Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 14th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon

This year’s locks: Brie Larson, Cate Blanchett

Very likely: Saoirse Ronan

Possible: Charlotte Rampling, Jennifer Lawrence, Maggie Smith, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron

Unlikely: Sarah Silverman, Helen Mirren, Emily Blunt, Lily Tomlin

The rundown: Last year, there were five seeming sure things, and Jennifer Aniston ended up getting snubbed in favor of Marion Cotillard, who had little to no American precursor support. That title this year goes to Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), who is far from a sure thing but seems primed to show up despite not being too present in the awards race up until now. Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) is also a threat, and her film seems ready to stampede over all else. The bigger question here is whether Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) will show up, as you’ve read in the supporting actress predictions. I think that, because there are two of them, neither will get promoted, but I don’t know that for sure at all. Brie Larson (Room), who just won the Golden Globe, is a guarantee, as is Mara’s costar and the 2013 winner in this category, Cate Blanchett (Carol). She’s been almost everywhere, and there’s no reason to suspect that Saiorse Ronan (Brooklyn) won’t go the distance. Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) gets a boost from her Golden Globe win because people clearly like her, and I wish that her film was getting more positive attention since it’s really good. Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van) is always a threat, and it would not be shocking if she grabbed the last spot. And then there’s the very interesting case of two completely random SAG nominees - Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back) and Helen Mirren (Woman in Gold) - who have shown up almost nowhere since, not even on more than one critics’ list. Are they still in the game? Doubtful. Emily Blunt (Sicario) needed to surge much earlier if she was going to upset, but it’s still a very small possibility. And though she was great, I fear that Lily Tomlin (Grandma) doesn’t have nearly enough buzz to crack this list.

One possible crazy scenario: She was in everyone’s predictions a few months ago and has been nowhere since, but maybe, just maybe, Carey Mulligan (Suffragette) rallies to a jaw-dropping nomination?

Forecasted winner: It will be Larson.

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