn't it be so much more interesting if there were more pre-award shows that highlighted the lives and achievements of both the men and women who have received Oscars. As a response, here is a bit more about the top female contenders in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Categories.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Meryl Streep is nominated in the Best Actress category for her role in August: Osage County -- no surprise there. Three time Academy Award winner and eight time Golden Globes winner, Ms. Streep attained her Bachelors from Vassar College and then attended Yale School of Drama on a three year scholarship. She spent years perfecting her craft before she received her first role in the film Julia in 1977. A year later she won her first Emmy Award and received national recognition and thus began her career. Since then, she has received 18 Oscar nominations and we can only imagine what more there is to come.

Of her role in August: Osage Country, Ms. Streep says, "As an actor, you're supposed to want to go into the house of pain over and over and over again, but really it's not something that's fun. I resisted doing this initially, the part, because of that. I just thought, 'uhhhh,' because on so many levels -- physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, Violet is enraged and/or in pain or drugged at any given time."

Cate Blanchett is nominated for Best Actress for her role in Blue Jasmine and is said to to be the front runner this year. Ms. Blanchett hails from Australia, where she started her career before transitioning into an international star. She received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Kathrine Hepburn in the Aviator and she has also received several Golden Globes. In her role in Blue Jasmine, Ms. Blanchett plays a New York socialite, who loses everything, including her mind. Critics say that Blanchett has really out done herself and lost herself to the character in the film. The overwhelming majority believes that she is likely to win the Oscar.

The other nominees in the Best Actress category include the esteemed Judi Dench in Philomena, fan favorite Sandra Bullock in Gravity and the talented and lovely Amy Adams in American Hustle.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Lupita Nyong'o, a new comer and a fan favorite is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave. Born in Mexico, and of Kenyan descent, Ms. Nyong'o attained her Bachelors from Hampshire College. After working on production sets of films like The Constant Gardener and The Namesake, Ms. Nyong'o, like Ms. Streep, attended Yale School Of Drama and received her MFA in 2012. Her performance in 12 Years a Slave is certainly Oscar worthy. In an interview on Vulture.com when asked about the "whipping scene" in the movie, she says, "all I could do was be present." That is what made her role so believable and one of the reasons why the movie was so painful for the audience to watch. Lupita Nyong'o is definitely one to watch. (Secretly my pick for the win.)

Jennifer Lawrence is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in American Hustle. At only 23, this young starlet has already won an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook and this is her third Oscar nomination. American Hustle, depicts the true story of a massive FBI operation that caught many politicians and congressmen receiving illegal payoffs for various favors. Ms. Lawrence's plays the desperate and lonely Roslyn who causes quite some havoc for the FBI agents and is a top contender for the Oscar along with Ms. Nyong'o.

Other nominees include the talented Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, Julia Roberts in August: Osage County and June Squibb in Nebraska.