Carey Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar over a decade ago for her performance in An Education, still a movie I adore, like a beloved book. She was an underdog back then, as that the year Sandra Bullock won for The Blind Side, but she’s definitely not an underdog now with Promising Young Woman. Not that Carey’s a frontrunner…but the Best Actress Oscar race is one of the tighter ones, as Carey, Viola Davis, Andra Day, and Frances McDormand each have wins from other awards boards and guilds coming into Oscar voting week, with Frances the most recent winner at the BAFTAs. Interestingly, Carey wasn’t even nominated for a BAFTA, and neither was Viola, but Promising Young Woman did well there, winning Best British Film and Screenplay for Emerald Fennell, which gives the film overall, and its star, some momentum. Also, again, worth noting that there’s a strong British contingent in the Oscar Academy and they may be inclined to break for Carey. 


Which may be why she’s been pretty visible. While Frances McDormand isn’t showing up for anything, Carey’s definitely on the campaign circuit. These days, hosting Saturday Night Live during award season is 100% a campaign stop (which is why I really can’t understand why Steven Yeun hasn’t hosted yet) and it was Carey’s turn this weekend. 

During her monologue, Carey included a joke about how people confuse her with Michelle Williams. Interestingly enough, a friend of mine was watching with her husband who asked her, “What else has she done between Gone Girl and Promising Young Woman?” To which my friend replied… “…?! She wasn’t in Gone Girl.

So there are people who confuse Carey with Michelle Williams and also people who confuse her with Rosamund Pike and the fact that she’s putting it out there speaks to her celebrity beyond the industry and advanced celebrity gossips. She isn’t an in-your-face celebrity, she can disappear into roles. For Oscar ratings, and attracting viewers for the broadcast, that may not necessarily be a big bonus (and I’m curious about SNL’s ratings for this episode), but I wonder if the Academy members will hear that and it will work in her favour. 


On the show, Carey seemed like she was having a great time, which I expected, leaning into whatever reputation she might have when people aren’t mixing her up with Michelle Williams and Rosamund Pike in the “Lesbian Period Piece” sketch, and sending up her white privilege in the Star Trek sketch. I loved it when she could barely contain her laughter opposite Kate McKinnon when they were about to kiss. What did surprise me though was Marcus Mumford showing up in the monologue. 

They’re really cute together and they almost never do this, they stay out of the spotlight as a couple, so this was a choice. Not complaining about that choice at all. I like that she’s going for it. That you can be a celebrity who isn’t all about the spotlight all of the time but when it is time, in service of the work and the project, it’s OK to try, to put in the effort, to show that you want it, and not pretend that you don’t. 

Also I’m definitely NOT complaining about this spectacular pink pantsuit, HOLY F-CK, it’s so good.